Awake and dressed we found hot chocolate and dessert crepes at Chocolates Ushuaia. Dulce de Leche continues to be a favorite flavor, of ours and of Argentina. We buy some souvenirs from another store, and postcards further down the road. Ushuaia has only one street as far as tourists need to know and both sides are lined with souvenir shops, coffee houses, and photo stores. It also has a fair number of derelict buildings, left over from the town's former days, perhaps. Due to the hour of our awakening we've missed breakfast and lunch, but the chocolate and crepes will hold us until dinner, around 7p.
We return to the hotel after some wandering and find Gail in the lobby. She gives us the itinerary for tomorrow: meet in the lobby at 8a to board a bus for a tour of Tierra del Fuego. Back in the mid-afternoon for some final touristing in Ushuaia, then boarding the ship at 4p. Importantly, we learn our cabin number: 430. We head back to the room to drop off some items and head out again. We visit a few more gift stores and Melinda buys a shirt to wear tomorrow. We also find a store that's gilded with currency and post cards from every place other than Argentina. I'd tried buying some $2 bills for the trip but none of the banks I called had any on hand; this would have been a good place to use them. Oh, well. (Speaking of using currency: US dollars are accepted everywhere in Ushuaia, although the exchange rate varies by store and clerk. Change is returned in Argentine pesos and this is a fine way for me to collect some numismatic souvenirs, too. For any significant purchases credit cards are readily accepted and offer the best rate, although usually also charge a 3% foreign transaction surcharge.)
Our second sojourn takes us past Tia Elvira around 6:45, just 15 minutes before dinner service. We continue along, visit a park along the dock and take a closer look at our ship, the M/V Ortelius. We return to Tia Elvira just as they open and get a window seat. Their specialty is crab and we have a crab omelette and crab + salmon entree. The crab is very nice and abundant, and the bread service has most of the bread toasted which is an unexpected treat. As we dine other guests on the Cheesemans safari arrive at the restaurant and introduce themselves to us; they do ask us if we're on the trip before doing so. I guess we look enough like likely passengers, though. The restaurant is small so the 16 Cheesemans guests occupy half the seats. After dinner we return to Don Lito for more ice cream which fills us up the rest of the way. We walk back to the hotel in the long twilight of a high-latitude summer evening and shut in for the rest of the evening.
Tonight we repack our bags (most of what we needed these past two days was on top) and get them ready for being ferried to the Ortelius. We'll keep one of the backpacks with us on the bus tour of Tierra del Fuego but we'll leave things such as the extra lenses in the care of the Cheesemans' baggage handlers. We'll meet up with all of it again tomorrow afternoon as we unpack, explore the ship, and set sail. We toast the new year at 00:00 GMT, which is 9p local time. We'll be about three hours out to sea by then.