The boat was build as a military boat in The Netherlands. Later rooms were added for tourism. We ended up in a pretty nice room on the top floor. We had two big windows. There was easy access to the captains bridge and in the other direction, a door to the outside if we needed air or to see a passing whale or seal. There was plenty of storage space. The bath room was fine. The shower e was hot. You needed to time your shower as the big swells made it difficult to stand up. Mostly this was on the Drake Passage which is notorious for rough weather. Both of our crossings were easy. We kinda hoped for more weather.
Most days were crisp, cold and sunny. We both had the right gear. I supplemented with hand warmers. My green hat was handmade from Tibet. Not so attractive but so warm and water repelled off it. They issued us mud boots which we definitely needed. One of mine got wet but I traded it in for a dry one.
So hard to keep up with the blog. The rest of the time in Antarctica was spent getting on and off zodiacs to see stuff on shore and hike. We saw so many chunks of glacier ice and icebergs that formed under water. We heard and saw a few calfings. Not sure how to spell that but when ice breaks off the glacier or the iceberg cracks. It sounds like thunder. It can be dangerous because of the waves and small pieces of ice shooting from the site. Then the pieces of ice roll over. They are bottom heavy so they roll
The trip is kind of like when I took my kids to the Galapagos. Each day you think can’t get better and then it does.
The routine seems the same, Ali makes a wake up announcement about 7:30, 15 minutes later , Vladimir announces that breakfast is open. It is only open for an hour. We stand in a short line, eat order coffee.
We have very little Internet so I will try this post when I can and follow up with some pictures.
We got on the boat called Plancius around 5 pm. We had stopped off for a drink. We had to walk down a very long pier, past a huge luxury boat. It probably had 3000 people on it. We wanted a smaller boat that could offer more shore time and camping. Our boat held just over one hundred people with a staff of 37. We were shown our room and given a key card. Everyone met in the observation room for a briefing. There was a sparkling wine toast and the ship set sail out the Beagle Channel. One side was Argentina and the other side was Chile. We had dinner in a large dining room. Our room was spacious. We had been upgraded to a superior room. Originally we had twin beds, now we had a double bed and a sofa. I wonder who will get the sofa bed? It wasn’t too bad. We decided to watch Jaws and have a few drinks.
Before we left Ushuaia, we stopped for wine and beer and rum to bring on the trip. I brought Fireball and Peter brought Screwball.
The Expedition leader, Ali, made announcements and sightings on the PA system. As in breakfast, lunch and dinner and when and where we were to be. Kinda annoying.
Lectures and present in the observation deck, sweets and bar opens at 4 pm. The penguin lecture was awesome as was the one about alien life. Somehow we missed one on the ice.
First day we saw a lot of Albatrosses. Their wing span is 2.5 meters that’s 7 feet! Reminded me to read Jonathan Livingston Seagull for the fourth time. Great book, great lessons in life at any age. Also sighted Fin sharks and Chin Strap penguins. Everyone gets very excited to see something new! We are a Little’s jaded since we petted the whales in Mexico last year.
Valentines Day we saw our first icebergs. The blue ice is mesmerizing. Zodiac to the shore where we saw Gentoo and Adelile Penguins. Also Weddle, brown and Leopard seals. Kissed a rock to commentate landing on Antarctica. More penguins and Leopard seals.
After lunch we were lucky to see Killer Whales, also having lunch. Valentines dinner and A Shackleton documentary followed by the movie War Horse. Last few minutes of being 59!
They woke us up early to see some whales. After breakfast, back on the zodiacs to Neve landing. Explored a little. Peter almost stepped in a seal. Videoed three happy penguins. Champagne in the room before lunch. A great Birthday so far!
Magellan called this area the “Land of Fires” because of all the fires here lit by the native people,probably because it was cold.
Breakfast was disappointing as we guessed, weak coffee, fake OJ, fake cheese and fake ham. We went to get the car and stopped off at a coffee shop for some to go Joe. Took the luggage to the check point and decided to check out the glaciers. Winding roads and lots of wind and beautiful views. It was not an hour and a half drive.
Hiked up a bit then had a beer at the chalet. It was a former skiing place but no longer.
So probably not too much posting when we get on the boat. We get on the boat around 5 pm and it leaves at 6pm. First two days at sea crossing the Drake. Might have some weather! So excited!
We are at the southern most tip of the Americas. It’s a beautiful town, filled with shops to buy outdoor gear, restaurants, gift shops and ice cream parlors.
We got a taxi to the hotel, exchanged money at a great rate 360 vs 190! Walked a bit tried to get on a train to the actual End of the World but rented a car instead and drove to the National Park. Saw wildish horse on the way there and back. Hiked a bit, Found a grocery store for wine and beer and champagne for my upcoming birthday. Shhh it’s a secret! Then had a beer and empanada. Back to the very basic hotel, Hotel Monaco. A little R and R.
We laughed when we saw several very serious people with very large cameras. Peter stepped on a stick and scared the bird away.