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OTL25-19, trip log, Antarctic Peninsula with South Shetland Islands

by Oceanwide Expeditions

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Day 1: Embarkation, Ushuaia

Embarkation, Ushuaia
Datum: 09.12.2018
Positie: 54°51.1‘S, 068°01.4‘W
Wind: Variable
Weer: Sunny
Luchttemperatuur: +14

It is late afternoon on what turned out to be a lovely blue-sky day in Ushuaia when the first passengers ar-rive 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 greeted each guest as they climbed the gang-way for the first time and directed them to the reception to check in. The hotel manager, DJ, and his assis-tant Sigi quickly had all passengers assigned and shown to their cabins where they will spend the next 10 days.

Once onboard, an announcement was made 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 just to be sure eve-ryone knows what to do in the event of an emergency. It was a nice day to have the drill outside, getting to watch as the ship pulled away from the dock with three strong blasts to the ship’s horn. 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 and to enjoy the forecasted peaceful Drake, and be thankful they missed the crossing the crew just made the previous two days! Our expedition leader Katja continued on, introducing our ship doctor Tanja who gave a few tips on how to stay safe onboard and how to decrease the spread of germs while we’re all living in close quarters for the next 10 days. Then 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 ex-plained 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. Each team member introduced themselves briefly and by then the bar felt quite warm so at the end of the briefing most escaped to the outer decks-- 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 farewell 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, Chef Khabir, 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, many couldn’t resist getting back out on deck to watch the evening sky light up with pink, purple, and gold, even silhouetting a few frolicking Peale’s dolphins across the channel. A magic sun-set was certainly a special omen to start of our adventure. Gazing out over the railings, the first motion of the ship was felt—a faint swell—reminding us that the open ocean was not too far off, you could even glimpse it on the forward horizon. It was difficult to head inside but the need for sleep, or perhaps a last nightcap at the bar, eventually wins out over all. Some folks focused on getting comfortable in their cabins, others 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 made herself available to discuss with those concerned how to manage sea sickness over the next few days on the infa-mous Drake Passage. The staff informed the passengers that during the night we would be leaving the shel-ter of the Beagle Channel and enter open water so to prepare for the “motion of the ocean”. Properly pre-pared, 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
Datum: 10.12.2018
Positie: 56°39.4‘S, 065°29.9‘W
Wind: SW Bft 2
Weer: Misty
Luchttemperatuur: +5

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. Outside the seabirds have been going on about their business, but fewer than usual as without wind to glide on they often prefer to rest on the water surface instead. After lunch it was time for more briefings, next up: camping! At re-cap, our Expedition Leader Katja told us the plans for tomorrow-- another day at sea, there wasn’t too much on the agenda quite yet. 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 important formats over the next couple of days. All staff are definitely prepared to handle our questions and if time might be too short, dis-cussions can always be continued after dinner in the bar. The day was getting to the end, but not without showing us something nice before going to bed… A fog-bow! This phenomenon is produced similar to a rainbow but in this case the light reflects off the mist of the fog instead of rain drops. Definitely a beautiful moment to record in our minds before heading to sleep after our first sea day.

Day 3: At Sea in the Drake Passage

At Sea in the Drake Passage
Datum: 11.12.2018
Positie: 61°09.2’S, 063°02.3‘W
Wind: W Bft 2
Weer: Cloudy
Luchttemperatuur: +4

Another day at sea, yet like no other. Today, we enjoyed smooth sailing through the Drake lake without any shake. A silky sea gave rise to a day full anticipation of what may come and appreciation of what is here already. Between vacuuming our belongings and tea with cookies from the bar we got to know the expedi-tion team and our fellow passengers. The lovely Ortelius became more and more our home. Some of us spent lots of time on the bridge, meeting our lovely captain and his team. From the big bridge windows, we saw several birds flying around the ship. We saw platoons of cape petrels and albatrosses along with southern fulmars. Many of us walked around the open decks and were greeted by graceful humpback whales. We were not aware of the fact that we would have many more encounters yet to come.

