HDS25-19, trip log, Antarctica - Discovery and Learning Voyage

by Oceanwide Expeditions

Bitácora

Day 1: Embarkation, Ushuaia

Embarkation, Ushuaia
Fecha: 20.12.2019
Posición: 58°48’.5S, 008°18’.1 W
Viento: SW4
Clima: Partly cloudy
Temperatura del Aire: +10

Many of us spent several months dreaming about our forthcoming Antarctic voyage, and hours shopping, reading, preparing logistics, excitedly chatting with family, friends, colleagues and neighbours about it. For most, this was followed by hours, if not days, travelling by planes, cars, buses to the end of the world, Ushuaia, where we were due to embark the MV Hondius.

We spent the day ambling about this lovely Patagonian city, savouring the local flavours and enjoying the sights. Ushuaia marks the end of the road in Argentine Tierra del Fuego, but also the beginning, the beginning of a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. During the summer this rapidly growing frontier town bustles with adventurous travellers. The duty-free port flourishes with tourism but also thrives on a sizeable crab fishery and a quickly growing electronics industry. Ushuaia, which means “bay that penetrates to the west” in the indigenous Yaghan tongue clearly benefits from its magnificent, yet remote setting. The rugged spine of the South American Andes ends here, where two oceans meet. As could be expected from such an exposed setting, the weather has the habit of changing in a blink of an eye. However, temperatures during the long days of the austral summer are relatively mild, providing a final breathe of warmth before heading off on our adventure down south.

For many this was the start of a lifelong dream, so guests eagerly awaited at the bottom of the gangway at 16:00 ready to board the ship MV Hondius, our home for the next 10 days. We were greeted at the gangway by members of the Expedition Team who were enjoying the warm sunshine having just returned from Antarctica that morning. Our luggage was already on board so after a short wait on the wharf we made our way up the gangway and onto the good ship. We were met at reception by the fabulous hotel staff who were there to assist with checked in and guide us to our cabins.

Shortly after boarding we convened in the Observation Lounge on Deck 5 to meet Expedition Leader, Florence Kuyper who gave us an overview of the expedition and the ship. They were then joined by First Officer, Matei, who led us through the details of the required SOLAS (Safety of Life At Sea) Safety and Lifeboat Drill, assisted by the crew and staff. On hearing the alarm, we gathered at our designated muster station, for the abandon ship drill donning our huge orange life jackets that will keep us safe should the need arise. At 19:00 we returned to the lounge for Captains Cocktails, where we had a chance meet our Captain Remmert Jan Koster and toast our voyage with a glass of Prosecco.

Shortly after dinner, the navigational pilot that is required to transit the Beagle Channel boarded the Hondius and we set sail, finally we were underway!

The rest of the evening was occupied with more exploration of the ship, adjusting to her movements, settling into our cabins and meeting fellow travellers, before retiring for the evening for our first night at sea.

Day 2: At Sea, Drake Passage

At Sea, Drake Passage
Fecha: 21.12.2019
Posición: 57°56’.5S, 065°25’.9 W
Viento: N6/7
Clima: Overcast
Temperatura del Aire: +8

During the night the gentle rolling of our berths reminded us where we were. We woke to see a moderate swell. Some were queasy, but most turned out for coffee or breakfast. We soon learned that Hondius will be our dancing partner for the voyage. Walking the corridors required that we get in step with her rhythm – swaying, rising and falling in her time – and always keeping one hand free for her.

The morning saw the proper kick-off of the voyage with the introduction of the Expedition Team by Florencerence. She showed the IAATO briefing on our proper behaviour during landings and how to ensure that our impact on the wildlife and environment is minimized. Then came an overview of zodiac operations and Plan A for the expedition. We learned that, as expeditioners, we must expect that plans can and will change. We were fitted for boots to be used during excursions and picked up our rental gear. Anticipation was building all the time.

After lunch we started the series of lectures that helped us learn about our destination. First up was Martin who introduced us to the birds of the Southern Ocean in his talk Seabirds – Masters of the Sea and Sky. During the day we had a chance to explore the ship, visit the Bridge, and spend some time on the outer decks where we were able to admire those seabirds that Martin had introduced.

