Yesterday, as I walked from home to the Bellerive village on Hobart’s eastern shore, the wind and the temperature and the sun and the water of the Derwent River plus the vista of Mount Wellington took my mind straight to Ushuaia. I realised that on this date, on the 17th of November last year, Le Lyrial a fabulous Ponant small cruise ship sailed into the small hilly city of Ushuaia.
While we sailed the open and iceberg strewn seas and while we visited various locations on mainland Antarctica and nearby islands, the only colours in the landscape had been whites and greys and blues, punctuated with deep blacks. Only on those colour restricted days did I come to the understanding that I needed to see greens in the landscape; my whole body ached to see and be within natural green colours. Since sailing from South Georgia, greens in the landscape had been covered with ice and snow. Leading to our return to that southern-most city in South America at the bottom of Argentina, I remember beginning to bore my fellow travellers. “I need to see green vegetation”, became my refrain. Many knew that as soon as I left the ship at Ushuaia my first priority was to hug a tree.
I recall the ship sailing from the mountainous seas of the Drake Passage into the relative calm of the Beagle Channel, up which we sailed to Ushuaia. I remember that arrival day with love and affection.
As gently appearing land changed from an indistinct grey-green blur in the distance to sharp crisp edges and solid shapes of dark greens, I watched from my balcony with supreme happiness. Once I could clearly see particular trees and shrubs, my whole body sucked in the fresh air and I felt exhilarated by the many green plants that grew onshore. I had my drug. Drug of choice. Intoxicating.
The vistas of Hobart are unlike those around Ushuaia. Their nearby mountains are much higher and topped with snow. Yesterday our mountain was snow free and hill-sized by comparison. My city is many times larger than Ushuaia. Nevertheless, yesterday I felt they shared a similar feel, a familiar spirit.
In the image below, Google maps shows the cruise ship wharf in Ushuaia. There are more ships moored in this snapshot than when we stopped there; our ship moored on the left hand side roughly where the ship with the helicopter pad is located.
You may enjoy a rerun of a small selection of photos I took in Ushuaia one year ago.
Ushuaia is a long way away in distance and time. My visit seems long ago, yet how wonderful that with a particular weather here in Hobart, I can be reminded and transported back to that special place which returned green coloured landscapes into my life.