Antarctica

Day 2

14:00

I am happy to say that I am able to report on my way to Antarctica. Grandpa Shelton will be happy to know that there are 3 iMacs onboard with 24 inch monitors. Very good for me to be able to write (although it took me about 5 minutes to be able to even find a program to write text in).

So yesterday, as I quickly wrote in my blog, I booked a last minute deal to Antarctica. I booked at 1pm and the boat left at 6pm, so I was rushing around getting my stuff ready, buying things I needed, and so on. Luckily I didn’t miss this boat, as I did for the boat from Colonia, Uruguay to Buenos Aires (luckily, they didn’t charge me extra, I just lost 6 hours waiting in Colonia).

So yesterday we left around 6pm on a this OneOcean Expeditions tour. The boat has enough rooms to fit 104 tourists, plus staff, which is made up of Americans, Canadians, Australians, Argentines, and many, many Russians. We set sail out of Ushuaia after our lifeboats drill, which is signified by 7 short rings followed by 1 long ring.

As you would expect, the age of the people here is a bit older than me, on average I would say 50s or so. Besides a 10 year old girl who came with her mother, I am pretty sure I am the youngest tourist on board. This makes me feel extremely privileged to have this opportunity. Most of the people are from the US, Canada, England, and Australia. It’s actually hard to find people speaking Spanish, but I made friends with the Argentine cooks on board and a lady from Barcelona. If I go 11 days without Spanish, I will lose a lot.

I got very, very lucky with my room. My deal was for a double room, but I just happen to not have a roommate! 11 days in a small area, bunk bed, and not much more, could get annoying with another person. Having space to myself for these days is a big perk.

The boat is good sized, with a presentation room, dining room that fits everyone, multimedia room, a gym, a sauna, and about 7 total levels including the very top.

Last night, we saw several species of birds, several penguins swimming, and some dolphins. At one point, which unfortunately I didn’t see except on video, there was a dolphin swimming in front of the boat where the boat was producing waves. The dolphin was swimming ahead, jumping in and out of the waves. At another point, which I did see, there were a group of 5 or so dolphins swimming at a little bit of a distance from the boat, but you could see them jumping and playing around. There were also several albatrosses that were seen. Overall, a very good first night for seeing animals which I didn’t expect.

This morning (Day 2), I woke up and had breakfast, then there were a few presentations. One was about photography, where a guy gave many good tips about taking photos here, and the other presentation was about Ernest Shackleton and his voyages around Antarctica. Very interesting, especially since I knew absolutely nothing about the history here. Today there are several more presentations, which I am happy to go to since right now we’re in some fog so you can’t see much.

We’re currently passing the Drake Passage, which is infamous for its rough waters. It’s caused by having 3 oceans meet (Pacific, Atlantic, and Arctic) and is where the weather starts to change. Luckily for my stomach, it has been very smooth so far. Some people say it’s one of the easiest it has been so far, but we still have another 24 hours to go before we completely pass.

I feel out of my league with the travellers on board here. Not many people do the last minute deals, so people have booked well in advance and have been looking forward to this trip for months. And if you are going to come to South America just for this, you are probably a pretty hardcore nature person. The amount of knowledge I have is about 0, about the wildlife, history, everything. For me, this is a stop on a long South American trip, and I didn’t decide to come here until a few weeks ago. For this, I feel very undeserved to be here and very outmatched by my lack of knowledge! I also dress much more rugged than the people here, with my holey dirty jeans, tooth paste stained sweatshirt (I spilled toothpaste on myself a few days ago), and my yellow tinted tennis shoes (which used to be white). I feel like Leonardo DiCaprio on the Titanic.

Last night around 11pm, after the sun was about finished setting, everyone went inside to go to bed, but I hadn’t had enough yet. I stayed out on the front of the boat, listening to the rumbling motor and splashing waves, and knowing that we are heading for Antarctica gave me the chills. It was a very great moment, and I was tempted to do the “I’m King of the World!” (Ok, I’ll try to hold back on the Titanic references).

