PLA27-19, trip log, Antarctic Peninsula

by Oceanwide Expeditions


Day 1: Embarkation – Ushuaia, Argentina

Embarkation – Ushuaia, Argentina
Date: 07.02.2019
Position: 54°53’S / 067°42’W
Wind: Light air
Weather: Cloudy
Air Temperature: +12

So here we are at last in Tierra del Fuego, at the bottom of the world. Well, from Ushuaia we’ll be going south...a long way south. But for today, we ambled about this lovely Patagonian city, savouring the local flavours and enjoying the sights. Ushuaia marks the end of the road in Argentine Tierra del Fuego, but also the beginning – the beginning of a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. During the summer this rapidly growing frontier town of 55,000 bustles with adventurous travellers. The duty-free port flourishes with tourism but also thrives on a sizeable crab fishery and a burgeoning electronics industry. Ushuaia (lit. “bay that penetrates to the west” in the indigenous Yaghan tongue) clearly benefits from its magnificent, yet remote setting. The rugged spine of the South American Andes ends here, where two oceans meet. As could be expected from such an exposed setting, the weather has the habit of changing on a whim. However, temperatures during the long days of the austral summer are relatively mild, providing a final blanket of warmth before heading off on our adventures. For many of us this is the start of a lifelong dream. The excitement comes in different forms for each unique person, but even the most experienced of us feels genuine excitement to depart on a journey to the Great White Continent of Antarctica. Most passengers were promptly at the gangway at 16:00, ready to board our ship MV Plancius, home for our Antarctic adventure! We were greeted at the gangway by members of our Expedition staff who sent us on board to meet Hotel and Restaurant Managers, Zsuzsanna and Alex. We were then checked into our cabins with the assistance of our fabulous Filipino crew. A little while after boarding we convened in the lounge on deck five to meet First Officer Francois, who led us through the details of the required SOLAS (Safety Of Life At Sea) Safety and Lifeboat Drill, assisted by the crew and staff. We had been prepared for our actual safety drill and on hearing the general alarm, we reconvened at the ‘muster station’, the lounge, for the mandatory safety briefing and abandon ship drill donning our huge orange life jackets that will keep us safe should the need arise. Shortly after our first briefing we departed the jetty of Ushuaia and entered the Beagle Channel with an escort of black browed albatross. After all the safety drills were taken care of we were invited once again to the lounge to meet our Hotel Manager Zsuzsanna who gave us an overview of the ship, a floating hotel which will be our home for the next 10 days or so. We then met our Expedition Leader, Ali Liddle and the rest of the Expedition Team who will guide us in Antarctica. This was also a chance to meet our Captain, Artur Iakovlev and toast our voyage with a glass of Prosecco. At 19:30 we sampled the first of many delicious meals on board, prepared by Chef Ralf and his galley staff. This first evening on board was occupied with more exploration of the ship, adjusting to her movements, and settling into our cabins. In the early hours of the morning we would be out into the open waters of the Drake Passage!

Day 2: At sea to Antarctica – Drakes Passage

At sea to Antarctica – Drakes Passage
Date: 08.02.2019
Position: 56°26’S / 065°37’W
Wind: WNW 4
Weather: Fog
Air Temperature: +7

