PLA26-23, trip log, Antarctica - Basecamp

by Oceanwide Expeditions


Day 1: Ushuaia, Embarkation Day

Ushuaia, Embarkation Day
Fecha: 03.01.2023
Posición: 54°48.6’S / 068°18.0’W
Viento: W5
Clima: Gust/Rain
Temperatura del Aire: +9

Finally, the day arrived for our adventure! Many of us have waited a long time for this day. We embarked on board our home for the next 12 days at about 4pm. It was windy in Ushuaia, but we got some sunny holes.

We entered the port and were welcomed by the Expedition Team and the Hotel Team at the Plancius’ gangway. After we had been shown to our rooms, we started to explore the ship and our new environment, soon followed the briefing for the mandatory safety drill and drill itself.

It was interesting to see the 105 fellow passengers in the bulky orange lifevests. Before dinner Martin, our Expedition Leader (EL), invited us to the lounge where we went through some basic information about life on the Plancius, the general plan for the trip and the weather forecast for the upcoming days. Volodymyr, our Hotel Manager, gave us useful advice about practicalities of life on board.

After the drill was complete and the shore staff were ready to free our lines, it was time to leave Ushuaia behind. We set off down the Beagle Channel in a l

For many the travel days to reach the remote town of Ushuaia were long, so most of us went to bed shortly after the fantastic buffet. We enjoyed settling into our new temporary home and cannot wait for the adventures that will begin soon.

Day 2: crossing the Drake Passage

crossing the Drake Passage
Fecha: 04.01.2023
Posición: 56°37.8’S / 065°40.3’W
Viento: SW 7/8
Clima: Partly cloudy
Temperatura del Aire: +5

Martin, our Expedition Leader, woke us up in the morning. The night passed with some rolling and pitching of our temporary home Plancius.

We had a nice breakfast, even though the dining room was not completely full. Well, some of us are still in the process of growing their sea legs.

The morning passed by with some mandatory briefings for Antarctica. During the IAATO-Briefing, we learned more about the rules and regulations for the white continent and afterwards we got information about the operation with the zodiacs – our mode of transport to get on shore.

Within the rules of Antartica we need to ensure that we do not bring any invasive species in – bio security plays an important role in the protection and conservation of nature here. So during the afternoon we inspected all our outer gear, as well as our mugboots that the Expedition Team handed out. The times passed quick between mandatory briefings and laying down to not get more seasick.

In the evening we gathered together for our daily recap and some info  about the upcoming day. The tasty dinner made us quite tired. So the bar was just occupied with some energetic guests, most of us went to bed dreaming of arriving to Antarctica.

Well, Martin mentioned 2 days sailing… so we need 2 more sleeps until we are there.

We can do it.

Day 3: crossing the Drake Passage

crossing the Drake Passage
Fecha: 05.01.2023
Posición: 60°56.7’S / 063°15.2’W
Viento: W 3
Clima: Clear
Temperatura del Aire: +3

This morning we got woken up just before 8 am by the voice of out lovely expedition leader, Martin. The rockin’ and rollin’ Drake of yesterday, seemed to be transformed into a Drake Lake today. Fortunately for most of us…

After breakfast we got a visit from a fin whale, the second largest whale species around here in the Southern Ocean. Furthermore, we got the exceptional sight of a group of long finned pilot whales, swimming by under the shining sun of today.

At the end of the morning, we came together in the observation lounge to sign ourselves up for all the activities that we will be doing when visiting the Antarctic Peninsula:

Mountaineering with Dave and Richard, camping with Anthonie and Chris and kayaking with Zet. What a special week we will have! After lunch we finished the last biosecurity actions, were able to rest a bit AND even got the stunning visit of a southern bottlenose whale! It was such a special and rare site, many of the guides never had a close sight of this species yet. Later in the afternoon, we got to learn more about the seabirds that are seen in this region. It was Martin who shared his passion of ornithology with us.

Before the dinner cooked by our exceptional kitchen crew, we talked about the plans for tomorrow in the recap. It will be a bit rougher qua wind than it was today, so fingers crossed whether we can make our first landings in the South Shetland Islands tomorrow morning!

Thereby, Koen gave us a quick heads-up about photography in sunny and ”bright” circumstances. Christiaan ended the talk with a small introduction of the Antarctic Peninsula.

