Tierra del Fuego.
What does that phrase conjure up in your mind? Something exotic or something wild and furious?
It is an island with no bridge to the continent yet it has a major city with around 80,000 people. The island is shared between Chile and Argentina with a dividing line running from the north to the south. The Atlantic Ocean is on the east. Many islands separate it from the Pacific Ocean on the West.
There are three main channels around the southern tip of South America.
- The Strait of Magellan is to the north of Tierra del Fuego and separates the island from the continent of South America and provides a shipping channel between the two oceans.
- The Beagle Channel winds its way along the southern shore, just south of Usuaia, and separates Tierra del Fuego from the islands to the south, including the island of Cape Horn.
- The Drake Passage is south of Cape Horn.
Now that the Panama Canal is open, many ships are taking the short cut and bypassing this part of the world.
Tierra del Fuego means land of fire; not because of volcanoes, but because of the large fires the native people burned to keep warm. They even carried the smoldering fire with them in their Kayak for warmth. The kayak was deeper than today’s styles with a place in the center to keep their fire.