OTL24-18, trip log, Antarctic Peninsula - Basecamp

by Oceanwide Expeditions

Bitácora

Day 1: Embarkation, Ushuaia

Embarkation, Ushuaia
Fecha: 28.11.2018
Posición: 54°51.1‘S, 068°01.4‘W
Viento: SE Bft 2
Clima: Blue sky
Temperatura del Aire: +18.6

It is late afternoon on a glorious sunny day in when the first new passengers arrive to board the Ortelius. Our new family, from the young to the young at heart, walked down the pier with clear excitement and anticipation. The expedition staff greet each guest as they climb the gangway for the first time and direct them to the reception to check in. The hotel manager, DJ, and his assistant Alex, quickly have all passengers assigned and shown to their cabins where they will spend the next 11 days.

A few folks lingered in the dining room sorting out their rental gear but then came an announcement to meet in the lecture room for the mandatory safety briefing, followed by an abandon ship drill— practicing how to muster and put on the lifejackets. The ship pulled away from the dock with three strong blasts to the ship’s horn during the muster roll call in the bar—so we knew we were on our way! After following our muster captains up on deck to get familiar with the life boat locations, the drill was finished-- offering an excellent chance to enjoy more moments in the fresh air, appreciating the gorgeous backdrop of craggy mountains surrounding Ushuaia. Next up came Captain’s Cocktails, a chance to meet the ship’s master Ernesto Barria and hear his greeting and thoughts on how to get the most out of this trip—remember to slow down and appreciate your surroundings. Then our Hotel Manager DJ gave a presentation about house rules, how the ship works, and all-important meal times. The Expedition Team also had a go, with Katja outlining how the team will operate and explained that everyone is in good hands so just trust the team to keep everyone safe and do as much as we possibly can under Mother Nature’s rules. Then each team member introduced themselves briefly and by then everyone was ready to get out of the bar which had become almost like a sauna due to the unusually warm and sunny day!

The outer decks provided a welcome respite, a chance to soak up yet more impressive scenery along the Beagle Channel, with snow-capped mountains and craggy slopes covered in beech trees offering us a fare-well on our journey further south. Too soon for some, and not soon enough for others, DJ’s announcement came calling us into dinner. A wonderful three-course meal was served by DJ and his team, much to the delight of all those new aboard and setting the standard for the rest of the cruise. After dinner, with no more briefings or meetings to be had, folks focused on getting comfortable in their cabins, walked the out-er decks, or gathered in the bar—chatting about all the exciting things to come during the voyage and bonding over a few drinks while Rolando provided wonderful service and witty banter. The doctor also dropped by to discuss with those concerned how to manage sea sickness over the next few days on the in-famous Drake Passage. The staff informed the passengers that during the night we would be leaving the shelter of the Beagle Channel and enter open water so to prepare for the “motion of the ocean”. Properly prepared, we drifted off, cosy in bed, dreaming of the adventures in store.

Day 2: At Sea in the Drake Passage

At Sea in the Drake Passage
Fecha: 29.11.2018
Posición: 56°41.4‘S, 065°29.2‘W
Viento: NW Bft 4
Clima: Partly Cloudy
Temperatura del Aire: +11

The first full day onboard Ortelius welcomed passengers and crew with low winds and sunshine, a rare event on the Drake Passage. DJ announced the breakfast buffet to be open at 8:00 and after that our ex-pedition guides gave briefings for those guests who had signed up for the kayaking, snowshoeing, and mountaineering activities. Seems like Antarctica is going to be busy!

Outside the seabirds have been going on about their business. Some are following the ship others just fly-ing past. Most common are the Cape Petrels, but also Giant Petrels and Black-browed Albatrosses have been seen around the ship pretty much the entire day. After lunch it was time for more briefings, next up: camping! At recap, our Expedition Leader Katja told us the plans for tomorrow-- another day at sea, thus there wasn’t too much on the agenda of today’s recap but this briefing time is also usually the moment to explain more in depth some topics of interest during the trip. Recap will become one of the most im-portant formats over the next couple of days. All staff are definitely prepared to handle our questions and if time might be too short, discussions can always be continued after dinner in the bar. After dinner Rosalie gave an interesting lecture about oceanography. Altogether, a quite calm day onboard Ortelius, which made for a perfect day to prepare for Antarctica itself.