Day 4: Walker Bay and Deception Island ships cruises

Walker Bay and Deception Island ships cruises
Fecha: 06.01.2023
Posición: 62°42.7’S / 60°37.6’W
Viento: NW8
Clima: partly cloudy
Temperatura del Aire: +6

Today marks our first day in Antarctica, early this morning we arrived at the South Shetland Islands. This group of islands lies about 120 km north of the Antarctic peninsula. This time of year, the islands are beautiful as they are only partially covered by the permanent layers of snow and ice, while other parts of the islands are exposed with geological structures and vegetation. For that reason, the islands have an abundance of wildlife around.

The site we visited first today was Walkers Bay on the south coast of Livingstone Island. As we know, Antarctica is one of the windiest places on earth, and today is not any different from that. The winds exceeded 40 knots, which made it impossible for us to get off the ship. The winds make the operations with the zodiacs and at the gangway too dangerous. Our expedition leader, Martin, made the call together with the captain to go for plan B. After weighing the anchor, we were back on our way leaving Walkers Bay behind and setting course for Deception Island!

Deception Island is one of the most special places in Antarctica! Deception Island is one of the most active volcanoes of Antarctica and over the past century it had undergone several eruptions, the most recent happening in 1970. It is located on the Bransfield basin, where extension over the last 4 million years (of a rate of 10mm/year) has caused the opening of the Bransfield Strait, and volcanism. The rifting is related to trench rollback which is related to the adjacent subduction zone.

The volcanism is mainly below sea level but three of these volcanic centers make it above sea level: Deception Island, Penguin Island and Bridgeman Island. These islands form the youngest emerged land of the South Shetland archipelago.

Whilst sailing through Neptune’s Bellows, the storm was still blowing strong with restless gusts. On starboard side of Plancius, the huge and majestic basaltic cliffs of Cathedral Crags were welcoming us into the active caldera basin.

On the bridge, focus was high and M/V Plancius was capably steered through the narrow passage despite the intense wind. Once we passed the Bellows a great sense of relief and awe was in the air. We first went for a ship’s cruise through the caldera called Port Foster, after which we dropped anchor in Whalers Bay. The winds were still too strong to start operations, we waited patiently, hoping for the winds to decrease. In the meantime, Esther gave a lecture on sealing and whaling, which plays a major role in the history of Deception Island. Steffi also gave a lecture on whales, how to identify different species and about their characteristics. We waited until 6 pm in the bay, but unfortunately the winds didn’t drop. After we sailed out of the bellows, we sighted a pot of killer whales! We got a truly amazing sight of these magnificent animals, making up for the windy weather we got today. As we didn’t get off the ship today, we did get our first impressions of the beauty of Antarctica!

Day 5: Cuverville Island and Danco Island

Cuverville Island and Danco Island
Fecha: 07.01.2023
Posición: 64°40.6’S / 062°37.7’W
Viento: W2
Clima: rain
Temperatura del Aire: +5

This morning we were woken by our expedition leader at 7.15 am, ready for our first day of landings in Antarctica. After being ship-bound for three days due to the Drake Passage crossing and the windy weather yesterday, getting onto the land to move around and experience Antarctica beneath our feet was a moment we were all very excited for.

Out on deck first thing in the morning there was some wind, but thankfully not enough to prevent any landings. There was some low cloud over the mountains with the occasional clearing illuminating a bright patch on the hillside. The scenery was dramatic, and the ice laden mountains were spectacular.

Cuverville Island is a small island adjacent to Rongé Island. From Plancius’ anchor position we could see the high mountains of the Antarctic Peninsula disappearing up into the clouds. The island is characterized by a snow-covered hill with a vertical rocky cliff on one side and a lower angled slope to the top on the side we landed. On this slope there are rocky outcrops hosting many gentoo penguins and their nests.

The morning’s landing was split into two: a landing and a zodiac cruise. The weather was cold for a first landing and certainly turned all those stories that we’ve heard of wild weather on Antarctic expeditions into reality. There was some precipitation and with the added factor of the wind, the cold got through any gap in our layers. During the zodiac cruise we explored some of the large ice bergs that have been blown into the bay. The shapes and the colors of the ice are entertaining as we discussed what animals or landmarks they looked like as well as how the different patterns will have formed. As we moved along the coastline, we saw penguins struggling about on the rocks. This is always entertaining to watch as they slip and trip in such a clumsy manner. However, we were impressed by their agility in the water as they jumped along passed the zodiacs from fishing grounds to colony. Some of us cruised a circumnavigation of Cuverville Island and saw the impressive views into the Errera Channel to the south. The smell of the penguins as we passed down wind of the island is something that we will not forget!

