Puerto Natales to Punta Arenas, Chile, to Ushuaia, Argentina 23 - 26 Feb 2006

The Southernmost City in the World


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The weather looked fine for the day’s flying: high pressure, light winds, blue skies - very unusual for this part of the world. So instead of spending a night in Punta Arenas as originally planned, we decided we would just refuel and do the immigration formalities there and continue straight to Ushuaia.
Before leaving, we drove into Puerto Natales to send the corrected fax to the Argentine authorities for permission to fly to the Islas Malvinas. It seemed to go through all right but, on arrival at Punta Arenas after a smooth 40-minute VFR flight, we got another call from the Argentineans to say that only half the fax had passed. Fortunately there was a fax machine at Punta Arenas airport so we didn’t have to go into town to send it.
We had looked forward to overflying Cape Horn on the way to Ushuaia but the Chileans wouldn’t allow this unless we took a Navy pilot on board, so we had to give up the idea.
Before refuelling, we asked the fuel guys if they knew whether it was cheaper to buy fuel in Ushuaia or in Punta Arenas. Somewhat surprisingly, they admitted that fuel was cheaper in Argentina and suggested we only purchase enough to get us to Ushuaia with plenty of reserves. We thanked them for their honesty and went on our way.
The flight to Ushuaia took just one hour but we spent at least double that at the airport on arrival for customs and immigration formalities. As for fuel, our flying friends who had been there before us had refuelled at the aeroclub, so we didn’t really expect to find it at the airport. And, sure enough, they didn’t have any. The big disappointment came later when we visited the aeroclub. They were short of fuel themselves so had nothing to spare for us! We had planned on filling up all the tanks to fly directly to the Falkland Islands from Ushuaia. We still had enough fuel to get to the Falklands but not enough to get back to the mainland afterwards, and we knew the price of fuel in the Falklands was astronomical. Our best option was to fly north to Rio Gallegos and fill up there before heading out over the Atlantic, although this was going to add an hour and a half to the flying time plus the ground time. Damn! We should have filled up in Punta Arenas after all!
On top of all that, having finally received authorization from the Argentineans to fly to Islas Malvinas, we had to send yet another fax to them to request the new routing. Also, we’d learnt that the customs fee in the Falklands was high during the week, but even higher if one arrives or departs on a weekend. We were due to arrive on a Monday and leave on a Saturday – too short a time anyway in view of all the trouble we’d gone to. So we decided to request an extra 2 days there.

Shortly after take-off from Puerto Natales

On the way to Punta Arenas

On the way to the 'end of the world'

You wouldn't want to have an engine failure here!

Ushuaia airport with the city behind

Runway ahead

In Ushuaia you need to be prepared for a swift change in temperature (see extra pullovers)

The port seen from the Ushuaia aeroclub

Isla de los Lobos in the Beagle Channel

Cormorants on Isla de los Pájaros

JAlbum 6.2 Copyright: Angela & Flemming PEDERSEN