|Position:||54°48’ S, 068°17’ W|
|Weather:||breezy & sunny|
It was a very exciting day in Ushuaia – the sun was shining brightly and we were about to set off on a great adventure. Walking eagerly up the gangway for the first time we were at last aboard Ortelius, our new floating home. As soon as we had received our door keys and been shown to our luxurious staterooms, we began to explore the ship, beginning the process of getting to know the ship.
However, it wasn’t long before we were gathered together - firstly in the lecture room and then in the bar for a variety of briefings and introductions. Information was imparted by the safety officer, the expedition leader, the hotel manager and our captain. The expedition team also introduced themselves. Before the first of many dinners on the ship we got the chance to try on our big, orange lifejackets and to have a look inside the big orange lifeboats.
The ship left the dock at 18.00 and once the formalities were over we were able to enjoy the scenic magnificence of the Beagle Channel. There were already lots of birds to be seen, including brown Sooty Shearwaters and our first albatrosses – black-browed. A big surprise came in the form of two Humpback Whales, which are hardly ever seen in the Beagle Channel! One of them was repeatedly slapping its very long pectoral flippers on the surface of the water. The ship was heading east towards the open sea and on the way we passed the southernmost town in the world, Puerto Williams in Chile. We also passed the last trees for quite a while.