|Position:||54°48.6’ S / 068°17.9’ W|
It was a breezy, humid afternoon in Ushuaia when from the end of the world (“Fin del Mundo”) we were about to embark on a special journey. At the pier, our new home for the next ten days was waiting: Ortelius, the ship that would take us to the beautiful Antarctic Peninsula. We climbed up the gangway for the first time and were welcomed by the Hotel Team who showed us to our cabins. There we found our luggage and in no time we settled in and started to explore our new surroundings.
It was not so easy not to get lost in the hallways and on the staircases so when Expedition Leader Sebastian called all of us to the lecture room on deck 3 for an introduction to the ship, we eagerly listened to Hotel Manager Michael explaining about decks and amenities, providing vital orientation. Third Officer Warren acquainted us with the safety features of the vessel and with the essential do’s and dont’s on board. Soon afterwards it was time for the mandatory safety drill and we gathered in the bar, donned our big orange lifejackets and went through the roll call to make sure everybody was there. Then we had a look at the lifeboats while Ortelius was leaving the pier. Our Antarctic adventure had begun!
With the landscape of the Beagle Channel passing by on either side, we made our way out towards the open sea. Birdwatching had already begun with Black-browed albatrosses gliding past, and there were even a few Magellanic penguins porpoising! At 19:15 we gathered in the bar again – it was time to meet Captain Ernesto Barría and the Expedition Team for a toast to our voyage. Afterwards we enjoyed the first of many delicious meals on board. The ship’s movements were very gentle and even as we reached the beginning of the infamous Drake Passage later in the evening, they remained subtle – we certainly took this as a good omen for our voyage!