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OTL25-23, trip log, Falkland Islands - South Georgia - Antarctica

by Oceanwide Expeditions


Day 1: Embarkation day, Ushuaia

Embarkation day, Ushuaia
Datum: 16.12.2022
Positie: 54°48.6’S / 068°17.8’W
Wind: NW 6
Weer: Partly Cloudy
Luchttemperatuur: +16

Midday struck and the first load of luggage and provisions pulled up alongside our vessel. As the crew and expedition team worked together to load the many suitcases and provisions on board, it was soon time to welcome everyone else on M/V Ortelius! As the first bus load arrived, we could feel the excitement in the air, only a few hours away from beginning our epic adventure to the Falklands, South Georgia, South Shetland Islands and of course, the Antarctic Peninsula! By late afternoon, we had welcomed everyone on board, many different nationalities, backgrounds, and ages. Once everyone was checked in, assigned a cabin, and introduced themselves to their new cabin mate (that they would be great friends within a matter of days), it was time for the mandatory safety drills.

We all gathered in the lecture room, located in the bow of the ship. As we were still alongside the dock, this was no problem, but perhaps later in our voyage, guests will realise why that room is nicknamed the “vomitorium”. After we all watched the safety video, practiced donning a lifejacket at our allocated muster stations, and checked out the lifeboats we were introduced to our Chief Officer Sven. Sven introduced several safety protocols and other important information. Whilst this was going on, Ortelius untied from the dock and started making her way down the Beagle Channel, through the calm, sheltered waters.  Finally, it was time for Captain’s Cocktails up in the bar. This is an opportunity for all guests to enjoy a glass of bubbles or juice and put a face to the name of the Captain, Chief Officer, Hotel Manager, Chief Engineer, and Expedition Leader. After clinking our glasses together and wishing well for the voyage, the expedition team went round and introduced themselves.

This was followed by an excellent buffet dinner, served by the wonderful hotel crew that we would all get to know and love very soon! After dinner, it was brilliant to see so many guests scattered around the outside decks looking for their first albatross, whales and penguins. It was a beautiful evening sky, with the sun seeping through cracks in the cloud. As we transited down the Beagle Channel, we were escorted by many black-browed albatross, giant petrels, skuas and cormorants. As the light drew in, many resided to the bar and continued their introductions and excited chatter about the upcoming days.

Day 2: at sea

at sea
Datum: 17.12.2022
Positie: 53°22.7’S / 63°21.3’W
Wind: NW 7
Weer: Clear skies
Luchttemperatuur: +10

Our first full day on board was spent at sea travelling from Ushuaia towards the Falkland Islands. A few eager guests were up and out on the open forward decks with their binoculars looking out for wildlife long before the wake-up call from expedition leader Sara, at 7:45am. Birding highlights prior to breakfast were Black-browed Albatross, Northern and Southern Giant Petrels, Wilson’s Storm Petrels, Sooty shearwater, Great shearwater and even a Wandering Albatross (which has the largest wingspan of any living bird at approximately 11ft in length). At 11:00 expedition guide Hazel gave her lecture ‘Winged Wonders’, giving us an introduction to the albatross we were most likely to see during our trip, and tips on how to identify them. Afterwards we spent some time out on deck looking for these amazing birds, putting the tips we had learned to good use in identifying the species. Then it was time for lunch, so we headed indoors to enjoy the dining pleasures of the buffet.

Following lunch, we were required to attend the mandatory zodiac safety briefing. Unfortunately, some of us were feeling slightly under the weather due to the motion of the ocean, but we persevered, knowing it was mandatory to ensure safe zodiac operations for going ashore and cruising throughout our trip. Later that afternoon, expedition guide Jess presented her talk entitled ‘Cetaceans of the Southern Ocean’, during which she told us about the whales, dolphins

and porpoises we could encounter on this voyage. This talk was perfectly timed to coincide with the arrival of afternoon tea, so we all enjoyed a slice of delicious cake with our coffee or tea whilst learning about these amazing animals. After a bit more time out on deck the announcement was made for us to attend recap. We made our way to the bar to learn about the weather and plans for the next day, when we would arrive in the Falkland Islands! At dinner we chatted excitedly with our fellow guests and the expedition team regarding what tomorrow would bring. 

Day 3: West Point & Carcass Island, Falklands

West Point & Carcass Island, Falklands
Datum: 18.12.2022
Positie: 51°20.93’S / 60°40.49’W
Wind: NW 3
Weer: Bright Sunshine
Luchttemperatuur: +14

What a day…what a truly fantastic day. Everyone was up early to see Ortelius sail through the narrow confine and rapid tidal flow of the ‘cut’, shortly followed by breakfast and then zodiac boarding for the short trip to the jetty on West Point Island. The settlement sits on the edge of a small harbour between Black Hog Hill and Michael’s Mount. It is home to a historic small stone hut, the only remnant of the sealing era in the mid 1800’s.

We were met by the custodians of the island who arrived in two battered Land Rover vehicles and after they had introduced themselves, offered lifts for any passengers who did not want to walk. Those who hiked, found themselves in the astonishing and welcome position of encountering and ticking off most of the endemic species within the first few hundred yards. The rutted grass track led to a steep hill side festooned with dense clumps of tussac grass cascading down to the dramatic shoreline. A powerful swell pulsed breaking waves across the rocks far below. We followed the narrow path through the towering undergrowth and arrived at the edge of a massive albatross colony.

Birds of every size and description proved to be a highlight for everyone. The Black-browed Albatross sitting on their beautifully constructed solid nest towers attentively feeding and proudly preening their young, whilst some were still incubating their eggs. Around them, comical looking diminutive Rockhopper Penguins did the same.  The area was a photographer’s delight. After the return along the track back to the settlement, a highlight for us all was the visit to the house to sample refreshments laid on by our island hosts.  Welcome coffee or tea and an invitation to tuck into the tempting feast of freshly baked cakes laid out invitingly on the table.  It was all deliciously decadent!

Zodiacs then whisked everyone back to our vessel Ortleius. Over lunch, we repositioned a relatively short distance to Carcass Island and lay off an extensive area of kelp marked shallows in Port Pattison Bay, adjacent to the tree lined settlement. Passengers were transported by zodiac to land at Dyke Bay, then walked a short distance through the tussac grass, taking care not to stumble into the burrows of Magellanic Penguins who inhabited the area. We headed southeast to explore the stunning dune lined Leopard Beach.