Our first morning at sea and our journey towards Antarctica has finally started! Even though it was a rather calm first night on the Drake quite a few were experiencing sea-sickness. It was a breezy morning and Plancius was making good progress across the Drake Passage. After breakfast some headed out on deck to gaze at the birds that were eventually flying around the ship. During the day we found some Cape Petrels, Black-browed Albatrosses, Giant Petrels, Blue Petrels, White-chinned Petrels and Sooty Sheerwaters! But occasionally there were also Magellanic and Gentoo penguins jumping and gliding through the water. At 10:30 we gathered in the lounge to learn a little more about these sea birds from Regis who delivered a very informative presentation about the different species, how we monitor them and what is being done towards their conservation. As this is a bilingual voyage Laura had her first lecture on ice for our French passengers. She explained different types of ice in Antarctica and how global warming has an effect on Antarctica. Those who signed in to go kayaking during this voyage had a first meeting with Alexis, the kayak guide, in the library where they were briefed on the operations involved with paddling in Antarctica. After lunch Celine gave a lecture about Penguins; it answered many of our initial questions about these fantastic little creatures, and we were even more curious about these funny looking but perfectly adapted animals. At 4:30pm Laura, Nicole, Celine and Eduardo gathered the campers in the dining room to explain how their night on the ice would be, about logistics, which clothes to bring and how to snuggle into the several layers of sleeping bags. As there were still relatively calm conditions the rubber boot distribution took place so we were called by deck to proceed to the boot room on deck three to collect them. The staff were on hand to ensure everyone got the correct size ready to go ashore in Antarctica the day after tomorrow. The final official event of the day was our first daily Recap & Briefing session. Ali explained the plan for tomorrow and showed some weather charts so we knew what to expect for our second day in the Drake. It was supposed to be still calm. The expedition team also took this opportunity to introduce themselves properly and tell us a little about the role they hope to play in our voyage.

Day 3: At sea to Antarctica – Drakes Passage

At sea to Antarctica – Drakes Passage
Date: 09.02.2019
Position: 61°09’S / 063°03’W
Wind: E 4
Weather: Cloudy
Air Temperature: +3

We enjoyed another gentle night of rolling on the Drake Passage, this favourable weather meant we had made very good progress over night. Ali and Celine woke us with news of the weather and sea state and for those early birds already out on deck there was a very quick glimpse of three Southern Bottlenose Dolphins. After breakfast we attended the mandatory briefing about Zodiac operations so that we can be familiar with all the safety measures in place to get off the ship, on shore and back on the ship safely. Following this, Ali and Celine briefed us on IAATO (International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators) protocol and biosecurity, so that we will have minimal impact on the pristine environment of Antarctica. They explained how we should behave whilst in Antarctica to ensure the protection and conservation of this incredible, but very fragile environment. It is important that we follow certain protocol to ensure that we leave no trace of our visit and only take away nothing more than memories. In order to ensure we follow these protocols, we had to vacuum our outerwear; ensuring no seeds or plant material was hiding in our pockets and Velcro. After lunch many of headed out on deck to enjoy the birds that were following the ship whilst other took the opportunity to have a little siesta. At 3pm Laura and Regis gave their respective lectures, ‘Ice’ and ‘Sea Birds’, to the opposite language groups to yesterday. As the afternoon progressed, we could see our first icebergs on the horizon, some were large tabular ones, most probably broken off from the Ross Ice Shelf, whilst others were small bergs in a variety of shapes and colours. After tea and cake Sara gave a lecture entitled ‘Seals of the Southern Ocean’ in the dining room, she explained the difference between true and eared seals, their cold-water adaptations and a little about each of the species we could hope to see over the forthcoming days. Meanwhile Celine gave a lecture about Elephant Seals and the research she had done with them to our French guests up in the lounge. Once the lectures were over most headed out on deck for their first proper views of Antarctica, as the South Shetland Islands were now clearly in sight, we cruised through Boyd Strait, Snow Island on our port side and Smith Island to our starboard. There were numerous feeding humpback whales to be seen, blowing and fluking all around the ship, enjoying these nutrient rich waters. At 6:30 we gathered in the lounge to hear about the plans for tomorrow from Ali, this was followed by a short recap about the Antarctic Convergence from Eduardo and Sara tried to demonstrate the enormity of some of the sea birds we had been seeing with the help of a piece of string. After which we made our way down to dinner, full of excitement at what the following days would bring.

