Published: April 16th 2012April 15th 2012
Our first full day in Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world, had Leigh leaving our accommodation at 8:15 am to chase a trophy trout while I contemplated a quiet Sunday. I decided to catch up on some washing. At 12:30 pm, braving the sweltering 5° temperature, I set off in search of the laundromat with my washing stuffed tightly into my backpack.
Despite being wrapped in more layers than yesterday and wearing my warmest leather gloves, the cold began to creep in. It wasn't long before I began to regret my decision not to buy the warm carpincho and beaver gloves I tried in Buenos Aires earlier in the week. "Cute beaver?" I hear you ask in a dramatic tone ...
In 1946 Argentina's military rulers decreed Ushuaia should become the base for a fur industry. 50 beavers were imported from Canada and set free in Tierra del Fuego's pristine forests. Unfortunately for Tierra del Fuego the plan backfired. Commercial use of the beaver fur was not possible because of the inferior fur quality produced as a result of the Patagonian climate. So with no natural predators the beavers flourished and the original 50 are now estimated to
be in excess of 250,000 and they are destroying the natural ecosystem. Beaver tree felling for dams has devastated huge stretches of woodland. There is fear the big beasties (normally around 150cm and 20-30kg) will swim to and colonise the mainland as they have done so in the smaller islands. After seeing photos and hearing stories from the locals of the devastating effects of the beaver infestation I have decided to do my bit for conservation. I will return to the glove store and make a purchase!
After an hour of walking, seeing the closed shops and not being able to find the Laundromat it was time to head for home. As I entered the house and was greeted by the resident three border collies I joked with Frances that I had taken my washing for a walk. In no time at all she arranged for the cleaning lady to take away my washing and return it the next day in pristine condition. I wonder if she is related to my Lave-rap man .......
Cheers from Eileen
There are more photos below