At the landing site it was time to get some steps in to warm up. Along the beach there were many gentoo penguins transporting stones and some returning from a fishing trip. We walked along the waterfront until we reached a good vantage point looking out across the colony. Some of us ventured up the hill slightly, where there were wonderful views back down on Plancius among the ice.

We returned to the ship for a lovely buffet lunch whilst sharing our stores with one another and, more importantly, tried to dry out our clothes ready for the afternoon!

After lunch we didn’t go far, in fact just to the next island along called Danco Island. There was a nice open beach to welcome us where we landed where we could begin our walk onto the snowy slopes. Some of us made it to the summit of the island which is just less than 200 meters. At the summit we had fantastic views in very Antarctic weather! This was the time for a very special moment as two of our guests got engaged! It was certainly a fantastic spot with 360 panoramic views of ice-covered mountains and a sea, scattered with icebergs below.

On Danco Island we saw some empty eggshells lying on the ice. This is from where skuas have stolen the penguin eggs and carried them away from the colonies to eat them. The bright orange-red inside of the egg is interesting to see along with the greeny-blue of the inner egg surface. We have seen many lurking skuas, hanging around and waiting for the right moment to swoop in a take an egg.

Back at the landing site the sleet was still coming down heavily and the temperature was about 3°C, however, today was the day for our polar plunge! Once everyone had assembled at the beach, it was time to remove our layers and expose our skin to the air, sleet and snow. Many of us with our socks on, as recommended by our expedition leader on this rocky bottom, took some wabbly steps towards the icy waters. Even in these cold and windy conditions with the sleet hammering down, it was a good turnout for the polar plunge. This was probably due to the fact that it was likely to be the only chance on the trip.

After a very quick zodiac journey back to the ship we were lucky enough to have a warm shower and a hot chocolate before dinner.

Unfortunately, the wet conditions had not eased much throughout the day and the forecast was unsettled for the night so we were not able to carry out our planned camping. Instead we will have a good sleep in the warmth of Plancius and look forward to tomorrow.

Mountaineering Log

In the morning we attempted to climb to the summit of Cuverville Island via the north-west face. It was raining heavily with moderate wind chill. We made it halfway but turned back at the steepest slope due to avalanche conditions.  The snowpack was saturated from the persistent rain and the chances of west slab avalanche was high, so Richard and Dave made the safety call to retreat.

In the afternoon we ice climbed on the glacial ice cliffs found on the west side of Danco. The weather was wet and cold, but this didn’t change our enthusiasm. Richard and Dave had set up three different ice climbs for us to try, so, armed with two ice axes in hand, and crampons on our boots, we all got to try the challenge of climbing the 30 metre (100ft) ice walls.

Day 6: Useful Island, Gerlache Strait ship cruise, Paradise Bay zodiac cruise, continental landing at Brown Station

Useful Island, Gerlache Strait ship cruise, Paradise Bay zodiac cruise, continental landing at Brown Station
Fecha: 08.01.2023
Posición: 64°43.35’S / 062°51.7’W
Viento: NE 6/7
Clima: overcast
Temperatura del Aire: +5

The day started with a light breeze that quickly increased into pretty strong winds with breaking waves. Our Expedition Team landed at Useful Island to assess the conditions but almost got blown off the hill and therefore made their way back to the ship as quickly as they could. Instead of a landing, we cruised through the Gerlache Strait towards Paradise Bay. Along the way we got surprised by some very happy Humpback Whales breaching right in front of the ship. What an extraordinary sight! But that wasn’t all. Beth gave us a deeper insight into ice – sounds like a simple topic, but surely isn’t! She explained the thickness of the ice sheet in Antarctica, how sea ice forms, how glaciers move and what scientific clues can be found in and all around the ice. And every couple of minutes she got interrupted by someone shouting “WHALE”!!! The absolute highlight of the morning was a family of Orca Whales swimming around the ice in the vicinity of the vessel! Especially the males are easy to distinguish with their immense dorsal fin that can reach up to 2m! We felt super lucky spotting Orcas, that definitely doesn’t happen on every expedition.

