Biking on the bottom of the world

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
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Andean Adventure

Biking on the bottom of the world
January 12, 1997

Camping on the
bottom of the world
There's kind of a cold war between Argentina and Chile over this sector of Antarctica because both countries have claims to it. Chile has started a sort of town down there, which is an extension of their naval base and air force base. Looking toward the future, they want to have some claims over this territory. There's actually a city there, so just for the record we had them whisk us ashore on the Zodiac with our bikes and we rode around King George Island. We actually rode the bikes in Antarctica in the farthest city south in the world without argument.

We've now returned, but it was an absolutely incredible experience. We ended up having a rescue call. The Chilean Navy keeps two boats in the area at all times in case any accidents happens. A Russian tourist ship ran aground about 65 degrees south on the mainland there, Tierra O'Higgins, so we got a rescue call at two in the morning and cruised down for 40 hours. We ended up towing this boat free and saving the day, as it were. The captain told me it was on CNN.

It was absolutely amazing getting farther south and actually seeing the continent itself, it's more the Antarctica of dreams, huge icebergs everywhere and the mountains that seem like solid snow, and the incredible glaciers coming into the water.

We spent a total of about 12 days on the boat and just arrived back in Punta Arenas. We've just bought tickets for the bus to take us down to Ushuaia so that we can actually get to the farthest point south on the mainland and then we begin biking north.

©2000, Mariah Media Inc.

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