Finally, at around 2pm we spotted the first land of the icy wonderland of Antarctica. The first land we saw 42 nautical miles in the distance was Snow Island, belonging to the South Shetland Island group. Half an hour later we caught a glimpse of our first tabular iceberg, 21 nautical miles away. Our Antarctic adven-ture had properly begun and we were filled with excitement. Gentoo and chinstrap penguins porpoising off the ship enhanced the feeling and we could not wait any longer, to finally step onto the continent. To pre-pare for the upcoming excursions we went through more briefings about zodiac safety and how to be a good tourist in Antarctica. Then we got our boots and lifejackets to be prepared for our polar expedition. We listened to a very interesting, introductory lecture to Antarctica by Katja and were even more looking forward to go ashore. What a lovely day to remember!

Day 4: Cuverville Island / Base Brown – Skontorp Cove

Cuverville Island / Base Brown – Skontorp Cove
Datum: 12.12.2018
Positie: 64°40.4‘S, 062°37.2‘W
Wind: Variable
Weer: Snow
Luchttemperatuur: +4

Our first landing in Antarctica!! Everyone was excited and bright eyed getting down the gangway and into the zodiacs, then coming to shore and finally getting out on land! First impressions were the stunning beauty and the gentoo penguins all around. Unexpected were the noises from the gentoo colonies and the smells, particularly the guano (penguin poop). We spent the morning observing and getting to know these amazing penguins, watching a lot of adorable behaviours like the pebble stealing, penguin music (not the loveliest noise ever), and belly flops as they fell over while walking. Many of us noticed opened eggs in the snow, which we soon realized were caused from the skua birds swooping down and stealing penguin eggs right out of the nest, flying to a spot to peck the egg open and eat up the insides. While terribly sad, this is the nature of things. It was great, though, to see most of the penguins still had their eggs. And if we were lucky and watched closely, one could catch sight of the eggs when the parents swapped over for nest time. We learned a lot of interesting facts about gentoo penguins: they lay 2 eggs, are still incubating the eggs that would be hatching in 1-2 weeks, and about how they eat pink krill-- evident from the pink-coloured snow all around from their guano. Some of us put on snow shoes and did a walk up to an amazing view point looking out over the bay.

Leaving Cuverville island the bay was full of icebergs and on the way back to the ship our zodiac driver took us on a cruise to get the best views and take some photos. What an amazing first landing!! There were tears of joy and smiles all around coming back to the ship. After another lovely lunch and a bit of time to relax we were off for our second landing. We were excited as this was a landing on the continent. For many of us it was our 7th and final continent! This would also be a split landing between visiting Brown Station, the Argentinian base, and a zodiac cruise in Paradise Harbour; half of us went first to Brown Sta-tion while the others did the zodiac cruise, and we switched half way through.

Brown station had no active research taking place and the buildings were all closed. We landed right at the buildings and headed up, up, and up a bit more for stunning views, passing many penguin highways and colonies on the way. Standing near to the highways you could watch the adorable and funny gentoos com-ing up or down from their nesting site. Some heading out to sea to catch some krill. And some heading back up to their nest, mate, and precious eggs. Flying above and around were several Antarctic birds in-cluding the snowy sheathbill, kelp gull, Antarctic cormorant, and Antarctic terns. The snow-surface was a bit slippery from recently fallen snow but the group did a fantastic job of looking after one another. At some points during the landing many layers of clothes were removed by a few for photos in nothing but underwear looking out on the harbour; everyone else watched with lots of laughs and good humour all around. We even saw humpback whales not far off shore from our view point on the hill.

Paradise Harbour was a wonderful place with glaciers in all directions calving off into the sea making for the most beautiful bay full of icebergs and calm water. Some of us were even lucky enough to see a calv-ing, though many of us still heard them far off across the water. We passed the Antarctic cormorants nest-ing on the steep cliffside and some saw a few newly hatched, downy chicks on the nest. It was an overcast day, lucky for us because it makes for amazing iceberg photos. We cruised around enjoying all the spec-tacular ice formations in the glaciers and icebergs. Also seeing crabeater seals, a Wilson’s storm petrel and more humpback whales. It truly was a paradise.

Coming back to the boat tired but happy, we had a short time to strip off all our layers before heading to the bar for our recap. Spirits were high with big cheers and applause and we enjoyed looking over some photos of the day and learning new things about humpback whales, nautical terms, and heard about our exciting plans for another adventurous day tomorrow. After a filling and delicious dinner, we headed to our beds to get some much-earned sleep.

