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更新时间:2017/12/3 12:38:50 来源:本站原创 作者:佚名

The remote ranch at the bottom of the world

Ushuaia, the southernmost city on Earth, is filled with signs proclaiming ‘El fin del mundo’ (The end of the world). The slogan adorns hotels, restaurants and shops, a local newspaper, the railway line and even a tango club.

乌斯怀亚(Ushuaia),这座地球上最南端的城市,遍布着各种打着"世界尽头"(El fin del mundo西班牙语)口号的标志,这些标牌横幅装饰着宾馆、餐厅、商店,报纸和铁路线,甚至一家探戈俱乐部也以此为名。

It’s a boast, though, rather than a warning: the capital of Argentine Tierra del Fuego is the closest city to Antarctica, which lies just 1,000km to the south. To put that in context, Buenos Aires is more than 3,000km north. Although the city suffers bitter winters and was once home to a brutal penal colony nicknamed the ‘Siberia of the South’, Ushuaia is now a touristy, rapidly-modernising and rather comfortable city. To really experience Tierra del Fuego’s inhospitable remoteness, you have to travel 60km east, to the oldest ranch in the region.

与其说这些标牌是个警示,不如说是种炫耀:作为阿根廷火地岛(Tierra del Fuego)的首府,乌斯怀亚是离南极洲最近的城市,南极大陆就在其南面1000公里处。与此相比,布宜诺斯艾利斯(Buenos Aires)则在其北方3000多公里开外。虽然乌斯怀亚的冬季十分难熬,之前还曾经是被称作"南方西伯利亚"的流放地,但如今这里已经是一座快速现代化并且舒适的旅游观光城市。不过要真正体验火地岛的遥远与艰苦,你必须往东再走60公里,前往本地区最古老的牧场。

Located on a peninsula jutting out into the gunboat-grey Beagle Channel, Estancia Harberton was founded in 1886 by British missionary Thomas Bridges. He’d first visited Tierra del Fuego 22 years earlier, later setting up an Anglican mission in Ushuaia Bay, around which the modern city now stands. Named after the Devon village Bridges’ wife grew up in, Harberton spans more than 200 sq km of mountains, lakes, forests and islands.

哈伯顿农庄(Estancia Harberton)位于深入铁灰色的贝格尔海峡(Beagle Channel)的一处半岛上,由英国传教士托马斯·布里吉斯(Thomas Bridges)在1886年创建。他在22年之前首次造访火地岛,随后在乌斯怀亚海湾设立了一座圣公会教会,而现在颇具现代化的城市也围绕着这座教会而建立。这片牧场以布里吉斯夫人在德文郡的故乡小村哈伯顿命名,占地超过200平方公里,覆盖了周边山岭、湖泊、森林与群岛。

Today the homestead looks much as it did in the 1880s: a neat cluster of whitewashed, red-roofed buildings set on a sheltered bay, flanked by green hills and jagged, snow-streaked Andean peaks. Bridges became an Argentine citizen, and he and Harberton played a major role in the history of Tierra del Fuego, providing sustenance for sailors shipwrecked off Cape Horn; support for scientists, explorers and settlers; and sanctuary for indigenous people. Still owned by descendants of the missionary, the ranch offers travellers a striking insight into life at the end of the world.

今天这片农庄看上去一如19世纪80年代初建的样子:一组整齐的白墙红瓦的房子坐落在一个位置隐蔽的海湾之滨,旁边是青翠的小丘,再远处就是峰峦突起常年积雪的安第斯群山峰。布里吉斯成为了阿根廷公民,他和哈伯顿在火地岛的历史上扮演了重要的角色,他们为在合恩角(Cape Horn)遭遇海难的水手提供补给,为科学家、探险者和移民提供帮助和支持,并为原住民提供庇护所。这座牧场如今仍然由这位传教士的后人所有,为旅行者们提供一段深入感受世界尽头生活的震撼之旅。

On a bright winter morning, I was shown around by Juan Balda, a young, fast-talking guide. We started in a neatly-tended garden filled with roses, pine and apple trees, Scotch broom and London pride. It reminded me of an English country cottage – at least until I noticed the giant whale jaw arching over the gate. Tierra del Fuego was once the haunt of whalers, Balda told me, but these bones came from a carcass that washed up on a nearby beach.

