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Published: December 19th 2011
We flew from BA on the 7 December down to Ushuia a port town where we will board a ship the following afternoon. Ushuia is also known as the end of the world being the most southern town before the pole.
The next day we decided to take a trip out to Tierra du Fuegio national park to have a look around being departing for Antartica. Boarded the Polar Pioneer at 4 pm and were cleared through customs and under way by 6 pm. It was a lovely calm trip up the Beagle Chanel for the next 5 hours and everyone were in a very excited mood. Once we left the Beagle we entered the South Antartic Ocean which can be unforgiving but we had a dream run with large rollers pushing the boat from side to side. We were all pretty excited to see our first iceberg 40 hours into our trip. John kayaked twice a day whilst in Antartica which was awesome for him. There were 14 paddlers and they became a very close knit group during this time. He experienced every element possible - blue skies, rain, sleet, snow, wind. They would see penguins proposing along their craft, a leapoard seal trying to hoist himself up an iceberg shelf, listen to glaciers carving, paddle amongst the brash (ice), float past massive icebergs. Whilst he was out paddling we went out on the zodiacs to either cruise around or land onshore. We got to get close and personal with elephant seals, whales, dolphins, bird life and penguins! Every opportunity we got we walked for as long and far as possible. Three large meals a day to be had so this trip wasn't going to be a weight loss one. We trudged up mountain slopes sinking into thigh deep snow. One day we built a luge and skied down our bottoms many times. I was the official photographer and boy do I have a lot of penguin photos. We met some fantastic people on the ship and many a great nights dancing, drinking and laughing. Our return trip wasn't so calm as we experienced the Drake at its best - 45 knot winds and large waves. Sometimes the ship only traveling .7 knots per hour and the ship was sometimes on a 45 degree lean! We are now back on dry land in Ushuia and leave tomorrow for el Calafate for our 7 day walk in Torres del Paine W walk. I will keep you informed.
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