Kayaking
It was 14 keen kayakers and one Chinese translator who took to the water at Cuverville Island. The first outing always takes the most amount of time as we gather our equipment, get changed, fit out the kayaks to suit us, and listen to the safety briefings. After that on subsequent outings, things take much less time as the team gets ‘slick’! But once we were on the water, it was magic with good ice in the bay to marvel at and the occasional blow of whales which we saw and heard but remained elusive. This was people’s first experience with penguins however – getting close to them in the water and observing their washing ritu-als, cleansing their bodies of mud and guano to protect themselves against the elements and restore their black and white camouflage. We also saw Antarctic cormorants in numbers, flying to and from their nests with kelp and detritus (they build their nests from anything!). And above and all around by the steeper cliffs to the east side of Cuverville, there were Antarctic terns wheeling and crying and fishing for krill and crus-taceans from the surface of the water. It was a great first morning out and a fantastic introduction to what we can see from the platform of a kayak.

Camping
After spending a great day with two landings, during the recap the weather conditions looked normal and so the camping was on and preparations made. Before the dinner, however, the camping team and the Captain started to reassess the weather conditions. Considering that the barometer had been dropping all day and that the temperature still remained above zero (i.e. +6° C)-- making the precipitation fall as rain instead of snow-- the team decided to cancel the operation in favour of keeping people safe and dry onboard.

Day 5: Port Lockroy / Dorian Bay-Damoy Point

Port Lockroy / Dorian Bay-Damoy Point
Datum: 13.12.2018
Positie: 64°49.6‘S, 063°30.3‘W
Wind: W Bft 3
Weer: Snow
Luchttemperatuur: +5.5

In the early hours we sailed down the Neumayer Channel, past the towering mountains peaks surrounding Goudier Island, towards our split landing morning. After breakfast Guillome, from Port Lockroy, came aboard Ortelius for a short briefing, and we then hopped into the zodiacs to mingle with the gentoos at Jougla Point and visit the British Base A and historic Bransfield House across the way on Goudier Island. At the “Mall of Antarctica” many delights await: a morning shopping spree, mailing post cards home, a walk through the museum, and getting a coveted Antarctica stamp indelibly inked into our passports-- proof of our journey to the 7th continent!

Outside Bransfield House, a light snow began to fall as some excited and very “muddy” gentoo penguins were busily stealing rocks from their neighbors and hauling them along the penguin highways around Lock-roy to their nest-bound mates sitting on eggs and protecting their soon to arrive chicks.

At Jougla Point, some Weddell and crabeater seals were hauled out spending a lazy day on the ice, while we walked among the numerous gentoo colonies and watched cormorants building nests on the island. At time we even found ourselves stuck behind a commuter who wandered off the Penguin Highway and onto the people path.

After a late lunch as we sailed around the island to Dorian Bay, where our zodiac ride to shore took us past towering ice cliffs to a rocky beach landing. We spent the afternoon snowshoe hiking past the refuge huts up to several gentoo colonies above Damoy Point, where we quickly discovered love in the air.

Some intrepid hikers went further and struck out on a big loop hike around the island for breathtaking views of the Neumayer Channel and both sides of Wiencke Island.

Then it was time to pack up the snowshoes and head home. During the recap, DJ and crew were ambitiously set-ting up for an outdoor BBQ but as luck would have it the snow began to fall so instead, we were treated to an in-door BBQ feast. The weather was calm aside from the snowflakes so we enjoyed the meal and settled in for an-other night’s enjoyment in the bar or cosy in bed watching one of the many documentaries on offer via the cabin TVs.

Kayaking
Today was a classic kayaking day. The team was keen to get to Port Lockroy so we launched the kayaks early before the rest of the passengers went out. Paddling away from the ship towards Damoy Point we surprised a leopard seal that had been resting on ice. It headed away from us to an unsuspecting group of gentoos on the water! A gentle snow was falling on and off for the first hour and a half, and we tucked un-der the snow slopes of Tombstone Hill practicing some manoeuvres like stopping in a straight line and re-verse paddling. There were two yachts in the shelter of Port Lockroy, both looking like they had spent much time in Antarctic waters. Past the Port Lockroy landing site, we moved into Alice Bay behind Jougla Point and found seals – both Crabeaters and Weddells – resting up on some remaining fast ice. A short shower of hail gave us the incentive to jump back in the Zodiac and back to the ship to get changed for our visit to the Penguin Post Office.

