Sunday (Domingo) 7th February, 2010
Day 331

Tolhuin, Argentina
Tolhuin, Argentina
Miles: 35,914
S 54.52570°
W 67.23291°

If anything the wind was even stronger this morning; there were big white caps on the waters in the straights.

Not long after starting the days drive we came upon some very impressive old buildings and a couple of rusting hulks of ships. This is one of the many Estancia - or cattle/sheep stations - we have passed in Patagonia. This one seemed to be passed its use-by-date as most of the buildings seemed to be unused. It was Estancia San Gregorio. We could only guess at the reason for the rusting boats.

In time the road brought us to the ferry that crosses the Straits of Magellan at the east end of the straits. For most of our waiting time, and most of the short crossing we sat in our vehicle feeling the wind buffet us. Occasional excursions outside were short. It's hard to imagine sailing this part of the world in the early to mid 1800's. We were here in the middle of summer, the temperature is between 48-55°F, the wind is blowing 30+mph and outside in our modern jackets and boots it is freezing. I cannot imagine what it must have been like for those early sailors, barefoot, with only woolen, not windproof clothing, sailing here in winter.

On the ferry there were a group of Brazilians in Jeep type vehicles on a expedition to Ushuaia, and 4 large Brazilian motorhomes.

The 120 kms of road from the ferry south to San Sebastian and the crossing into Argentina was rough, lots and lots of big potholes with steep soft edges; one of the worst of the trip.

The border crossing out of Chile and into Argentina was surreal. Here we are in the middle of no-where, with flat grass lands spreading out like an ocean in every direction (except where there was ocean) and suddenly we come upon a building complex with hundreds of vehicles parked around it. Inside the place is chaos, hundreds of people trying to line up to get their papers processed by a group 4 or maybe 5 officials. Both the Chile exit station and the Argentine entry station were the same. It took us 1-2 hours to get done at each. We could not figure out why there were so many people. It was clearly an unusual situation because the officials did not seem to know how to handle the crowd. Anyway - we got through.

From the border a good road went south to the town Rio Grande. This is another of those service towns, but also sports some of the most unusual - that is ugly - street and municipal decorations we have ever seen. We did not take photos on the south bound trip but will get some when we return.

Over the next 100 km to Tolhuin the flat grass lands, gave way to rolling hills, more trees, lots of water beside the road and mountains in the distant south and west.


Our guide book told us of Camping Hain in the little town of Tolhuin, it also told us about a wonderful little Panaderia. The campground is on the shores of Lago Fagnano and provides electricity, toilets, hot showers, and a cooking hut with wood fire. The tent sites have substantial structures to protect the tents and fires from the fierce lake winds.