Antartica

Trip Start Oct 03, 2006
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18
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Trip End Oct 02, 2007


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Flag of Antarctica  ,
Saturday, January 27, 2007

I found myself  at the most southerly point of my travels in Ushuaia that claims to be the end of the world! I thought I could do one better and began contemplating continuing my journey to the Antarctica. I found myself inquiring about prices and availability. At the first travel agents I visited the first available date meant hanging around in Ushuaia for another 6 days (being such a small town I thought I would go insane), the second agency offered me a trip with last minute prices to good to miss. The only problem was that is was due to leave the same day! I waited 2 hours to ask about trips available (it was a tourist office in demand). When it got to my turn I was informed that there was one space left but it all depended on a fax getting through to the main office and this fax getting accepted. The ship I was trying to get on ┤the Polar Star┤was due to embark on its voyage at 4pm. I was asked to come back to the office at 2pm to find out whether there was a place for me. (cutting it a little fine I thought!) 
I left the office at 12.30pm suddenly realizing that if this trip was to take place I needed to buy some appropriate clothing to prepare myself for the Antarctic temperatures. Heading for the rental shops to purchase the much needed wet profs I hit my first barrier, Ęsiesta time!`  Suddenly it became a mad panic. Leaving the travel agency at 12.30pm there was this sudden realization that I had no memory space left on my camera, had not checked out of my hostel and did not have any appropriate clothing. I took in  a deep breath and prioritized.
First stop, Kodak where I uploading my photos and cleared my memory cards, second hire shop. Hitting siesta time the shops where all shut and where not due to open until 4pm (ironically the allocated boarding time). I returned to the travel agency bang on 2pm (thinking I should first find out if my forms had processed). Half an hour later the lady dealing with my papers appeared (as she had car problems and was running late). I realized that the sensible thing would be to forget about this trip as I hadn't yet packed, checked out of my hostel or either managed to acquire clothing. This lady however, was fantastic. Being reassured with no problema, she really pulled out all the stops. Contacting the ship she secured some boots on board for me and got me an extra hour to play around with. Rushing thought the last of the paper work I realized I would be out of touch for 10 days and needed to visit an internet cafe to touch base before heading off.
 I left the shop with my tickets and broacher's in hand (still not really sure what I had signed up for) ran to the first shop and brought the warmest looking jacket, back to the hostel to check out (where I was extremely lucky not to get billed for that day), Internet cafe (for all of 2 minutes) then straight to the port. Miraculously I had time to purchase a box of red wine and arrive at my ship bang on 4pm.

There where check points that you had to clear where your bags where scanned. Then there I was walking down the port wondering what ship was mine. I could hardly contain my excitement.

My Voyage
The first two days was spent passing the Drake passage where I experiencing a dose of seasickness, after which point it was all happy sailing.
The sights and experience words and photos can never do justice. The feeling of being so small out on the ocean where all around you for miles upon miles is ocean. Then opening my cabin blind to see my first ever iceberg. Awesome. Each day it was an excitement to get up and see what you would encounter. Each day a different view from my cabin window would present itself, penguins swimming, or clumps of ice in the water. ( i did ask to have a room with an ocean view!) Small Islands that we would venture out in zodiacs to visit and explore.
I got down with the penguins and can now confidently identify four different species. I was surrounded by breathtaking landscape it was almost too much to comprehend. Icebergs, sunsets and watching the sunrise out on the ocean. I encountered penguins, albatross┤s. One morning i stayed awake until everyone had gone to bed seeing the sun rise, one albatros glided so close i could have stretched my arm out and touched it. It was amazing i felt as if the albatross where doing a show just for me.
 There where seal, i saw the lepoard, elephant and fur seal. My adventure included a swim in the Antartica and i can also claim to have eaten a BBQ in the Antarctica (although i did opt to eat it in the warmth and comfort of the observatory lounge! I built a snowman that ended up becoming a snow blob, had a snow fight and slide down the hill on my belly. A fantastic once in a life time opportunity one trip which i am glad i didn`t let pass me by.
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