So far, so good. I’m extremely excited to see some icebergs, the wildlife, and to camp on Antarctica. I am just hoping the Drake Passage stays good to us. My stomach really appreciates it!

Day 3

12:30

Onto day 3, and we are still making our way to Antarctica. Last night at 11pm, we passed the 60 degree latitude mark, meaning that we are officially in Antarctica but all we still see is ocean.

Last night, there were more presentations and also a movie showing about Antarctica. There was an interesting presentation about on board superstitions given by an older Australian man who had a glass of whiskey during his speech. Everyone was seated around in the lounge area listening, like it was an old sailor telling stories.

I met a young German couple last night who are about my age and are traveling around South America as well, so it’s cool to meet someone in a similar situation. They’ve been traveling for about 8 months now and started off in Asia.

I have been taking sea sickness pills since before we left, and they cause drowsiness. Because of that, I have been feeling pretty tired, especially later in the day. I had to take a nap yesterday for about an hour in the afternoon, and last night I slept for a good 9 hours or so. I figure the sleepiness sacrifice is worth taking the chance to get sea sick. So far so good.

This morning, there was a presentation about getting on and off the zodiacs, the small inflatable boats we will use to get to the land and also to cruise around in. There was also another presentation about tips on taking pictures of the landscapes, wildlife, etc. Also, this morning, we finally saw some big marine wildlife, some humpback whales! Someone saw them in the distance ahead about 1 mile, and eventually they were much closer as we passed them. They came up a total of 3 times that we saw. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get a picture, but it was amazing to see them blow the water up, then see the back come on top of the water, and finally the entire tale as it made a dive deep into the water. Really, really cool to see for the first time. I think we should see more in the coming days, so hopefully I will get some decent pictures. We’ve also seen several more albatrosses of different types. The temperature dropped significantly overnight and is about 35 degrees right now. We should be getting through the Drake Passage later today, I believe, and also we should start seeing icebergs a bit later.

We’ve now been on the boat for about 42 hours, so the anxiety to get there is building up, especially after seeing pictures and movies about Antarctica. After seeing just ocean for 2 days, I think the icebergs and total atmosphere of Antarctica will be even more exciting.

17:30

Well it’s getting more exciting as we get closer. Today, we got relatively near an island (Smith Island, I think) and ever since there have been plenty of birds hovering around the boat. At one point, there were about 30 pentads swooping around the boat looking for food in the waves produced by the boat. A short time afterwards, some whales were spotted a mile ahead. After some time, they were within a few hundred yards of the boat and we found out there were at least 7 Sei Whales. They were in sight for about 15 minutes before they went the way that we came. A bit later, there was an announcement in the boat that there was another whale spotting, so I ran to the highest deck and saw 2 humpback whales a few hundred yards to the right side of the boat. I snapped a few nice photos, especially as they got further away and started diving in. I have a really cool one of the tail as it is doing a dive, and you can see a little waterfall of water coming off the tail. I hope the quality turns out so I can crop it .

We found out that tomorrow is an opportunity for camping if the weather is good. This was a big influence for me picking this tour, so I am extremely excited to be able to sleep on Antarctica (if I even want to sleep when I am there). There are also some chances to swim along our trip, so I plan to brave the cold for the experience and bragging rights (and hopefully a few pictures of me swimming with huge icebergs in the background)!

Day 4

13:00

I went to bed last night like it was Christmas. I made sure to go to bed early in order to get up early, because I knew something good was coming. But rather than Santa coming from the North Pole, I was getting closer to the South Pole. I set my alarm for 5am in hopes to look out my window to see icebergs, mountains, whales, everything but the Easter Bunny. I wasn’t disappointed. I looked out the little porthole and saw the Antarctic Peninsula with it’s snow and ice covered mountains, the icebergs (both small and large), and a cool light coming from the rising sun. I quickly put in my contacts, brushed my teeth, and ran to the top of the boat to find about 10 others already enjoying the environment. Finally, it felt like Antarctica. To be honest, so far it has been what you would see in pictures, but being here is so much more. While cruising along, we saw several small, flat icebergs which were temporary beds for sea lions and seals. We saw several penguins swimming along and jumping up out of the water in their strong swimming mechanism. Some Minke Whales were spotted in the distance but I wasn’t able to get a glance.