During the Bio-Security Party we all did a thorough clean of our equipment with the Expedition Team on hand to inspect the results. We needed to ensure that we didn’t carry any invasive species or diseases to this pristine wilderness. We took our responsibility seriously.
At Recap George and Neill gave an introduction to their photo and video workshop; Neill got us thinking out our responsibility when we take and post our photos on social media; John showed us how knowledge of the great unknown land of the south (Terra Australis Incognita) developed through mapmaking; and Sarah introduced us to the fun citizen science website HappyWhale.com.

Unfortunately, the dining room was underpopulated for dinner, not because of the food or service, which were excellent, but due to the sea state worsening during the afternoon. Pity.
This also reduced the numbers and energy in the lounge after dinner too, but good fun was had but those that were able to be there.

Day 3: At Sea, Drake Passage

At Sea, Drake Passage
Fecha: 22.12.2019
Posición: 60°48’.5S, 064°42’.0 W
Viento: NW3
Clima: Partly cloudy
Temperatura del Aire: +3

Overnight, we sailed through the search area where the Chilean aircraft was believed to have gone down and we also passed the biological boundary of Antarctica, the Antarctic Convergence. When we woke, the air was much cooler and different seabird species were seen flying around the ship. The sea had calm somewhat and the big swell from the night before was long gone.

After a good breakfast, we all gathered in the lounge to attend our first day of lectures to prepare us for what we would see in the forthcoming days. First up, Meike gave a presentation about the cutest and most charismatic of birds, the penguins. This was followed by Lauras’ lecture about ice in Antarctica which helped us understand the different type of ice we are going to see down in the Peninsula. In the middle of the presentation, we were interrupted by a group of humpback whales feeding close to the ship. We were really excited to see our first Antarctic marine mammals. As is typical of humpbacks, they gave us a beautiful show, showing their tails and flippers with lots of surface activity. Unfortunately, we could not spend long with them as we had a considerable distance to go to reach our morning destination of the Weddell Sea, however the Expedition Team were confident we would other chances to see these incredible creatures over the next few days.

In the afternoon, John told us the most famous and dramatic story in the history of Antarctic exploration in his lecture on Sir Ernest Shackleton and The Imperial Transantarctic Expedition 1914-1917. This was followed by Neill and Georges, who presented all the tips and tricks we should know about making beautiful shots and videos in Antarctica. Shortly after afternoon tea being served in the lounge Ben and Vide gathered the campers for their mandatory briefing in the lecture room.

At Recap, Florence presented the plan for the next day and we were really excited by the thought of getting off the ship and actually setting foot on the Antarctic Continent at Brown Bluff. Neill concluded recap with a presentation about how to dress when we are shore. There was a real sense of excitement in the dining room as people happily chatted about their hopes and expectations for the following days.

Unfortunately, due to thick, low lying fog we could not see the South Shetland Islands as we passed them, however this allowed for a slightly earlier night than expected for some and a chance to prepare ourselves for our first day in Antarctica.

Day 4: Weddell Sea

Weddell Sea
Fecha: 23.12.2019
Posición: 63°28’.4S, 056°53’.1 W
Viento: S8
Clima: Snow
Temperatura del Aire: -4

The view this morning was a dramatic scene, the rugged cliffs of Brown Bluff emerging from the clouds and mist of the Antarctic Peninsula. The sea was full of icebergs of every shape and size, and every shade of white and blue imaginable. Indescribable. Welcome to the Antarctic Peninsula.

As we enjoyed breakfast, Florence and the expedition team dropped zodiacs into the churning ocean, trying to find safe harbour on the beaches of Brown Bluff. Despite their best efforts, given winds of 35knotts and gusts up to 45, the landing was abandoned and the team returned to the ship safe, but dripping wet. Once the zodiacs were safely stowed, our Captain steered Hondius East and we ventured into the icy oceans of the Weddell Sea.

An exciting moment for all onboard awaited us as we set sail into the mist – our first Penguin siting’s. From the decks of Hondius we saw countless Adélie Penguins perched on icebergs and swimming through the icy waters. Undoubtedly the cutest and cuddliest of the penguins that call Antarctica home, the Adélie penguins put on quite a show for the eager photographers onboard.

