Saturday, March 5, 2011
The Most Southern Town in the World
We haven't quite fallen off the map or the communications grid, but we've been teetering on the edge of both. For a day and a half, we rode the tiny Bahia Azul (those of you in North Carolina, think Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry) from Punta Arenas on the Strait of Magellan down through rocky islands, wind-blown passages and glacier-topped mountains into the Beagle Channel.
We're now in Puerto Williams, Chile, population 2000 or so, not counting stray dogs and wandering horses. The Argentinians across the channel claim their Ushuaia is the most southerly city in the world, but this little island village has them beat, latitudinally speaking. The decor in town consists of crab pots, brightly colored fishing boats, and little metal-sheathed houses in intense shades of orange, blue and green--generally with a corrugated metal roof in one of the other colors and a huge pile of firewood out back.
Just out of town are snaggletoothed mountains, mossy tundra and blue-gray lakes. Tomorrow--luck and weather permitting--we'll set off on a multi-day hike to see them. More when we get back!