Dec 3, Strait of Magellan

The Strait of Magellan separates Tierra del Fuego from the south American mainland. It was first discovered by European explorers in November 1520, when two ships, under the command of Magellan, explored it while looking for a sea route from the Atlantic to the Pacific. And the Strait of Magellan indeed leads to the Pacific ocean.

Magellan went on to sail across the Pacific and on to the Philippines. Although Magellan was killed in the Philippines, some of his crew and one of his ships eventually returned to Spain, concluding the first circumnavigation of the world.

I am a great fan of Magellan, who was a great sailor and captain, so from Ushuaia I took a bus to Rio Gallegos that would take a ferry across the Strait of Magellan.

During the crossing, we saw some dolphins that had a distinctive black-and-white pattern, similar to Orcas. They were too quick for me to photograph. They were probably dusky dolphins (Lagenorhynchus obscurus).

As Magellan was crossing the Strait, the right (north) side was empty and desolate. On the left (south) side, at night he noticed many campfires, and that is how Tierra del Fuego (land of fire) got its name.

In 1843, the Strait was made part of Chile. So, going from Ushuaia in Argentina to Rio Gallegos, which is also in Argentina, involves taking a ferry in Chile. Fortunately, the border controls on both sides were efficient, and the bus got to Rio Gallegos ahead of schedule.