HDS23-23, trip log, Antarctica - Basecamp

by Oceanwide Expeditions


Day 1: Embarkation - Ushuaia

Embarkation - Ushuaia
Datum: 25.11.2023
Position: 54° 51.8 ’S / 068° 019’W
Wind: WSW 4
Wetter: Overcast
Lufttemperatur: +15

Today is the day to embark M/V Hondius, the beautiful 107 m vessel that would take us to explore Antarctica. After visiting Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world, we boarded the ship at 4pm where we were met by the staff and crew who warmly welcomed us onboard. After checking in we were directed to our cabins, followed by the lounge for tea, coffee, and biscuits. Whilst in the lounge we started with a briefing to get us familiar with the ship, a mandatory safety briefing by Chief Officer, Matai and we completed the mandatory drill.

After the drill, in the Observation Lounge we joined the Captain’s Cocktail Party, where we met the Captain and took this opportunity to enjoy the canapés. Captain Toni told us a little about himself and toasted the voyage ahead. The Expedition Team then introduced themselves; it was interesting to meet all of them and learn where they were from. If we weren’t full enough already, it was then time to enjoy a delicious buffet dinner cooked by our Head Chef and the kitchen team. As the ship sailed through the Beagle Channel, we enjoyed the sights in the fantastic light along with our dinner. The excited chat at dinner was all about the journey ahead and the adventures that lay before us.

After dinner, quite a few of us went outside to enjoy the views and watched all the other vessels making their way through the Beagle Channel. This channel is a strait in the Tierra del Fuego archipelago, on the extreme southern tip of South America between Chile and Argentina. The channel separates the larger main island of Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego from various smaller islands including the islands of Picton, Lennox and Nueva; Navarino; Hoste; Londonderry; and Stewart. The channel's eastern area forms part of the border between Chile and Argentina and the western area is entirely within Chile. The Beagle Channel, the Straits of Magellan to the north, and the open-ocean Drake Passage to the south are the three navigable passages around South America between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.

The channel itself is about 240 km long and 5 km wide at its narrowest point. It extends from Nueva Island in the east to Darwin Sound and Cook Bay in the Pacific Ocean in the west. The biggest settlement on the channel is Ushuaia in Argentina followed by Puerto Williams in Chile. These are amongst the southernmost settlements in the world.

We stayed up late to enjoy the views and changing light of the evening. We wondered what awaits us in Antarctica.

Day 2: At sea – Drake Passage

At sea – Drake Passage
Datum: 26.11.2023
Position: 56°37.5’S / 065°34.3’W
Wind: NW 4
Wetter: Overcast
Lufttemperatur: +3

From the early hours of this Sunday morning, we were gently rocked as Hondius danced in the Drake waves. From the comfort of our bunks, we can only imagine the possible sea state causing this motion. Was it rough? Was it calm waters with a long gentle swell? Was it wild with lashing rain? At this early stage in the trip, we have not yet worked out the motion of Hondius relative to the conditions outside.

After breakfast, it was time for the start of the mandatory briefings to prepare us for the trip ahead. For some, it was a real challenge to make it along to the observation lounge. But with white bags in hand and sipping on some hot tea, we managed to have most of us in the observation lounge all at once. Our expedition leader, Adam, gave us a clear introduction to the procedures for going ashore highlighting the importance of safety when operating so far from large modern hospital facilities.

After what seemed like a busy morning of briefings and making sure we are totally prepared in time for the first opportunity we will get to go ashore, it was time for some lunch. It was a buffet lunch in the dining room of delicious salads and a selection of meats and bread. It was good to regain energy after a challenging morning for some.

The afternoon began with the big biosecurity party down on deck 3. This is a time where we get out the vacuum cleaners, paper clips, Vircon disinfectant and scrubbing brushes to attack our outer wear until it is perfectly clean with no seed, mud, or organic material. It is essential for us to carry out these procedures to prevent the introduction of new species to Antarctica.