Day 4: Danco Island

Danco Island
Date: 10.02.2019
Position: 64°37’S / 062°37’W
Wind: Variable
Weather: Partly Cloudy
Air Temperature: +3

In the early hours of the morning, we continued with our sailing plan, which took us along the Gerlanche Strait. We cruised without problem enjoying the occasional sight of a whale, and the menacing view of a few icebergs. The Gerlache Strait is the area of water that separates the Palmer Archipelago from Antarctic Peninsula. The Belgica Expedition (1897-1899), under command of Lt. Adrien de Gerlache, explored the strait in January and February 1898, naming it for the expedition ship Belgica. The name was later changed to honor the commander himself. This strait is characterized by amazing views of the mountains in the peninsula, as well as the spectacular icebergs that cross the strait. Shortly after an early lunch, we arrived to our destination for the morning, Danco Island. Danco Island is 1 mile long, and lies in the South part of the Errera Channel, of the West coast of Graham Land. It was originally charted by the Belgica Expedition, under command of Gerlache and named after Emile Danco, a Belgian geophysicist member of the expedition who died on board the Belgica in the Antarctic. He was a very popular and admired scientist on board this expedition. As usually, the first to land ashore were the members of the expedition staff, who opened the route to access the lower gentoo penguins and further on to the top of the hill where yet another colony of gentoo penguin nest. The people who opened the route were Adam and Sara who made some steps in the snow aiming for the summit. Once the routes were established, we proceeded to bring our guests ashore. The majority of our guests climbed up, all the way to the summit of the small mountain that rises up to 160 m above sea level (circa 525 feet above sea level). We had a cloudy day, with layers of grey clouds hovering above us, which made us feel a bit chilly. From the top of the island we could enjoyed the spectacular scenery of the Errera Channel. This channel was named after Leo Errera, a professor at the University of Brussels who was one of the supporters of the Belgica Expedition. From the top we could appreciate the snow capped mountains with imposing glaciers, showing an endless collection of crevasses, seracs and bergschrunds. A parade of icebergs showed up below in the waters of the channel. The guests who opted to stay next to the beach were rewarded also with the calm waters of the channel, as well as with the spectacular views of the icebergs and their endless blue-green colors. Certainly these guests were not disappointed since they probably enjoyed a long and quiet moment in which they were hear only the gentle splash of the waves, the distant call of gentoo penguins or the murmur of the wind. All this was interrupted twice by the thunderous sound of a couple of avalanches that happened in the mountains opposite to the landing site. Once we finished the landing, we returned to our ship to enjoy a hot meal, we had some rest and we prepare ourselves for our next activity which according to our plans, was a visit to Port Lockroy. This is a well known and popular Antarctic destination, visited by almost all the ships that call for the Antarctic Peninsula. Today Port Lockroy offers a wide variety of Antarctic souvenirs as well as post stamps and books. Originally this building was established as part of a series of secret military bases erected by British Forces in 1944 in order to monitor any German or Axis maritime traffic in the Antarctic Region under the code name "Operation Tabarin”. Originally was named Base A and later became a weather observatory until it was abandoned and later refurbished to make it the museum/shop is today, as part of the United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust. Sadly the weather did not allow us the visit to "Base A" on this day. As we approached the island, we could not find suitable conditions to undertake zodiac operations safely. Hence, after waiting until 17:15, we decided to move the ship to our next destination, passing in the vicinity of the famous Le Marie Channel. Here we had the chance to enjoy how the sun set, among the magnificent mountains.

