Day 17/18 - Drakes passage
We experienced some ruff weather on the way back to Ushuaia. High winds and 8 meter waves. Sleeping is always a good option in these situations.
On the last night we anchored in the baegle channel. The final dinner was had, ending with a surprise buffet dessert..
The picture slide show was the highlight of the night. It’s hard to put into words how amazing this whole experience was.
24 November 2017
Day 16 - South Shetland islands
My last day in Antarctica. So far on this cruise we have had amazing weather. I remember saying yesterday that I couldn’t believe it was so sunny and warm. I think I jinxed it because all day today it snowed.
I couldn’t even see the island because of all the snow. In some places I was knee deep in snow. It has been years since I have seen snow like this and it brought out the child in me. We built snowmen, made snow angels and had plenty of snow ball flights. We even put our snow women on our zodiac and bought it back to the ship with us.
Half moon island
Was very similar in the sense that it was also covered in snow. Watching penguins slide down hills on their bellies in the snow, just made me smile every time. There was one big chin straps penguin colony and one lonely Mac penguin on the island. He apparently comes back every year even though can’t breed with the chin straps.
The evening with a charity auction and champagne
23 November 2017
Day 15 - Exploring the sea ice
22 November 2017
Day 14 - Antartica
Brown bluff - continental landing
20 November 2017
Day 11/12/13 Traveling to Antartica
Before setting off to Antartica we went for a zodiac ride around Larson harbor. I was second on the zodiac and it felt like we were the only ones in the harbor. The water was calm and we were surrounded by snow covered Rocky Mountains. The water showed a perfect reflection of the blue sky and mountains. I loved it. I took lots of pictures and was buzzing after the ride. Our captain also cruised the ship into drygalski fjord. Glaciers were everywhere and I froze my hands off doing a time laps. Great morning.
Our wake up call on the third day at sea was at 5.30am. We detoured off course in order to search for a huge ice burg known as B15T. It’s a sheet of ice over 26 nautical miles long which is pretty big. What stuck me was how flat it was and someone said that was because water was flat.
Apart of above sea days mostly consist of eating and napping.
18 November 2017
Day 10 - Shackleton Hike
Our ship dropped us off at Fortuna bay at 6.30am and then left us. We were to retraced the final steps of Shackleton and his companions. In a slow and relaxed pace we started the 6km hike to Stormness. We walked across rocks and snow and tried to imagine what it would have been like in 1915 after days of traveling, in wet clothes in the hight of winter.
Stormness is now abandoned whaling station. With rusted metal and building which have fallen apart.
Our second stop of the day was Grytriken, another whaling station and resting place of Shackleton. It was interesting to see the pictures and hear peoples stories from that time. The post office here is busier than the one at home. All I could think was there must have been blood everywhere. I don’t know how the expedition team do it but everyday is different and better than the last.
We ended the day with a BBQ out on deck. Between the snow, muled wine and cold I was feeling very christmassy.
Day 9 -
St Andrews Bay
Home to the largest king penguin colonies in South Georgia. Weather delayed us because the winds kept changing, 50 knots at one point. But the wait was worth it. With the sun shining and us wearing a million layers of clothes we headed straight to the highest view point. Hiking up the hill we met the doctor coming down and he said it was his favorite sight. Let’s just say we picked up the pace and the anticipation was building. Reaching the top the winds wanted to nearly blow you over and you didn’t know where to look. It was a 360 view and everywhere you looked there was penguins (approx over 600,000 in total). The mountains and glaciers made the perfect backdrop with big white fluffy clouds. Even my iPhone took good photos today. Loved it.
Godthul involved a short walk to a waterfall. It’s funny walking in the high grass because you always have to careful and watch for fur seals. You don’t want to be catch by surprise by one of them.
17 November 2017
Day 8 - South Georgia
Penguin so close
At one stage I was looking at the beach full of penguins and seals with the most beautiful mountains and waterfalls in the background and all I could think was I am so lucky to be here. A retired accountant “John” said to me that “this will be one of your top 20 moments for life, not much will beat it”. It’s hard to describe except to say I was blown away and took a million photos that don’t do it justice.
Day 8 - South Georgia
Elsehul, Right Whale Bay
Today was one of those perfect days that started off great and just kept getting better throughout the day. I saw so many king penguins, fur seals, elephant seals and birds. It was truly stunning.
We started off with a 4.30am wake up call and a zodiac cruise around Elsehul. I love watching the penguins swim and I don’t think I will ever get used to the noise the seals make. It ranges from barking like a dog to loud farts.
Then we heading to Right Whale Bay
14 November 2017
Day 6/7 - At sea, the journey to South Georgia
Back sailing in the open sea did not agree with me at all. To the point where I had to leave dinner early and got an injection in my bum from the doctor. The staff on this ship are really top class. Ryan dropped by my room with ginger ale and the doctor came to see me in bed. Where else would you get that kind of service.