Day 3: At Sea in the Drake Passage

At Sea in the Drake Passage
Fecha: 30.11.2018
Posición: 61°20.4 S, 062°55.6‘W
Viento: WNW Bft 7
Clima: Overcast
Temperatura del Aire: +3

As everybody started to get used to the Drake Passage, the second night on board the Ortelius was less bumpy than expected. Because of this, more people joined for breakfast and the social life on board began to pick up. As this day was a full sea day again, the time was used to get all necessities done, before the action part of the adventure begins.

At 09:30 we received our life jackets and Muck Boots. To ensure an operation as smooth as possible, we were called deck by deck to the lecture room to try them on and find the best fit. With Ben’s music as a soundtrack, we had an unexpected groovy moment as surreal as having a “shoe shop” in the middle of the Drake!

The IAATO briefing (International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators) had then to be done, as it is a mandatory briefing on how to be a responsible tourist in the Antarctic. This was followed by a zodiac safe-ty briefing to learn all the ins and outs of being safe in a zodiac for our future zodiac cruises and landings. Just after that we started with another unusual thing: cleaning our outer clothes! This was the biosecurity vacuum party, making sure we don’t introduce any non-native species and keep Antarctica as pristine as we found it. After a delicious lunch prepared by Khabir and his team, deck by deck we finished out the clothes cleaning by the end of afternoon. Between jokes, laughs and muffins that were brought by Rolando, the time for a lecture arrived.

Our keen birder Martin invited us to attend his presentation “Seabirds, masters of the sea and sky”. After this really interesting look into the lives of these incredible fliers, we moved right into the daily recap and briefing. As every day, the expedition leader, Katja, started by outlining the plan for the following day, and we had some more information about the highlights of this day. We also discovered the winner of a game proposed by our expedition staff: who would guess when the first iceberg would be sighted? Congrats Stu-art!

We then enjoyed the evening and gathered with chats in the bar and looking outside for our first view of land. Antarctica, here we are!

Day 4: Orne Harbor/ Cuverville Island – Paradise Bay Cruise

Orne Harbor/ Cuverville Island – Paradise Bay Cruise
Fecha: 01.12.2018
Posición: 64°37.9‘S, 062°36.6‘W
Viento: East Bft 5
Clima: Calm
Temperatura del Aire: +3

After crossing the Drake Lake, we were all very happy to finally take our first glimpse of Antarctica. The Antarctic Peninsula welcomed us with snowy mountain peaks, surrounded by glaciers lit up by the sun. The mountaineers joined Tamsin and Kenny up to the top of Spigot Peak and were able to see the beautiful re-gion from a bird’s perspective. Meanwhile, the other guests explored the region around Orne Harbour by zodiac.

We saw our first penguin colony, of Chinstraps though there were several Gentoo penguins sighted in the water and on land—perhaps checking out if the real estate was better here than where they came from! The penguins appeared to be quite busy doing penguin stuff. Besides knowing that those little, lovely pen-guins are excellent swimmers and not clumsy at all when in their element, their waddles on land made us all smile. It is a bit like watching a child learning to walk. I guess we are simply fascinated by their deter-mination and the attitude of never giving up. While cruising around the bay we also saw our first glaciers and (most of us) were stunned by the sea ice in in the bay. The crabeater seal sunbathing on the ice was also a special sight to see. The bird lovers among us spotted several different bird species in the polar sky including south polar skua and Antarctic shag.

After a successful zodiac cruise, we sailed to Cuverville Island aiming to land. However, this plan was de-stroyed by the ice; ice is nice but sometimes a lot is not. Eventually we set sail towards Paradise Bay for a scenic ship cruise. After Katja’s introductory lecture to Antarctica, we were greeted by several humpback whales in the bay. The whales were curious and approached our vessel fairly close. For many of us this was the first time to wave hello to a whale. What a beautiful and memorable day in Antarctica!