Day 5: Petermann Island and Pleneau Island, Antarctic Peninsula

Petermann Island and Pleneau Island, Antarctic Peninsula
Date: 11.02.2019
Position: 65°10’S / 064°07’W
Wind: Light airs
Weather: Overcast
Air Temperature: +3

The morning started with the wake up calls that we had become accustomed to since joining the Plancius. We were sailing towards the spectacular scenery of the Lemaire Channel, this channel cuts between the Antarctic Peninsula and Booth Island in dramatic fashion; with its jagged ridges and snow caps rising into the clouds and icebergs strewn across the channel. We made our way through and were greeted by more spectacular scenery. We arrived Petermann Island, the most southerly position for our trip. Here, we had the chance to walk and discover Gentoo and Adélie penguin colonies. Both species were raising chicks; the Adélie ones were already big and near fledging, some of them moulting before a soon departure. We also were able to enjoy a walk to the end of the island where the panorama of giant icebergs aground on the rocks stood was in contrast to the smooth snow that ran down the hill to the shore. The short and accelerate breeding cycle for Adélie (October to February) is one of the reasons. We could stand and watch the penguins as they went about the busy process of feeding their hungry chicks. Many of the chicks were just lying in the sunshine waiting for their parents to come back from sea with food but those that were with their parents created a wonderful show as the chicks chased them around the colony, desperate for some food before they went away again. It was wonderful to watch. We returned to Plancius for a lunch before heading out on our next activity. In the afternoon, we had the chance to land on Pléneau island. The expedition team had arranged a split landing and cruise with half of the passengers going ashore first and the other group going out into the bay for a Zodiac cruise. Pléneau island is 1.2 km long mainly covered by ice. One more time to watch the busy life of Gentoo penguins. On the cruise we sailed between huge and splendid icebergs. On many of them we found a great number of Crabeater seals relaxing and even some Leopard seals. Before dinner, during our daily recap, we learnt more about Seals and the French explorer Jean-Baptiste Charcot. And now we even know why ice is blue!

Day 6: Port Lockroy, Brown Station and Skontorp Cove, Antarctic Peninsula

Port Lockroy, Brown Station and Skontorp Cove, Antarctic Peninsula
Date: 12.02.2019
Position: 64°49’S / 063°31’W
Wind: Light air
Weather: Snow
Air Temperature: 0

Today, our activities started very early in the day and at 6 AM the campers were picked up from Damoy point by our staff. They came back to the ship for a quick shower, and for a rewarding breakfast. Once breakfast had finished we commenced our activities for the morning. As luck would have it, we managed to get a slot to visit "Port Lockroy" since no ships organized a visit for this day. This news was very well recieved by our guests who had prepared themselves a few days before, when our plans became frustrated by the weather. This time, the weather was slightly better, although not perfect. This time, the Neumayer Channel greeted us among a thick fog and snowy conditions. Consequently visibility was limited to 1.5-2 km producing a mysterious atmosphere. We divided the group into two, one group would visit first the base while the other one would undertake a zodiac cruise in the nearby area. The visitors at "Base A", had the chance to visit the small museum as well as to buy some souvenirs and send postcards. The zodiac cruise allowed our passengers to appreciate wildlife not seen yet; such as a couple of fur seals and a lonely chinstrap penguin. After one hour and a quarter, we swapped the groups, so those in the zodiacs could have a chance of visiting "Base A" and those ashore could make a zodiac cruise. When we came back to the ship, conditions deteriorated a little bit, and snow started to accumulate in the zodiacs as well as in the exposed decks of the ship. As we sailed away from the Neumayer Channel, the wind started to increase and grey clouds rolled in from the horizon. Luckily, as we approached our next destination, the sky started to clear up and we could appreciate the Antarctic mountains in the distance as well as our next destination, Brown Station. This station is situated at the Coughtrey Peninsula at the north side of the entrance of Skontrop Cove, next to Paradise Harbor. This small peninsula was thought to be an island when mapped by David Ferguson between 1913 and 1914. Here at the end of the small peninsula, the Argentinian Government established the base Almirante Brown Station in 1949-1950. Here, we organized parallel activities, a small hike and a zodiac cruise. The guests who joined us at the landing, were greeted by the station's Doctor who explained the nature of the research being undertaken at the station. (research, with biologists studying fish, the quality of water and botany). Those who landed were given the option of hike to the top of the hill behind the base, a nice vantage point from where it is possible to see a fantastic landscape of Paradise Harbor and the distant mountains of Graham Land. The other activity we undertook was a zodiac cruise, which took our guests to nice view points of the glacier fronts in Paradise Bay. Here we could see a wonderful display of different colors of blues in the ice of the glacier, calving icebergs and majestic glaciers. Regarding wildlife, we enjoyed the views of a few antarctic terns, blue eyed shags, skuas, crab eater seals, weddell seal, Leopard seal, Minke whale and at the end, a couple of humpback whales. Upon return to the ship we all enjoyed of a barbecue on board a delicious meal specially prepared by the skillful hands of the ship's galley, under direction of Ralph our head chef. The meal was served on the aft deck and it included whale sights and spectacular scenery. Later the setting was transformed into a dancing room where our guests as well as a few members of the crew took a chance to enjoy a beer and a fine selection of music provided by Ryan. Around 10:30 the party was called off and everybody went inside the ship either to sleep or to enjoy yet another drink at the bar.

