Tag Archives: Ship

Antarctica – the white wilderness!

“If Antarctica were music it would be Mozart.
Art, and it would be Michelangelo.
Literature, and it would be Shakespeare.
And yet it is something even greater; the only place on earth that is still as it should be. May we never tame it.”
~ Andrew Denton

I started writing this blog post a few times and kept deleting what I had… I’m not sure I have the appropriate words to describe this last part of my trip… an 11 day expedition cruise to Antarctica… the white wilderness! I think the saying ‘save the best to last’ is very fitting in this case. To say it was a truly amazing experience is an understatement… it was completely out of this world… better than anything I had imagined and definitely the trip of a lifetime!

MV Ushuaia out in Antarctica

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I think it only really hit home on about day 7 of the trip… when I was out in the freezing cold all alone on the outer deck of the ship, surrounded by snow covered mountains, glaciers and icebergs as far as the eye could see… and I suddenly was overcome with excitement… I was in Antarctica!! I couldn’t stop smiling and shivering at the same time… I was listening to my music at the time and started dancing around on the deck all by myself… hope they don’t have CCTV footage of that!

The whole 11 days weren’t all pleasant… the days on the Drake passage were a little challenging… according to the crew we had amazing sea conditions and they referred to it as Lake Drake… but it didn’t stop me feeling sick every time the ship swayed! It was all totally worth it for the amazing wilderness that awaited me on the other side… our first sight of land was really exciting… the South Shetland Islands and small icebergs floating around… the best bit was that the views only got better as the days went by!

We were lucky to be able to make 10 landings/outings across the South Shetland Islands and the Western Antarctic Peninsula, including 2 continental landings and visiting the old British base at Port Lockroy, where I sent a postcard to myself from Antarctica with advice for future me!

Port Lockroy in the snow

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Zodiac cruise

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During our days in Antarctica, we saw huge icebergs and the most amazing glaciers, some with huge crevasses in them… we had sunshine, wind and snow… sometimes all three in the same day… and we saw some breathtaking sunsets. We also had the chance to see some amazing wildlife… Chinstrap, Gentoo and Adélie penguins, a variety of different seals, orcas and humpback whales and birds galore! We even managed to have a BBQ out in vast wilderness of Antarctica!

Landscape of Antarctica – mountains, glaciers, icebergs and snow

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Gentoo penguin climbing and sliding in the snow

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Chinstrap and Gentoo penguins diving and swimming

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Baby Elephant seal

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Antarctic sunsets

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The highlight for me was the final day at Deception Island, where I got to swim in Antarctic waters in the caldera of an active volcano… it was surreal!

Deception Island

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This trip has been one of the most amazing 11 days of my life. I also made some really great new friends from around the world that inspire me to continue to travel and have more adventures.

Oh and you’re probably all going to ask me whether I figured out how to greet a penguin 🙂 Well… I wanted to go and hug a Chinstrap penguin because they are the cutest… but I kinda wasn’t allowed (they have rules in Antarctica too!)… so instead I just admired them from afar… sat and watched the cute little creatures and their habits and every so often one of the curious ones just waddled over to see what the humans were up to! I know I’ve said it before… but I’ll say it again… it was just out of this world!

The end of the world!

So here I am, at the end of the world, in the gorgeous port town of Ushuaia and it goes to show that dreams can come true! A few years ago coming to Tierra del Fuego and Ushuaia was just a dream for me, it was a place I had researched and whose pictures I had looked at longingly on the Internet, a destination with some of the most stunning scenery, mountains and wildlife I’d ever seen! Now finally, here I am!

Ushuaia is a beautiful town, surrounded by high mountain peaks on one side and the vast southern ocean on the other. It’s referred to as ‘the End of the World’ as it’s the southernmost city in the world. The only place south from here is the vast and icy wilderness that is Antarctica!

Port at Ushuaia Bay – where all the cruises depart from

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Ushuaia town surrounded by snow-capped mountains

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I’ve had some great active days here hiking in Tierra del Fuego National Park, riding the End of the World Train (although I expected it to be a bit more spectacular!) and taking a short cruise along the Beagle channel to see some amazing wildlife… I even managed to see my first King and Gentoo penguins, albeit through binoculars as they were quite far away!

End of the World Train

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Tierra del Fuego National Park

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Beagle Channel cruise

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Penguins and seals seen on the Beagle Channel cruise

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Estancia Harberton – a stop along the Beagle Channel cruise

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After saying farewell to my tour group, I’ve been taking a few days to relax in this beautiful town and stock up on warm clothing in eager anticipation of tomorrow, when I begin my voyage to the seventh continent, the land of snow and ice, Antarctica! I’m extremely excited and can’t wait to see the expedition ship (MV Ushuaia) arrive at the port, although I’m not looking forward to days of potentially throwing up as we navigate along the infamous Drake Passage!

Although my South American adventure is nearly over… hopefully the best is yet to come!