Mountaineering

The day started windy and overcast making us feel cautious about the day’s mountaineering objective, Spigot Peak. Luckily, however, although the weather was generally deteriorating, we were able to seize a window of better weather in the morning and 10 Ortelius passengers summited Spigot Peak at 11am. The ascent took us past some Chinstrap penguin rookeries so we able to observe a large number of Chinstrap penguins from fairly close up but without disturbing them. They are clearly far better climbers than their cousin, the Gentoo, having built their nests about 200m above sea level; the weather didn’t seem to bother them as much as it did us. As far as an afternoon attempt, poor weather and a build-up of large moving icebergs prevented us from going ashore at all, although we got so cold and wet onboard the zodiacs that it certainly felt like we’d climbed a major summit.

Day 5: Leith Cove / Brown Station-Skontorp Cove

Leith Cove / Brown Station-Skontorp Cove
Fecha: 02.12.2018
Posición: 64°50.7‘S, 062°33.6‘W
Viento: NW 3 Bft
Clima: Cloudy
Temperatura del Aire: +5

The day started with a wake-up call from Katja at 07:15, and DJ announced breakfast at 07:30. There were high, on-shore winds in Neko Harbor (around 28 knots) with lots of ice and white-capped waves. Conditions were determined to be too poor to land, so the ship sailed towards Paradise Bay in search of better weath-er, cruising around a giant table-top iceberg at 09:00. Passengers went out on deck and onto the bow to observe and take photographs.

The ship then sailed to Leith Cove; winds were around 18 knots and the sun was out. Passengers were taken out on zodiac cruises from 10:00 to lunchtime. A group of nine passengers were given a photography cruise with Emily, mountaineers climbed Contessa Point with Tamsin and Kenny, and kayaks were launched with Fran. Lunch was served at 12:00.

Ortelius then sailed to Base Brown/Skontorp Cove where there was a split landing. The first five zodiacs took passengers ashore while the other passengers cruised around Skontorp Cove. Kayaks were launched with Fran, a photography cruise was given with Emily, and mountaineers climbed to a lookout point above Base Brown. Kayakers and zodiacs spotted a humpback whale which they followed and watched for about twenty minutes. At Base Brown, passengers respectfully observed gentoo penguins.

A recap took place in bar at 18:30 where Katja explained the plan for tomorrow and Martin gave a quick presentation on ten common Antarctic bird species. Dinner was served at 19:00. In the evening, Emily helped passengers from today’s photography zodiac cruises edit their photos.

Kayaking

Today the weather delivered. The Beau Soleil school group had got prepared the evening before so it was a quick getaway for the morning session of kayaking at Leith Cove. The wind dropped bit by bit and we col-lected on the water – just in front of the small island that was to be the camping spot that night. We were enchanted by the sight of gentoo penguins around us in the water, sometimes only a matter of feet away, far more interested in ‘grooming’ and washing themselves than us puny kayakers. We started on a journey round Leith Cove which is ringed by ice cliffs. We were chatting briefly about the tendency of the ice cliffs to collapse like the example shown in the video at Neko Harbour. Then just as we were paddling around there was a tremendous roar and a large section of cliff collapsed. Fran very quickly ascertained that we were at a safe distance but told us make sure to turn and face the cliff. Sure enough we could see a small wall of waves building up but it was hidden and deflected by a very large and stable tabular berg which was also a safe distance away. Quickly the only evidence left was a residual swell and we bobbed gently around for a few minutes in open water, hearing it slap off other bergs in vicinity. All too quickly the ses-sion was over and we headed back to the ship for a cruise down to Paradise Bay.

The afternoon was similarly blessed with calm weather perfect for kayaking. It was a little misty and over-cast with a gentle snow falling, extremely atmospheric. The bird cliffs by Base Brown were noisy and active with terns, cormorants and cape petrels; and the waters off the Base itself were teeming with gentoos on their way between their on-land nest sites, and their on-the-water feeding and washing grounds. Early on DJ, who was captaining one of the Zodiacs, found a minke whale in Skontorp Cove and we were able to follow it to the edge of the packed ice. Not wanting to get too close to the ice in a cove that is notorious for glacial calvings, we turned around and headed back to Almirante Brown as we had heard there were crabeater and Weddell seals hauled up on the shore. Unfortunately, we could not get close to them due to (more) ice and shallow waters – but that ended up being to our advantage as looking north to Bryde Chan-nel we could see and hear a humpback whale. We paddled quietly in the direction of the blows, enjoying a time of solitude and silence away from the ship – then the whale turned and came back towards us. We were probably about 100m or more away but it was a special moment, that was soon shared by the Zodiac cruisers. It was a great note to end the day on and few of us will forget the moment of being in the vicinity of this amazing mammal.