The route was to go through Laraime Channel, but the small passageway had an iceberg in the middle, blocking the route. So because of this, we had to turn out and will try to go around it. We finally go to the spot of our first expedition, meaning getting out of the main ship. We will always get out in these small motorized boats, called Zodiacs. From there, we will just cruise around or get to a landing spot on land. This time, we got in the boat, and had a 2 hour cruise.

We were surrounded by a good fog, but it wasn’t so strong that we didn’t have good sight. The fog actually added a cool atmosphere to the trip, being that you would be getting within a few hundred meters of a mountain or iceberg, and you would see the sheer size until you were somewhat close. Along the way, we saw several Crabeater Sea Lions, laying on flat icebergs. At one point we saw 3 together, another time 2 together, and yet another time 2 together. Always were just laying there sleeping and trying to get a glimpse at the curious boat coming alongside. We also saw a few groups of Gentoo Penguins swimming along, which was amazing to see up close. Like I said before, their mechanism for swimming is to jump up out of the water in stride and do a little dive. At one point, there were 2 within 30 feet of our boat, and you could actually see them swimming under the water.

The icebergs are some of the most interesting things we have seen so far. They are so many shapes and sizes, various colors of white, blue, clear. Apparantly, the clearer a piece of ice is, the older it is. This is because in a glacier, the snow builds up and the snow on the bottom is the most compact, forcing out all of the air. The snow on top (the newer snow), has more oxygen and bubbles, so that will appear more white. So because of this, when you see ice floating in the water, the black (or darker) snow is this colour because it is clearer and you are looking through it into the water. The whiter ice is reflecting the light from the sky because of the air in the snow. The older ice could be somewhere along the lines of 8,000 or 10,000 years old.

So finally, we made our way back, just had lunch, and now are getting ready for another excursion. We have a meeting about camping at 2pm, and then we will head out at 3pm for an actual landing on Antarctica. We should be able to see some penguin rookeries, meaning many, many penguins. Looking forward to it!

23:58

For a Day 1 in Antarctica, it was a great start. Knowing that we’re just in day 1 of 5 days, I really can’t believe what we’ve seen so far. For our afternoon excursion, the ship stayed in a spot while the Zodiacs took us about 10 minutes to a landing near several penguin rookeries. I honestly didn’t know such places existed, where hundreds of penguins live. There were several different communities, as I will call them, based on certain areas of rocks. After observation, I am confident that penguins are the funnest animals in the world to watch. Because the predators are seals and are in the water, penguins aren’t too afraid of anything on land. For that, penguins are running everywhere. And by running, I mean tripping, falling, crawling, waddling, anything they can do to awkwardly make their way onward. There are certain paths that are kind of paved in the snow (uniquely named the Penguin Highway), so at one point I just took a seat alongside. Many penguins came within 10 feet of me before taking a slight detour off the highway, but two of them walked literally right by me within a few feet. I took a few videos of them being so close, and they are hilarious. You can really just watch them for hours.

On the rookeries, you will see the parents feeding the chicks and also keeping them warm. Although, we are late in the season so the chicks are relatively big. Because their food is in the water, you see many penguins doing their little jumping in and out of the water around the area. Literally, there are just penguins everywhere. Almost all of them were Gentoo penguins, but we did see some Chinstrap penguins which have a black line going around their chin from their ear, looking like a chin strap (or Chad’s chinstrap beard he had going on several years ago). The whole atmosphere on this island was incredible.