Out on deck the sun was making it through the clouds again, glinting off the water surface bringing beautiful light conditions. The patient observer will feel well accompanied out on deck by the variety of seabirds. Today, this included many Cape Petrels, Giant Petrels, Antarctic Prions and Blue Petrels. These birds often enjoy the change in air flow created by the ship and as a result they follow in the wake of the ship. There was also report of an individual Black-Browed Albatross and a Wandering Albatross, the world’s largest bird with a wingspan of up to 3.5m!

Felicity gave an informative lecture of Whales of the Southern Ocean. As well as highlighting some interesting facts about the species who share these southern waters, we learnt about how we can identify them from one another. This again emphasizes the value in spending time outside on deck with our binoculars and cameras close to hand.

Before our first plated dinner there was time for our evening recap. During this time several small talks are presented by the guide team with relevant information about the day or upcoming 24hrs. Adam started with the weather and plans, followed by Bill giving us some guidance that will be invaluable in influencing our enjoyment of the trip. Anthonie introduced us to the Antarctic Convergency, Carina informed us of the nautical terminology used on board, Mattias introduced us to the birdlife of the Drake Passage and finally Misha introduced us to photography. It was a challenging first day for many with the motion of Hondius giving us new respect for the explorers before us who drew up the charts for these distant and wild places!

Day 3: At sea – Drake Passage

At sea – Drake Passage
Datum: 27.11.2023
Position: 60°45.0’S / 063°20.2’W
Wind: NW 5
Wetter: Overcast
Lufttemperatur: +2

Our second day on the famous Drake passage. Yesterday had been quite challenging for many people on board due to the sea state. Luckily this day started out with waves much less high. A relatively easy start for an important day. As for today we have all the briefings about the different activities we will be attending to during this voyage. As a good omen some people were able to observe some Fin whales early in the morning at 7:30 when our expedition leader woke us up through the PA.

After breakfast we started immediately with the first talk about the kayaking activity. As the sea state was quite a bit calmer many people showed up. Adam and Matt, our kayak guides, explained all details including the equipment that you will be using while kayaking and what you can expect during one of the outings. From the start people were quite excited about the idea of kayaking among icebergs and the possible wildlife. The second talk started right after which was about the camping activity. Surely one of the favorites of most and an experience that you won’t be able to get anywhere else in the world. Being left behind on a small island in Antarctica surrounded by large glaciers and mountains while looking at the ship that is slowly leaving out of sight. Saskia, Alexis and Carina explained every part of the activity. They showed how the camping gear will work and how you will need to prepare when being on land. The third and last briefing was about the Mountaineering activity. Jonny, Owain, Dave and Edward explained all the different options that we will have during this trip. The difference between the experience levels and the gear that will be necessary. Mountaineering brings a lot of gear handling and people need to know if they are up for it as turning back is normally hard to as everybody walks in a team that is roped up over crevassed areas. The morning gave us a lot of information and certainly gave us a good idea of what to expect during this Basecamp trip.

In the afternoon, after a delicious lunch, we were invited in groups to come to the lecture room for the activities sign up. We also were offered a lecture by Carina telling us about the penguins we will be seeing on the Antarctic Peninsula. And Sasha had been so kind to organize another Zodiac Safety and IAATO briefing for the people that did feel a little bit under the weather yesterday. A day can’t officially end if there has not been a RECAP so just before dinner everybody was invited to the Lounge/Bar area for our daily recap. During this recap we got to hear the plans for the next day by our expedition leader Adam. We also got some extra details from Alexis explaining the way we lose our body heat in cold environments and an explanation from Koen about how to use the Snowshoes during the following days. Just walk like a penguin that had sit for a long time on a horse he said. Finally, the mountaineers gave an example in real life how to walk in a roped-up team with multiple people attached. This just made it clearer that there were many adventures waiting for us in the days to come. And the adventures started very soon as we had multiple Humpback whales swimming and feeding around our ship just after dinner. Our captain Toni slowed down the ship and made some circles around the whales to get a good observation. This made it possible to get to see the whales from just 50 m away from the ship at certain times.