The afternoon session was also a real treat and we covered much more ground. It was looking very un-promising when we arrived with 20 knot winds but the ship moved round to Dorian Bay and we could see shelter in there. Ten of us took to the sea in five double kayaks. Once we boarded the kayaks the wind dropped even more and we had a great paddle down the coast to Damoy Point, under several penguin col-onies close to the sea. We watched very dirty penguins coming down and jump into a shallow water shelf where they could safely bathe – and emerge again from the water, clean and ready for waterproofing. We circumnavigated Casabianca Island keeping a healthy distance from the bergs, having watched one break up over the course of ten minutes or so. It was a good lesson in why we shouldn’t go near them, innocuous as they might appear. Next, we paddled into shallow Dorian Bay and had a moment looking over at Damoy Hut and the small Argentine hut next to it. Seeing the human bodies moving up and down Tombstone Hill, and the penguin bodies moving purposefully between their nests and the sea, provided an interesting con-trast. Heading out of the bay it was apparent that one group member had got very cold, so we loaded back up into the Zodiacs and took a straight-line course back to the ship where we uploaded the kayaks and got warm and ready for the evening barbeque.

Camping
Conditions were not different compared the previous day and for this reason Claudio and Ben spent a lot of time talking with Katja and the Captain on the bridge about the opportunity to go camping. After several changes in weather conditions the decision was made… they decided to send a scouting boat to the camp-ing site and check before starting to send the passengers on land. On land the situation was good and the transfer of the passengers started. The campsite was prepared in less than one hour and all the group was ready to spend the night out, after the snowball war! With some snow falling the all night around 4:15am the guides woke everybody up in order to be ready for the pickup time at 5:00am. The night was a success and was concluded with a warm coffee onboard the Ortelius.

Day 6: Neko Harbour / Danco Island, Farewell Antarctica!

Neko Harbour / Danco Island, Farewell Antarctica!
Datum: 14.12.2018
Positie: 64°46.3‘S, 062°52.1‘W
Wind: SSW Bft 3
Weer: Snowing
Luchttemperatuur: +5

Misty cloudy conditions welcomed us in the Gerlache Strait this morning, after having picked up the happy campers at 5am. Winds were around 40 knots in the Strait but we hoped for better conditions in the pro-tection of Andvord Bay, where our morning’s excursion site lay—Neko Harbour. Slowly making our way deeper into Andvord, the ship inched past icebergs and growlers of all sorts and sizes… and a couple of humpbacks said hello—one with a pectoral fin wave and the other with a beautiful view of its tail before diving and continuing on their way. With our landing site in view, the wind conditions became more fa-vourable but the expedition team needed to scout the shore to make sure it was clear of ice and that more wouldn’t be blown onshore—creating a potential hazard for leaving and getting back to the ship safely lat-er on. Katja finally gave the “good to go” call once it seemed the winds and ice were stable, and so we were off on a nice cruise through the ice on the way to shore.

Arriving to shore, we stepped out onto pink and grey boulders before walking up the nicely carved steps in the icy bank-- no dawdling on shore just in case the glacier calves and sends big waves onshore! Up on top of the bank we could see penguin highways left, right, and center-- so many ways to make the daily com-mute from home to foraging grounds!

Sitting on the bank and watching the water at the shoreline was a perfect spectator sport-- seeing the gen-toos fly like fighter jets under the water reminds us the way that they are really meant to move… they may be awkward on land but on the fly in the water they are like fighter jets, darting and swooping here and there. The gentoos can also be relaxed too, floating and paddling around, taking a bath and cleaning off the grime of their nest… whatever they are doing it’s hard to become tired of watching their endearing behaviour.

The snow conditions were good enough for walking without snowshoes (as long as you stayed on the path!) so many explorers continued up the trail past a few gentoo rookeries and up a steep slope-- hoping for a payoff on top besides just a sweaty base layer. There was quite a reward on top-- in-between wind gusts it was possible to gaze out over Andvord Bay and ice, ice, ice. The glacier fronts with their craggy tops look-ing like they could fall over and splash into the bay at any moment, and all the brash ice and bergy bits littering the bay’s surface on into seeming infinity. Perhaps a few even heard the Minke whale blow or saw it surface briefly, saying hello to those gathered to polar plunge-- maybe it was a salute to those with the big hearts and small brains required to perform such a feat. As the bathers went in (usually more silent then they came out!), onlookers were ready with cameras and towels. though the water was certain-ly cold, for some it was surprising how un-cold they felt after getting dressed… with adrenaline pumping it’s easy to forget that you were just in -2°C water.

