Inter Patagonia - Home Page Patagonia, Saturday, August 29, 2015  
Inter Patagonia - Tours and Activities
  Back to Ushuaia Español  English  

A Harberton Pearl

 Estimated reading time: 2 min. Texts Karina Jozami   Photos Jorge González
Excursion to Gable Island

We sailed up to Gable Island, a part of legendary estancia Harberton, which treasures an impressive landscape as well as the vestiges of its first dwellers.

The idea of touring around mythical estancia Harberton in an adventurous voyage in order to explore some of the most concealed nooks lying close to Ushuaia turned out to be too interesting a proposal.

The people from Canal Fun picked us up very early in the morning. We set out along National Route 3 and 40 kilometers ahead, we left the pavement in order to take the detour into Complementary Route J, which leads to Harberton. After traveling 45 kilometers along this gravel road, the estancia venue is entered. It is located on a windy peninsula famous for its windswept trees.
Excursion to Gable Island
These singular lengas, cherry trees and ñires shaped by the strong gusts grow near the shore and stand out in every postcard of Isla Grande.

Towards the Channel

We stopped on the banks of the Larsiparsahk River, the place chosen to start paddling. The guides quickly got the rafts ready and distributed the boots and pants among those of us who were going out to sea. Without haste, we went along the winding water course until we ended up in the Beagle Channel, with a clear panoramic view of the Chilean side: Navarino Island and, farther up, Picton and Lennox.

The geese and avutardas would fly over the desolate scenery and some sea lions were resting next to several rock cormorant families on an islet.
Fortunately, we were near the shore when the stronger wind began to blow. We walked a short distance up to the Harberton shell. This was the first estancia in Tierra del Fuego and it was built by the Anglican missionary Thomas Bridges in 1886.

Excursion to Gable Island
The semi-rigid boat that would take us down to isla Martillo (Martillo Island) was already at the pier. This island is the only site in the channel dwelled by a colony of Magellanic penguins. We watched them from the shore but did not get off the boat because it was already noon and lunch was waiting on Gable Island.

The Lonely Island

At the refuge, the table was ready. Good wine and anecdotes to share with the group were also present. This site keeps its history on the walls that still preserve their original appearance. The old abandoned buildings would be used by the estancia and part of the shearing shed that used to work back in 1900 is still standing.
Excursion to Gable Island
When we began to feel the drowsiness typical of the siesta hour, Carolina suggested seeing the surroundings. It turned out to be an amusing interpretative hike and we could get to know the natural environment much better. The presence of beavers, which represent a serious problem in the entire ecosystem in Tierra del Fuego, is evidenced in the numerous fallen ñires and the woodlands flooded by the large dams built by these animals. We could also appreciate some vestiges of the Yámana families that co-existed with the Anglican missionaries.
Excursion to Gable Island
Finally, after a two-hour hike, we reached the pier where the Zodiac was waiting for us in order to take us back to the continent.
The crossing framed by sceneries, history and adventure typical of this region and making visitors feel more and more amazed had come to an end.
Excursion to Gable Island
Useful Data
This excursion is done from November to mid April. Those who do not wish to paddle may visit the estancia shell. Do not forget to pack an extra pair of socks and to wear a good windbreaker to fight the cold.
Inter Patagonia

Level of Difficulty
all day (11 hours approximately)
Tour Kind
navigation and hiking
Other Characteristics
Much More than an Estancia

When it is time for a meal, just like the estancia, Mánacatush Tea House is open to visitors. This is a small rustic coffee-house overlooking Harberton Bay (Mánacatush is its native name). Tea, hot chocolate, homemade cakes, cookies and desserts made with traditional family recipes are served at the venue. Besides seeing the estancia and enjoying the specialties included in the menu, visitors have the chance to go on a guided tour of approximately one hour around the historical shell and its surroundings.
Southern Mammals and Birds Acatushún Museum lies 500 meters away from the main house. This is a laboratory-museum created for the study of biology corresponding to sea mammals (mainly dolphins) and birds dwelling in the southern end of South America. The most adventurous guests will find the chance to visit a penguin colony and Bridges trail, two truly memorable sites.
Useful Data Useful Data


The Detail

Estancia Harberton is still owned by the descendants of Thomas Bridges and it preserves an austere style with all the signs of its previous history. Visitors may have lunch and see the facilities in the shell, such as the Acatushún Museum, which houses a complete exhibition of Southern wildlife.

Back to Ushuaia Top  

InterPatagonia - Touristic Information about Ushuaia, Patagonia, Argentina: Tours and Activities
© InterPatagonia 2002-2015 Total or partial reproduction forbidden. Derechos de Autor 675245 Ley 11723

Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter InterPatagonia Videos on YouTube Follow us in Google+