Day 7: Orne Harbour, Antarctic Peninsula

Orne Harbour, Antarctic Peninsula
Date: 13.02.2019
Position: 64°43’S / 062°35’W
Wind: W 4
Weather: Overcast
Air Temperature: 0

In the morning we arrived at Orne harbour, a small cove situated at the eastern side of the Gerlache strait dominated by Spigot Point, a sharp, ice corniced peak 289m above sea level. Many eager guests were waiting at the gangway to explore the magnificent surrounding. As always staff was ashore first to prepare the landing site, which in this case included to mark a save pathway through large group of playful Antarctic fur seals bulls, that were frolicking on the landing site. Two activities were offered: a walk up to the chinstrap penguin colony followed by a short zodiac cruise or for those not choosing for the short but steep walk up to the ridge a longer zodiac cruise exploring the marine wildlife and the icebergs in the surrounding area. For those wanting a closer encounter with chinstrap penguins up the ridge it was a fantastic experience to also enjoy the view over the Errera Channel, the Gerlache Strait as well as Anvers and Brabant island in the distance. The chinstrap penguins nest on the ridge leading to Spigot Point and we had a good view of their incredibly cute and well fed chicks. From the ridge it was possible to contemplate the hard work that the penguins undertake on their feeding journeys as the highways reached all the way to the top of the ridge from the sea. Those taking the zodiac cruise were delighted with the nice colors of the mosses and lichens decorating the steep cliffs of Spigot Point as well with the different nests of birds visible from the shoreline, especially Blue-eyed shags, Antarctic terns and yet more Chinstrap penguins. More Antarctic fur seals resting on the shoreline or on ice floes and spectacular glaciers that resembled our ship were also encountered. Back on-board Ali outlined the plans for the afternoon before handing over to Szusanna who welcomed us on board with a nice buffet lunch. While enjoying lunch we sailed, and as if the amazing landscape and scenery of the Gerlach strait was not big enough a treat, the team spotted a pod of Orcas. First widely spread and in a loose group, they moved closer together and we could see a big male with a huge dorsal fin. They were parading along a set of loose icebergs and eventually they decided to approach Plancius to check out their visitors. They came swimming up close to the ship and diving underneath so we could see their unique characteristics from a very short distance, and study their behaviour. What a sight! After that wind increased quite rapidly and a second landing at Orne Island was dropped in favour of cruising through the Gerlache strait, enjoying the impressions of the day and admiring the various magnificent iceberg and numerous Humpback Whales along the way.

