Friday, January 7, 2011

Antarctica Bound !!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday  12/28/10

Departure is at 5 pm today. Checked out of the hostel after lunch and will walk the street of Ushuaia until 4 pm and then go through security at the dock. Ended up at the port around 3:30 and saw a huge line of passengers waiting to clear security. Many did not seem to have any luggage and I was confused but later realized some were on day trips. There were also many going to Antarctica on the 500 passenger ship which was enormous. They are not allowed to land anywhere in Antarctica. The passenger ship must not have more than 100 passengers to make landing in Antarctica. I was actually the first person on board at 4 pm and then Casper, from the Netherlands, came on the ship. We quickly introduced ourselves and were amazed that we ended up as cabin mates. Probably because we both booked at the last moment. After everyone got on the ship we had an emergency drill on the top deck before we started our journey at 6 pm. This 11 day cruise is actually closer to 9.5 days. We leave on the 28th at 6 pm and return at 8 am on the 7th.  2 water trips of a lifetime in the same trip. (Grand Canyon and Antarctica)


All tables and chairs are bolted to floor for Drake Passage










Drake Passage

Wednesday  12/29/10

The Drake Passage is a lively body of water, and a rite of passage for Antarctic tourists. Named after Sir Francis Drake, it extends 900 kilometers (600 miles) from Cape Horn to the northernmost tip of Antarctica and is famous for being one of the roughest seas in the world.

Atlantic Convergence

Thursday   12/30/10

Lectures today on whales, dolphins and seals. Still in Drake Passage but in Atlantic Convergence, where the warmer and cooler waters meet. Compulsory emergency drill with life jackets at 5 pm. If weather is okay we will land at 7 am. Everyone getting excited. Really nice people on the boat. Most of the people flew in just for this trip and head back afterwards. I am the only person from the United States. There are Germans, Dutch, Canadians, English, French, Italians and not sure of some of the others. Not sleeping well with the ship rolling. 

Last day of 2010 and 1st landing in Antarctica

Friday  12/31/10

Breakfast at 6 am and climb in Zodiacs for landing in Antarctica at 7 am. After breakfast most passengers went to the top deck to see the incredible icebergs. Excitement is in the air. I was lucky enough to be in the 1st Zodiac to launch and land in Antarctica. Amazing, words seem to escape me. Wish the family could be here with me. Not much sun and really don't know how that works here. lol   Penguins, penguins and penguins. So incredible how they don't seem to worry much about us. We are to stay about 15 feet away but if they approach you it is okay. Penguins always have the right of way. The landing was at Brown Bluff.

The 2nd landing was at Hope Bay. We visited the Argentine base and were welcomed by the Argentine children, yes children, that live there with their families. We visited the school and I was able to mail a postcard to Kade and Madison from Antarctica.

3rd stop was Paulette Island and saw amazing icebergs as we circled the island.
























































Chinstrap Penguin