Mountaineering

The morning started very windy at Neko Harbour where our original mountaineering objective lay, so the ship sailed round to Leith Cove which was much more sheltered. Despite a later start to the activities, we managed to ascend a simple snow peak with a group of 18 which was dubbed the ‘Lesser Contessa’.

In the afternoon with better weather, we landed on Point Brown. Plan A was to be dropped by Zodiac on the south side of the point and traverse northwards, via the peak, back to the Brown base. After closer in-spection it looked too dangerous to land the Zodiacs on that side of the point (very steep slopes and icy waters), so we went in from the normal side. This was a great afternoon with 12 guests, taking in the peak and a traverse of the glacier below. Wildlife highlights were many gentoo penguins and both minke and humpback whales just off the Base.

Day 6: Ship Cruise: Neumayer Channel, Gerlache Strait area

Ship Cruise: Neumayer Channel, Gerlache Strait area
Fecha: 03.12.2018
Posición: 64°48.6‘S, 063°33.9‘W
Viento: SW 7 Bft
Clima: Snowing
Temperatura del Aire: -1

We woke up to a rather Antarctic morning, with stiff 30+ knot winds and an angry looking sea. Conditions were impossible to go forward with our planned landing at Port Lockroy; even if we could have gotten the zodiacs off the ship it was hard to imagine anyone wanting to go out in that frothy, wave-tossed water. The plan then was to keep a lookout for whales as we cruised back up through the impressive Neumayer Chan-nel and north through Gerlache Strait, as Captain Ernesto and EL Katja tried to find any shelter from the persistent west winds buffeting the peninsula.

We headed to Wilhelmina Bay where there had been reports of calmer waters and where whales can of-ten be found. The hoped-for shelter in Foyn Harbor on the southeast side of Enterprise Island was not enough as the wind was still kicking up above 25 knots, making the water choppy and outside of parame-ters to operate safely.

What we did find was spectacular scenery. So we headed back south into Wilhelmina Bay and enjoyed some time gazing at the >7000’ Mt Johnson and Mt Walker and their impressive snowy slopes, a glaciologist’s paradise. Antarctica was showing off for us, her glorious white slopes, craggy windswept peaks and cliffs, framed by a large expanse of fast ice—an unusual opportunity to appreciate what the shores and bays of Antarctica look like during the winter, all frozen in and creating a platform for life that does not persist during the southern summer.

There were even a few Weddell seals hauled out on the ice at some distance from the ship—only their tracks from the water’s edge inland gave the initial hint that there might be something (besides us!) living and breathing out there in the stark white wilderness. After some skilled manoeuvring by the Captain, we continued on with our ship’s cruise, soaking up the sun and blue skies and heading north, to get into posi-tion for our planned morning excursion to Danco Island. Those that stayed out on deck after another excel-lent dinner by Chef Khabir and team were treated to that special light that happens only rarely, on a clear day, with the sun low on the horizon… a special finish to a classic Antarctic day.

Day 7: Ship Cruise: Errera and Lemaire Channels

Ship Cruise: Errera and Lemaire Channels
Fecha: 04.12.2018
Posición: 64°46.1‘S, 062°40.1‘W
Viento: W Bft 7
Clima: Partly Cloudy
Temperatura del Aire: +2

Rosalie gave a sea ice lecture for breakfast, without being aware of the icy wonders of the day yet to come. Today was the best day of the cruise for many of us! We sailed as far as 65,7 degrees South. During our spectacular ship cruise, we passed through the Errera Channel, the Gerlache Strait, the Lemaire Chan-nel and even the French Passage. The polar environment appeared in a beautiful, soft light and left some of us speechless. Not only the scenery changed throughout the day but also the weather. We experienced everything from clear blue skies to heavy snowfall. It seemed like we met Antarctica in all its different faces.