Back to the ship we went and headed north to have a look at our afternoon landing site. Conditions contin-ued to deteriorate as expected, unfortunately, and the wind was rising and the snow was blowing as we approached Danco Island. The decision was made to abandon the Danco landing and continue north through the Gerlache Strait to see if there might be any shelter further up the peninsula where another excursion could be offered… but it didn’t look promising, with heavy fog and foam streamers on the water from winds over 40 knots. Rosalie gave us an afternoon talk about Ice and its many forms-- quite relevant having been properly surrounded by it all morning.

Day 7: Whaler’s Bay / Half Moon Island, South Shetland Islands

Whaler’s Bay / Half Moon Island, South Shetland Islands
Datum: 15.12.2018
Positie: 62°54.4‘S, 060°18.8‘W
Wind: NW Bft 3
Weer: Partly Cloudy
Luchttemperatuur: +4

After sailing north towards the South Shetland Islands all night, we arrived at Deception Island early in the morning - really early in the morning. Katja’s soft voice woke us up at 4:45 am as promised to witness Cap-tain Barria taking Ortelius through the narrow passage called Neptune’s Bellows. The ship had to pass hard up against the cliff face of the entrance making for a spectacular photo opportunity. Finally, in position not long thereafter, the Expedition Team brought us ashore in windy conditions with some swell at the gang-way. But that would not stop us from stepping on the shores of an active volcano.

On shore, we were able to visit the remnants of the historic whaling station with the airplane hangar as its farthest point. There were also some waterboats decaying along the shore line providing very nice photo opportunities and vagrant penguins wading up and down the beach front.

After an hour in snow, rain and wind, we were shuttled back to the ship. Once everyone was back on board, Captain safely sailed Ortelius back out through the Neptune’s Bellows and the late risers were treated to at least that experience of being in the caldera. After our breakfast, for those up at 5am for the landing it already felt as if we had had a complete morning, but the day was just starting. We were now headed to Half Moon Island for the next planned activity. It was a fantastic passage with stunning scenery and even the occasional sunshine. This gave us time to enjoy the view from the outside decks.

Arriving at Half Moon Island, weather did not look too good. Sun was still shining, but winds had picked up to an excess of 30 kts, unfortunately, rendering any zodiac operation unsafe. Even though, we had tried several parts of the island, there was not enough shelter to make it work, so we decided to head out on a ship’s cruise to say goodbye to Antarctica. We used the opportunity and organized two group photos on the front deck. The first one was for all the guests, who had visited their seventh continent followed by a group picture for everyone.

The sun continued to follow us while we had another delicious lunch prepared by Khabir, Sean, and their fantastic galley team. In the afternoon, we entered Discovery Bay where we hoped to offer a final zodiac cruise for this trip before heading north again. The bay is surrounded by scenic glaciers and fantastic views. As the wind was still not kind to us, we used our very big zodiac, called Ortelius, to explore the bay instead of our small rubbery ones. While sun and clouds painted marvellous pictures on the glacier ice, a Minke and two Humpback whales appeared in the bay swimming past us and putting on a bit of a show in front of the Chilean Capitán Arturo Prat base.

This base is maned all year round and is Chile’s oldest base in Antarctica, having been originally erected for ionospheric and meteorological research. After spending some fantastic time in Discovery Bay, we started our journey out into the Drake Passage, past the fantastically craggy basalt pillars of the South Shetland Islands, and into continuously increasing swell. While some of us went to see the doctor for med-ication, the rest of us were listening to Fran’s talk about dogs on British Antarctic Survey bases. We fin-ished the day with the daily recap about Deception Island and an evening pub quiz followed by another of those delicious dinners.