What an amazing way to end the day. This was our last day on the Drake Passage, we can officially make us ready for our first landing tomorrow morning on the South Shetland Islands. Adventure here we come!

Day 4: Elephant Point & Telefon Bay (Deception Island)

Elephant Point & Telefon Bay (Deception Island)
Datum: 28.11.2023
Position: 62°46.6’S / 060°42.5’W
Wind: NW 4
Wetter: Overcast
Lufttemperatur: +1

We have finally arrived in Antarctica, and after a luscious breakfast, we are preparing to disembark the vessel for the first time, to experience, feel, taste, and see this beautiful white continent. Everyone has been briefed, and our first port of arrival is Elephant Point in the South Shetland islands.

There was some swell at the shoreline, so disembarkation proved a bit of a challenge. Elephant Point however is unlike other sites, as it was full of Elephant seals of various sizes, from big bulls to the smallest of weaners. Some playfighting and scratching could be observed, just the Elephant Seals going about their day, gracefully dragging themselves from place to place with the greatest of efforts. While observing them, everyone felt a sense of inner peace, looking into their big, wet eyes. Also, home to a colony of Gentoo penguins, they waddled around ceaselessly. The Southern Giant Petrels already laid on top of eggs, with cheeky Brown Skuas trying their best to steal them for a quick snack. It truly felt like a mini–South Georgia, which is a rare place in Antarctica. Many pictures and videos were taken, people were happy to step off the ship after a rather rough Drake. After a couple of hours, we returned to the ship to gorge ourselves on the buffet.

In the afternoon, after a sumptuous lunch, we entered Deception Island. After a couple of catastrophic eruptions, the inside of the volcano collapsed, and sea water rushed in, forming a caldera that the Hondius could sail into. Our port of arrival was Telefon Bay in the snow, a rather Mars-like landscape, devoid of life, but there is beauty in desolation. Some Weddell seals laid on the shoresides, and the mountaineers took the willing and the fit on an extended hike up the slopes to look at the lifeless landscapes beyond. At the same time, Beth was delivering a lecture on the Geology of Deception Island, for half of the ship’s passengers.

We then shuttled back to the ship, cruised out of the Caldera through the very narrow Neptune’s bellows, sheer cliffsides on both sides of the ship, and went to dinner. For the first time, all guests recovered from their seasickness, and the dining room was nicely filled. Thus ended our first day on this stunning continent.

Day 5: Portal Point & Foyn Harbour

Portal Point & Foyn Harbour
Datum: 29.11.2023
Position: 64°27.8’S / 061°48.7’W
Wind: NE 3
Wetter: Snow
Lufttemperatur: +3

Today marked a pivotal moment in our Antarctic expedition as we experienced our first continental landing at Portal Point. The expedition guides, with an eagerness to ensure a safe and memorable experience, set out early to establish a secure route. As we disembarked from the ship, the vastness of Antarctica unfolded before us—a snow-covered landscape that inspired amazement among the entire group.

Zodiac cruisers weaved through the irregularly shaped icebergs. The icebergs, with their hues and colours shifting in the Antarctic light, became a captivating spectacle for all. The morning's magic reached its zenith when a serene humpback whale made an appearance at the onset of our operations. The whale moved gracefully, covering a short distance before engaging in lugging, almost as if it had been patiently waiting for our group to witness its majestic presence.

Undeterred by a heavier snowfall, our enthusiasm remained unwavering as we embarked on a Zodiac cruise in Foyne Harbor. The falling snow added a layer of enchantment to the icy landscape. Navigating through the iceberg maze continued to be a highlight, with each iceberg telling its unique story in the pristine Antarctic surroundings.

The afternoon took an intriguing turn as we explored the shipwreck of the Governøren—a whaling vessel that had succumbed to flames and ran aground in Foyne Harbor. Despite the dropping visibility, the remnants of this historic ship offered a link to the challenges faced by early Antarctic explorers. The atmosphere aboard the Zodiacs was one of fascination and reflection as we delved into the rich history of the region.