Various passerines were spotted…Cobb’s Wren, White-brindled Finch, Pipit, Sedge Wren, Long-tailed Meadowlark and so on. We all walked the two miles back through Diddle-dee, Berry Lobelia, Balsam Bog and Sheep’s Sorrel to investigate the even lusher undergrowth at the settlement.  Monterey Cypress trees provided an effective wind break for a delightful garden of assorted beautiful shrubs and a large variety of flowers. Striated Caracaras swooped overhead and strutted in the grass behind the settlement.  The track to the jetty was lined with the tangled root systems of long-established European Gorse bushes.  Everywhere we went cameras clicked steadily.

What a day - this lived up to Bill’s Oceanwide Expeditions promise. Endless adventures – ‘Looking, Seeing, Thinking, Doing’ - in the most magnificent surrounding, such fun!

Day 4: Saunders Island, Falklands

Saunders Island, Falklands
Datum: 19.12.2022
Positie: 51°18.9’S / 60°15.0’W
Wind: NW 5
Weer: Sunshine
Luchttemperatuur: +11

After a very successful day in the Falklands yesterday, today did not disappoint either! The weather was once again in our favour, with bright blue skies and a steady breeze. During the previous evening, we sailed from Carcass Island round to Saunders Island. Our landing site for the day was The Neck, a stunning, white sandy beach on Saunders Island. Due to the forecast predicting winds to pick up mid-afternoon, it was decided in the morning to stay at Saunders for the whole day. This was very exciting, especially for the expedition team as it is a free roam area, meaning we had the whole day to explore however we wanted … a rare occasion (and treat!) for the team!

Saunders Island is a beautiful location, turquoise waters, white sand beaches and home to a wide variety of wildlife. Before we had even left the ship, we were joined by several Commerson’s Dolphins, the local black and white sea pandas! Once ashore, we were greeted by bathing Gentoo Penguins, King Penguin chicks and happy Magellanic Penguins. Either side of The Neck, were two hills (Mount Richards and Mount Hasten) that we were allowed to hike also. However, the wildlife grabbed almost everyone’s attention and so we dispersed. Some strolled just a few hundred metres to the nesting Gentoo Penguins and admired the abundance of chicks. Chicks from all stages, some looking just a week or two old and some looking more rotund and getting ready to start their moult! Once past the colonies, the beach opened up and it was a prime opportunity to picture penguins with beautiful, blue breaking waves as a backdrop.

It didn’t stop there though! At either end of the beach were colonies of Black-browed Albatross, Rockhopper Penguins and Falkland Island Cormorants. There was a trail leading up and along the side of Mount Richard, passing the nesting cormorants and to the albatross.  Awaiting by the colony was Ant, a relative of the owners of the island. Ant was a fountain of knowledge about the island and the local inhabitants. He was equally delighted to sit and watch the albatross as he said because the wind was just the right direction and speed, it was perfect soaring conditions for the graceful birds. Therefore occasionally, you would hear a big whooshing noise pass right above your head and then see the giants fly by just metres away! Meanwhile down below, the Rockhopper Penguins were living up to their name and with each incoming wave, leaping onto the rocks and then hopping up to their nests to feed their new chicks.

After lunch, we all returned to The Neck for the afternoon, exploring a different corner of the area, hiking one of the peaks or trying to get an iconic photo of the local sheep and penguin in the same frame. Saunders Island truly is a magical place, a haven for wildlife and a real treat and privilege for all on board Ortelius to spend a whole day onshore.

The wind did pick up as forecast and so the return to ship was slightly wetter than the morning journey, however all returned safely to Ortelius and were greeted with yet another delicious, three-course dinner.

Day 5: Stanley, Falklands & at sea

Stanley, Falklands & at sea
Datum: 20.12.2022
Positie: 51°41.3’S / 57°51.1’W
Wind: NW 7
Weer: Partly cloudy
Luchttemperatuur: +14

After leaving the idyllic Saunder’s Island late afternoon, we headed east through the night towards our next port-of-call, Stanley, the capital of the Falkland Islands.   Early morning on the 20th we sighted the town, slightly hidden by the rolling landscape but looking fine in the lovely, bright conditions, passing by a selection of small islands covered in the tussock grass. These islands once enveloped large parts of mainland Falkland before being cleared for farming – as we have seen these remnants are so important for the native wildlife and we can only imagine the legions of Cobb’s Wrens that once swarmed across the landscape.

A brisk 25 knot breeze greeted us as we anchored off the town but undeterred, we, the brave, undaunted expedition souls made the zodiac crossing to Stanley, overseen by a boisterous gang of South American Sea Lions on the landing pontoons.   Once onshore, we stripped out of our waterproofs to explore this fascinating place, which was an excellent change-of-pace after a penguin-packed previous few days.

The local museum was naturally a highlight for many, casting insights into the often-turbulent history of these beautiful islands, giving all of us a new and sometimes emotional perspective of life down here, in a remote corner of the Southern Ocean.   As the group wandered around town, many comparisons with familiar places were made, with the area uniquely British in many aspects but with the occasional jarring image, reminding you where you are; you could be strolling between the gift shops and the cathedral perhaps fooling yourself you are in Scotland but then a Giant Petrel or Turkey Vulture cruises past or a war memorial brings you back to this amazing location.

During our time ashore, the wind picked up noticeably, giving us all the prospect of a very wet zodiac ride back to Ortelius at midday but we all took the salt-spray in our strides, some even enjoying the expedition feel to the conditions.   Once back on board we tucked into another fine lunch as the ship slowly left the Falklands and headed south-east towards the potential highlight of the trip – South Georgia!

The decks were busy in the afternoon, full of camera and binocular wielding passengers and staff, as we were treated to a fine array of avian ship-followers; a good number of the fantastically erratic flying Soft-plumaged Petrels were picked out in amongst Sooty Shearwaters, White-chinned Petrels and Great Shearwaters but it wasn’t long before the first ‘great’ albatrosses made their graceful appearances. First came this immature Wandering Albatross, still sporting some brown plumage. Shortly followed by Southern Royal Albatrosses sliding effortlessly across the waves and towards the evening the shout of Wandering Albatross went up as the first of these wondrous behemoths sailed into view.

Day 6: at sea

at sea
Datum: 21.12.2022
Positie: 52°22.8’S / 51°39.6’W
Wind: N 5
Weer: Overcast
Luchttemperatuur: +9

After an amazing and action-packed three-day visit to the Falkland Islands with lots of walking and bird watching, a full day at sea gave us an opportunity to rest our legs and start preparing for our visit to South Georgia.

In the morning, expedition guide Bill presented a talk all about our vessel Ortelius; the work that goes on behind the scenes, below the deck, in the galley and how Ortelius compares to her sister ships Hondius and Plancius.