After lunch we finally got out again. The wind died down and the guides were ready by the gangway to pick us up for a zodiac cruise through Paradise Bay. The mountaineers were the first ones to go ashore for a continental Antarctic landing at Brown Station. All others went to cruise along the shoreline to observe nesting Blue Eyed Shags and see the majestic glaciers fronts that cover most of the shore along the Antarctic Peninsula. The bay was filled with impressively shaped ice bergs and… the sound of blowing Humpback Whales – they were everywhere! More than six whales spent the entire afternoon feeding and relaxing in the bay.

It was an absolutely incredible experience drifting around in the zodiac and the kayaks being surrounded by the surreal sounds and the unbelievable beauty of these animals that are easily triple the size of our boats. We took a short break from our cruise to visit Brown Station and officially set foot on the mainland of Antarctica. The views over the bay were stunning and we enjoyed the little walk around the breeding Gentoo Penguins. Back on the zodiac we went to see some lazy Weddell Seals chilling on shore and spotted some more Humpbacks. All in all it was an absolutely fantastic afternoon and we had a lot of good stories to share during dinner and in the bar.

Mountaineering Log

In the afternoon Richard and Dave guided two teams to the exposed summit behind Brown Station, from there we roped-up to walk further to the second summit across the glacier. The weather was clear, the views were awesome, and because of the light winds it was possible to hear the calls of Humpback Whales down below in the bay.

Day 7: Damoy Point and Port Lockroy

Damoy Point and Port Lockroy
Fecha: 09.01.2023
Posición: 64°48.3’S / 063°29.7’W
Viento: Light air
Clima: snowfall
Temperatura del Aire: +6

We woke to calm and snowy conditions surrounding the ship. It felt silent out on deck without the wind that we are now used to and the waves lapping against the hull. This morning we had a landing at Damoy Point. This is a promontory pointing to the west on Wienke Island which is glaciated and surrounded by high mountains.

We arrived at the landing site of a rocky outcrop with some steps cut into the snow. From here we were able to have a lengthier walk up to the high point which overlooks Neumayer Channel. At the high point there were many gentoo penguins nesting and taking care of their eggs. We walked with snowshoes which was a good way to warm up. Although fog was covering the landing site, the conditions occasionally cleared and a dramatic view opened up. We could get a glimpse of the high mountains surrounding us and the glassy calm water surrounding Plancius. It was nice to be able to observe the penguin behavior for some time without getting cold as there wasn’t any wind.

Before boarding the zodiacs back to the ship we looked inside the British hut. This was used until 1993 when British Antarctic Survey staff flew to Rothera from here in the early season before the ice had opened up and allowed the ships to get so far south. The hut was a place to stay on the land until the conditions allowed the flight to leave. Inside the hut we could see old artifacts such as the food packaging, old maps and whalebones. Many commented that it was like going back in time when they looked in through the door. There was also an Argentinian emergency hut next to the British one.

After a great lunch we arrived at Port Lockroy which is a British base, established in 1944.  The area was discovered in 1904 by Jean Baptiste Charcot, captain of the ‘Francais’, during the first French Antarctic expedition. The british base was initioaly established during the war but was handed over to science after and the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) continued to operate the base for this purpose until 1962. The primary scientific work at Port Lockroy was ionospheric research (the study of the upper atmosphere) which was critical in understanding high frequency radio. Other scientific work included the study of how lichens, birds and mammals survived the harsh conditions of the Antarctic.  Port Lockroy’s historical importance was recognised in 1995 when the Antarctic Treaty designated the site as Antarctic Historic Site and Monument (HSM) No 61. In 1996 a small team of four carpenters spent two to three months restoring the base as much as possible to its 1962 condition.

Today we were able to see the base as it is now managed by the United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust (UKAHT) where we met the team of four girls who operate the base and welcome visitors during the summer months.

Our afternoon we split the time over two landings. Half of us landed at Jougla Point and the other half at Port Lockroy before we swapped. This provided the chance to read about the history of the area in the museum at Port Lockroy and make purchases in the small shop and post office too.

At Jougla Point we were able to explore the rocky coastline and have some time to observe the penguin behaviour. There were also some large Finn whalebones on the beach from the whaling days in this area.

