|Position:||54°54 ‘S, 067°57 ‘W|
Boarding Ortelius started around 4pm and we were soon checked in by our Hotel Manager and his assistant (Sigy and Melany). We were shown to our cabins and had some free time to get unpacked and settled in. We soon began exploring our new home; perhaps the most important place to find was the Bar on Deck 6, where coffee/tea can be accessed 24/7 and where Barman Paulo can often be found if we fancy something stronger. Of course, doors to the outside deck-space were also important to locate, so that when whales and other delights are announced, we know how to get out there as quickly and efficiently as possible. At 5 pm we were summoned by Expedition Leader Troels to a mandatory briefing in the Lecture Room on Deck 3. He welcomed us on board and introduced Third Officer Igor, who showed an all-important Safety video. Now we are aware of what we should do if we see a fire or man overboard, and know precisely what to grab and where to go in the event of the ship’s general alarm going off. Seven short and one long blast calls us (warmly dressed) to the Bar, which doubles as our muster station. Once we are all there, radio communication between the bridge officers and ship’s crew keeps us informed of developments. The ‘abandon ship’ signal is given by the Chief Officer, and we hope that today is the only time we hear it. Filing outside in orderly fashion and gathering next to the lifeboats completed the drill; we were then free to continue our explorations of the ship, or come out on deck with our cameras to watch Ortelius’ departure from Ushuaia. Before dinner we again gathered in the Lounge/Bar on Deck 6. The Expedition Leader Troels, introduced Captain Mika – the person who will get us there and back again safely. We raised a glass of bubbly (or orange juice) to the success of our voyage and then it was time for our Hotel Manager Sigi to give useful information about mealtimes, Internet/Webmail access and treating the toilets nicely. He was followed by the doctor Linda and expedition team staff for self-introductions. Then came the time for our first dinner aboard. Due to the strong wins earlier in the day, our departure was delayed slightly until after dinner. We waved our goodbyes to this city (almost) at the end of the world and headed down the Beagle Channel towards the open ocean. After dinner, a stroll on deck with binoculars looking for birds, a cup of tea or something stronger, and then most of us fell into bed after a busy and exciting day.