Tierra del Fuego at Last

Written by Safarigal
November 30, 2022

After breakfast we found the perfect spot by the pool and spent a leisurely morning soaking up the sun.

At noon we had to check out of our room, and we had been planning to sit in the lounge area until our bus (number 7 of 8) was ready to leave. 200 other people had the same idea and there was nowhere to sit, or even stand.

We decided to eschew the air conditioned great indoors, and find ourselves a spot to sit outside in the shade. 2:15 came, so we decided to move indoors and be prepared to board the coach to the airport. The same 200 people were still occupying all of the available indoor space. Apparently the charter flights bringing the passengers who were leaving the Silver Cloud today had not arrived in Santiago yet, so our departure was delayed.

By this time we were feeling all hot and bothered, which was perfect timing for the Silversea representative to come by and take our temperatures to ensure that we were cool enough to fly. Most likely due to some malfunction of the thermometer we were good to go.

Finally at 4:00 our coach arrived and whisked us away to the airport, only making one wrong turn.

We drove around the main airport terminals to a large hangar which had a red carpet leading us to the interior. There we had our boarding passes scanned, and next thing we were walking to the plane. No security. No taking our laptops and liquids out of our luggage. Not a scale in sight. I thought that we were very responsible  in that we made the effort to comply with their weight restrictions, but at no time was anything weighed, nor did they seem to have a problem that I had a carry-on bag and  backpack. We just walked across the tarmac and up the stairs to the plane. It was 5:00 PM, and I was more than ready to take to the friendly skies.

The seats were 3 across, but they were leaving the middle seat open, which was great.

Although there was this rather large engine in the way, I was able to get a fairly good view out of the window. Sitting in a window seat, watching the world go by below me is one of my favorite occupations.

The overhead bins were definitely smaller than your average 737 bins.

Our mid-size bags only just fitted in the bins, I’m not sure that large carry-on bags would make it. Luckily there were quite a few empty seats at the back of the plane, so everyone’s carry on luggage could be safely stowed on board, and next thing you knew, we were hurtling down the runway, and off to the end of the world.

During the flight we were plied with alcoholic beverages and a very tasty meal. There was a fruit mousse for dessert which was one of the best desserts I have ever tasted. Who knew that could happen on a charter flight to Puerto Williams?

The inflight entertainment can be accessed on any WIFI enabled device, and the instructions for connecting to it are written on the back of the antimacassar on the chair in front of you. The instructions are hard to read, but the flight attendant was very obliging and went over the details again for those of us who couldn’t make out what was written there. My only problem was that the battery in my laptop was flat, and I discovered that my new and supposedly improved iPhone did not have a jack for headphones. How annoying is that?

One of the things I love about flying from the west coast of the US to the east, is flying over the Rocky Mountains. I love the snow-covered peaks, the deep valleys, the scattered little lakes. However, it always seems that just as soon as you start flying over them, they start to fade into the distance behind you. Not so the Andes. For the full 1,500 miles between Santiago and Puerto Williams we had the mountain range below us. It was magical! There were several volcanoes, including a couple of active ones.

Finally I saw the city of Ushuaia below us,

and I knew we were close to our destination. Ushuaia takes pride in the fact that it is the southernmost CITY in the world, but Puerto Williams’ claim to fame is that it is the southernmost TOWN in the world, and boasts that it has the southernmost commercial airport in the world.


Four hours after taking off in Santiago it was time to land in Puerto Williams. I must admit that the airport looked a bit desolate, and then there was a sign that said “Fin del Mundo” just in case you didn’t know where you had landed.

A minibus took us to the ship, and once on board we were given our room key cards, and we were escorted straight to the Dolce Vita bar where we were handed a welcoming glass of champagne. The next step was to join the queue of passengers checking in at a desk in the Explorers lounge. The queue moved very fast – all that was needed was for us to hand over our passports and have a photo taken.

The captain announced that we would be sailing at around 10:00 and that the next 2 days were expected to be very choppy as we made our way thought the Drake Passage. I hope there will be meclizine if needed.

We went to our cabin to drop off  our hand luggage, and there waiting for us on our bed were our bright red parkas and backpacks. Brian had hoped that they would provide a dry bag backpack as things tend to get soaked in the zodiacs. They were just your average type of day pack unfortunately, but they were still very nice. We went to the restaurant as Brian was still a bit peckish. It was after 10:00 but the full menu was available, and a very comprehensive menu it was too. I was most impressed. It was barely still light outside, so we tried to take a few photos before we felt the shudder of the engines starting up, and we quietly slipped our moorings and slid out into the Beagle Channel.

Post Discussion


  1. Erin

    Our only Silver Sea expedition (we prefer Quark and Oceanwide for our polar explorations) was to Svalbard. Still have the red jackets we were given on that trip … very handy in Colorado winters.

    • Safarigal

      Although we live in a warmer climate, I must say I do love the red parka!

  2. Eric

    We’re following you in two weeks, so I’m reading your reports with great interest! Are you saying that the backpack they provide is not a waterproof one, as they state? Wondering if I need to bring a waterproof bag for my camera equipment; I was hoping the provided bad would do the trick.

    • Safarigal

      The backpack is lightly waterproof, as any backpack would be. It is not a dry bag however, so Brian has been keeping his camera inside a dry bag inside the backpack. When you ride in the zodiacs you have to put your backpack on the floor of the zodiac, and on one of our trips it got pretty wet. However, quite honestly for most of the excursions it would have been fine in a ziplock bag or something similar.

      • Marnie Robinson

        Which side of the plane were you sitting on during your flight?

        • Safarigal

          I was on the left hand side. The folks on the right had a better view of the volcanoes, but I go our of my seat and went to the back of the plane to look at them. Where I was seated on the left gave me a better view of Ushuaia, and I think I got a better view of the landing in Puerto Williams.

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I love to share my adventures with others, and hopefully give them some insight into what to expect on their own exciting travels. I hope reading my blog will be a useful resource, and inspire others to follow their travel dreams. As a travel advisor, I get great pleasure out of being able to help folks fulfill their aspirations by translating my experience in safari adventures and ocean voyages into memorable travel experiences for them.