Expedition guide Hazel then gave a krilliant lecture all about… you guessed it... Krill. Krill is the incredible cornerstone species that support almost the entire Antarctica food web. All the seals, penguins, whales and seabirds we are observing, all eat krill! Hazel did a wonderful job of enthusing us about these (not so little) creatures and guests were particularly interested to hear about Alan, the captive krill who lived for 10 years!

After a delicious pizza buffet lunch, the expedition team awaited guests in the lecture room to begin our essential biosecurity before reaching South Georgia, an island that has historically suffered from the introduction of non-native species. We spent a while vacuuming coat pockets, picking out tiny seeds and bits of dirt from our velcro sleeves. However, all this hard work will pay off as it means we can safely visit and enjoy the unbelievable scenery, wildlife, and history of South Georgia. After the preliminary round of biosecurity was complete, alongside the arrival of the afternoon cake delivery, expedition leader Sara gave us a lecture all about the lives of the endearing penguin species that we have seen and will see on our journey.

Throughout the day, both guests and the expedition team were up on the bridge looking out for wildlife and outside on the open decks. All day we were treated to breath taking views of bird species such as the enormous Wandering Albatross and the Southern Royal Albatross.

Day 7: at sea

at sea
Datum: 22.12.2022
Positie: 53°17.5’S / 43°49.6’W
Wind: NW 3
Weer: Partly cloudy
Luchttemperatuur: +6

Another fantastic day at sea onboard M/V Ortelius. The day was filled with lectures, wildlife watches and importantly, time to rest and recharge as we prepare to land on South Georgia the following day. The morning started off with a Q & A session lead by Allison Keen, Visitor Manager for the South Georgia Government office. Allison explained how the island is managed and answered many questions such as how the area gets supplies and the rat eradication programme.

Next on the lecture schedule was Sara, who gave a fantastic lecture about one of her favourite hobbies - photography. Sara explained she has photographed many species all over the world and has an eye for the perfect shot. Whether guests use an iPhone or a DSLR, this lecture gave tips and tricks on how to improve your photography in Antarctica.

In the afternoon, the Expedition Team took charge of a big project: biosecurity. South Georgia is a beautiful place, and we are grateful for the opportunity to visit. But with that, comes great responsibility. Biosecurity on South Georgia is important to maintain high biodiversity and low invasive species, hence the thorough mandatory biosecurity measures and inspections.

The last of the lecture series for the day was Elizabeth, talking about Right Whales and the whaling history of this area. All three species of right whales globally were hunted to near extinction during the historic whaling times. South Georgia and the Falkland Islands were whaling hubs during the commercial whaling era, with many people exploiting the marine mammals and sending oil back to their home countries. Elizabeth introduced how cetacean conservation works and how we know if a species is ‘endangered’ or ‘extinct’.

After an informative recap was presented by our brilliant leader and a delicious dinner was served in the dining room, it was time to get into the festive spirit onboard Ortelius. The expedition team hosted a movie night in the lecture room, showing a screening of the American Christmas comedy, Elf! A big thank you to the galley staff for the popcorn too. The room was full of laughter, and we are all happy that Buddy found his dad and the Christmas spirit again! 

Day 8: Stromness & Grytviken, South Georgia

Stromness & Grytviken, South Georgia
Datum: 23.12.2022
Positie: 54°09.55’S / 36°41.8’W
Wind: NW 3
Weer: Sunshine
Luchttemperatuur: +6

Wakeup call was at 06:00, but there were no regrets as we ventured outside to view the stunning mountain landscape of South Georgia. Calm seas, warm temperature, and brilliant sunshine provided a superb bonus. Passengers lined the rails and clustered on the promenade deck snapping happily as Ortelius motored steadily along the coast.  Several whales were spotted some distance to seaward, and excitement mounted as we swung into the enormous bay leading to our morning destination, Stromness Harbour.   Soon the rusty ruins of the whaling station swung into view. The incongruous juxtaposition of such a mass of twisted, skeletal metal and massive oil storage tanks, with such a magnificent backdrop. Snow-caped peaks soared in the distance and rocks cascaded in frozen rivulets of scree down the mountains surrounding the bay.  It was beautiful.

Zodiacs were deployed. The staff established a guest roaming area with a strict perimeter set with marker poles to keep passengers away from the denser groups of Antarctic Fur Seals and their yelping screaming pups. Hardier souls opted for a long walk up to the Shackleton’s waterfall at the back of the glacial plain.  Easy walking and everyone enjoyed just lounging in the landscape adjacent to rapidly flowing stream. The waterfall was just a trickle of water, but the location was delightful.  

Once back onboard, we had another mandatory biosecurity inspection in the lecture room. Equipment and clothing were inspected and hoovered clean in minute detail followed by lunch at 12:30.

At 14:00 we all were inspected by a young government official prior to our landing at Grytviken. We all faced the deck rail hands on the top and alternately raised each muck boot.   He crouched like a black clad farrier inspecting horses’ hooves. Eventually clean we boarded zodiacs and were landed in front of the white painted whaling station Museum. We were again given instructions not to venture inside any of the old rusty buildings, not to put our bags or ourselves on the ground and lastly but rather importantly to

watch out for seals as they lay everywhere one looked.  We were told that we could roam freely which was great, and visit the church, museum, post office and gallery.  The highlight for many was the actual size model of the ‘James Caird’, which really gave perspective to Shackleton’s epic sea voyage in these ice dotted seas.

Late afternoon, we met at the neatly laid out white stone graveyard containing the bodies of many of the whalers who died at Grytviken and one Argentinians submariner killed accidentally during the period of the Falkland Conflict.

The most imposing headstone however was to Shackleton himself and slightly to one side, a square tablet inscribed with the name of Wilde, his impressive second in command who maintained the spirits and health of those marooned at Point Wilde on Elephant Island.  Bill made a short speech about both then proposed a toast to the ‘Boss’.

At the start of recap Bill took the microphone and made another sensitive short speech. This time he presented Sara with a beautiful tartan scarf and read from the accompanying card; “Sara your team and passengers think you are great!”.  This was met with a resounding loud cheer and clapping from the enthusiastic audience.

Day 9: St. Andrews & Jason Harbour, South Georgia

St. Andrews & Jason Harbour, South Georgia
Datum: 24.12.2022
Positie: 54°26.9’S / 36°10.1’W
Wind: N 3
Weer: Partly cloudy
Luchttemperatuur: +8

If some on the ship ever wanted to feel like they were in the middle of a David Attenborough documentary, then this was their lucky day! It was time to visit St. Andrews Bay, one of the undisputed highlights of South Georgia. A huge beach filled to the brim with King Penguin, Elephant Seals and Antarctic Fur Seals. The weather was even better than the forecast had predicted, and the beach itself was quite accessible making zodiac operations straight forward.

