Published: March 27th 2011March 20th 2011
"The Danks - Sold Me Out"
"Radiohead - The Reckoner"
"The Doves - Satelites"
I wasn´t sure what to expect while on board the Antarctic Dream. I had heard various opinions about the boat, the trip and the staff. The only constant was that the scenery was friggin amazing. So I decided to board the boat with an open mind and try to leave any expectations behind. That´s a lie, I had high expectations! I thought I might be stuck on board with 70 or so old rich people from around the world. I was worried that it would be early nights occupied with book reading and solitaire. I was a bit nervous to meet my roommate, hoping for someone around my age who didn't snore, smell and would be nice and relatively normal!
Well, to my surprise there were quite a few young backpackers on board. My roommate was a cool guy from Atlanta who didn't snore, and wasn´t annoying, nor did he smell. I lucked out, Derek was coolbeans!
The boat was comprised of many middle aged people with plenty of spirit and positive energy. And all those old people? Well, their numbers were few and the
ones on board were young at heart and just as giddy about their upcoming adventure. It was easy to make friends with everyone on board and the spirit and positive energy was infectious. The staff were pleasant and helpful especially Manuel. He was funny as shit, loved that Chilean. He poored the wine quite freely and had a great sense of humor. Mostly making fun of us, it was fantastic!
The group of travelers I would hangout with the most were a bunch of solo backpackers that all grabbed last minute deals to go to Antarctica. As it turned out, out of the 10 of us, all but two had quit their jobs to go traveling in South America and Antarctica. So we dubbed the group "The Quiters". The youngest passenger on board was Isa from Germany on a vacation with her mom, at 23 years of age.
We became fast friends and enjoyed the adventure of a life time together. Except for Rob, who had the shittiest time ever. Not our fault you suck at all things Rob! ahaha!
Life on the boat is pretty simple. You wake up early and eat breakfast. Then enjoy your
first landing of the day and take a billion photos while pinching yourself to make sure you're not dreaming. Then you head back to the boat, wait for lunch to be served while looking at your photos and sharing stories from the landing. Lunch consists of an appy, a main and a dessert buffet. The pastry chef was from Chile and this was his fourth season. He went nuts with the cakes, but I pretty much just ate fruit. The Chef and Sous Chef, both Chilean were experiencing their first season!
Then you will have another landing after lunch or a zodiac cruise and once again you take a billion photos. The zodiac cruises were a ton of fun. Getting a worms eye view of massive amazing icebergs is quite unique and humbling!
Following the zodiac cruise or afternoon landing we would have afternoon tea time, complete with COOKIES, not biscuits, and sandwichs. During this time we would once again look at our photos and swap the best ones with each other. While we waited for dinner to be served we would often hangout on the bow of the boat snapping a million more photos, drink beer or wine,
or play cards! Cards became the norm for us in the evenings. Dinner would consist of three courses, just like lunch and plenty of wine. We would tell stories of your previous travels, get to know each other and play more cards. Rob lost all the time, dude you need to make an ap. for Ipod that teaches you how to become a WINNER, that woud be the opposite of useless! Just kidding Rob, your good shit!
We made a habit out of doing a rather loud and boisterous cheers like a hundred times each dinner. I think it was the group of energetic Argentinians that started this 6 day tradition. And on the final night while adrift in the Beagel Channel we went overboard with our cheers. We pretty much had our glasses raised the entire night while yelling on the top of our lungs. We took our tomfoolery to the Bridge and included the sailors and officers! They appreciated the gesture. We went from table to table to raise our glasses in celebration of our previous 9 days of awesomeness. It was a great exchange of cultures while onboard and we all have amazing memories that will
last a life time.
We had one amazing afternoon sailing slowly through a bay famous for its whale activity! The sun decided to join the party and the clouds parted. For the first time we could see the mountains in their entirety and breathtaking views. The water acted as a deep and vibrant blue mirror bouncing the scenery back. You could take a picture of the water and think you had just taken a picture of the mountains, it was that smooth. Only the floating icebergs would give it away. The whales were amazing, gentle giants blowing the ocean water into the sky to announce their presence only for their tails to wave good bye!
The chef´s decided to take advantage of this incredible day and we had a bbq for dinner that night. Imagine luminescent icebergs the size of houses floating by on deep radiat blue smooth water with majestic gleamy white mountains as your backdrop. Now add the occasional whale tail, playing seals and curious penguins to the mix and you have a "backyard" bbq you will never forget.
While traveling on the Drake Passage, you mostly sleep. Those of us who took motion sickness
pills would sleep anyways, while the rest would play more cards. The Drake was kind to us pretty much both ways. The return trip was peaceful and gave us time to edit our photos, swap videos and our favorite pictures and exchange travel plans and contact information.
The ten days onboard the Antarctic Dream was exactly that, a dream. Antarctica is unlike any place on earth. After we landed back in Ushuaia, Cecilia, Marc and I decided to do a day hike in Tierra Del Fuego National Park. It´s one of the most beautiful parks you will experience, with large foxes, and windbent trees towering high above. BUT after seeing Antarctica, we were rather bored, making jokes at how shitty it was! Perito Moreno Glacier..pppfffttt.. BIG DEAL we saw thousands of those in their natural habitat even! HA, obviously we are joking, but the point is clear, Antarctica is something so very special. Please go there, it's with in your grasp!
There are more photos below