Day 8: At Sea

At Sea
Datum: 16.12.2018
Positie: 59°35.7‘S, 062°24.1‘W
Wind: W Bft 7
Weer: Cloudy
Luchttemperatuur: +3

Today was a quiet day on board the ship as we were eventually driven to our cabins by some big weather approaching us from the west over the Drake Passage. Nevertheless, it didn’t start off too bad and a fair amount of people turned up to hear Tobias lecture on Antarctic Geology – we may think Antarctica is all glaciers and snow down to sea level but that carapace of ice lies thick over some huge mountain ranges over the whole continent. Those of the Peninsula are an extension of the Andes and were formed by vol-canic activity brought about by subducting plates – just as they were along the spine of Chile and further north. For those of us on the bridge we saw Wilson’s storm petrels pattering across the lumpy seas, cape petrels (“pintados”) forever escorting the ship, southern storm petrels and later on the graceful economical black browed albatross.

We had a lot of weather today for those observing from the bridge from bright sunshine and rolling seas to snow showers and viciously white streaked waves with a 5-6 m swell. It was too rough for a lecture in the afternoon but instead the film “Shackleton” was played over the media in people cabins and it was quite a talking point in the bar later. Quite a few of us turned up to recap where Tanja explained to us what sea sickness is (a form of motion sickness when your brain gets opposing information from its visual and ves-tibular centers). Then Rosalie told us a bit more about gentoo penguins and how the very things that strike us a maybe faintly ridiculous – the head turning; the waddling walk; the comical plumage - are actually the result of highly developed evolutionary strategies that make these birds quite remarkably adapted to a life spent mainly in the ocean. Then DJ brought us back to earth with a bump by asking people to come and settle their bar bills tomorrow and to start preparing for the end of the trip. Most people managed to get to dinner but it was a quiet bar later in the evening as most folk turned in in anticipated of a bumpy night time sleep.

Day 9: At Sea

At Sea
Datum: 17.12.2018
Positie: 55°48.1’S, 064°40.9’W
Wind: W Bft 9
Weer: Partly cloudy
Luchttemperatuur: +6

The day started with us on the move back to Ushuaia, 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. Rougher seas decreased a bit the amount of folks showing up for breakfast but as the day continued there were still a fair few out and about and on bridge, so the team decided to go ahead and offer a lecture by Jos on life in US Antarctic program at McMurdo and South Pole stations. Considering the sea conditions the outer decks had been closed but at one point the starboard bridge wing door was propped wide open, giving bridge visitors a welcome lungful of fresh air. The day continued but the seas stayed wild, watching a succession of snow squalls with winds topping 75 knots, many on bridge were taking photos and videos of bow waves, the 6-9m waves, and the wind-tossed sea streaked with foam.

In the afternoon, as our typical activities were delayed, another movie was screened: Scott of the Antarctic, help-ing pass the time waiting for calmer seas in order to return boots and settle accounts with reception. At about 5:30pm we were in sight of land but still the sea was rough- so much for sheltered waters in the Beagle Channel. The rest of the afternoon was spent divided in focus—trying to enjoy the last of our time onboard, sharing photos, contacts, and memories; 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 we voted on the photo contest winners, watched a final recap of our journey with photos by Mark, and a special moment as Captain Ernesto led us in a toast to the voyage and the ex-cellent company in which we have shared the past 10 days. Many cheers were made with Prosecco in champagne glasses—defying the Beagle Channel to bring on her best… we have survived the Drake Shake!

Day 10: Ushuaia

Ushuaia
Datum: 18.12.2018
Positie: 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—especially with the rough crossing, perhaps no place was as nice as being in bed. But all good things must come to an end… so that there can be another beginning! To start off the day, put their suitcases in the corridors this morning be-fore breakfast so that 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 our final breakfast onboard it was time to say goodbye-- to the ship and its crew and staff, and to all new friends made. Appointments were made to stay in touch and fare-wells were said. All could look back to a very nice and successful trip. At 8:30 everyone handed in the keys to the cabins, descended the gangway, picked up the luggage from the pier, and set off by bus or foot to-wards 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!

Total Distance Sailed: 1601 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.

Details

Reiscode: OTL25-19
Reisdatum: 9 Dec – 18 Dec, 2018
Duur: 9 nachten
Schip: m/v Ortelius
Inscheping: Ushuaia
Ontscheping: Ushuaia

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Aboard m/v Ortelius

Ons ijsversterkte schip m/v Ortelius is een uitstekend schip voor expeditie reizen in het noordpoolgebied en Antarctica.

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