Day 8: Telefon Bay and Whalers Bay, Deception Island

Telefon Bay and Whalers Bay, Deception Island
Date: 14.02.2019
Position: 62°59’S / 060°33’W
Wind: E 4
Weather: Fog
Air Temperature: +3

Overnight we had sailed North to the South Shetland Islands, ready for our early morning landing at Telefon Bay in Deception Island. To make the most of our final day in Antarctica Ali woke us at 5am and a light breakfast was served in the lounge. Deception Island is in fact a caldera, the result of a volcanic eruption, whereby the volcano collapsed in on itself and formed a large crater. At Deception Island part of the crater wall subsequently collapsed and let water in, so the centre of the caldera is accessible for vessels to sail into. Access is through a narrow opening in the caldera called Neptune’s Bellows which Captain Artur navigated us safely through. As we sailed towards Telefon Bay, located at the back of the caldera, we passed Whalers’ Bay on our right-hand side and the Spanish research base, Gabriel de Castilla. By 5:30am we were in place at Telefon Bay and were shuttled ashore. For those feeling energetic Eduardo lead a hike up to the crater edge, where we could gain spectacular views of this moon like scape. The formation of Telefon Bay has most recently been modified by the 1967 eruption, which significantly broadened the main valley, on either side of the valley we could still see the prominent ash cliffs that were the remnants of an older crater. For those wishing to stay at a lower level, there was a chance to wander along the black volcanic sand beach, where there were lots of Antarctic fur seals resting. Before heading back to the ship, the brave (or foolish) amongst us stripped off and jumped into the icy Antarctic waters for our polar plunge. A quick dash back to the ship for a warm shower and a hot drink was much needed after our early morning, invigorating dip. Back on board it was time for our second breakfast, after which Ali and Captain Artur called a meeting in the lounge to inform us of a change of plans. Due to the ever-worsening forecast for Drake Passage it had been decided that we needed to leave as soon as possible so instead of proceeding to Half Moon for an afternoon landing we were going to do a second morning landing in Deception Island, but this time at Whalers’ Bay. Whalers’ Bay, was used by Norwegian whalers for shore-based whaling operations as early as 1911. The beach is pitch black and covered with volcanic sand and rock; as we reached the beach, we noticed steam rising from the water- evidence of the warmer-than-average temperatures found here as a result of volcanic activity. We spent the morning exploring the remains of the whaling station, including the few remaining whalers’ graves in the cemetery, which was buried by an eruption in 1969. The old buildings are warped and aged, memorials to the way of life down here. Some of us walked the length of the beach past the whaling station towards a notch in the caldera walls called Neptune’s Window. On the way we saw lots of whale bones, remnants of whaling and water boats, as well as piles of wood used to make barrels for whale oil. The short, steep hike up the walls of the caldera gave us a view ahead through Neptune’s Window towards the peninsula (although covered in fog today), and back over the entire caldera. On the shoreline we found numerous Antarctic Fur seals dotted amongst the whaling relics and lots of juvenile Antarctic cormorants. As the morning progressed the weather unfortunately deteriorated with increasing wind and sleet so by 11:30am we were all back on board, in the safety and warmth off the Plancuis. Before lunch was served the doctor was busy administrating sea sickness pills and patches to most on board in preparation for the forthcoming days, there was a sense of apprehension on board for what lay ahead. After lunch most headed to their cabins for a little rest after the early start. For those not yet suffering of sea sickness they enjoyed their last views of Antarctica as we made our way through an ice strewn Boyd Strait, before hitting the infamous Drake Passage. At 3:30pm Celine gave a presentation about the effect of contaminants on sea birds to our English-speaking guests in the lounge, whilst Laura spoke about the geology of Antarctica to our French guests in the dining room. At recap Ali showed us the most recent forecast for the Drake Passage, it was going to be a bumpy ride back to Ushuaia! After which there was the usual recap from the staff during which Eduardo spoke about early Antarctic aviation, the first flight ever took off from Deception Island as well as the Aurora Australis. After dinner the documentary film ‘The Penguin Post Office’ was shown in the lounge, this was filmed over a season at Goudier Island (Port Lockroy) with the Gentoo penguins and staff of the charity, UKAHT (United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust) that manage the island and post office and maintain its museum and buildings so we can enjoy this piece of history nestled in the Antarctic. We were also able to catch a glimpse of the worlds largest bird, the Wandering Albatross as some spared nearby to the ship and for those very lucky a glimpse of Hourglass Dolphins was also possible. After a delicious dinner to celebrate Valentine’s Day most headed to bed for an early night, wondering what tomorrow’s weather would bring!