Our skilled captain brought us safely through the narrow Lemaire Channel and we could lay eyes on one of the most picturesque landscapes found around the Antarctic Peninsula. We saw many icebergs and crabeater as well as Weddell seals resting on the ice. As Martin mentioned, some were lazier than others . While sailing through the Lemaire Channel we were also greeted by our old friends the humpback whales. When we reached Petermann Island, we had a lovely BBQ and karaoke evening in the bar. While some enjoyed themselves very much singing their heart out, others made a snowball fight on deck in penguin costumes. However, most of us spent the evening out on deck enjoying the sea ice and massive ice-bergs. We were sailing through 40cm thick sea ice which covered the ocean up to the horizon. This was the real Antarctic experience, rounded off by hopping Adelie penguins. What an amazing and incredible memorable day!

Day 8: Neko Harbor / Enterprise Island-Foyn Harbor

Neko Harbor /  Enterprise Island-Foyn Harbor
Fecha: 05.12.2018
Posición: 64°48.5‘S, 062°41.9‘W
Viento: NNE 4 Bft
Clima: Partly Cloudy
Temperatura del Aire: +4

It is the eighth day of our trip and we finally have some well-earned good weather. Well, the wind was still around 30 knots in the morning when we headed into Neko Harbour, but we were determined to give the landing a try anyway. Just before eight o´clock the staff headed off towards the shore with the first Zodiacs to scout the landing. One hour later we were all on the shore, astonished by the beautiful scenery of white mountains, blue glaciers, a dark sea, blue sky, and a bright sun. Although the wind had dropped since the early morning we still needed to be on alert; the nearby glacier is active and quite often gigantic chunks of ice crash into the ocean and create massive waves. We certainly don’t want to be on the shore when those waves smash into the shoreline!

From higher ground the Gentoo penguins follow our every single move, apparently just as curious about us as we are about them. The breeding season has begun and many of the penguins in this colony are just about to lay their first egg or are collecting stones for the nest. Watching penguins go about their daily business is both hilarious and, in some ways, quite humbling—it’s incredible to get a glimpse of the hard-ship and determination that is required of the penguins to find their mates, build a nest, and guard the egg.

After lunch, we set sail towards Deception Island, an active volcano just south of the South Shetland Islands. It’s a long way to go and during the afternoon we sail through the Gerlache Strait under a sunny sky. Humpback Whales are seen from the bridge together with snow petrels and other seabirds.

During the late afternoon we had time for a final Zodiac cruise and at 17.30 we are back on the water, this time at Foyn Harbour. The area holds a shipwreck from the whaling era and it is almost unreal to see the rusty bow of the ship through the water in an otherwise so isolated land. The cruise had to be short this time and at 19.00 we are all back at the ship where our dinner awaits. The last event for the day was the daily recap with Katja and her expedition team at nine o’clock. Tomorrow Deception Island, fingers crossed that the weather permits us to land!

Kayaking

It was really touch and go today whether kayaking would happen. After a long night of travel, encountering ice at several places along the way, we arrived back in Neko Harbor with a 20-knot wind blowing and some big down-draughts from the mountains. We had prepared ourselves the evening before so we were pretty ready to go at 07:45 as planned, once we had fitted out the kayaks. Fran decided to give it 15 minutes and headed for the bridge to talk to the Captain and check the wind speeds. When she decided it was “all sys-tems go” we loaded the kayaks and jumped into a Zodiac and headed away from the ship and away from Neko Harbour and the landing site. While it was tempting to go see the penguins on shore, the glacier was actively calving and it was simply too risky so we went further up Andvord Bay and found a clear area to put on. The wind was probably around 16 knots but several of the group were experienced and we faced into the wind and paddled back enjoying some waves but staying safe and dry and most importantly having fun. We saw a humpback whale off to the other side of the bay but for once we decided to just continue paddling though our progress was slow against the wind. After a day or two of being on the ship, everybody was enjoying the chance to stretch their legs and arms and exercise! Back at the ship we helped get the kayaks up and watched the antics of the polar plungers from the side of the ship.

