|54° 48’S / 068° 17’W
|Temperatura del Aire:
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.