Tierra del Fuego

Map of Tierra del Fuego dating from the 1700s.

Exactly 180 years ago Charles Darwin sailed into the Beagle Channel, which is now the border between the southern shores of Argentina’s Tierra del Fuego and Chile’s Isla de Navarro. He was travelling with Captain Fitz Roy and his journals were to be published as The Voyage of the Beagle.

The landscape here is dramatic and inspiring. The names of the water ways alone tell a story; you will find the Bay of Desolation, the Passage of Adventure and Broken Bay in the Land of Fire.

The impression of adventure is strong. We thought a fun way to convey this would be to match passages from The Voyage of the Beagle with photos we have taken during our four days in and around Ushuaia, the world’s southern most city. So, here we go.

“Tierra del Fuego may be described as a mountainous land, partly submerged in the sea, so that deep inlets and bays occupy the place where valleys should exist. The mountain sides, except on the exposed western coast, are covered from the water’s edge upwards by one great forest.”

“…to the south we had a scene of savage magnificence, well becoming Tierra del Fuego. There was a degree of mysterious grandeur in mountain behind mountain, with the deep intervening valleys, all covered by one thick, dusky mass of forest.”

“The atmosphere…where gale succeeds gale, with rain, hail and sleet, seems blacker than anywhere else.”

“In the Strait of Magellan, looking due southward from Port Famine, the distant channels between the mountains appeared from their gloominess to lead beyond the confines of the world.”

“A single glance at the landscape was sufficient to show me how widely different it was from anything I had ever beheld.”

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