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Published: November 20th 2007
End of the world!
Ushuaia Tierra Del Fuego National Park
Well just because there is a special Country for Antarctica I will do it separate and Buenos Aires can then go into Brazil instead of Antarctica going in with Argentina.
Ushuaia - walking around Ushuaia, is amazing. Only small town (about 60,000), and asked for Daniela who does the boot hire and people knew who I meant, but they gave me wrong address and about 5 people then gave me wrong directions. Took 2 hours to find a place when the whole town is only 5 mins walk. Then everything closes at lunch for siesta which is a pain. The cemetery is full of little house graves, nearly like a little estate.
Antarctica Cruise - I had my original tour cancelled and had to pay a fair bit to change flights to get on another cruise a day earlier. Anyway, first meeting on cruise they had Celion Dion - My Heart Will Go On playing in background. Helloooooo, we are going where there are icebergs!!!! Was only talking to a girl I met that day about ‘Don’t Cry For Me Argentina’ and ‘Copa Cabana’ and how good are relative songs. Bit funny but gut wrenching at same time. Opted
for sea sickness tablets just in case but Drake was fairly flat, only about 2 metre swells, is fairly bouncy though for small waves. I feel like a drunk walking around, smashing into walls etc. Is amazing seeing waiters carrying around packed trays and it is hard enough to even walk straight. They lost dessert though that was displayed nicely on table and then not so nicely on the ground.
Happy birthday to me - first day of landings, sitting with the penguins, going through ice floats, beautiful scenery, what more could I ask for. Then crew brought out birthday cake and champagne. Very nice day.
Weather - is really quite nice. Can get around in shorts on ship although I get weird looks. In shorts you only have a few minutes outside for a quick photo though. Landings I started with a t-shirt, thermal and jacket and end up in thermal only, no gloves or beanie - is actually quite hot in sun sometimes - probably about 5 degree though.
Food - well you get a buffet brekky with beautiful bacon and nice spread. 4 course lunch and dinner with wonderful waiters.
Sunsets - you get them about 11pm
Excorted us all the way across the Drake Passage to Antarctica and I think I counted them only flapping their wings twice.
and then a couple of hours dusk and then sunrise.
Wilderness - I never expected this continent to be tamed, but we went for a zodiac drive one day in 4/10 ice. Came back in 10/10 ice and one zodiac got stranded so we left them to get our pax back and then went back for them. Our ship had to try and edge closer to us and we finally crashed through ice and got back on board. It then took another 2 hours to get the other 2 zodiacs back in and the people who were out there - this was a cold day too when I was happy to get back on ship. Then our 5/10 rated ship had to turn and crash out of 10/10 ice. Am typing this up now hearing big crashes and bangs against the hull of the ice. There is a Belgium group on board who, through this ordeal, was drinking champagne and whinging that they didn’t get to go on zodiacs. I am talking really scary here.
Sleeping - well we did it! Jane and I got to stay at Fort Lockroy. Was a bit cold but toasty once you warmed up,
Drake Iceberg chinstrap penguins
Our first iceberg and it had stranded penguins on it, possibly there for a few weeks and probably a few weeks more!
5 layers and 2 sleeping bags probably helps. Nearly fell out of bed on floor couple of times - turns out you get sea legs lying down too. Toilet was bucket and chuck it. Crew on island were very friendly. Really a once in a lifetime experience. First visitors in 13 years. Sent a postcard home from here too.
Swimming - the warm pool was frozen over so I couldn’t go swimming. On one hand disappointed, on the other, it was freezing out there anyway.
Deception Island - is cool. An active volcano that is collapsed caldera on one side allowing you to sail right into the centre.
Drake Passage - not as bad as expected. Only had up to Force 6 or 7 on way over and most of way back was calm as well. Except last 6-7 hours. We were going to visit Cape Horn but it blew up and we ended up doing last stretch in Force 11 (bit of force 12 rumour), only one force from hurricane, with 120km/h winds and sea of white wash. Was cool though, pitched to 30 degrees once and chairs, cups, plates, sugar, people, everything went flying. That song thing again,
Our first landing
Haitcho gentoo penguins
Roxette - Hold tight, you know it’s a little bit dangerous!
Party - was a good trip with a few great stories to tell but didn’t drink much on boat, didn’t like the idea of hangover and seasickness. Had a great last night out in Ushuaia and then was sad seeing our boat leave without us the next day.
Blog update Antarctica
Now you have to check out www.antarcticdream.com website and go to the gallery and check out the wonderful photo of the two penguins in front of a huge iceberg taken by yours truly! I tried for a free trip as payment but just got the fame.
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