As soon as we stepped on to the beach, many of us were quite overwhelmed by the sensory overload which comes with the wildlife of St. Andrews Bay. There were animals littered almost everywhere across the waterfront making a myriad of sounds. King Penguins would call out to each other and make calls in the water as they slapped their wings against the surface. Antarctic Fur Seals watched us and belched at our presence on their real estate. Even the young Antarctic Fur Seals would flex their vocal cords if we came to close. The Elephant Seals grunted out to each other as they sized each other up and we could often hear a panicked cry when a young Elephant Seal would get squashed by a larger one. Even our sense of smell even got in on the action as the smell of penguin guano filled the air.

It was truly a wild place, safe for a small little white hut 500 meters away from the beach mostly used by scientists when the penguin population is being surveyed. One of our expedition guides, Adam, stayed in this cabin for a week during his overwintering in South Georgia, before becoming an expedition guide.

The guides had marked a route to one of the glacial meltwater rivers that split up the beach into different sections. To get there, we had to cross a small creek with the assistance of the Chief Officer and the guides. Close to the river, there was a great viewpoint where one could see a large part of the beach along with the glaciers in the distance. When it was time to head back, our expedition team offered a zodiac cruise along St. Andrews beach. An ocean view of 150,000 breeding pairs of King Penguins was just spectacular. Some of us were lucky enough to spot a Leopard Seal with a dead penguin in its mouth on the way to the ship.

As for our afternoon activity, we headed towards Jason Harbor.  A beautiful, sheltered cove, mostly inhabited by Antarctic Fur Seals and a couple of young Elephant Seals. Conditions were calm and sunny. In Jason Harbour we could see a hut there built in the early 1900s by Norwegian whaler pioneer and explorer Captain Larsen. The hut was built by Larsen not because the bay was particularly useful to his whaling enterprise, but it was an effort to exploit a bureaucratic loophole regarding licenses for whaling. Back in the day the British officials gave out licenses for whaling based on the extent on the activity a certain company had in South Georgia, it was thus useful for someone like Larsen to extent his presence to the then uninhabited bay of Jason Harbour. The area did not lend itself for a whaling station like the one

in Grytviken, so a small hut had to do to prove that Captain Larsen’s company indeed had a “presence” in the bay and could thus increase their whale catches.

We returned to the ship to have our usual recap with the team and then drifted off to sleep, with the calls of penguins and the grunts of seals echoing in our heads.

Day 10: Fortuna Bay & Hercules Bay, South Georgia

Fortuna Bay & Hercules Bay, South Georgia
Datum: 25.12.2022
Positie: 54°08.8’S / 36°48.5’W
Wind: NW 2
Weer: Partly cloudy, sunny
Luchttemperatuur: +9

Christmas Day dawned with the traditional early morning false alarm on the ship’s tonoi system and whilst nothing was wrong, it succeeded in drawing many folks out of bed a bit earlier than expected to enjoy another incredibly beautiful morning as we neared our intended landing site of the wondrous Fortuna Bay.   What awaited us was a lovely, calm, wide bay full of the clamour and bustling activity of another busy King Penguin and Antarctic Fur Seal breeding colony, a leisurely start saw disembarkation begin after 07:30 for a Christmas Day lie-in.

The marked path across the flat, stony plain with a few small streams to cross, was full of wildlife including the now familiar gamut of aggressive fur seals and Southern Elephant Seals along the way, where the heroic staff members risked life and limb to protect the seals from the hordes of expedition passengers…or maybe the other way around, you decide!   Visual treats included small pools of water where gangs of fearsome, noisy fur seal pups frolicked and splashed about as they waited for their next milk delivery. Several pairs of magnificent Light-mantled Sooty Albatrosses cruised effortlessly along the hillside – undoubtedly one of finest looking albatross species you’ll ever see!

The highlight though, was upon a little rise which overlooked the main King Penguin breeding colony.   With yesterday’s slight hiccup in the river at St. Andrews Bay flowing too high and quickly for us to cross, it was an awesome moment to finally be so close to such a huge concentration of breeding King Penguins. The noise, smell, and spectacle of the packed plain in front of us will stay in the memory for a long, long time.   After the sight had sunk in, everyone began picking out little details and behaviours including incubating adults, still brown, fluffy chicks from last season. We also had older scruffy ‘teenagers’ wandering around waiting to moult out of their fluff so they can finally go to sea. Meanwhile, positively spherical adults were returning from the sea, literally bursting with krill, ready for depositing inside a hungry chick.

A slight delay in the start of the afternoon’s zodiac cruise at Hercules Bay failed to dampen anyone’s Christmas spirit as we were treated to some wonderful folded and twisted rock formations in this stunning little bay, which housed pretty much everything we could imagine – a miniature South Georgia all in one spot!   The highlight though were the brilliant views of the Macaroni Penguin colony and haul-out rocks along the cliffs, as they leapt in and out of the water, squabbled with each other, fed chicks and shouted to the heavens, just like any other penguin colony, except they were halfway up a sea-cliff!

As we tucked into our well-deserved Christmas dinner, you would have been forgiven in thinking that was it for the most wonderful of festive days but no! Just before dusk, the announcement went up: “Whales at twelve o’clock from the ship!”. Soon enough we were alongside a small pod of humpbacks as they surfaced and fluked just metres from the ship in front of a very appreciative crowd, whilst clouds of prions and storm petrels swirled around, as the sun dropped behind the dramatic South Georgian seascape.

Day 11: Gold Harbour & Drygalski Fjord

Gold Harbour & Drygalski Fjord
Datum: 26.12.2022
Positie: 54°37.5’S / 35°55.1’W
Wind: N 8
Weer: Overcast and rain
Luchttemperatuur: +3

After a special Christmas day, we got up very early on boxing day to squeeze in one more landing in South Georgia. We set off to land on Gold Harbour, an amazing beach with a backdrop of mountains and glaciers. We found the beach covered in Elephant Seals and King Penguins. Despite the icy wind, rain, and hail stones, it was a spectacular small landing site with so much animal behaviour to watch including fighting Elephant Seals, wieners (elephant seal pups) charming us with their huge eyes, and scavengers like Snowy Sheathbills, Giant Petrels, and Brown Skuas taking advantage of the unlucky penguin chicks that didn’t make it.