As we sailed deeper into the Weddell, passing huge tabular icebergs, John entertained us in the Observation Lounge, explaining the development of ice shelves and the way meteorites have helped shape the peninsular. At one moment his lecture was interrupted by siting’s of humpback whales diving in search of krill just off the ships bow.

As the day progressed the winds eased and by the afternoon, the team had found a small bay between Jonassen and Andersson Islands for zodiac cruising. From the rubber pontoons of our vessels we saw blue-eyed Antarctic shag, rare Snowy Petrels, Skua ‘s feasting and even a curious crabeater seal that came to inspect these strange visitors and of course plenty of penguins.

At Recap, Florence presented the plan for the next day followed by Laura who told us more about the origins of the enormous tabular icebergs we had seen in the Weddell sea. Finally, Sara shared her tips for seal identification and then, after an amazing first day on the Peninsula, it was time for another delicious dinner from our galley team.

As the passengers slept, one could swear the jingling of reindeer bells could be heard in the distance overhead as Santa made his final approach towards Hondius for Christmas.

Day 5: Orne Harbour and Orne Islands

Orne Harbour and Orne Islands
Fecha: 24.12.2019
Posición: 63°28’.4S, 056°53’.1 W
Viento: NE6
Clima: Snow
Temperatura del Aire: -1

It was another windy morning in Antarctica. Before the wake-up call, we were already right in front of Hydrurga Island. After assessing the conditions, Florence, decided that is was impossible to land consequently changed our plan and aim for Orne Harbour, which will be the first continental landing of the expedition. While cruising in the peninsula, we listened to Sarah talking about whales and all their mysteries.

At 10:15, the expedition team were ready to jump into their zodiacs and scout the area to find the best landing site. The ‘normal’ landing site was blocked with ice so the team headed out of the Harbour and past Spiggot Point, to find a second potential option. After half an hour or so they managed to find a small rocky outcrop where small groups could be landed on the Antarctica Continent. Each group also had the chance to do a zodiac cruise along the coast where we saw chinstrap and gentoo penguins jumping in and out of the water and nesting on the rocks. Even with the wind blowing and the snow falling, we

were captivated by these little creatures playing around our zodiacs. Some of us were lucky enough to see our first crabeater seal slowly swimming in the water. It felt good after three full days to finally stretch our legs, if only briefly, on land. It was with heads full of memories and stomachs empty, that we went back the ship. What an adventurous morning!

Luckily, our next landing, Orne Island, was just around the corner. After a short sail and a good meal, we were back in our outdoor clothes and life-jackets. As soon as possible, the Expedition Team picked the yellow and green groups from the ship and dropped them onshore. The gusty wind and the snow storm from this morning had disappeared and we were left with a beautiful, still, overcast afternoon. The soft light on the mountains and the ice was amazing and set the mood for the afternoon. On land, we were able to see two colonies of penguin, one of Chinstrap penguins and one of Gentoo’s. The chinstraps were easy to identify with their black beaks and black chinstrap. Most of them were sitting on their nests and incubating eggs, so did not move a great deal, but a few penguins were still playing with rocks, building their nests or going up or down the hill which was really entertaining. The view at the top of the colony was breath taking. For the other half of the group, the red and blue group, they started with a zodiac cruises that brought them all around the island. Weddell seal, crabeater seals, penguins and even some Humpback whales in the distance was part of the experience. Navigating around the ice and searching for the wildlife was what made it so interesting. After an hour, we swapped and the green/yellow group went for a cruise while the red/blue group enjoyed time shore.

After getting back on the ship, as usual, we had the daily recap where Florence explained the plan for tomorrow. However, it was a Christmas day and Michael, our Hotel Manager, surprised us with a glass of Kir Royale, the perfect way to finish this wonderful day.

Because it was already late, we went straight to dinner where the amazing galley team had prepared a delicious 6 course Christmas dinner. Celebrating Christmas in these conditions was very surreal and quite emotional for many! We finished our day in the lounge where we enjoyed a celebratory dink or two while Humpback Whales were spotted numerous times playing whilst we cruised the Gerlache Straight.

