|At port Ushuaia
After visiting Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world, we stepped on board Hondius at 4pm (our home for the next 11 days) to be warmly welcomed by staff and crew. After checking in, we settled into our cabins and then all assembled in the lounge. The Chief Officer, Deidrick, gave us a mandatory safety briefing, following which we practiced putting on our life jackets before being shown to our lifeboats.
At 6.30pm we again went to the lounge but this time to celebrate the beginning of the voyage with a glass of fizz and delicious canapes. As we set sail, Captain Toni made a welcoming speech and we raised our glasses to a successful expedition. Pippa, our expedition leader, gave a brief overview of the trip and then her team took turns to introduce themselves. As we sailed out through the Beagle Channel, it was time for our first meal on board and the excited chat at dinner was all about the adventures that lay before us.
Some great wildlife encounters were already stacking up with a distant view of a juvenile King Penguin away across the harbour – an unexpected local rarity. As we sailed further into the channel we came across a veritable ‘storm’ of Sooty Shearwaters – thousands of these dark chocolate, elegant seabirds flying around us or rafting on the water in the fading light. Amongst them we also spotted South American Terns, Chilean Skua and several Southern Sealions. What a spectacle, what a start!!