Elephant Seals are one of the deepest diving marine mammals in the world and can dive to depths of approximately 2000 meters. Those big, adorable eyes serve an important purpose when diving at those depths, allowing in light so they can see bioluminescence to help them find their prey.

We then set sail to Drygalski Fjord and cruised past the beautiful scenery, watching glaciers, waterfalls, and rock formations that have been here long before us.

In the afternoon after some much-needed rest for everyone, expedition guide Jess gave a talk all about the evolution of whales and their different adaptations to life at sea.

A bumpy sea leaving South Georgia sent most people off for an early night after dinner, catching up on sleep after a truly magical four days on the very special island of South Georgia.

Day 12: at sea

at sea
Datum: 27.12.2022
Positie: 58°02.9’S / 37°03.8’W
Wind: N6
Weer: Overcast and sleet
Luchttemperatuur: +9

Yet another fantastic day on board M/V Ortelius! After a leisurely morning with a 07:45 wake-up call from our expedition leader, Sara, we enjoyed a delicious breakfast buffet in the restaurant and prepared for a day at sea. Sea days can be a bit of down time for everyone on board, a time to rest and relax before the next landing. However, the expedition team brings onboard a wealth of knowledge to share with the guests about the wildlife and history of this area we are exploring. The first of the lectures was given by Bill, who provided information regarding ice in Antarctica and showed a few videos about why we need to be diligent around ice. Bill’s lecture helped guests understand the beauty of ice and icebergs, but also taught them to respect nature and always be ‘looking, seeing, thinking’.

Next up was Elizabeth who lectured about Humpback Whales, the charismatic ocean traveler. She presented information about Humpbacks on a global scale and then provided more in-depth information about the populations that migrate along our voyage route. One main take away from the lecture is that Humpbacks must eat about 1.5 tons of krill everyday which is the equivalent of us eating 17 cookies every minute for 24 hours! Assistant expedition leader Adam said he is up for the challenge!

After a delicious lunch, guests were welcomed to the bridge and the outside decks for wildlife watch. The weather and sea state were in our favour, and we had some notable whale and bird sightings. The expedition staff are always keen to keep the wildlife list up to date and as we head further South, there’s always a chance of spotting new species! Biosecurity measures for IAATO also took place in the afternoon. All staff and guests onboard wanted to ensure we were not transporting anything in our outdoor gear from South Georgia to South Orkney and the Peninsula. A very important measure to be taken for the sake of these pristine places.

In the afternoon, Felicity gave a wonderfully attended lecture about the threats to marine life and the harsh reality marine wildlife are facing in the 21st century. There are many threats such as climate change, fishing gear entanglement, and plastic pollution, which are hindering recovery and effective conservation efforts for wildlife around the world. This is an important topic to increase awareness about how we can become better stewards for this planet.

Our sea day was wrapped up by the expedition staff presenting the plans for tomorrow which was our landing in South Orkney Islands! 

Day 13: at sea & Shingles Cove, South Orkney Islands

at sea & Shingles Cove, South Orkney Islands
Datum: 28.12.2022
Positie: 60°27.25’S / 44°38.9’W
Wind: SW3
Weer: Overcast
Luchttemperatuur: -1

Today the ‘early birds’ amongst the passengers, before breakfast, noticed a huge difference in temperature as they emerged on deck as we headed steadily south.  The sea state was not very violent, but the wind was fresh to strong and had a bitterly cold damp edge to it, which cut right through even the best clothing.  Gloves and scarves were much in evidence unlike our previous ‘jackets off’ days when we enjoyed sunshine weather. Cameras clicked incessantly as their owners attempted to capture the convoluted jagged dramatic skyline of the South Orkneys.

First event of the day was at 09:30, a lecture by Adam on ‘Supporting Antarctic Science’. This was an interesting account of the scientific role of Rothera and King Edward Point Antarctic research stations. Adam had worked for several seasons in the south and had a wealth of superb photographs to illustrate his talk. His description of the severity of the storms experienced, underlined the seriousness of the extreme weather experienced in the south.

As Ortelius approached the rugged inhospitable looking landscape of the South Orkneys, the deck was lined with well wrapped up passengers fascinated by the convoluted shapes of many icebergs in the sea and enjoying the wildlife.

We made great progress through the ice dotted sea towards Shingle Cove, our afternoon destination.  This was a small bay offering a landing opportunity on a boulder fringed beach, adjacent to a large glacier.  The location was dramatic as the fractured mountains rose sheer.

Behind the bay, in the distance, huge, grounded bergs dominated the seaward skyline and provided a splendid atmospheric photo opportunity, one minute sparkling in the sunlight, then

next looking dark and brooding.  Weather changed swiftly and at one point a snowstorm swept in from seaward and for a brief time visibility was reduced to zero. This made the landing much more of an Antarctic experience.  

Onshore we walked over a confused jumble of massive boulders to reach our first Adele Penguin colony, and in the opposite direction trekked over a similarly jumbled mass to reach the base of glacier at the shoreline.  We were rewarded by sight of slumbering Southern Elephant Seals, huddled together, totally ‘chilled’, with only heads protruding from the water in a pool at the base of the glacier. 

In the evening before dinner, we were treated to Charity Auction in Aid of South Georgia Heritage Trust.  This was held in the bar and introduced by Bill, who as an Honoree Lifetime Guardian of South Georgia, explained the nature of the trust and the need for continued fund-raising to fund its many excellent environmental projects.

He set the fun event off by humorously auctioning a small white plastic bottle top (it had the potential to be a rare family heirloom in 100 years’ time!) for £11.00.  People really understood the purpose of the fun event and responded generously throughout the evening. Large sums were raised by selling a wildlife print and by one of Bill’s specially drawn cartoons and various other zany offers.  

Day 14: at sea

at sea
Datum: 29.12.2022
Positie: 62°04.9’S / 49°53.8’W
Wind: NE5
Weer: Sunshine
Luchttemperatuur: +1

We have heard all the tales from Antarctica, both real and imaginative. Soon it would be our turn to visit the most isolated continent on earth. But before we could lay our eyes on this great icy landmass, we first had to endure one more day at sea. During the morning we had several whale sightings, most likely Humpback and Fin Whales, which many of us came out on deck to enjoy seeing these great leviathans of the Southern Ocean. Many of us stayed out on deck throughout the afternoon also to enjoy the sun and the comfortable southern breeze. Meanwhile, the waves ever so gently cradled the ship in its rocky embrace as we confidently motored towards our destination.