Kayaking Log
After setting foot on the Antarctic Continent at Orne Harbour twenty-two paddlers took the chance for their first paddling experience in Antarctica. The 25 knots of wind that we experienced in the morning had calmed down to pleasant kayaking conditions and the weather cleared up as we approached Orne island. We paddled along the shoreline beneath, a Gentoo Penguin Colony, a Gentoo jumped up right in front of the bow of one of the kayaks, giving everyone a bit of a surprise. It was a wonderful way to spend our Christmas Eve and work up an appetite for the Christmas feast that awaited us on board.

Day 6: Port Charcot Island and Peterman Island

Port Charcot Island and Peterman Island
Fecha: 25.12.2019
Posición: 65°06’.6S, 064°00’.0 W
Viento: N1
Clima: Overcast
Temperatura del Aire: -1

Merry Christmas!! Christmas Day in Antarctica!! Santa Claus had to come a long way to find us, but we all received a present in the morning, not under the tree, but with a passage through the Lemaire Channel. The conditions were superb with muted skies and no wind. This brought out the colours of the ice and turned the sea into a mirror reflecting the craggy peaks. There was even a dusting of light snow to add sparkle. An exciting but yet peaceful way to start a special day. We missed our friends and families, but were happy to share this occasion with our fellow expeditioners.

Our morning landing was just around the corner overlooking Port Charcot where the French explorer Jean Baptiste Charcot and his men had overwintered in 1904 aboard the ship Francais. We were able to visit the remains of the stone hut that they used for magnetic observations and the large Gentoo penguin colony. The view over the bay full of ice was outstanding. Even better was being out in the bay during the zodiac cruise. This is an area were many large icebergs congregate – like an ‘Iceberg Graveyard. As we wound our way among them to marvel at the variety of sizes, shapes and colours, we spotted Crabeater seals, and for a few lucky boats, a Minke whale.

As we ate lunch the Hondius shifted to our afternoon landing site at Port Circumcision on Petermann Island, there was a small flurry of snow as we transitioned. This continued and deepened so that during most of the landing large soft snowflakes drifted gently down. Simply Beautiful.

Charcot spent two winters at this site, so history was again on our minds, but, as always, the penguins stole the show. The Gentoos were busy on their highways, and some chicks were seen in the Adélie colony. A sleepy Weddell seal never moved from the ice floe in the middle of the bay despite our intrusion. Several groups of Crabeater seals were spotted during the zodiac cruise. What a wonderful way to celebrate the furthest south point of our expedition.
We must have been good little boys and girls because Santa Claus decided to give us another present – also in the Lemaire Channel. Our return passage through this narrow channel was in sunshine with blue skies and phenomenal light on the mountains. Wow. What could be better? How about hot chocolate and rum on the bow courtesy of the Hotel Team? Wow!

At Recap Sara showed how penguins are counted using satellite photos, and how we can help count them through PenguinWatch.org; Isabelle showed how photo colours are analysed to help understand the variety of life here; and Neill introduced the photo competition.

Christmas dinner was the anything but traditional, Biryani rice and Thai curried vegetables, but nonetheless delicious.

For some expeditioners even a day this full was not enough – so they decided to go camping. They were dropped off for the night to dig their own beds and get cosy. They were even tired enough to get a little sleep.
What a Christmas. One like we have never seen before and will likely never see again.

Kayaking Log
After transiting the Lemaire Channel before breakfast our first group of paddlers for the day had the chance to kayak in the Iceberg Graveyard, or the Iceberg Garden as Florence preferred to call it. Twelve paddlers were very happy about the calm conditions and thought it was incredibly exciting to paddle around the towering icebergs, they even witnessed a small calving, at a safe distance of course. Several groups of Gentoo penguins were seen porpoising the water and they were lucky enough to see a couple of Crabeater seals hauled out on ice floes.

