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Published: January 30th 2013
Hello friends, subscribers, and anyone else who may stumble across this page. I am writing a couple of entries while on the ship as my memory is poorer than Oliver Twist before he learnt to steal and more full of holes than chicken wire. Therefore I will have finished the trip after this has been posted.
I spent the morning before the ship’s departure in Ushuaia, heading to the Maritime Museum housed in the old prison wings in the morning. Not only did it hold more information than the internet itself, it also contained a couple of art galleries, information on other prisons around the world, and took around five hours to walk around. That done, I met some others that were also headed to the trip, including my hotel roommate, Brian, and we lunched like what nice people do. When they brought out the beer (well, I am on holiday), it was served in a penguin shaped jug which was most amusing and may well have to be a purchase once back from the trip. Then we were herded onto a coach for a two minute drive to the port to clear customs, and then got onboard the MS
Expedition. It didn’t quite sink in for any of us that we were actually going to Antarctica until the boat left port around 6pm and we watched Ushuaia disappear into the distance as we headed down the Beagle Channel.
The ship is a refurbished vessel with around one hundred and thirty passengers on board, who are all pretty friendly. The crew are fantastic, the meals plentiful and varied, and several of us have become regulars at the Polar Bear Bar. They have a rule there: ‘What happens in the Polar Bear Bar, stays in the Polar Bear Bar’. This is a good rule considering that I got a pole dancing lesson and that we are slowly inventing a new version of Twister featuring Velcro, shots and other items that should not go hand in hand with Twister. We also have a dart board which is an interesting game for a ship that sails in sometimes very rough weather. I’m not sure who thought that one through but I am sure that they are a bit of a plonker.
We have days at sea between our various destinations. I had thought that these may turn out to be a
bore but in fact they go quickly and we fill our time pretty well. I have been beaten at Scrabble and Game of Life (I was an entertainer before becoming a police officer, and was married to a lovely woman named Julie van HoppelStepf – she was hot!), and I’m sure that I will be beaten at Monopoly and Rummy before the trip is out.
The trip runs from Ushuaia to The Falklands, South Georgia and then the Antarctic Peninsula, the latter being the real reason that I booked in the first place. The wildlife is fantastic, but when we saw our first iceberg in South Georgia it was awesome; perfectly smooth from the water, bluer than the sea, and set against a backdrop of glaciers and rocky shores. They say everyday is a school day, so my fun fact for you is that they are blue due to the amount, or rather lack of, air in them, and each cubic metre of an iceberg weighs around a ton. That’s around the weight of some cars, but in far less area. Seven-eighths of an iceberg is under the water at anytime, so what you see is far from the
absolute size of them. And you thought this blog wouldn’t be intellectual 😊
Yesterday, which is actually the 20th
as I write, we saw a group of humpback whales near the ship and the captain spent some time manoeuvring to get a good look at them. They estimated that there were around thirty in total. Blow spouts were all over the place and you couldn’t turn your head without seeing one surface, though unfortunately I missed the whales that breached. Still, it was pretty incredible to see and they came right alongside the boat – the pictures don’t do them any justice and it was great simply watching and enjoying them for around an hour while they were there. Good times.
Next time I will write about the destinations that we’ve been to so you know a bit more of what I am getting up to. And yes, there will be penguin pictures. It is ridiculous how many I have taken and there are a few grains of wheat amongst the chaff. My netbook also has a terrible screen which makes it hard to know how the colours will come out, but I’m pretty sure you’ll get the
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