As evening descended, we gathered for dinner, sharing stories of the day's remarkable encounters. However, the adventure did not end there. The first group of campers, eager to embrace the Antarctic wilderness fully, collected their gear at the shell door. Their destination: an expedition camping experience at Portal Point. The anticipation was electric as they set out for a night under the Antarctic sky, surrounded by the pristine beauty of the snow-covered landscape.

As the campers embarked on their overnight adventure, the rest of the passengers on board couldn't help but marvel at the day's diverse experiences, from the intricate icebergs to the impressive shipwreck.

Day 6: Orne Harbour & Danco Island

Orne Harbour & Danco Island
Datum: 30.11.2023
Position: 64°38.1’S / 062°35.7’W
Wind: Var 1
Wetter: Overcast
Lufttemperatur: +6

The day began with a hearty breakfast in the dining area of Hondius, setting the tone for the exciting Antarctic expedition ahead. The planned morning operation at Orne Harbour faced a change of plans due to challenging ice conditions. The expedition team decided to adapt and switch to a full ship Zodiac cruise to ensure the safety and enjoyment of the guests.

Zodiacs were launched, carrying eager passengers across the Antarctic waters. The morning turned out to be a wonderful encounter with nature, as humpback whales surfaced gracefully near the zodiacs. Guests marveled at the sight, capturing photos of these majestic creatures.

The Zodiacs approached the shores of Orne Harbour, revealing a mesmerizing landscape. Guests witnessed chinstrap penguins busily nesting, their black and white figures dotting the rocky terrain. The backdrop of towering glaciers and ice formations provided a stunning visual spectacle.

Lunch was served onboard, allowing guests to refuel and share stories of the morning's unexpected yet thrilling adventures. The anticipation for the afternoon's activities heightened as the ship navigated through the icy waters.

The afternoon expedition unfolded at Danco Island, offering another opportunity to immerse in the wonders of Antarctica. Zodiacs explored the coastline, revealing colonies of Gentoo penguins nesting on the rocky slopes and playfully swimming in the frigid waters.

The scenery was nothing short of magical, with towering icebergs and a backdrop of pristine Antarctic landscapes creating a picturesque setting. The calm conditions allowed for a tranquil exploration of this remote island.

The climax of the day approached as around 80 adventurous guests decided to take the plunge into the ice-cold Antarctic waters for a quick swim. Laughter and cheers echoed as the brave participants embraced the extreme experience. The day concluded with a daily recap, where expedition leaders shared highlights and insights from the day's activities. Guests gathered to exchange stories and relive the extraordinary moments experienced in the heart of Antarctica.

A sumptuous dinner was served, bringing the day to a close with a sense of camaraderie among the expedition members. The anticipation for the next day's adventures lingered as the Motor Vessel Hondius sailed through the Antarctic waters under the midnight sun, marking the end of another unforgettable day in one of the world's most remote and pristine environments.

Day 7: Paradise Bay & Lemaire Channel

Paradise Bay & Lemaire Channel
Datum: 01.12.2023
Position: 64°50.5’S / 062°35.7’W
Wind: Var 1
Wetter: Overcast
Lufttemperatur: +4

As winter asserted its reign in the Northern hemisphere, our campers were rousing themselves after a night in snowdrifts, whether standing beneath the invigorating spray of hot showers or nestled in the main lounge, sipping coffee. Adam, our expedition leader, fortified by the support of his assistants and standing on the captain's bridge, peered through binoculars at the expanse of beauty that unfolded before him in Paradise Bay. Soon, he set aside the binoculars, approached the microphone, and, pressing a button, uttered, "Good morning, good morning, good morning!" This was followed by a brief weather update and a reminder of the day's plans.

The first item on the day's agenda was the Zodiac cruise. After breakfast, we, clad and ready with our cameras, assembled in the Zodiac boarding area to embark on an exploration of Paradise Bay and its coves. The air was crisp, with a hint of frost — early Antarctic seasons never indulge in warmth.