Our expedition team gave us the option to attend a variety of lectures throughout the day, providing us with some entertainment and information on a wide variety of topics. First up was Sara, who lectured about ‘Women in Antarctica’, showcasing how difficult it has been for women to become explorers and scientists in the polar regions, and how much support they provided for the famous Shackleton and Scott. After Sara’s lecture, Hazel was up to talk about how man’s relationship with whales has varied throughout time, beginning with historic whaling through to modern day whaling and whale watching.

After lunch, Bjarni lectured about the story of the Belgica expedition and during the lecture the Captain launched an exercise based around a drill scenario of the Ortelius colliding with an iceberg while dragging anchor during sudden onset of a katabatic storm. Eventually the captain’s voice rang out once more informing us that all was lost, and it was time to abandon the vessel. With that, the crew and staff were ordered to carry out their duties and head to the lifeboats to complete the exercise. It was difficult to decide which story was more dramatic, the true story of the Belgica forced to overwinter in the ice, or the fake story playing out on Ortelius. Luckily, we were neither on the Belgica stuck in the ice, or on a “sinking” Ortelius, so everyone could continue to relax with a warm beverage in our hands and listen to the drama scenarios unfolding around us.

Otherwise, the day past without any big events until the evening, when we started to see a lot more tabular ice around the ship, as we approached the southeastern side of Joinville Island. The nautical officer and AB on watch had to stay alert in order to dodge small growlers, and mile-long bergs, which could do some damage if collided with! It was a truly unique experience for those passengers hanging out on the bridge, observing the officers negotiating their way through in the evening light.

Day 15: Hope Point & Kinnes Cove, Antarctica

Hope Point & Kinnes Cove, Antarctica
Datum: 30.12.2022
Positie: 63°23.8’S / 57°01.2’W
Wind: S 4
Weer: Partial sun & clouds
Luchttemperatuur: +1

As we all ventured out of our beds and made our way on deck, we were treated to our first views of continental Antarctica on another stunning looking morning; soon we were sailing past the famous Argentinian Base Esperanza where the first children to be born on Antarctica made their entrance to the world.

The base stands at the entrance to Hope Bay where we planned to make our first continental landing of the trip, giving many people the chance to set foot on their seventh and final continent.   The weather was fine with little wind and light seas allowing us to crack on with Plan A and we were soon making our way to a landing at this busy Adelie Penguin colony. Gentoo Penguins were the first to welcome us ashore with small groups of nesting birds right by the landing site, watching over their medium sized chicks.

A little walk up and over the ridge allowed us all to appreciate this huge Adelie Penguin colony with thousands of birds producing a wall of sound and smell as they too got down to the chaotic business of raising the next generation of penguins. After getting our fill of this amazing spectacle, a steep climb up to the top of the 190m (it felt much higher!) escarpment above the landing site gave us an incredible view across the bay, over several glaciers and over the colony to the base, just the other side of the hill.

As if these natural wonders weren’t enough, we were then treated to the [unnatural] wonder that is the polar plunge, which also proved to be a feast for the senses with the accompanying squeals, yells and screams as the initially willing participants questioned their life choices which brought them to this moment!

The ship made the short hop across the Antarctic Sound while everyone was warming back up and enjoying another fantastic lunch. The expedition staff were soon out in the zodiacs scouting for our next possible landing site; it was impossible to find a suitable landing at this little-visited site but there’s always a Plan B, and we were soon making a start on a brilliant zodiac cruise around Kinnes Cove and Madders Cliffs.   There was plenty to see through the afternoons cruising, including another packed Adelie Penguin colony on the rocks, some welcome Chinstrap Penguins adding variety, both Weddell and Crabeater Seals hauled out. There were also some incredible icebergs and perhaps the highlight for many, a fabulous little flock of 25 Wilson’s Petrels all feeding together in the lee of a particularly beautiful iceberg, giving amazing views as they danced and pattered across the water just metres from the zodiac.

A couple of very close Humpback Whales interrupted re-cap before another wonderful dinner, during an impossibly beautiful and calm evening, wrapping up an action-packed and wondrous first day in Antarctica.

Day 16: Paulet Island & Brown Bluff

Paulet Island & Brown Bluff
Datum: 31.12.2022
Positie: 63°34.3’S / 55°47.5’W
Wind: NW 8
Weer: Partly sunny & cloud
Luchttemperatuur: 0

This morning, we were woken up bright and early by Sara to get ready for a landing at Paulet Island. It was a chilly morning, but the sun was shining, and we landed at the base of a 200,000 strong, amazing Adelie Penguin colony, the largest colony around! This wildlife spectacle was overwhelming. There were thousands of Adelie Penguins tending to their fluffy chicks, penguins porpoising at the water’s edge, Brown Skuas and Kelp Gulls stealing eggs and chicks, and a huge colony of nesting Blue-eyed Cormorants. Mid-way through the morning, we were treated to a Leopard Seal patrolling the coast in search of its next meal and expedition guide Hazel, even spotted a Humpback Whale tail slapping in the distance.

At the end of the beach with the large colony of nesting Blue-eyed Cormorants, the chicks were almost the same size as the adults and the parent birds were flying over our heads to head out to sea to hunt.

This landing site was also home a historic hut which is a short walk from the beach. Expedition guide Bjarni led short, guided walks up to the remains of the hut where the crew of the Swedish Antarctic Expedition, led by Otto Nordenskjold, were stranded for 255 days, between February and November, when their ship, the Antarctic, was crushed by the ice and eventually sank.

The icy wind really started to pick up before the end of the morning landing and we had to make a quick getaway from Paulette Island. After a wet and rocky zodiac trip back to the ship we had time to warm up with a hot drink before setting off to our next landing site.

Unfortunately, our afternoon landing at Brown Bluff was not possible because of the rough weather conditions, so instead the ship cruised around the area and through the Antarctic sound, giving us the chance to watch some beautiful icebergs and scenery passing by.

Shortly after the evening recap we were treated to a whale and penguin feeding bonanza! Around 20 humpback whales wowed everyone by surfacing close to the ship whilst penguins leaped in between the waves.

We had a special New Year’s Eve dinner before heading to the bar for an Antarctic expedition themed quiz. The expedition team perhaps revealed more than they should have about themselves before beginning the countdown to midnight. Many guests and staff stayed up to see in the new year, a fantastic way to start 2023 after another spectacular day in Antarctica. 