When we returned to the ship there was a lot of penguin poo cleaning to be done. The strong smell which these cute little animals leave is hard to confine to the soles of our boots!

After recap it was time to get our layers on again and head back outside as we passed through the Lemaire Channel in true Antarctic weather! The bridge team carefully navigated us through the narrow, steep sided channel heading southwards. There was heavy snow which was almost horizontal due to the strong winds. The mountain peaks were not visible due to the conditions, but with any short sighting we got, the base vertical mountains near us could be seen and the dramatic nature of this passage could be appreciated.

What a day experiencing one of Antarctic’s historic sites, seeing the wildlife and icy landscapes with iceberg scattered glassy waters below! It was a day to remember.

Mountaineering Log

In the morning we set off from Dorian Bay towards the mountain Jabet. The weather was calm with thick cloud and 15cm of fresh snow had fallen overnight. We broke a trail through the snow across the plateau where there had once been an aeroplane runway. Serac fall, avalanches, and calving glaciers could be heard in the distance indicating snow and ice instabilities brought on by the change in weather. As we walked further the clouds began to clear and the summit of Jabet showed itself, as did Plancius down below us in the distance. Richard and Dave explained to us that the avalanche risk was to high to continue into the steeper more exposed parts of the mountain above, so we moved little higher up the broad spur to the right of the avalanche terrain and made that our high point for the day.

Day 8: Lemaire Channel, Petermann Island, Pleneau Island zodiac cruise

Lemaire Channel, Petermann Island, Pleneau Island zodiac cruise
Fecha: 10.01.2023
Posición: 65°11.05’S / 064°07.3’W
Viento: SW5
Clima: overcast/snow
Temperatura del Aire: +1

This morning we got woken up by Martin while being located next to Petermann Island, the southernmost destination of our expedition and known for its Adelie penguin colonies. How exciting!

A bit of insecurity was caused by the weather forecast for today, which was constantly changing and on the edge of being too rough to perform our operations… So before going ashore, the expedition team needed to observe and assess whether the wind and swell were becoming too risky or not. Fortunately, we were able to jump into the zodiacs and drove out to Petermann Island, where we even spotted some Adelie and Gentoo chicks! The other half of our group first went a zodiac cruise and saw loads of Adelie and Gentoo penguins and even some Weddell seals.

After visiting Petermann Island, we made our way towards Pleneau Island. The mountaineers went for the first ascent of the year on Hovgaard Island and the rest of us took a zodiac cruise through the iceberg graveyard (iceberg garden). We saw some Weddell seals and some of us even spotted a Leopard seal swimming in the water… Thereby, the clouds drifted away for a bit, so we clearly experienced some “tan-tarctic” weather! The zodiac cruise was a great success, after all we enjoyed ourselves while being on the water for more than 3 hours!

When we came onboard our beautiful ship, we skipped our origional plan of having a recap, to enjoy and drive-through the Lemaire Channel one more time! This time the visability was perfect and the imposing sail-through was enjoyed by everyone of us. When we reached the north side of the channel, the Oceanwide-famous BBQ started on the aft of deck 3. Our hotel team made it a spectacle again. Nice music, good people, amazing food and the view… What an extraordinary sundowner experience.

After dinner, all tables were cleared to set up a proper dance floor. Till late in the evening, we enjoyed dances and drinks while cruising at the Antarctic Peninsula. What a day…

Mountaineering Log

In the morning we landed on Petermann Island and headed towards the summit. We roped up before the steep slope that accesses the summit plateau but quickly found the slope to be completely frozen solid with sheet ice. These conditions made the slope impassable in snowshoes, and in these conditions would only be attempted by experienced mountaineers, as the chances of a slip would be high for our team. We returned to the landing and spent the rest of the morning exploring the local Penguin colonies.

In the afternoon the weather improved enough to be able to attempt to summit the top of Hovgaard Island. We moved efficiently at two roped teams with Richard and Dave leading the way and setting the pace. Due to the fresh snow from the previous days storm a trail though the snow had to be made. The views around the islands were phonemenal as the sun broke through the clouds. Eventually after an hour and a half of effort and many blind summits we made it to the top, at 369 metres above sea level. After summit celebrations and photos we returned via our line of ascent.