Scarcely drifting away from the Hondius, we spotted a Leopard seal, idly sprawled on a small iceberg. The creature wasn't asleep, casting predatory glances our way, intermittently raising its head and, flaring its nostrils, inhaling unfamiliar scents.

Periodically, we encountered Weddell seals lounging on ice floes and along the shore. Each one of them dozed off, indulging in seal dreams, turning from side to side, scratching their sides with the long claws on their front flippers. This, in turn, spoke to us of the terns nesting there for hundreds of years, fertilizing the once-bare rocks and creating favorable conditions for the emergence of such vegetation. A little aside, Antarctic shags had claimed a small corner. The rocks where they nested were painted white with their guano, a sure sign that these rocks had served as their summer residence for not just a few centuries.

On the shore stood the small Argentine station Almirante Brown. Gentoo penguins had seized a significant portion of the station and established a genuine colony. Strolling back and forth with an air of importance, the penguins made it clear that the station was in capable flippers.

Lunch, it must be noted, was no ordinary affair. On this day, Oceanwide Expeditions was celebrating its thirtieth anniversary.

For the second half of the day, no landings were planned, but that didn't mean we were destined for a mundane existence confined to our cabins. An exhilarating journey awaited us through the legendary Lemaire Channel – an exceptionally narrow and picturesque passage framed by towering mountain peaks, their slopes draped in glaciers.

As evening fell, after dinner, the Hondius dropped anchor opposite Pleneau Island. The adventurous campers headed ashore for the night, while the others, remaining on board, sipped tea, and shared impressions of the day's experiences.

Day 8: Pleneau Island (Salpêtrière Bay) & Petermann Island

Pleneau Island (Salpêtrière Bay) & Petermann Island
Datum: 02.12.2023
Position: 65°08.7’S / 064°04.5’W
Wind: SW 3
Wetter: Overcast
Lufttemperatur: +5

The day began with the familiar and comforting voice of Adam, our daily wake-up call, heralding another day of thrilling Antarctic exploration.

Our morning adventure unfolded with a plan for a full Zodiac cruise in the picturesque Salpêtrière Bay — an area nestled between Pleneau Island and Port Charcot, famously dubbed the "iceberg graveyard" and affectionately referred to by Sasha as "The Garden of Icebergs." Donned in layers, we eagerly hopped onto the Zodiacs, leaving Hondius behind. The vast expanse was adorned with scattered colossal icebergs, creating a surreal backdrop for the wildlife that thrived in this icy realm. Gentoo Penguins waddled along the shore, and Weddell Seals found peaceful resting spots. We even stumbled upon a significant portion of last winter's sea ice, with a few Weddell Seals basking in the Antarctic serenity.

After capturing a myriad of photos and videos documenting the unique icebergs and the charismatic penguins, we returned to the ship, where a warm cup of tea awaited, thawing us from the chilly expedition. The cruise had been a breathtaking experience, marked by tranquil and enjoyable conditions.

Following a delightful break and lunch, the day's adventures continued with a plan to land and explore Petermann Island. This small yet vibrant island boasted one of the northernmost Adélie penguin colonies and one of the southernmost Gentoo penguin colonies.

The expedition team, always orchestrating remarkable experiences, charted a captivating route, guiding us through Adélie and Gentoo penguin rookeries. Watching the penguins in their breeding sites was pure joy—busy with stone-swapping between nests, each colony painted a lively picture of Antarctic life. The backdrop of towering glaciers and mountains of the Antarctic Peninsula added an awe-inspiring dimension to our observations. In the distance, the majestic Lemaire Channel remained a captivating sight.

As the ship concluded its daily recap, surrounded by floating icebergs, we marked our southernmost position. From this point onward, our heading shifted north, symbolizing a new phase in our Antarctic journey.

To celebrate the occasion, a special dinner awaited us on the outer deck 5 aft—a polar BBQ under the vast Antarctic sky. The atmosphere was filled with music, a relaxed camaraderie, and the tantalizing aroma of barbecue.