During lunch, snow began to fall, which really added to the magic and dramatic quality of Petermann Island which was the location for our afternoon’s activity. The paddling was quite challenging as the surrounding bays were full of brash ice and bergy bits. There were plenty of penguins to be seen, in and out of the water and a few lazy Crabeater seals resting on small ice floes. Quite some Christmas Adventure!

Camping Log
After a long day of activity, we sailed in to Paradise Harbour, planning to stay overnight at Connessa Point. After some surveying of the site it was decided too challenging and our Expedition Team established contact with the staff of Base Almirante Brown. After some friendly talk it was decided we could camp at ‘’Punta Bis’’, close to the base. We could not have found a better spot. Beautiful light, Weddell seals, Humpback whales and Gentoo penguins all helped us to reach our ultimate goal: Happy Campers!

At 04.15 we woke up, cold but not frozen, and returned to the Hondius – filled with memories that would last for a lifetime!

Day 7: Danco Island and Portal Point

Danco Island and Portal Point
Fecha: 26.12.2019
Posición: 63°28’.4S, 056°53’.1 W
Viento: NE6
Clima: Snow
Temperatura del Aire: -1

On this early morning of our last day in Antarctica we had a very mixed way of starting the day. While most of us woke up by the familiar voice of Florence speaking from the bridge, thirty-eight guests and two guides woke up in their sleeping bags after a night of camping on the Antarctic mainland, in Paradise Harbour. The early birds on board the Hondius could notice staff members were busy by 5:00 collecting the cold campers and to prepare for another day full of adventure.

The first activity of the day took place on and around Danco Island, located in the Errera strait – a place with many opportunities for the adventurous.

The ‘fit, fast and furious’ joined Sara in an extended hike to the very top of the island, whilst others chose to use their time at one of the several Gentoo penguin colonies located on the slopes, a small group went out kayaking around the icebergs and at the very end of the landing the bravest even decided to challenge their physical limits by doing a ‘Polar Plunge’ in the icy waters! There was also a zodiac cruise offer around the icebergs, looking for wildlife, a lucky few saw their first Sothern Elephant seal and Leopard seal of the voyage.

When we came back to the Hondius the galley had prepared a bountiful buffet lunch, so that we could recharge our energy levels as the vessel navigated further North through the Gerlache Strait towards our afternoon landing site: Portal Point. While most of us had their minds focused on the fact that we were in for another continental landing a few other things happened as we approached the site. As we were rounding the Reclus Peninsula, we started observing large numbers of humpback whales.

While the expedition staff where preparing the zodiacs and the beach for our arrival we could see them in every direction of the ship. Tail slapping, breaching, lunge feeding, surface rolling – almost every possible type of humpback behaviour was displayed. The majority of us got the most spectacular whale encounter of our lives, tail flukes in every direction, whales swimming right under our zodiacs and water spouts from exhaling humpbacks so close that we could smell the krill on their breath! So, enchanting that, for a second we nearly forgot about the enormous icebergs, even larger than the Hondius, that surrounded the bay. At least until the very largest of them started collapsing and created a massive wave that spread out in every direction. While the first group cruised the other went ashore to walk on the glacial outcrops and enjoy the snoozing Weddell seals and the ever so adoring Gentoo penguins ashore, the other half went out by zodiac to have a closer look at the Humpbacks. When it was time to swap the groups, there were many excited people standing in line to hop in the zodiacs, nervous that they might have missed the show – but rest assured the feeding frenzy of Humpbacks resumed and there where whales aplenty for all of us! One of them, a truly rare sight, was a humpback with only half a tail – most probably the result of entanglement.

The whales had put on such a show that we were running a little later than planned and there wasn’t even time for our daily re-cap, arriving back at the ship only minutes before dinner was being served.

As we dined, the Hondius set her course North and the announcement was made that we were in fact leaving Antarctica and headed for the treacherous waters of the Drake Passage. Our minds where full of impressions and feelings. From the stormy waters of the Weddell sea to the glassy surface of the Lemaire channel, we had seen Antarctica in most of her moods and weathers. Our memory cards where full and our camera batteries empty – truly a sign of a successful Oceanwide expedition.