Day 9: Melchior Islands in the morning then heading North into the Drake Passage

Melchior Islands in the morning then heading North into the Drake Passage
Fecha: 11.01.2023
Posición: 64°19.25’S / 062°58.7’W
Viento: Calm
Clima: rain
Temperatura del Aire: +5

This morning we arrived at the Melchior Islands, an island group between Anvers and Brabant Islands. Here we got off the ship for the last time this trip, before heading back towards Ushuaia on the Drake Passage. The winds were calm, and the weather was grey and rainy, we did a full ship zodiac cruise around the islands. Zet took the last kayak groups out for an awesome tour around the bay where the ship was anchored. The surroundings we saw during the zodiac cruise were magnificent with impressive glaciers and rocks formations all around. We also spotted some wildlife, Chinstrap penguins, Weddell seals and a couple of Furr seals, we didn’t see before this trip!

It was a great morning to finish of the amazing trip we had. After about two hours of cruising in the rain, everyone was happy to get back on board for a nice warm shower. Which made us ready for the Drake Passage, as the doctor handed out the seasickness medicine before lunch.

After lunch, Martin gave a lecture about penguins as many of us had a lot of questions about these typical Antarctic animals. And as we know Martin is an expert in the field of birds, so he explained everything we wanted and needed to know to call ourselves penguin experts from now on.

Our photography guide Koen gave a lecture on how to exactly tell a story when capturing pictures. As we all made a lot of pictures on this trip, we can now also share the stories what we experienced on this voyage.

At recap Beth talked about the geology in the formations we saw today at the Melchior Islands. Chris and Anthonie gave a recap on the length of the whales we saw today, using a rope to show the length of all the whale species we saw on this trip.

In the meantime, we entered the Drake Passage, this time the sea state is calm for Drake standards. For that reason, we can name it a Drake Lake more than a Drake Shake. Hopefully it will remain that way!

Day 10: Crossing the Drake Passage

Crossing the Drake Passage
Fecha: 12.01.2023
Posición: 59°39.7’S / 064°37.7’W
Viento: N 6
Clima: Rain
Temperatura del Aire: +6

Today has been a leisurely day for many as we had the chance to catch up on sleep, sort photos and chat. There was no wakeup call this morning and breakfast was served from 8am until 9am. Throughout the morning the conditions were quite calm so it was nice to be able to attend the lectures without feeling unwell. Out on deck there were Cape Petrels about as well as some albatrosses. Watching them glide over the water effortlessly in the wind is a lovely way to connect with the environment around us.

In the morning we had a talk from Steffi which answered some of the questions we have been asking ourselves on adaptations of animals in the polar environment. These included, why don’t penguins wear socks and what the true colour of polar bears is.

During the morning the conditions were calm enough to be able to get out on deck. After some time in the fresh air, it was then time for a lecture from our chief engineer on board, Floris. He gave us a talk on behind the scenes on Plancius. This was fascinating and made us appreciate the whole progress of what goes on onboard. There were many questions after his talk and a specifically high interest in our total fuel consumption of this trip. Floris had therefore prepared the following figures:

Antarctica 04-01 to 14-01-2023

  • Fuel: 55,000 liters – 5,500 liters per day, 50 liters per day per person
  • Potable water: 190,000 liters – 19,000 liters per day – 180 liters per day per person
  • Zodiac fuel total: 350 liter
  • Energy: 190,000 KW = 190 MV – 19,000 KW per day – 180 KW per day per person

That all sounds like a lot but is actually quite good for such a ship and such conditions.

Next it was time for lunch. The weather was changing slightly and the conditions becoming more rocky. There was time for some napping between lectures, but it was always nice to see a good turn out as everyone emerged for the lectures. Over lunch some of the crew also launched an Argo float. These are scientific floats which go overboard and monitor salinity, temperature, and currents as part of an international effort to better understand our oceans. More can be found out online about the Argo floats which Oceanwide contribute to but launching the floats in the Drake Passage, which is a region that is less densely monitored due to its remoteness.

Next up was Koen with a photography lecture. He has a fantastic way of discussing photography with us all and highlighting what makes images so special, even to those who would not consider themselves as photographers.

Later on in the afternoon, after the chocolate cake afternoon snack was served, it was time for a lecture from Beth. She explained some of the landscapes which we had been seeing and how the ice and the geology have carved them into what we see today.