We also took a hike up to the top of a hill on the island. The hill was pretty steep and covered in snow, so a bit of a challenge to get up. On top were views of little bays on both sides, and views of towering mountains in the background. It’s incredible the size of some of these mountains hiding behind the fog. When fog clears, you might find a mountain 5,000 feet right behind it that you had no idea was there, and this is right on the edge of the water.

After we returned from the excursion, they announced that the hot tub on the top deck was open. Naturally, I headed there. Something strange about sitting in a hot tub and staring at glaciers and icebergs not too far away. It’s like sitting in a hot tub in the winter and watching National Geographic at the same time, but just a bit more real.

The weather was extremely nice all day with sun, so at dinner I asked for a to go box and ate on the top of the ship with an older lady from Canada and the nature expert on the boat from England. The scenery is just too good to be eating inside a dining room when you can eat with a nice view.

After dinner and spotting a few whales in the distance, I ended up getting into the hot tub again for a few hours watching the sunset while having a glass of wine. I just got inside at about midnight and the sun wasn’t completely down yet. However, I was punished by the dropping temperate and the wind as I got out of the hot tub. Feels like home.

The temperate during the day has been about 32 or 35 degrees here. It’s kind of funny to say that the weather in Antarctica is probably better than the weather at home now. But of course, we’re in summer here now. Winter is a whole different story.

Day 5

14:00

This morning at 9am, we went on another excursion in the Zodiac to a Chilean air force base, which happens to be surrounded by Gentoo penguin colonies. On this small island alone, there are about 9,000 penguins in colonies and rookeries. The air force base is very small, and only 13 Chileans live there right now for the summer. I was talking to one guy, and he arrived in November and will stay until March. He said afterwards he’ll be taking a much needed vacation to Brazil and Uruguay.

After walking around this little island for an hour, we set off in the Zodiac to search for some wildlife. We were boating around in Paradise Bay, absolutely beautiful. A bay with calm waters surrounded by mountains and glaciers and icebergs. We saw many penguins swimming around and a Weddel Seal laying in the sun, but unfortunately nothing else. Some of the icebergs were monstrous. A few were a hundred yards long, hundred yards wide, and 50 yards tall. That’s a big piece of floating ice.

19:00

We went on our second excursion today to an island with a small mountain and many, many more penguins. You would think we’d be getting tired of penguins. We got to the island, which was surrounded by several large icebergs, and we hiked up to the top. The 20 minute walk led to some fantastic views of the nearby mountains. What was really cool and unique was that the surrounding mountains had several avalanches and many times ice was breaking off and falling into the mountain. You would hear something like thunder in the distance, and many times you could see the snow or ice falling down the mountain and then into the water, creating an area of spreading whiteness in the water followed by waves and ripples in the water.

We got to the top of the mountain with a large group, but I waited around until almost everyone had left. That’s the best time to be there. The silence along with the views of mountains, glaciers, icebergs, boats in the distance, and penguins made it very surreal. To top it off, it was snowing and the snow on top of the mountain was beautiful packing snow. A few snowballs were thrown. It’s funny that the climate actually makes me feel like home. This is the first time in almost a year that I have seen snow and felt weather this cold. I feel like I penguin who dove into the water and is back into its comfortable habitat. But 11 days is sufficient. Afterwards I will be ready for the 100 degree weather in Buenos Aires or Montevideo again.

Day 6

14:00

Last night I jumped into the hot tub again from about 9:30pm until midnight. There is also a plunge pool on the ship, which is a small pool that is filled up directly with the water from the ocean. So at one point, we decided to give it a try. Absolutely exhilarating in water that is probably close to 35 degrees. Obviously getting out very quick and jumping back into the hot tub. Spending these nights in the hot tub is absolutely perfect to enjoy the views of the surroundings while warming up.