Mountaineering

Today we returned to Andvord Bay for an ascent of the slopes above Neko Harbour. As we progressed be-yond the busy gentoo colonies we were kept moving by the increasingly bitter wind. The determined slog put in by the passengers on the way up was rewarded by clear 180 degree views of Andvord Bay and out to the Gerlache Strait. In the afternoon we bagged a double peak on a small island which lies in the shelter of Enterprise Island. We were treated to a good show by the prolific local birdlife here and despite trying to keep our distance found ourselves being dive bombed by a couple of territorial skuas.

Day 9: Deception Island Ship Cruise, and farewell Antarctica!

Deception Island Ship Cruise, and farewell Antarctica!
Fecha: 06.12.2018
Posición: 62°50.9’S, 060°06’W
Viento: NNW 7 Bft
Clima: Mist
Temperatura del Aire: +2

We woke up inside an active volcano today. However, don’t be deceived, Deception Island wasn’t very wel-coming today. The wind was blowing with over 25 knots with gusts being even stronger. Therefore, we were unable to approach land. Instead we pursued a ship cruise inside the caldera. Even though we couldn’t step foot on the shore and explore the abandoned whaling station, we were able to take a glimpse from afar and get a feeling for the desolate atmosphere. Fog, rain, and driving snow contributed to remind us of this grim past. On the far side of the caldera we were able to see the buildings of two different scien-tific stations with their stark backdrop of breath-taking lunar-like landscape.

As we left the caldera we approached our biggest challenge of the trip. The Drake Shake. The forecast did not look exactly promising which is why most of us participated in a patch party with Tanja the previous night. To begin, the Drake did not seem as bad as expected and the Ortelius was only rocked around by 4m waves. Unfortunately, the forecast worsened and bigger waves were expected for the night. Most passen-gers met us in the bar for a recap and even the dining room was fairly crowded during dinner—perhaps everyone trying to fully enjoy their last moments of relative peace and calm onboard before the proper Shake began.

Day 10: At Sea

At Sea
Fecha: 07.12.2018
Posición: 60°16.6‘S, 061°31.3‘W
Viento: WSW 10 Bft
Clima: Cloudy
Temperatura del Aire: +2

Today, there was no wake-up call, as the Drake Passage was quite rough and it was nicer to just have a sleep in. Swells reached up to 14 m, and winds hovered around 60 knots for the majority of the day, limit-ing our speed to an average of 5 knots for much of the day. Cape petrels could be seen gliding alongside the wake of the Ortelius seemingly oblivious to the wild weather surrounding them.

Passengers enjoyed seated breakfast from 8:00 – 9:00, but due to the heavy seas all lectures were can-celled for the day. Small groups of sturdy passengers could be seen in the bar from time to time, playing cards and passing the time. From 10:30 – 11:30 the bridge was closed while the ABs did some mainte-nance work on deck—fully clipped in and looking like they were enjoying their time outside in the wind and spray. The photo contest, which consisted of submission from passengers to four categories (landscape, wildlife, people, and other) was closed at noon, with over 60 entries across categories. At 12:30, passen-gers were served a plated lunch, and despite it feeling like a quiet ship most passengers seemed to brave the elements to feed their bellies. At 18:15, the daily recap was held in the bar. Katja gave a short briefing followed by DJ with some housekeeping items (all about bills and disembarkation—boo hoo!—but then Katja told us to forget about all of that for the moment since the trip wasn’t over yet!). Then to bring us back to the present and our memories of the trip, Emily ran through all of the photo submissions and then we voted with our personal applause-o-meters for the winners, who received their choice of a photo book or bottle of sparkling wine. Martin then gave a brief talk about the 10 most common birds seen around the ship and their wingspans—it was amazing to see that the wandering albatross has a wingspan equal to the arm-span of two humans! Then after a few funny video clips (… what are you sinking about?) DJ an-nounced for dinner at 19:00 serving another virtually full house. The captain’s safety message reminded us that the decks were still dangerous and slippery and so the decks would be closed until morning. And with that, we ended our day, hoping that the rocking of the ship would lull us to sleep instead of throw us out of the bed!

