I have long hoped to one day make the journey to visit Patagonia, and I was very excited that my Antarctica adventure was beginning in Ushuaia, a city in Argentinian Patagonia. Our cruise departed from Ushuaia, the nearest port city to the Antarctic Peninsula and the southernmost city in the entire world at 54°48′S latitude. I made sure to add a few days to explore Ushuaia before our ship's departure. Although we would be seeing plenty of glaciers and penguins in Antarctica, those are two things that I cannot see enough of, so we spent a day hiking to Glacier Martial and another day visiting Isla Martillo, home to the local colony of Megellanic Patagonian penguins.
Ushuaia is famous for king crab! I have a guilty love for king crab, and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to order an entire crab for the equivalent of about 30 USD. Alex isn't much of a seafood eater, and she barely ate one leg, leaving me to devour the remaining seven.
Isla Martillo is a privately owned island where a large colony of Megellanic penguins decided to make their home. We visited Isla Martillo as part of a tour which included a gloriously scenic 1.5-hour bus trip from Ushuaia through the Patagonian forests. Along the drive we passed the a winding river that we were told was the filming location of the last scene of the movie The Revenant.
On Isla Martillo we visited a cute little museum which showed us the many species of sea creatures that live and migrate through the area. The museum features an extensive collection of mammal bones from whales, dolphins and seals that were collected from the animals that had mysteriously beached and died in the Beagle Channel over the years for reasons not completely understood.
In the colony there was one King Penguin (a different species of penguin, not like a designated king of the colony). I lovingly refer to him as the Danny Devito penguin.
On our last night in Ushuaia before setting sail on the Beagle Channel to Antarctica we brought out the hot dog costume and had some fun in the main square with local Ushuaian kids who loved the costume and even tried it on! That night we took a local's recommendation and had dinner at Ushuaia's Irish pub (of all places) and wrote pre-Antarctica post cards to friends and shared the pub's famous dish: a pizza covered with bacon, olives, french fries and eggs.