Cold… really cold. So cold, cold seems like an understatement. Uncomfortably numb would be a better description. Wait isn’t that the title of a Pink Floyd album…? Fitting for an explanation of a day spent diving in the Beagle Channel and what is effectively the End of the World, Ushuaia, Argentina.
This is actually something I had been looking forward to for a long time. As a professional diver it is fun to get to some of the ‘harder to reach’ places every once and awhile. The places that don’t attract to many other divers, the places with an array of different species, ocean flora and fauna, stuff you’re not used to seeing. Ushuaia is exactly this for me and when my 27th birthday came up earlier this year, I decided to treat myself and splurge a semi significant amount of pesos on this activity, and how well the experience was worth every drop of it. Seriously, I’m not being sarcastic, it was truly amazing (other than the numbing cold, however once you go numb it just kinda subtly stings)!!
The diving in the Beagle is nothing short of otherworldly. The visibility is fantastic and the marine environment plays home to penguins, sea lions, king crabs, langostinas, lobster, cod, sea bass, humpback whales, sei whales, and on and on, the list goes on. I was really hoping to see some sea lions and penguins on my two dives but was alas left in perpetual longing, until that is the next time I go back. For the time being I was gifted by the ocean gods with some incredible filtering sunlight through picturesque kelp forests hundreds of meters in diameter with about a million different routes to this seemingly never ending maze. I was continually expecting to turn a corner to a sea lion torpedoing around my slow moving body, the anticipation was incredible.
One of the main sights during both dives was giant King Crabs, like giant. Here is a picture with me and an unfortunately dead one.
The King Crabs were everywhere. Honestly, I saw about 20 per 40min dive times two. It was incredible, you could get right up in front of them and just watched as they go about their business relatively unperturbed by your presence. Is it wrong that I feel a sense of something special when an animal is not immediately afraid of my human presence? I never put off an aggressive edge towards wildlife and always respect the space in between us during encounters. However, most wild animals are still generally afraid of human interaction and I find it amazing watching as you visually seem them decide to not really focus on your presence and just continue going about their daily routines. Some people travel half way around the world to experience this (it’s called safari) and others are lucky to experience something along these lines daily. Say maybe outback Kangaroos and cowboys, or domesticated monkeys in Costa Rica, actually people might be more afraid of them now than they are of people.
Anyway the diving in the Beagle was something absolutely amazing, even if the only life seen were crabs and kelp, it was an unforgettable diving experience and one I can honestly say I will probably never do again. One of those things you take full advantage of when the opportunity presents itself. Now the trick will be to out due myself for my next birthday. Any ideas? I was thinking about Whale Sharks, Dolphins, or just whales in general. The dive world never seizes to amaze! I’ll leave you with a few more photos of that awesome day!!