Day 17: Deception Island & Elephant Point

Deception Island & Elephant Point
Datum: 01.01.2023
Positie: 52°22.8’S / 51°39.6’W
Wind: E 8
Weer: Overcast & Snow
Luchttemperatuur: -2

Day 17 onboard MV Ortelius was a special day as it was New Years! The day started off at midnight with a countdown to the start of 2023! It was a lovely celebration in the bar with guests, staff, and crew all bringing in the new year together. In the bar you could hear shouts of jubilee, the clink of toasting champagne glasses, and a euphony of everyone reminiscing about 2022 and sharing their goals for 2023.

After the late-night festivities, some rest was in order. However, we were approaching Deception Island and it was worth it to wake up early and be on deck to enjoy the scenery. Deception Island is in the South Shetland Islands and was first seen in 1820. However, the narrow entrance that leads into Port Foster was not discovered for many years. Upon discovery, Whalers Bay and Port Foster became a refuge for ships from the Antarctica storms. A sealing industry blossomed and in 1908 three whaling companies used Whalers Bay as their land base. Approximately 200 men, majority Norwegians, lived on Deception Island. Whaling ended in 1931 and Whalers Bay became the first port of entry for all ships working in the Antarctica area. The infrastructure on the island became a research station and base for the Chileans and British, using the island to stage ships and planes. The landing strip on Deception Island, made history as the first place a plane was flown in Antarctica. The island is also notable for being an active volcano, which first erupted in 1967, causing the research bases to be evacuated. A second larger eruption occurred in 1968 and has not been reoccupied since.

A beautiful approach into Deception Island was met with high wind gusts, halting our zodiac operations. A nearby sailboat had run aground in the bay and we lent a helping hand. After the gusts subsided, we were able to head to shore!

The island provided a different feel compared to our previous landings. This landing was more about the geology and history, than the wildlife, although we were extremely lucky to see many Chinstrap Penguins on the beach! Towards the end of our time on shore, a Leopard Seal was spotted hauled out on the black sand beach. Upon a closer look, it was noticed that the seal was missing one of its hind flippers. Unfortunately, it is likely that the seal had been entangled in fishing gear and received this injury from the entanglement.

The landing was a great opportunity to stretch our legs and picture what it would have been like to have three whaling operations in the bay. We had just over two hours to explore the beach and the old buildings. The fresh snow meant the hike up the hill to the overlook of Neptune’s

Window was a tad slippery, but expedition guide Bill was present to ensure our safe return down the hillside.

‘Plan A’ for the afternoon was Elephant Point, a historical landing spot. However, due to the high wind gusts, a landing was not possible. Instead, we started making our way to the Drake Passage and towards Ushuaia. Elizabeth gave a lecture about whale migration and how the transboundary nature of cetaceans has proven to be a hinderance for effective conservation measures. Followed by a lovely recap and questions from the question box, before a delicious dinner in the restaurant. Fingers crossed for fair winds and following seas for the next few days. 

Day 18: at sea

at sea
Datum: 02.01.2023
Positie: 60°51.7’S / 63°34.7’W
Wind: NSE 9
Weer: Overcast
Luchttemperatuur: +1

“G’day, G’day, G’day. It’s Monday the 2nd of January and it’s a ripper of a day out there. Blue skies with just a little bit of the white fluffy stuff. Sure, it’s a tad brisk, but there’s only a light breeze and a moderate swell. So, there’s no excuse to stay in bed like a pack of bludgers. Get up and get amongst it why don’t yah? When I bid for this prize, I didn’t realise that the speaking slot extended beyond the morning obligatories but, apparently, I get to occupy the stage for a few more minutes. I think by now you all know that I enjoy sharing a laugh. But these moments come spontaneously - as much from you as they do from me, so I must apologise if you are now expecting a comedy routine. Instead, I’m hoping that this will be a little bit like when you see a film where an actor has been cast in a serious role after debuting in a comic one. It might make you uncomfortable for a short while but hopefully I can still give you your money’s worth. Because what this opportunity does afford, is a chance to share some reflections from the passenger perspective - so that’s what I’m going to do.

It’s now only the Drake Passage that lies between us and a return to our normal lives. Although, I don’t know about you, but I can’t really imagine just picking up from where I left off in a normal fashion – because the journey of the past 17 days has been such a profound experience.

Like so many of you, I have travelled far and wide on this magnificent planet, but for me nothing can quite compare to this expedition on the Ortelius:

The wildlife has blown my mind – its diversity, its intensity, and its intimacy. Splendid plumage. Squeals and squawks. Reverberating blubber. Cooperation and competition. Care and dependence. Youthful bravado. All this playing out on the main stage with us in the prime seats, set against a dramatic backdrop and a constant reminder that survival is the ultimate quest.

The landscapes have been awesome in the true sense of the word (as opposed to the reaction when someone returns to the table with a couple of beers and a packet of chips). The rugged coastlines. The stark mountains. The expansive glaciers. The incredible array of icebergs. All have jostled for the gold medal position and I’m still not sure of the winner. Well, maybe it’s the icebergs!

It feels like I haven’t stopped smiling since boarding this vessel. While this is largely due to the natural beauty I’ve experienced, the quality of the people I have shared this time with has had a logarithmically multiplying effect. It’s hard not to single people out because I’ve shared memorable moments with so many of you. But I’ve learned not to stand between a mother and her cub, and I know that it’s only me that stands between you and breakfast, and my survival instincts tell me to err on the side of caution, so I will just make some general remarks.

What words can I use to describe the crew? From the generals to the infantry, every single member of the crew has provided first class professionalism served up with a beaming smile, a cheeky grin, a sharing of knowledge or some light-hearted banter. From the bridge, the gangways, and the engine room to the hospitality team of chefs, food and beverage staff, manager and the housekeeping team, the level of excellence has been superb. The expedition team has been first class from the outset. Their care for us and for each other has been contagious and seems to be a natural extension of the passion they have for this special part of the world. A team is made of many individuals and each cog on this ship has interacted with each other like a symphony orchestra…and they’ve certainly been playing my song.

And then there’s the rest of you lot! The merry band of misfits that have ridden shoulder to shoulder with me during this incredible voyage. Like it or not, I now consider you to be my friends – and I’m sure the feeling of camaraderie will continue long after we dock at Ushuaia. I sincerely hope that I see some of you in the other land down under at some time in the future – and I’ll be happy to kick the dog off its bed if you ever need a place to stay!

Finally, as embarrassed as she’ll be with the mention, I just have to save a special word for my wonderful mum, Jane, because if it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t be here at all. I think we both had some trepidation about the prospect of spending 19 days together in such close quarters, but she’s been an absolutely, brilliant travel companion and I’ve loved seeing her share so many unforgettable moments with so many of you. Thanks Mum!

