There’s no sufficient superlative to depict the landscape, peripheral scenery and vistas from the Tierra del Fuego, the Land of Fire. Bounded on the north by the Martial mountain range and the south by the Beagle Channel, Ushuaia is the most southerly tip that can be reached by road. El Fin del Mundo, the End of the World. Home to a bustling port, a labyrinth of steep streets and locals who wouldn’t think twice to voluntarily stop their journey, pull over and offer you a ride home. The archipelago is where the Andes meet the southern ocean and is quite possibly the adventure hub of Argentina, come rain, snow or shine.
24–30 March 2014 – The final push down to Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego
Exhausted after a day and night of socialising our socks off in Puerto Madryn and a long ride on top, I got my first taste of South America’s ‘ripio’. This is essentially loose gravel. There can also be sand and dirt present, not always compacted as well as big and small stones scattered all over an off-road track. I could feel red mist descend but what I needed was clarity. I had to stiffen my resolve somehow if I was going to plough through seventeen miles of this stuff.
16–23 March 2014: The first week in South America – Port to Puerto Madryn
Land ahoy matey! 6,906 nautical miles sailed and we finally arrived at large to Uruguay’s capital Montevideo. Despite both of our bikes being subjected to a little petty theft whilst in Paranagua and Zarate from external dock staff, primarily coming onto the boat to discharge cargo, we were still brimming with that just-rolled-off-the-ferry feeling.
19 March 2014 – What’s it like to travel on a cargo ship?
What’s it like to travel on a cargo ship? Well, pretty groovy really. While I was on the ship, I had the time to do some filming so I put together a little movie to give a flavour of life on board. Please excuse the quality of the video which I had to unfortunately reduce to upload it to You Tube. We hope you enjoy it.
25 Feb– 13 Mar 2014: Ahoy! Land is in sight…
Eight days in, we dropped anchor to spend the afternoon in Dakar. The crew instructed us to be back by 20:00 sharp having released us at 15:00. Past our curfew and the ship would set sail, no questions asked, or search party mounted by the sounds of it. A local, John, who looked streetwise was on standby and acted as a guide for us. For a good price, of course – T.I.A. – This is Africa. Nevertheless, he had something we needed: local knowledge. We saw very little of Dakar; shame the small bit of the capital we encountered was ramshackled and dirty, frenzied and on the same path as a pickpocket. I guess we were never going to see the best of Senegal so close to its shipping port. Nothing was stolen as we left our valuables behind although Ludwig nearly got his camera snatched.
17 – 25 February 2014: ‘Roll, roll, roll your boat, gently down the stream..’
In our case, stream translates to the Atlantic ocean and by boat, we’re talking about a 200+ metre long, 30 metre wide freighter weighing in at just shy of 45,000 tons, with all her cargo. Her engine reached around 25,000 bhp compared to say Pearl, my bike, which has 48 bhp. Meet our magnificent vessel – the Grande Amburgo!
5 Jan 2014 – The camera loves you, darling.
Well we are now officially homeless and I can honestly say I couldn’t be happier. We have now got our stuff packed in storage the house has been returned to our landlord. The bikes are prepped, packed and ready to go. Thankfully my sister is putting us up for a week, which means we won’t need to be eating out of rubbish bins or sleeping in shop doorways for the next week before we head down to Antwerp. So with all our affairs in order, we have some down time, which means I’ve time to talk about the camera equipment I’ll be taking to film our epic trip.