Sunday, February 3, 2013

Finally - on to Antarctica

The brief pause in posting was not just to build up anticipation for writing about the remainder of our trip, but just an abundance of work which took precedence over taking the time for  storytelling.  I do apologize and plan to pump through and get caught up on what I feel I owe to those of you who occasionally stumble in here looking for stuffs to read.

That said, let's move on to talking about our trip to Antarctica.  From our last post, we were all settled into our cabin for our first night and just still trying to comprehend that we were just a few days away from actually getting to the continent.  During the overnight the ship had moved down through the Beagle Channel and stopped to wait for the helicopters that would take us to the Emperor penguin colony.  With the rough weather the helicopters had to delay their takeoff from Chile and there was a bit of waiting during that first morning.

During that time there were lectures from all of the guides talking about the animals that we would see, the weather, the history of trips to Antarctica, and just about anything that you would want to know about the trip.  The guides each had their own area of expertise and all gave amazingly interesting presentations.

However there was one issue and that was that the trip down the channel and the waiting were in slightly rougher seas then we would have liked - a bad start to the dreaded Drake Passage, waters that we knew could be quite rough.  One photo that we wish we had taken was the sea sickness bags that had been placed at regular intervals all along the railings in the hallways of the ship.  With the waters Tina spend the day bedridden after getting up and pushing her breakfast around her plate while not feeling well.  I was slightly off but managed to get to all of the presentations and grab some photos of the birds circling the ship and when the helicopters finally arrived.

At dinner that night I sat with a couple of the expedition leaders and we all laughed about how there were less then 1/2 of the people at dinner that night due to the seas, they asked about Tina and I explained that she had succumbed to be one of the lesser half.  I joked but just eating the rolls while waiting for dinner and I could feel my stomach turn, dinner was served and one bite into my meal I had to excuse myself and run up to our cabin.  The seas had gotten to me too, and when I returned out of the bathroom Tina simply said 'Welcome to the dark side..."  It was at that point that we decided that maybe we should put on those anti-nausea patches that so many other people including the staff were wearing neatly tucked behind their ears.

A long nights sleep and possible help from the patches and we awoke refreshed.  The next two days were spend in the drake passage with choppy waters and the occasional plates sliding off of tables while enjoying meals.  We wandered the ship, spend time at the bar chatting with others and enjoyed watching Corner Gas - which we had just downloaded to our iPod - in our cabin.

Enjoy now these photos that encapsulate the first days of our trip:

One of the helicopters arriving
 Several photos of the various birds that accompanied us through the Drake Passage

 At one point during the crossing we had to vacuum all of our velcro fasteners and clothing to ensure that we introduced no foreign material to the pristine environment of Antarctica.

And then finally - land.  The South Shetland Islands and a magnificent sunset...

That night we all went to bed knowing that overnight we would round the corner into the Weddell Sea and would be sailing down towards the Emperor Penguin colony.  Just a day or so away from what we came to see.
One of our first penguin sightings near the South Shetland Islands.

1 comment:

Naciholidays said...

look adorable penguins . I've never seen them firsthand .