The day, laden with special moments, concluded as a cherished memory—serene cruises, penguin-filled rookeries, and a celebratory feast under the Antarctic twilight. A day in Antarctica we would undoubtedly carry with us, etched in the tapestry of our unforgettable polar expedition.

Day 9: Port Lockroy & Damoy Point

Port Lockroy & Damoy Point
Datum: 03.12.2023
Position: 64°49.5’S / 063°31.2’W
Wind: Var 1
Wetter: Overcast
Lufttemperatur: +4

The morning started with the traditional wake up call for an abundant breakfast in the dining room. Outside, weather conditions were promising a wonderful calm day.

We were anchored right in front of Port Lockroy, the first British permanent base in Antarctica, also a museum and post office! Usually cruiseship guests are allowed to visit this facilities, but due to avian flu the resident workers on Port Lockroy prefer to avoid this, and they came on board Hondius instead. They brought with them all sort of souvenirs for guests to be able to shop and also collaborate on the preservation of this wonderful and pristine area of the world. Of course everybody was interested on the mail service, and the unique opportunity to send their loved ones a post card from Antarctica itself. Several postcards and and stamps later, mail bag was full and ready to begin the long (probably several months) journey towards each destination.

It was extremely interesting to get to know the people working in Port Lockroy about their daily challenges, activities and duties, as they share with us their passion for conservation and their different programs to reach communities all over the world.

Expedition team prepared the landing site in front of Port Lockroy, called Jougla Point (on the west side of Wiencke Island), a magical place with thousands of Gentoo penguins, some of them on eggs, and several weddel seals having a pleasant nap around the landing area.

We also had the opportunity to do zodiac cruise. There was still some sea ice around, with snow algae, which gave us a better understanding of how this area may look like during winter, and stunning icebergs beached on the shallow coasts. We even saw a fur seal! It was the first one of the trip.

We came back on board, full of energy and ready to fuel up with a buffet lunch in the dining room. Soon after, we reached our afternoon destination, Damoy Point, that seemed to be right around the corner.

Damoy Point received us with sunny warm weather. There was a historical Argentine hut and also a British hut that was used for several years as a British summer air facility and transit station for scientific personnel. This huts are well equipped and available to be used in case of an emergency, so the expedition team opened Damoy Point hut and, as Bill was building steps on the snow and making sure we left everything as it was founded, we had the unforgettable experience of walking inside and imagine how it would have been for expeditioners to overwinter there.

A halo around the sun and a hike around the island made our day as special as it could be. Ah! Gentoo penguins were here as well.

Before going back on board, we explore the area on a zodiac cruise with the most perfect weather that we had so far, playing with the ice, finding more and more unique shape icebergs and even having a humpback whale encounter as two of them decided to swim around.

We came back on board just on time for the daily briefing, where expedition team seamed as happy as we were for the privilege of having enjoyed that day. There were news about tomorrow: we were going to have an early start.

Day 10: Cuverville Island

Cuverville Island
Datum: 04.12.2023
Position: 64°24.4’S / 062°58.2’W
Wind: SE 3
Wetter: Overcast
Lufttemperatur: 0

We woke up reluctantly amazing early in response to the directive on the daily program. Some of us with the memory of Bill’s two -word recap and short video of the day before… ‘The Drake’. The image of the huge seas crashing into and over the bow deeply imprinted in our anxious brains…

Breakfast snack in the lounge then dressed quickly, warmly (as it was -2°C) for boarding Zodiacs at 6.30am for a final cruise and landing at Cuverville. Luckily loads of penguins all densely packed in the widely separated in various noisy colonies. Offshore the bay was festooned with grounded iceberg…., asymmetric multi-toned sculptures of every shape and size.

The cruising was interesting as the Zodiacs wove in and out of the endlessly interesting shapes of ice. Like a detective we considered the visual evidence before us, the position and angle of the tide lines and the convoluted multitude of textures, lines and cracks. The history of each massive lump of ice was clearly illustrated by its form.