在一个明朗的冬季清晨,胡安·巴尔达(Juan Balda)带我四处游览,他是一个语速极快的年轻向导。我们从一座满是玫瑰、松树和苹果树的花园开始游览,这里被整理得整整齐齐,点缀着苏格兰金雀花,洋溢着伦敦一样的自豪感。这让我想起英国的乡村农庄——直到我注意到大门上方拱形的巨大鲸鱼下颚骨。巴尔达告诉我,火地岛之前是捕鲸者的猎场,但是这具骨架来自于冲上附近海滩的一具鲸尸。

The early years at Harberton were brutal. There was a series of severe winters – temperatures can plunge below -20C in Tierra del Fuego – and backbreaking labour was needed to tame the land. Provisions were expensive and hard to obtain; there were periodic outbreaks of typhoid and other diseases; and treacherous conditions in the Beagle Channel meant the estancia was essentially cut off from the rest of the world for long stretches, Balda said. But the Bridges family survived, and slowly prospered, thanks to a prodigious work ethic, a bloody-minded determination, and – not least – the support and expertise of local indigenous people.


Harberton was a working sheep ranch until the mid-1990s, when falling wool prices, poaching, wild dog attacks and a particularly harsh winter that wiped out 80% of the livestock prompted the move into tourism. The estancia was named a National Historic Monument in 1999, and the old shearing sheds, sawmill, workshops and cattle pens are evocative testaments to its farming heritage, housing an aged tractor, some vicious-looking circular saws and a pair of stuffed condors.

一直到20世纪90年代中期,哈伯顿都是一个牧羊为主的牧场,当羊毛价格下跌、盗猎、野狗攻击接踵而至,再加上一个极其严寒的冬天导致这个牧场损失了80%的牲畜,迫使他们转向旅游业。这片农庄在1999年获得了阿根廷国家历史纪念物(National Historic Monument)的认证,古老的剪羊毛棚,锯木厂,车间和牛栏是其农牧历史的见证,农庄里面还放着一辆老式拖拉机,几台样子吓人的圆锯,还有一对毛茸茸的猫。

Balda and I climbed a low hill to the family cemetery and a small nature reserve, the latter the first of its kind in Tierra del Fuego. A grey fox scurried away at our approach and a flock of upland geese passed overhead. Among the native trees and plants were two reconstructed wooden shelters once used by the Yámana people, one of the largest indigenous groups in Tierra del Fuego when Harberton was founded. Over the following decades, however, the region’s original inhabitants were forcibly displaced by waves of Europeans – many of them British – who set up vast sheep ranches and gold mines. “In the 1880s, there were around 10,000 indigenous people in Tierra del Fuego,” Balda said. “But they faced retribution for hunting sheep, and were hunted by lots of the estancia owners.”


Many were killed by bounty hunters, who were only paid after showing severed ears, hands or even a head as proof of their work. Others were forcibly relocated to Christian missions. “Diseases like measles and smallpox, which came with the settlers, killed huge numbers. Most of them were wiped out,” Balda told me.


Although Thomas Bridges arrived in the region to proselytize, he also studied the languages and cultures of the indigenous groups and wrote the first Yámana-English dictionary. His son, Lucas, continued in the same vein, learning the Yámana and Ona tongues, becoming the first European to be made a ‘blood brother’ of the Selk’nam people, and providing sanctuary for indigenous people seeking to preserve their traditional way of life. He wrote about his experiences in the 1948 classic The Uttermost Part of the Earth, which is both a story of adventure and a poignant documentation of cultures on the brink of destruction.

虽然托马斯·布里吉斯来到这个地区是为了传教,但他也研究了原住民群体的语言和文化,并编写了第一本亚马纳语 - 英语的字典。 他的儿子卢卡斯(Lucas)以同样的方式继续学习亚马纳语和奥纳语(Ona),成为了第一个与塞尔南人(Selk'nam)"歃血为盟"的欧洲人,并为原住民提供了维持传统生活方式的庇护所。他在《地球的最远端》(The Uttermost Part of the Earth)这本书中描述了他的经历,这本书在1948年出版,成为了一本经典著作。它不仅是一个冒险故事,更是一部记录濒临绝灭的文化的深刻文献。

While Harberton is rich in history, most travellers today come to see its penguins. Isla Martillo, one of several small islands belonging to the estancia, was originally used for grazing, but when the sheep were moved away, Magellanic penguins started to arrive. Their colony steadily grew, and there are now more than 3,000 breeding pairs as well as smaller numbers of gentoo and king penguins.