Sara has consistently said that the passengers are responsible for the weather and by crikey, haven’t we done a good job. Our collective karma must be stratospherically high, which says a lot for the rest of you because my mates at home are always reminding me of what a shady character I am!

Now, I can just picture Steven champing at the bit to let us know the dining room is about to open so I’ll wind this monologue up and let you go and wrap your laughing gear around some bonza tucker. Thank you for tolerating this indulgence. I look forward to having a farewell beer between here and the dock at Ushuaia – especially if it’s your shout!

Have a cracker of a day!”

And on that note, passengers stirred in their bunks and Ortelius continued to plough a steady course north.  Our exciting adventures in Antarctica were over, now the task was editing and sorting out the thousands of photographs of penguins, albatross, seals, whales, landscapes, icebergs, waves, clouds, fellow travelers.  What to show our friends back home, what to print and frame, what to consign to the waste bucket?

The first lecture of the day at 09:30 was delivered by Bill.  This was an interesting and extremely detailed account of the development of the design of ships to operate in the hostile environment of the polar regions. Illustrated with paintings, etchings, and early photographs of whaling vessels. Stories of the extreme hardships experienced by whalers beset in ice and having their ships crushed and sunk and how this experiential learning led to the design of the strongest ship ever built at that time, the Dundee constructed vessel ‘Discovery’. Some of the most interesting features were the demountable rudder and propellor to avoid damage in ice and the extreme angle of heel experienced during the Mawson expedition when carrying a heavy deck cargo including an airplane.

This was followed rather sadly by the return of our muck boots, no longer required as we have no further plans to be splashing off the bows of zodiacs. We were suspicious of these boots at first, failing to accept staff reassurances that they would be comfortable and easy walk on.  How wrong we were, they proved to be superb for the environment we were in and supremely comfortable.

Throughout the day we were reassured by sight of the thoroughness of guide and crew training as the officers and captain led small groups of staff on a series of life raft deployment exercises.  It just reinforced the realisation we all had that Ortelius was a very efficiently manned vessel with crew attending to every minute detail to ensure our safety during operations. After lunch we had a showing of ‘Round the Horn’, a superb film from Mystic Historic Boatyard in the US. It was an account of a voyage undertaken by Captain Irvine Johnstone when he was a crewman on one of last great sailing vessels the enormous 4 masted ‘Peking.’  The dramatic shots of stormy seas from swaying masts filmed with an early movie camera were utterly amazing and his iconic, humorous commentary made this presentation a highlight.

Late afternoon we had a sobering presentation from Sara, Hazel and Adam, which focused on the human impacts, specifically the fishing industry, on the wildlife in polar regions. The stark figures illustrated clearly extend of the problem for some declining species and examples were given of the creative solutions and remedial steps that were being taken.

The final recap was hotel staff explaining disembarking details, Sara as usual with next day plans and weather, followed by seal vocalizations from Felicity and our enthusiastic historian Bjarni with a very detailed mini lecture on Francis Drake. 

Day 19: at sea

at sea
Datum: 03.01.2023
Positie: 56°52.6’S / 66°02.5’W
Wind: W 11
Weer: Sunshine
Luchttemperatuur: +6

hroughout the early hours of the morning, the ship began to gradually rock and roll a little more as the sun came up. We were well and truly in the notorious Drake Passage; the 500 mile stretch of water between South America and the Antarctic Peninsula. As the morning progressed, the movement increased and so it was safer to have a plated breakfast today.

 Only half of the dining room was filled as people staggered in slowly and the nimble hotel crew glided between tables, carrying three or four plates as if they were walking on stable ground! After breakfast, those that were feeling well enough, made their way up to the bridge to join the officers, gazing out the windows, mesmerized by the crashing waves. Occasionally, if the angle was right, the spray would come crashing over the bow and wash the bridge windows, shortly followed by a “oooh” from the audience.

Mid-morning, the first lecture of the day took place in the bar, with Felicity and Jess. They shared more information about the power of whale poop and how whales are ecosystem engineers. Whales not only help boost primary production by recycling essential nutrients back into the ecosystem, but they also act as carbon sinks, storing tonnes of carbon in their bodies throughout their lifetime, and when they die, taking the carbon with them to the seabed to be consumed by benthic creatures.

Throughout the morning, Ortelius rolled side to side, with the occasional shudder ricocheting through the ship. Many of us continued to watch the waves, in awe of the power of nature, even though these conditions were relatively mellow considering where we were! After a plated lunch, the afternoon was filed with a final lecture, given by Felicity and Bill, discussing the presence of plastic pollution around the Antarctic and Arctic regions and what we can do as individuals to help create a cleaner environment for the wildlife but also the next generation. Now we have all had the privilege of experiencing fragile environments like the Antarctic, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands, we must remember this feeling of caring and urge for change when we get home and do our best to spread awareness to all our friends and families.

Next, we had an entertaining game of wildlife bingo, hosted by our very own Hazel. This was great fun and a good distraction for some, taking their mind away from their seasickness! Finally, it was time for Captain’s Cocktails, a final hoorah and glass of bubbles as we entered the Beagle Channel, on the home straight.

Day 20: Disembarkation day, Ushuaia

Disembarkation day, Ushuaia
Datum: 04.01.2023
Positie: 54°48.6’S / 068°17.8’W
Wind: N 5
Weer: Overcast
Luchttemperatuur: +9

We arrived in Ushuaia early this morning, returning from our extremely successful 3-week voyage around the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, and the Antarctic. At 07:00, the crew and expedition team were already busy gathering everyone’s luggage from their cabins and placing them onto the dock, to be either delivered to the storage unit or taken straight to the airport to begin the journey home and back to reality! It was a sombre mood on board, as guests started to trickle down the gangway and onto the buses. After 20 days together, we had gotten to know each other very well, learnt about each other’s lives and families back home, and so it was sad to say goodbye, but the silver lining being, we had these unique, awesome, life changing and shared memories that will last forever!

Thank you all 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: 3351.2 nm
Southernmost position: 63°35.00’S, 55°47.00’W

On behalf of Oceanwide Expeditions, Captain Mika Appel, Expedition Leader Sara Jenner, Hotel Manager Stephen Bell and all the crew and staff of M/V Ortelius, it has been a pleasure travelling with you.


Reiscode: OTL25-23
Reisdatum: 16 dec., 2022 - 4 jan., 2023
Duur: 19 nachten
Schip: m/v Ortelius
Inscheping: Ushuaia
Ontscheping: Ushuaia

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De ijsversterkte Ortelius is grondig uitgerust voor expeditie cruises en, op sommige reizen, helikoptervluchten.

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