This morning we stopped in Paradise Bay and had amazing weather. About 40 degrees, sunny, and almost no wind. This is the site of an Argentine research base along with, of course, penguin rookeries. There is also a nice hike to the top of a small mountain. To get the most silence on the top, I made sure I was the first one behind the guide walking up the steep, snowy hill. About 20 minutes later, we were at the top with incredible, incredible views. The large bay, icebergs, both cloudy and blue skies, penguins swimming in the distance, seals, and even saw a Minke whale swimming below. This is pretty much the postcard view of Antarctica.

One problem I have had with the tour is that we are always on small islands with somewhere near 70 or 80 people, so there are always people around. I am trying to find ways to get those moments of complete silence with no one around, but it is tough. However, the tour operator has been fantastic. Professional, organized, friendly staff, good food, and we are always busy. Obviously you would expect a great tour operator when it is so expensive, but still I am very impressed.

After staying on top of the mountain for a good hour or so and waiting until pretty much everyone left, so set down to hop in a Zodiac for some cruising. On the way down, there was another path for sliding down, pretty much sledding without a sled. It was pretty much like a small bobsled track. A 20 minute walk up turned into a 1 minute slide down. Awesome.

After this, we cruised around in the Zodiac for a while, saw cliffs with many birds nests, saw 2 groups of 2 seals (Weddel seals and Crabeater seals), many penguins swimming, and heard/saw more ice breaking off the glaciers. We got very close to the seals who were laying there like a sausage on the flat floating iceberg, so I got some great pictures of these guys.

With the sun shining, it really brought out the beauty of the Paradise Bay. Just looking around, you have to stare in awe. Again, with the mountains, icebergs, clear water, wildlife, just the entire atmosphere that is so different from anywhere else in the world. To be here and experience this has been worth every cent, and we’re only halfway through then trip.

19:00

This afternoon ended up being quite cold, but not for the weather.

We landed at Denco Bay which was yet another place with penguin colonies and mountains to climb. When we got there, I saw right on the little rocky beach where many penguins were coming and going into the water. Just sitting there watching was a great time. The penguins will come so close to you without giving them any fear. And watching them come out from the water and into the water is pretty funny and fun to watch in itself. I got a couple of good videos that hopefully show it alright.

Afterwards, I went on a hike up to the top for some nice views of the bay and surrounding mountains. The changes in the lighting are incredible in Antarctica. Each day, I think my photos will looks so different because of the changes. Never does it feel very similar from the day before, even if the scenery is sometimes very much the same.

So finally, at 6pm, everyone came to the beach for some good old fashioned Antarctica swimming. About 10 of us ended up going in as others watched and took pictures. I have never felt so extremely cold and shocked in water. I just ran in, took a short dive, and then walked out trying to catch my breath. In that time, less than 20 seconds, my feet and legs were already feeling numb. So many people were taking pictures, so I hope to have some good ones from someone. Will be pretty funny to see us swimming with glaciers and icebergs in the background, and maybe there are some penguins peeking in the back as well. It was funny because drying off on the beach was much, much warmer than being in the water so you could just take your time drying off. I had definitely never done anything like this before and had never felt s extremely cold in water before. Afterwards, we got back to the ship and I went straight for the hot tub. Going to Antarctica should be an adventure, right?

Day 7

13:30

Last night, I tried another new activity in Antarctica. It’s something they like to call snow camping.

Snow camping is exactly what is sounds like. You get dropped off on land, pick up your sleeping bag, go find your spot for the night, dig a hole a foot or two deep, lay down in the hole, and sleep. It’s a fairly simple process, it just happens to be much colder than normal camping.

So we got to the land, I picked up my sleeping bag, and then set up camp about 25 yards away from the sleeping seal and about 50 yards from the 10 penguins hanging out. I chose a bad spot, though, because this was the furthest distance away from the “bathroom”, which consisted of a bucket. When I woke up in the middle of the night, the last thing I wanted to do was get up out of my nice and warm sleeping bag to brave the cold, windy night.

