Antarctica - the seventh continentNovember 18, 2016 in Antarctica ⋅ 🌧 11 °C
Our boat was an expedition style vessel called MV Ushuaia and the trip was booked through Chimu Tours. It was certainly not a luxury tour but it was one of the more affordable trips available. Our cabin was supposed to be a cheaper one with bunk beds and shared bathroom but for some reason we lucked out and were upgraded to an ensuited room with single beds (not bunks) - Bonus!
The trip to Antarctica consisted of a 2 day voyage across the dreaded Drake Passage. This stretch of water is also known by two other names - The Drake Lake or The Drake Shake. Of course we all hope for a smooth crossing and on a scale of 1-10, the seasoned sailors (you know, the ones that do the trip a dozen times a year), claimed it was about a 2 or 3. To the rest of us landlubbers it was about a 52! I spent the first day in bed, only getting up to go to the loo (and hanging on for grim death) as the ship rock and rolled like a bucking bull at a rodeo.
Once we reached the continent, all became calm..... and beautiful!
The next week we spent on shore landings to observe penguin colonies, floating around on zodiacs amongst the spectacular icebergs, and visiting an Antarctic Base. Some of the walks were quite a challenge when you coupled walking up a snowy slope where the the snow is either slushy or slippery, while you are dressed in 15 layers of clothes. The most fun was sliding back down the slope on our backsides.
We had great weather most days and saw plenty of penguins, a few leopard seals and other birdlife, however I thought we may have seen more activity from whales but I must admit we get more humpback whale action off our local headland at home. Brad was most excited when he was taking some shots with the GoPro when a huge iceberg calved in front of him, losing the entire side of the iceberg.
The journey back to Ushuaia was probably only a 1 on the Drake Lake/Shake scale so we were very fortunate. One night back in Ushuaia, then flights back to Brisbane via Auckland. And so ends our South American adventure. It was a great trip and all ran smoothly. After 20+ flights in 7 weeks, the only hiccup was when we arrived back in Brisbane less one bag - it didn't make the connection in Auckland. All good though, the bag was hand delivered the next day by courier.Read more