Day 1 February 27th – Ushuaia
Here I am, at the place known as “the end of the earth” in Ushuaia at the Southern tip of Argentina. This morning we had a city tour of Ushuaia. I learned some interesting facts such as:
The native Yamana people who were indigenous to this region, lived here for 6 thousand years living a nomadic lifestyle, surviving off the land and using seal blubber to coat their skins instead of wearing clothes. The tribe depleted quickly when settlers arrived in Ushuaia due to the spread of disease that they had never before been exposed to. There is one remaining descendent of this tribe who lives in Chile.
In the afternoon we visited the Ushuaia prison:
The prison was built in 1902 and was a working prison until 1947. It was a jail for convicts who had re-committed crimes. During their time there they learned to read, write and make furniture. The conditions in Ushuaia were so harsh outside the jail that no-one ever really escaped and the ones that did escape, then returned back to the jail to ask for forgiveness as they could not cope.
We observed a tree planting ceremony with Ben the CEO and founder of Woodchuck USA. Through their “ buy one, plant one” program. Woodchuck USA plants a tree for every product bought. Today we saw founder and CEO Ben Vandenwymelenberg pant 3 trees in the harbour in Ushuaia. The trees are dedicated to all of the adventurers and explorers – past, present, future who have travelled and will travel to Antarctica. It is part of the continued mission to reforest the planet. check out their website: https://www.woodchuckusa.com/
Meeting Barney Swan
I had been following Barney on the SPEC challenge so seeing him in the flesh, right in front of me, was very surreal. He told us that his toes were slowly recovering from the frostbite from the SPEC challenge. He was happy to pose for a pic. Really looking forward to talking more and listening to this very well grounded 23 year old.
Meeting Rob Swan for the second time
Meeting Rob Swan again – he walked over to me and just held my hand whilst he talked to others in the group. He then turned to give me a big hug, his piercing eyes staring at me like blue fireballs. His first words to me were to ask me how my leg was! He remembered! 16 months ago, whilst on crutches, I listened to Rob speak about his passion for saving Antarctica and his mission to inspire governments and youngsters around the world to take small steps towards climate change. When I emailed to ask him how I could get involved with his mission, he told me to get my leg strong and I could join him on the 2018 Antarctica expedition. The challenge was on! From that day my life and career took a different direction and here I am now, about to embark on the journey of a lifetime with so many other passionate, caring and dedicated individuals, all striving for the same outcome – to collaborate and create solutions and raise awareness to reduce our carbon emissions so that we can slow down climate change. As you can see I am delighted to meet with Rob again and be part of his team.
Adventures of “Gus the seal-guin”
Today Gus saw the Argentinian flag flying high in Ushuaia and he also had a rest in the bathroom of the oldest shop in Ushuaia. Did you spot Gus photo bombing any of my other pictures??