The second day went a lot better. The wind died down and the sea was out. I sat on deck with Lindsey and read my book. The lectures were also interesting especially the one on the endurance, I can’t believe I had never heard of Shackleton. Days are sea involve mostly eating and sleeping which is a dream after so much backpacking but at the same time I look forward to excursions tomorrow.
13 November 2017
Day 5 - Stanley
Stanley looked like most small English towns or how I imagine all small English town look. Over 2000 people lived in Stanley and just 3000 in the whole of the Falklands. Wondering around town on this windy sunny was nice.
The gift shops made me want to shop and the museum was packed with information. I am not usually to gone in museums this one had me enthralled. I watched a video on the war which was narrated by locals. Over 200 british soldiers, 649 Argentine and 3 locals killed. So many and it went on for just over 70 days. I posted postcards to Ma and Wills Home address, fingers crossed they get there.
About ten of us decided to embark on a pub crawl of Stanley, the town had a total of 3 pubs. Fun though, not much beats sitting the sun with a beer with good people.
I love hearing stories from people on board, their love stories or about their kids and grandkids.
12 November 2017
Day 4 - The Falklands
West Point our second stop was similar except only two people, the caretakers lived on this island. Here I saw my first king penguin. They was so much taller than the rockhoppers and looked regal and proud. Simply beautiful, I sat on a rock and just watched them interact. There were also two teenagers which hadn’t shed there fur yet. They looked like brown teddy bears.
Walking to the far side of the island there was another huge colony of albatrosses with little rockhoppers living all around these giant birds.
Albatross are so clean compared to the rockhopper penguins and you just want to touch their white feathers. Which isn’t wise because they apparently go straight for your eyes.
Nothing like a walk in the cold to work up a appetite. The caretakers made tea and cakes. So many cakes and so good, you simply couldn’t resist. It was all very british 😂..
It was cocktail next on the cruise ship that night, Free Champaign. Does life get much bette
Day 4 - The Falklands
I waited in all my waterproof gear and big yellow jacket for my zodiac group to be called. First yesterday meant last today but the wait was worth it. We were on the zodiac for two minutes when we could see a group of small back and white dolphins swimming along side us. It was trilling and I nearly jumped out of the zodiac with excitement. They looked like they were having great fun and followed us right up to the beach. Daven our zodiac driver said that they like splashes that the zodiac was making.
Saunders is home to one family consisting of 7 people. It’s beautiful, untouched beaches and dramatic cliff edges but I don’t know if I could live there. On this island penguins and sleep live side by side.
11 November 2017
Day 3 - Landing
Today I was on a zodiac
Today I saw sea lions
Today I saw over 300 albatrosses up close
Today I saw three different species of penguins
Today was awesome..
After breakfast and a briefing on safety, I quickly realized that I still didn’t have my sea legs and headed to bed. I felt fine when horizontal but standing up no so good. The sickness pills made me so dozy and sleepy. I was starting to fear that I would miss the whole cruise because I was asleep in our cabin.
Today was meant to be a full day at sea with the goal of reaching the falklands islands. Our route brought us past Steeple Jason island which was home to one of the largest colonies of albatrosses in the world.
I was part of the first group to land on the island. In the zodiac Lindsey made my day by shouting “look look penguins, in the water jumping”. I hadn’t expected penguins and there were so many. They were so cute crossing what the guides referred to as the penguins highway. Today was special.
10 November 2017
Day 2 - At sea
After yesterday news about our delay, I don’t think any activity would have been well received. The trip to the lakes was pretty but after 3 weeks in Patagonia it was nothing that we were particularly interested in. The highlight was the lunch, free drinks and slow cooked lamb.
Returning to the ship and hearing that the captain was ready to leave, suddenly had me wide awake again and full of excitement. We were moving and I was happy and giddy. Then I felt sick and headed to bed early 🙈.
9 November 2017
Day 1 - Boarding the ship 🚢
I love hotels, especially hotel beds after a night in a car. I couldn’t believe today had finally arrived. Our bags were packed, tagged and taken to the ship. Sickness tablets were bought and everyone was Skyped.
The excitement kept building until I didn’t even want to sit down. In our cabin screams of excitement were let out after discovering dressing gowns and our bright yellow coats were tried on. I have never been so happy to unpack, I didn’t have to live out of a bag for a whole 18 days.
Afternoon was being served in the lounge with scones and cream and jam, heaven. Briefing did bring bad news of a delay but in my head we had already left, I wasn’t even tempted to get off the ship.
I stayed up late drinking wine and hearing strangers stories. On entering the cabin for bed, I discovered that my bed had been turned down and a little chocolate lay on my pillow, luxury.