During recap we learnt about the history of the Drake Passage which we were experiencing and what has been inside these mysterious white and red barrels which we’ve been taking ashore throughout this trip. Finally, for those who were still feeling up to it, there was a plated dinner in the dining room.

Day 11: Complete the Drake Passage crossing and continue up the Beagle Channel

Complete the Drake Passage crossing and continue up the Beagle Channel
Fecha: 13.01.2023
Posición: 55°41.9’S / 066°08.7’W
Viento: WNW 7/4
Clima: Partly cloudy
Temperatura del Aire: +10

Friday the 13th on the Drake Passage… Sounds like the intro to a thriller. And indeed the day started with a proper “drake shake” – strong wind, big waves and a lot of rolling around last night. In the morning we all took it easy since it was quite challenging to move around on the ship.

After lunch the waves eventually calmed down as we moved into wind shelter of Cape Hoorn. The skies opened up and the sun came out so this afternoon turned into a very beautiful cruise with mild temperatures, we could feel that we now officially left Antarctica behind us.

Martin shared a very interesting lecture about climate change, ecosystems, and conservation work with us. Afterwards he invited to an open discussion round about these topics which many of us attended. A was a great way to share some opinions and points of view with others.

Afterwards, Chris and Anthonie organized a very entertaining Antarctic Quizz where they assessed our knowledge acquired over the past two weeks. The winning team was the “Slippery Decks” – congratulations!

It was now time to return our gum boots, the loyal companions that kept our feet warm and dry. We enjoyed some more time chilling at the entrance of the Beagle Channel enjoying the sight of green hills outside the windows.

In the evening the team invited us all to a beautiful Captain’s Cocktail and the farewell dinner. We were all moved by the wonderful slide show Daniel and Koen prepared for us that sums up all our incredible memories from this incredible voyage.

During dinner we honoured all the wonderful people from the hotel department, the kitchen and the laundry who have been working so hard to make this trip enjoyable and comfortable for us.

We spent the rest of the evening all together in the lounge with some nice drinks and good talks. The people we met on this journey are all part of this unforgettable experience. Yes, we’ve been to Antarctica, and we’ll take home countless unforgettable memories. What an incredible journey…

Day 12: Disembarkation in Ushuaia

Disembarkation in Ushuaia
Fecha: 14.01.2023
Posición: 54°48.61’S / 068°17.87’W
Viento: NW 3
Clima: Partly cloudy
Temperatura del Aire: +10

While we enjoyed a last breakfast on board, our suitcases were taken off the ship. It is a sad moment to disembark from the Plancius, which has been a comfortable and cozy home during this unforgettable journey. We have shared many unique moments, seen a range of rarely sighted wildlife, and made new friends. Loaded with fond memories we now must head home.

We will continue our adventures, whether it be returning home or experiencing what South America has to offer. On the pier, beside our little blue ship moored alongside in Ushuaia, we say our goodbyes, many hugs, and a few tears… and until next time, we wish each other good health and fair winds.

Thank you all for travelling with us on this voyage, for your enthusiasm, support, and good company. We really hope to see you again in the future, wherever that might be!

The expedition team has enjoyed exploring together with all the guests. Of course, these operations only run smoothy due to the coordination between all the departments on board Plancius. So, to all the dedicated and determined individuals involved in this adventure, we all give our thanks and appreciation.

Of course, this would not be possible without you, the guests. Thank you for travelling with us on this voyage, for your enthusiasm, support, and good company. We very much hope to see you again in the future, wherever that might be!

Total distance sailed on our voyage: 1,651 nm

Southernmost position: 65°10.74’S / 064°07.96’W

On behalf of Oceanwide Expeditions, Captain Remmert-Jan Koster, Expedition Leader Martin Berg, Hotel Manager Volodymyr Cherednychenko and all the crew and staff of M/V Plancius, it has been a pleasure travelling with you.


Código del viaje: PLA26-23
Fechas: 3 ene. - 14 ene., 2023
Duración: 11 noches
Barco: El Plancius
Embarque: Ushuaia
Desembarque: Ushuaia

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Aboard El Plancius

Nuestro barco más antiguo, el Plancius, es un clásico para algunos de nuestros viajes polares más populares.

More about the El Plancius »