Breakfast followed although for most, it felt like lunch.

Once everyone was safely back on-board Hondius started to motor slowly northwards. Some tears were shed at the realization that this awesome Oceanwide life experience was about to end. This was the last zodiac cruise and last landing. A distant sighting of a pod of Orca had everyone excited and lining the foredeck as Hondius motored northwards. Unfortunately, this pod were not interested in ‘posing ‘ but were obviously absorbed in feeding!

After lunch the lounge was quite deserted. 4 people only, the rest, now the adrenalin was off, most people lying on their bunks trying to recover from the loss of early morning beauty sleep. Suddenly once again the cry…ORCA ! Situation change as camera wielding passengers rushed from their comfortable cocoons below decks focus on the Orca activity.

Next up a viewing of the superb BBC documentary about Antarctica. Everyone marveling at the photography and Attenborough’s compelling narration then an interesting lecture delivered by every ‘bubbly’ compellingly happy Saskia.

Outside the sea state gradually increased and the wind started to howl…it was as forecast going to be a stormy Drake Passage! The doctor did a roaring trade dispensing sea-sickness patches.

After dinner Antony compared the end of voyage quiz…lots of questions relating to the cruise and to tax the memory plus a section requiring teams to identify photographs of the staff when they were young.

It was another great Oceanwide activity day…we went to our bunks dreaming of mountainous seas for the morning.

Day 11: At sea – Drake Passage

At sea – Drake Passage
Datum: 05.12.2023
Position: 59°45.5’S / 063°12.0’W
Wind: SW 8
Wetter: Overcast
Lufttemperatur: 0

The day began with a wholesome breakfast that fuelled our spirits for the activities ahead. Our first order of business was returning our trusty muck boots, symbolic of the rugged terrain we navigated together. Misha and Juan assumed leadership in the morning, collecting pictures for the photo competition. For the competition they subdivided into 3 categories: landscape, wildlife and funny. Each passenger was encouraged to submit one photograph per category, setting the stage for a friendly yet competitive showcase.

As the sun reached its zenith, anticipation hung in the air as the collected photos were revealed in the afternoon. The exhibition painted a vivid tapestry of our collective journey, showcasing the diverse perspectives of our fellow travellers. The artistry continued as Bill took the floor, delivering a captivating lecture on paintings depicting the sea. We unravelled the symbolic meanings woven into the canvas, gaining a deeper appreciation for the maritime artistry that echoed through history.

Post-lunch, Misha's lecture on Bird Migration transported us into the fascinating world of avian wanderlust. The distant travels of birds, orchestrated by the changing seasons, unfolded before our eyes, revealing the untold stories written across the skies. Beth then led an exploration beneath the frozen surface, enlightening us about the mysteries hidden beneath the ice of the Southern Continent. Glaciers and uncharted landscapes were unveiled, expanding our understanding of Antarctica's enigmatic beauty.

As the day transitioned into evening, the captivating recaps began. Matthias enthralled us with his expertise on Skua birds, acquired through five summer seasons spent researching in the South Shetlands. Edward shared insights into the monumental challenge of conquering Mount Vinson, Antarctica's highest peak. Misha added a poetic touch to the recaps, offering a heartfelt ode to Albatrosses, bringing an artistic conclusion to the expedition's educational odyssey.

A sumptuous dinner marked the culmination of the day's intellectual and creative pursuits. The dining hall buzzed with lively conversations, fuelled by the day's shared experiences.

The day ended with Misha and Juan announcing the victors of the photo competition, adding a touch of friendly competition to our Antarctic adventure. The night took a lighter turn with a 'Happy Feet' movie screening, providing a delightful opportunity for everyone to unwind and share laughter.

Overall, a day replete with learning, creativity, and camaraderie—a fitting conclusion to our Antarctic adventure.