The night was extremely pleasant with hardly any wind and wasn’t extremely cold (probably 30 degrees or so). Once in the nice, synthetic sleeping bag, everything was warm and cozy. We also had a bag on the outside to keep the sleeping bag from getting wet. At first, I closed the zipper. But when I woke up, I was a bit clausterphobic and started to freak out when I had trouble opening the zipper. After that, I slept with my head partly outside.

Overall, I slept pretty good. The problem was waking up. I woke up when one of the staff members came by as the alarm. After a peaceful night, I definitely didn’t expect a windy, snowy morning. Getting dressed and packing up everything was brutal, especially since my gloves were wet and couldn’t use them. My hands were absolutely frozen, like trying to scrape the ice off your car in a blizzard with nothing on your hands to keep warm. But I packed everything up, filled in the hole, and hopped on the zodiac to get back to the ship.

Because of the weather, we weren’t able to do an excursion this morning, so we are still in the ship heading to a new destination. I wasn’t too upset about this, since I was absolutely exhausted and needed some extra rest. After sleeping from 9am to about 12:30pm, I feel much better and ready to go. I still haven’t seen a whale up close, so that is what I’m hoping for today or tomorrow.

I am definitely glad that I went camping. It wasn’t as cold as they made it sound, and it was cool to be sleeping so close to seals and penguins, listening to avalanches, and the sound of the ocean nearby. Needless to say, it wasn’t the same type of camping as going up to Apple Canyon.

Day 8

7:15

I didn’t get another post in yesterday because I was absolutely exhausted. Luckily yesterday I caught up with some sleep. Between the 3.5 hour nap between breakfast and lunch, an 30 minute nap at 7pm, and then sleeping from 9pm until 7am, I should be good to go today. Not sure what it is, but I have just been worn out by this trip. Maybe it’s the huge amount of food I eat 3 times a day, or if it’s being active all day every day with the excursions and the preparation time.

Yesterday afternoon, we took a ride in the zodiac in a bay that was blocked by most of the wind. This bay had the best icebergs we had seen. There were so many icebergs of all shapes and sizes and many colours. Some icebergs have a bright blue colour to them, while others just look like snow. Some of the ice looks dirty, while others on their sides have many lines and crevasses and more. One of the icebergs we saw was about to flip over, but unfortunately was just rocking enough to almost get there.

Finally, it felt like we were really in Antarctica. Until yesterday, the weather had been unbelievable. Almost every day was sunny without much wind. Hardly ever did I really feel cold during the day. Sometimes it felt like you could be wearing a tshirt during the day. Yesterday was a different story. It was overcast, blowing, snowing, and much, much colder. The wind caused bigger waves, which caused rougher water in the zodiacs, and more water was coming onto us passengers. We were driving through larges patches of brash ice, having to go very slow for the sake of the boat. The glacier ice crackles like rice krispies in the water for the change in temperature. The whole thing felt more intense, and it just felt more like Antarctica.

Coming off the boat, they had jugs of hot chocolate and gluwein waiting for us. I have only had the chance to have gluwein 3 times in my life before, so I was pretty happy for this. I first tried it in the Munich Christmas Markets, and then again once in Vienna, and once in Prague. There were a few Germans drinking it and they said it felt like home.

Since the hot tub was closed for some reason, I jumped in the sauna, which was actually the first time I have used a sauna in my life. It was extremely hot (even for the people in there who usually use saunas). I sat in for a while, took a cold shower, got back in, and then got out. I actually enjoyed it since it was pretty relaxing afterwards, and it put me to sleep for my 30 minute nap before dinner.

So today is our last day for excursions. We are making our way towards Deception Island where there is an active volcano. After today, we will be making our way back to Ushuaia.

16:00

Another very different excursion. We landed on Deception Island at Whaler’s Bay, where there used to be a lot of whaling going on. So there are still the ruins of old buildings that were used by the whalers for storage, living, etc. Deception Island is actually an active volcano, and one of the walls broke down some time ago to let water into the crater part of the volcano. Near the water line, there is a lot of steam rising from the hot underground heating up the water.