Kayaking Log
We arrived at Danco Island shortly after the wakeup call, it was slightly foggy and there was barely any wind, it was a magical morning. Seven paddlers took to the water and circumnavigated the island, observing Gentoo Penguins and several Crabeater seals along the way and even spotted a few Humpbacks on the horizon that were feeding in the channel.

Shortly after 16:00, we started operations in Charlotte Bay, whilst the land lovers went ashore at Portal Point. Before the kayaks and Zodiacs were lowered into the water, we could see the bay was bubbling with whale activity, there were humpbacks feeding in every direction, we could hope they would stay around long enough for us to get a closer look. With a gently NE wind, the nine paddlers boarded their kayaks from the safety zodiac and headed in the direction of the ‘whale soup’. We made use of the tailwind but were cautious to keep a safe distance from the towering icebergs that loomed all around. Of course, everyone was keen to get a little closer to the giants of the sea, but so as not to disturb the whales we stayed together and allowed ourselves to drift in the wind. The whales were incredible relaxed around the kayaks and approached very close, it was quite incredible to see these enormous creatures alongside our little kayaks, it gave a real sense of size and perspective. The highlight for the paddlers was when a humpback surfaced just meters in front of them with a large gapping mouth as it took a huge gulp of krill infested water, what better way to conclude the kayaking program in Antarctica. An unforgettable gift…

Day 8: At Sea, Drake Passage

At Sea, Drake Passage
Fecha: 27.12.2019
Posición: 61°59’.4S, 062°31’.1 W
Viento: NNE
Clima: Fog
Temperatura del Aire: +1

We woke at a leisurely time of 07:45 to the now familiar refrains of Florence and her wake-up call. She let us know that the weather outside was pretty good (for the Drake Passage!); air temperatures were around 4°C and a light easterly breeze ruffled the surface of the water. Many of us were a little later than usual for breakfast, taking the opportunity to stay in bed for a few extra minutes after the exertions of the previous week.

After another sumptuous breakfast we gathered in the Observation Lounge; an opportunity for a cup of tea or coffee, and our last chance to submit entries to the Photo Competition. Laura, our onboard geologist, then took the floor and gave an interesting lecture about the geology of Antarctica. We learnt that Antarctica, as it looks today, is a relatively recent phenomenon. The permanent ice sheet which smothers the land has existed for only around 30 million years, when Antarctica became separated from the surrounding continents and was thermally isolated from the rest of the world by the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. We also learnt that Antarctica is still very geologically active. There a frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, and most of this activity is focused in the area that we have been visiting – the Antarctic Peninsula.

Before long, it was time for lunch and we admired the shifting seascapes of the Drake Passage from the Dining Room windows. The Drake was starting to show her teeth; during the afternoon the wind steadily increased, and the waves grew in concert too.

In the afternoon Vide gave a really insightful lecture on the Antarctic Treaty system, explaining the history behind the unusual political agreement which governs Antarctica. In essence Antarctica is owned by nobody, or everybody, depending on how you look at it. Regardless of ownership, it is very strictly protected; Antarctica is the largest area of pristine wilderness on our planet.

After a chance for an afternoon nap we regrouped in the Lounge for a talk about phytoplankton from Isabelle, one of the marine biologists in the Expedition Team. She introduced these fascinating organisms and explained their immense importance in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean – these microscopic, single-celled organisms are the base of the entire food chain. The abundance of wildlife that we have enjoyed over the last week is entirely dependent on these unique marine plants.

Dinner was wonderful, as usual, although the increasing movements of the ship caused a few of us to retire to our cabins a little earlier than usual. The brave, and the medicated, gathered after dinner for the photo competition. The general photo competition was won by a fun image of a penguin snowman constructed at one of the landing sites. The landscape category was won by a wonderful photo of icebergs in the Lemaire Channel. Finally, the animals category was won by a gorgeous photos of an Adelie penguin with its chick.

As the evening drew to a close we carefully retired to our bunks, Hondius was now pitching pretty vigorously in the maelstrom of wind and waves around the ship. It proved a little difficult to undertake even simple tasks, like the brushing of teeth, but once in bed the rocking sent us off to sleep.