Day 12: At sea – Drake Passage

At sea – Drake Passage
Datum: 06.12.2023
Position: 56°50.9’S / 066°18.1’W
Wind: SW 6
Wetter: Overcast
Lufttemperatur: +4

The weather of this day has been dreaded for days as we watched the weather forecast with huge pink areas pass through the Drake Passage from west to east. The bridge team have been carefully navigating us towards Ushuaia but also trying to make it as comfortable as possible. Through the night the conditions had worsened with waves becoming higher and tossing is in our bunks. By the time morning came around the wave height had decreased, and many were able to make it to breakfast.

There were lots of people at breakfast, all discussing their stories from the rough night we’d had. How often each of us had woken up. What time the rough weather started.

Misha ran a photos workshop in the lecture theatre after breakfast. The photography guides, Misha and Juan, have been fantastic at bringing us on a journey and sharing their extensive experience they have from working in the Antarctic. At 10.30, the captain announced that we would be changing our direction slightly which would change our angle to the waves and may cause more motion on board. As a result, it was recommended that we go to our cabins where it is safest, and check our belongings are well sea stowed. By 11.30 Alexis started his lecture on the Yamanas, the indigenous people of Tierra del Fuego. He has read up on the topic well with lots of knowledge gained from local people and museums around Patagonia and the Falkland Islands.

By lunchtime the wind had dropped to about 18 knots and the sea conditions had lessened too. Lunch was a with a slight difference today due to the rough conditions that we have been having. The dining room staff served us sandwiches and salad which was a sensible option with so much motion.

After lunch we gathered in the Lounge to watch a famous video of the old P liners, large square rigger cargo tall ships, sailing around Cape Horn. This is a fantastic watch which give a sense of the danger and challenge which these waters have posed over the last 200 years.

At 15.00 Anthonie gave us a very topical talk on Waves. He has an impressive knowledge of this subject and gave a very interesting talk.

In the afternoon we were allowed to use the outside decks again which was a lovely addition to the afternoon as the skies were blue and you could feel the warmth of the sun as you stand out on deck.

In the late afternoon we had a fantastic trio talk on the human impacts on the polar regions which was an important and interesting note to finish on.

Around 6pm we were invited back to the lounge for Captain´s cocktail. We were surprised to see all the Expedition Team dressed up nicely. Everyone had big smiles on their faces. Captain Toni raised his glass to our voyage. Then we had the great pleasure to watch Juan´s end of the voyage slideshow. It was such a delight to watch his work. Wonderful images accompanied by footage of wildlife, beautiful background music…. Wow! And the incredible amount of work he had put into the slideshow really came through. We all had tears in our eyes after watching it.

After this emotional gathering in the lounge, we were invited to our dining room for one last dinner on board. The Galley team did not disappoint. Another delicious meal, laughter, and many happy faces. We also had a chance to show our gratitude to the hotel team who always made sure we always got what we needed.

Day 13: Disembarkation - Ushuaia

Disembarkation - Ushuaia
Datum: 07.12.2023
Position: 42°49’S / 064°30’W
Wind: SW 3
Wetter: Partly cloudy
Lufttemperatur: +12

When we woke, we were already at the port of Ushuaia ready to disembark for the final time. The last two weeks have taken us on a remarkable journey to the Antarctic Peninsula, the South Shetlands, and the vast Southern Ocean in between. This unforgettable journey showed us how varied and numerous life is in these remote and sometimes inhospitable corners of our Planet Earth. We have encountered amazing wildlife, made new friends, learned and experienced together. We will all take different memories of our voyage back home, but those memories will stay with us for the rest of our lives.


Tripcode: HDS23-23
Daten: 25 Nov - 7 Dez, 2023
Dauer: 12 Nächte
Schiff: MS Hondius
Einschiffung: Ushuaia
Ausschiffung: Ushuaia

Waren Sie auf dieser Reise?

Aboard MS Hondius

Die Hondius ist das weltweit erste registrierte Schiff der Polar-Klasse 6 und wurde von Grund auf für Expeditionskreuzfahrten gebaut.

More about the MS Hondius »