Day 9: At sea to Ushuaia – Drakes Passage

At sea to Ushuaia – Drakes Passage
Date: 15.02.2019
Position: 59°72’S / 061°16’W
Wind: W 5
Weather: Good
Air Temperature: +5

Our first sea day on the return across the Drake Passage after our amazing time in Antarctica. We awoke to the movements of Plancius pushing her way through the swell and Zsuzsanna’s invitation to have breakfast at 8 o’clock. Most people are now accustomed to the movement of the ship and enjoyed a relaxed morning in the lounge or sunbathing on the benches of deck 6. We were occasionally visited by a variety of albatrosses, e.g. Wandering albatross, Light mantled sooty albatross, Black-browed albatross or Grey-headed albatross. At 10 o’clock Laura started the daily lectures with a fascinating talk about the geology of Antarctica. She explained how the continent was formed and what the visible rocks of Antarctica can tell about their origins. Parallel the French attended a lecture about contamination in seabirds given Celine in the restaurant. The later morning was by the majority of people pleasantly spent in the lounge with watching the award-winning BBC- series “Frozen planet”. We enjoyed lunch in slightly calmer seas and after Ali gave her presentation “Ice Maidens”, a presentation which looked at the women behind the explorers such as Scott and Shackleton as well as the struggle for equality in working in the Antarctic regions and exploits of those such as Felicity Ashton who was the first solo female to cross Antarctica. The afternoon offered a chance to relax in the lounge or our cabins and we then had Adam giving us his presentation on “South Georgia, my year South”. Adam overwintered on the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia whilst working for the British Antarctic survey. The French group meanwhile attended a talk given Regis about the Kerguelen islands and his experiences of overwintering on the island. With so many interesting talks and presentations day one in Drake passed very quickly and soon it was time for daily recap and dinner.

Day 10: At sea to Ushuaia

At sea to Ushuaia
Date: 16.02.2019
Position: 55°39’S / 064°42’W
Wind: W 9
Weather: Cloudy
Air Temperature: +10

It has to be said hat some of us did not manage a full nights sleep, as predicted the swell and wind conditions had worsened as we were in the weather system that was moving through he Drakes Passage. With lots of re-positioning back in to comfortable positions the wake up call came at 8am which saw a range of movements, counter movements, excited squealing and spillages in the restaurant. restaurant staff as always carried out assisting during the buffet service with acrobatic poise as the ship pitched in winds in excess of 64 knots meaning that according to the internationally recognised scale of wind strength/sea conditions known as the Beaufort scale we were out of a ‘violent storm’ and now in a ‘hurricane’. The ship remained rather busy with people watching the sheer power and magnificence of the ocean that was at times engulfing our ship. Lunch was also well attended and afterwards we had the chance to relax or watch other episodes of ‘Frozen Planet’. At 6.30pm we began our farewells with Captains cocktails followed by a slideshow presentation of our trip that had been compiled by Sara, we enjoyed a smooth evening in the bar before going to bed at the end of our Antarctic expedition.

Day 10: Disembarkation - Ushuaia

Disembarkation - Ushuaia
Date: 17.02.2019

At 6am we approached the port of Ushauia ready to disembark for the final time, no zodiac ride ashore and a dry landing. The last 10 days have taken us on a remarkable journey to Antarctica and allowed us a glimpse of life in this remote and sometimes inhospitable place. We will all have different memories of our trip but whatever the memories, whether it was the Gentoo penguins at Danco or the sight of icebergs for the first time they are memories that will stay with us for the rest of our lives. Total distance sailed on our voyage: 1799 Nautical Miles On behalf of everyone on board we thank you for travelling with us and wish you a safe journey home.