Day 9: At Sea, Drake Passage

At Sea, Drake Passage
Fecha: 28.12.2019
Posición: 56°51’.2S, 065°27’.2 W
Viento: WNW4
Clima: Sunny
Temperatura del Aire: +5

During the night the ship had rocked and rolled with the significant swells, bouncing and pitching along the way. Many of us did not get much sleep so the morning was a rather quiet affair, with most people taking to their cabins either to tend to their seasickness or to make up for lost sleep. For those feeling bright eyed, the Bridge was a good place to be, to keep an eye on the horizon as well as to look out for birds and marine mammals. It was a bright sunny morning and the wind and swell continually reduced as we approached South America and found a little protection from the mainland.
Meike began the lecture programme with an interesting talk on ‘Albatross’. During our voyage we have seen many albatrosses and it was really fascinating to learn more about these giant seabirds and the threats they are now facing.

At 11:00 Sara gave her presentation ‘Women in Antarctica’, about the women behind the heroic explorers and how despite their very different personalities they each provided the foundation for the success of their partners. She also shed some light on the transition of Antarctica from being a men’s only domain to one where researchers and explorers of both sexes pursue their dreams and passions.
By lunch time the sea had significantly calmed, consequently most people had regained their appetites and the light hearted chatter of the dining room that we had become accustomed to, resumed once more.

After lunch Ben gave a presentation about the Beagle Channel which was well timed as we were now almost in view of the historical piece of water, he also spoke about the orginal inhabitants of Tierra del Fuego. The lecture program for the day concluded with a mini-series from the Expedition Team about human impacts on the Antarctic environment, which got us thinking about ways that we can all contribute to the changes that will be required if we have a hope of preserving this last great wilderness.

Before dinner, there was a chance to raise a glass of bubbly and toast a successful voyage with the Captain and Expedition Team. Michael also took the opportunity to introduce and thank his hotel department for their hard work and commitment to making this such a wonderful and memorable voyage. The recap concluded with a short video complied by George of video clips that other guests had summited and a slideshow, built day by day by Neill, of all of our unique experiences in Antarctic.

It was almost sad to be called to our last dinner, but nonetheless spirits were high in the dining room. While waiting for desert to be served, (homemade tiramisu), Michael introduced the galley team.! It was fantastic to finally see the hardworking kitchen team that had prepared such wonderful meals for us, despite some less than ideal sea conditions at times, Head Chef Ivan and his team has been outstanding from start to finish.

As we cruised into Ushuaia, the sun was shining beautifully on the surrounding mountains and there was a wonderful rainbow to be seen peeping over the mountain tops, it seemed just the perfect ending to a fabulous trip.

Day 10: Disembarkation, Ushuaia

Disembarkation, Ushuaia
Fecha: 29.12.2019
Posición: 58°48’.5S, 008°18’.1 W
Viento: WNW5
Clima: Partly cloudy
Temperatura del Aire: +9

Today we were woken by the last wake-up call from our Expedition Leader Florence and got ready to disembark in Ushuaia. The last 10 days have taken us on an eye-opening journey to the frozen continent and allowed us a short glimpse into an environment that most will never see. We all had slightly different experiences but whatever the memories, whether it was our first-time onboard zodiacs, hiking in rubber boots, seeing massive ice cliffs, sitting with penguins watching their funny antics or making new friends, they are memories that will stay with us for the rest of our lives.

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!

Total distance sailed on our voyage: 1,820 nautical miles

Furthest South: 65°18’.1 S, 064°07’.88 W

On behalf of Oceanwide Expeditions, Captain Remmert Jan Koster, Expedition Leader Florence Kuyper, Hotel Manager Michael Frauendorfer and all the crew and staff, it has been a pleasure travelling with you.

Detalles

Código del viaje: HDS25-19
Fechas: 20 dic. - 29 dic., 2019
Duración: 9 noches
Barco: El Hondius
Embarque: Ushuaia
Desembarque: Ushuaia

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Aboard El Hondius

Hondius es el primer buque polar Clase 6 que haya sido registrado en el mundo, cumpliendo con los últimos y más altos requisitos de la Lloyd’s Register para cruceros de casco reforzado para el hielo.

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