Today’s the day. I’m off to Antarctica! Honestly I can’t quite believe it’s happening. This has been a dream trip of mine for years. I’d even set up a special bank account called “Antarctica Adventure” while I was living in London (pre 2009) so it’s fair to say that penguins have been on my mind for some time.

 

The plan was to be picked up by the Fin del Mundo (End Of The World) sign in the afternoon. I arrived early to sit in the sun and watch the rest of the passengers arrive. It was great to chat to those who I’d be making the trip with.

 

Mild panic

A minor hiccup surfaced as people had been told at last night’s optional briefing that we weren’t leaving tonight. Panic flashed through my mind. Not leaving was not an option!

 

It turned out that some nasty weather was out in the Drake Passage so we would be leaving later than expected. Well that I could deal with, how late I’d need to wait and see.

 

We piled off the bus and were taken to our rooms. On opening the door I saw . . . a double bed! I was thrilled as I’d expected to be sharing with someone else given I was a last minute booking (I booked two weeks before the trip).

 

The room of my (Antarctica) dreams

My room, or should I say suite, was gorgeous. I happily danced about exploring all the wonders of my home for the next 10 days.

 

I had my own sofa . . .

 

A room with a view. The curtains hide twin portholes…

 

A lengthy hallway, perfect for taking running dives onto my wonderfully comfortable bed . . .

 

A perfectly designed bathroom, with fluffy white towels and Molton Brown toiletries. Such luxury for this traveller.

An unexpected change of plans

Tearing myself away from my room I headed up to the lounge to listen to the safety and orientation briefing and find out about our departure time.

 

The Captain had decided to delay our department by 12 hours, until 6am the next day. Although I was disappointed not to be leaving that night I could appreciate the reason why. The weather we would’ve sailed into included 6 to 8 metre waves and 45 to 50 knot winds (that’s 83 to 92 km per hour). Now that would’ve been nasty.

 

With the life boat drill done I started to explore my new home . . .

 

The Library – Deck 4

 

A book lovers heaven.

 

The Club – Deck 4 – home to jars of cookies, a coffee machine and the bar. I spent quite a lot of time here…

 

Stairway to heaven – from Deck 4 to 5

 

 

Viewing platform on Deck 5 (and BBQ venue if the weather is good)

 

Then it was time to try on all my new kit! A rugged sailing jacket, waterproof trousers and boots (by the Muck Company – love that name). I have to return the boots at the end of the trip but the waterproofs will be coming with me (somehow stuffed into an already full pack).

 

A welcome cocktail with Captain and crew, the first of many delicious dinners and it was time to watch the sun set over Ushuaia.

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