Sunday 19th November
Today we decided to make a break for the mainland even though the ferry leaves TDF at 5pm, runs once a day and there isn't a ferry on mondays. Oh, and you need to book and we hadn't so no pressure then. We set off from Ushuaia to get to Porvenir at the north west end of the island. We made it through the border at San Sebastian by about 2pm which is essentially just a paperwork excercise getting passports stamped and filling in forms for the bikes. Then we had to leave the nice tarmac and hit the gravel road to Porvenir. The wind was also really strong today, the strongest we've encountered so far which really doesn't make riding on gravel any more fun but fortunatelly, it did die down shortly after we got onto the gravel. I started going a little 'snow blind' (if that makes any sense) and developing a '40 yard' stare whilst having to concentrate on the road surface so hard. I'm sure there was some nice scenery on the way if there was, I took little notice. We came across only two of cyclingsouthamerica.co.uk as Rich had a bit of a buggered knee, about 10 miles from Porvenir at 4.30pm. There was no chance they were going to make this ferry and they looked shattered pushing their bikes up a long hill though I'm sure my shout of 'come on lads, put you're backs into it' really helped. Somehow, we got to the the ferry port at 4.45pm and drove straight on, despite not having booked, it didn't seem to have made a difference- being on bikes helped though.
The ferry was interesting though, the guys had to tie our bikes down with rope which just about went through the bike seats and it was also jam-packed with people so we had to sit outside under some stairs to get out the cold wind. After a 2.5hour ferry ride, we arrived back on the mainland at Punta Arenas about 7.30pm. I'd read about a hostel that you could camp at however I cunningly didn't write down the address though I knew it was called Hostel Independencia. After driving up a random street from the port, we came accross a street called Independencia and after a brief ride up and down, we came across the hostel which was a total life saver. For 3GBPs to camp and use the hostel facilities, you really can't do much better.