Day 11: At Sea

At Sea
Fecha: 08.12.2018
Posición: 57°26.2‘S, 062°55.8‘W
Viento: NW 7 Bft
Temperatura del Aire: +7

By popular request last night at recap, Katja’s voice was again heard rousing our consciousnesses just be-fore breakfast began at 8am. With that proper start to the day, the sea day routine was back on, watching the waves out of the windows, seeing what birds might be around the ship, catching up on photo editing, or simply continuing on reading a good book. The outer decks were still closed but the starboard bridge wing door was propped wide open, giving bridge visitors a welcome lungful of fresh air. Seas had calmed over-night so that the waves weren’t giving off as much a show as they had yesterday, but there were still im-pressive bow waves spraying the bridge windows every so often.

For many, the best development on the bridge was the sight of land on the ship’s navigation screen—proof that the past two days at sea were actually resulting in forward progress, towards our eventual goal of Ushuaia port. Despite this promising view on screen, it was evident that the heavy seas had slowed our return progress and our calculated arrival time looks to be about 90 minutes behind schedule. It’s possible that we may be able to make up some time as the ship gets into more sheltered waters later in the day but we will have to see what happens. As the seas have calmed somewhat, the lecture schedule was carried forward with Martin presenting about the lives of penguins at 10:30am. Attendance was high and it seemed interest was too due to the numerous follow up questions from the audience afterwards. After lunch, DJ made the fateful announcement for folks to begin queuing at reception to pay their onboard ac-counts, and the smart ones made sure to pre-order their drinks for after dinner! Then, perhaps after a wee post-lunch snooze, many attended Celine’s talk about seabirds and the challenges they face due to environmental contaminants. Her message was hopeful though—don’t be overwhelmed! There are many small things each of us can do that can make a positive change. For many, the rest of the afternoon was spent divided in focus—trying to enjoy the last of our time onboard, sharing photos, contacts, and memo-ries; but then also anticipating the final end of the voyage tomorrow and all that the transition and travel entails. The evening brought us back to the present and the amazing trip we shared with each other as Captain Ernesto welcomed us to the bar to give a cheer for the voyage and the excellent company in which we have shared the past 10 days. Many toasts were made with Prosecco in our Drake-proof paper cups, and then as a final treat we viewed the slideshow Emily created for us, highlighting so many special mem-ories—what a treat it will be to show friends and family just what we were up to on our trip to the icy con-tinent.

Day 12: Ushuaia

Ushuaia
Fecha: 09.12.2018
Posición: 54°48.6‘S, 068°17‘W

All good things come to an end, as they say. Today was our last morning on Ortelius. After a last night in the cabin, which had started to feel like home already to some of the guests. Guests were instructed to put their suitcases in the corridors this morning so the crew could take them out and off the ship to be ready for transport to the airport or the storage facility in town. After one more breakfast it was time to say goodbye. Goodbye to the ship and its crew and staff, and to all new friends made. Appointments were made to stay in touch and farewells were said. All could look back to a very nice and successful trip. At 8:30 everyone handed in the keys to the cabins, picked up the luggage from the pier, and set off by bus or foot towards our individual destinies, heading for new adventures and with many great memories.

Thank you all for such a wonderful voyage, for your company, good humour and enthusiasm. We hope to see you again in the future, wherever that might be!


Furthest South: 65°12‘ S 64°11‘ W
Total Distance Sailed: 1906 NM

On behalf of Oceanwide Expeditions, Captain Ernesto Barria, Expedition Leader Katja Riedel, Hotel Manager Dejan Nikolic, and all the crew and staff, it has been a pleasure travelling with you.

Detalles

Código del viaje: OTL24-18
Fechas: 28 Nov – 9 Dec, 2018
Duración: 11 noches
Barco: El Ortelius
Embarque: Ushuaia
Desembarque: Ushuaia

Aboard El Ortelius

El barco Ortelius, con casco reforzado para el hielo, es un excelente barco para cruceros de expedición polar en el Ártico y la Antártida.

More about the El Ortelius >>