We had a walk around the island and saw several types of birds and also a few Fur Seals. Fur Seals are relatives of the brown bear, and it was funny to see the similarity of them running.

After taking a look around the island, a hike up to the “window”, and looking through the buildings, they offered us again to go for a swim. Not to turn any opportunities down, I stripped down to shorts again and dove in and ran out. It was cool because of the volcanic heating, the very, very shallow water was warm. So getting out was much better being able to soak your feet in some hot water. Digging down a few inches even made the water burning hot. Just another swim in Antarctica.

19:00

We just finished our last excursion which was to another island in the South Shetland islands. The island was filled with 3 types of penguins, including Gentoos, Chinstrap, and a few Macaronis. Macaronis are distinguished with the yellow hair like fur on their heads. The island also had 3 large groups of elephant seals sleeping. These things are huge. The bigger ones were somewhere about 8 feet tall. All they did on land was sleep, and always in groups of 8 or 10. It was a big windier, so the zodiac was bouncing a good amount on the way there and back. There were several birds in the water fighting over a dead penguin carcass. One of them good luck and snagged a baby away from the mother.

We had a walk around the island to watch the penguins, birds, and other animals. It got pretty cold with the wind, but we still stayed a good two hours or more there.

So that was the last excursion. Now we are back on the ship and will be for the next 60 hours or so. We’ll be crossing the Drake Passage again, so hopefully it isn’t too brutal on us. Talking to the staff members, it sounds like the way down here was one of the gentlest passings they’ve had. That probably means we’ll get hammered on the way back up. Which reminds me that I need to take my sea sickness pill.

Day 10

21:30

From the end of Day 8 until lunch of Day 10, I was dead to the world. Because of the amount of rocking and shaking in the boat, I just stayed in bed. I wasn’t sick, per say, but I was just being precautionary. I knew that if I was out of bed walking around, I would probably get sick. Or this was just a good excuse to sleep for 38 out of the next 40 hours. I literally only got out of bed to get food twice per day. The sea sickness pills make you extremely drowsy, so that was another help. So I didn’t blog in Day 9 because it wouldn’t be too exciting of a blog. I did vomit once, after lunch, but that was the only time. So I can also say I was sick in the Drake Passage.

Tonight, we had a “Captain’s Dinner” where the Russian captain came down and gave a toast, and there were a few slideshows of pictures from the trip. Pretty cool to see other people’s pictures along with the guys doing them professionally. I still haven’t had time to look through mine at all but hope to tonight.

We are a bit inland right now so we are blocked by the winds. Today there were winds up to 60 knots per hour. Not sure exactly how much that is, but they said it’s close to a bad storm. 25 foot waves were pounding the ship today. It wasn’t too light of a day, but the ship took it well.

So we just have the rest of tonight and will get into Ushuaia at 8am or so.

Day 11

12:30

Made it back to Ushuaia afterwards with hardly any bumps along the way. Packed all my stuff, said goodbyes to people I met, and went on my way. Now I’m at the same Couchsurfer I was staying with before.

I am really happy I did the tour to Antarctica. It was one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had, and I would recommend anyone to go there if you have the ability. It is expensive, but it is very much worth it if you can make it happen.

It’s tough being back to traveling again. Having everything planned for 11 days, with the same people, food always prepared, everything, and then going to planning everything yourself, it’s quite a shock. But hopefully I get back into the rhythm. I successfully bought a bus ticket for tomorrow to go to Puerto Natales in Chile, where I will then go to Torres del Paine national park for a few days. Heard good things, but it would be tough to follow up Antarctica.

About Trent

I started Frugal Purpose to share my love of personal finance to assist your pursuit of a more fulfilling life. I am a financial analyst by trade, traveler at heart, and want to share with you the beauty of this world.

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One thought on “Antarctica

  1. Trent,

    What an amazing trip!! I am so jealous. I wanted to just keep reading even when I got to the end. I can’t wait to see your pictures. I am so glad you got the opportunity to go on this this great adventure!

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