|Position:||54°48’.5 S, 68°37’.2 W|
Most of us flew into Ushuaia the night before our early morning luggage drop-off and sanitation which began at 8am, when many of us caught first sight of our ship, Hondius, already tied up at the pier awaiting our arrival. After drop-off we had time free to explore the southernmost city in the world and have lunch around the charming downtown before making our way in assigned groups to the old chapel (Iglesias Parroquial de Ushuaia) for mandatory covid testing - and our first interaction with the two ship’s doctors and some of the expedition team. Once all guests had confirmed negative test results, we boarded buses for the short drive to the pier and were dropped off alongside the ship - our home for the next 10 days. We received warm welcomes from the Expedition Team and were escorted onboard, ready to start our adventure! Those of us in the earlier groups had time to explore the ship while we awaited arrival of all the passenger groups. By 4pm all 163 guests were onboard, and we cast off from the wharf at just after 5pm turned our bow to the Beagle Channel and set sail in the direction of the infamous Drake Passage and our destination – Antarctica! After the mandatory safety drill we all went down for our first meal aboard together, served buffet style. Because of the forecast of rough weather for the next day our expedition leader wisely brought forward the mandatory IAATO briefing to be delivered immediately after dinner, which ensured everyone was able to attend. Afterwards we mingled at the bar or took to the decks to soak up the atmospheric views of the late evening sun in the Beagle Channel and to spot our first albatrosses, dolphins and whale blow of the cruise, in anticipation of many more in the days ahead.