虽然哈伯顿有丰富的历史,但今天大多数旅客来访却是为了观赏企鹅。 农庄中几个小岛之一的马尔蒂洛岛(Isla Martillo)原本是用来放牧的,但当这里不再有羊群时,麦哲伦企鹅开始占据这里。它们的栖息地稳步增长,现在已经有3,000多对企鹅在此生活,此外还有少量的巴布亚企鹅和帝企鹅。

During the choppy 15-minute crossing to Isla Martillo, the weather turned dramatically, the crisp sunshine replaced by menacing grey skies. The temperature plunged well below zero, and gale-force winds whipped up stinging flurries of snow. It was a struggle to stay on my feet, but the skipper, clad in goggles and thick waterproofs, just grinned: “Welcome to the backside of the world,” he said.


The penguins, however, seemed perfectly at ease in the conditions. Some tended to fluffy black chicks while others incubated eggs. Their chorus of hoots – to guide mates back to the nests – was interrupted periodically by surprisingly loud sneezes, as they expelled salt ingested during their fishing trips. Although the birds looked amiable, the skipper warned me not to go near them. “They may seem cute but they have surprisingly sharp beaks and will swipe at you if you get too close,” he said.

然而,企鹅在这种环境里看起来十分安逸。 有些在照顾黑色蓬松毛球那样的幼鸟,其他的孵化企鹅蛋。 它们的高声啼鸣汇成一种合唱——这种鸣叫引导它们的配偶回到巢里——会定时地突然被响亮惊人的大喷嚏声打断,因为它们需要喷出捕鱼期间吸入的盐。虽然这些鸟儿看起来可爱可亲,但船长警告我不要靠近它们:"它们看起来很可爱,但是它们的嘴尖锐得令人惊讶,如果你靠得太近的话,它们就会来啄你。"

As enjoyable it as was to walk amongst the penguins, it was something of a relief to get back to the mainland and the warmth of the tea-room. After thawing out my numbed fingers and toes, I chatted with Abby Goodall, the great-great-granddaughter of Thomas Bridges. “I’m only here because of The Uttermost Part of the Earth,” she told me. In the 1960s, her mother, the American botanist Natalie Prosser, was travelling and teaching in Argentina, but after reading the book she decided to travel down to Harberton.

和企鹅一起散步虽然愉快,但是回到陆地上,尤其是回到温暖的茶室里更是一种安慰。在我麻木的手指脚趾解冻之后,我和托马斯·布里吉斯的曾曾孙女阿比·古德尔(Abby Goodall)聊了一会。"我只是因为阅读了《地球的最远端》而来到这里。"她告诉我: 在20世纪60年代,她的母亲,美国植物学家娜塔莉·普罗瑟(Natalie Prosser)在阿根廷旅游教书,但在读完这本书后,她决定前往哈伯顿。

Prosser went on to found the estancia’s Museo Acatushún, a museum and laboratory dedicated to the study of the region’s wildlife. The most interesting section of the museum is the casa de huesos (house of bones), which has skeletons of South America’s rarest creatures, including the Peale’s dolphin and the Andrews’ beaked whale.

普罗瑟继续创立了农庄中的阿卡图孙博物馆(Museo Acatushún),这是一座专门研究该地区野生动物的博物馆和实验室。博物馆最有趣的部分是骨骼之屋,里面收藏了南美洲最稀有的生物的骨架,包括皮氏斑纹海豚(Peale's dolphin)和安氏中喙鲸(Andrews' beaked whale)。

I spent the night in the cosy Foreman’s House, warmed by a wood-burning stove and a hearty lamb-and-mushroom hotpot. At 8.30pm the snow finally stopped and it was brighter than at any time since the morning, the Andes briefly visible before the setting sun obscured them again. As I went to sleep, a distant ship sounded its horn in the Beagle Channel.


The next day, I was dropped off at Usuhaia’s port, which had a prominent sign featuring a Union Jack with a cross through it and the message: ‘The mooring of English pirate ships is banned’. It’s a reference to the dispute over the Falklands/Las Malvinas, the prism through which Argentine-British relations are too often viewed.

第二天,我在乌斯怀亚的港口下了船,这个港口有一个很显眼的标志,在一幅英国国旗上面打了一个大叉,旁边的文字是:"严禁停泊英国海盗船"。 这是指福克兰/马尔维纳斯群岛(Falklands/Las Malvinas)争端,这经常是观察阿根廷和英国之间双边关系的一面镜子。

My visit to Harberton, though, was a powerful reminder that the two countries shared much stronger links and a deeper history than is often thought.