Day 26 February 17th

Day 26

Saturday, February 17th

Back in Ushuaia and off to the airport

We were up early to get our passports from the ship’s reception desk.  They held on to everyone’s passport while we were on the ship.

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We each received a certificate at the end of our voyage!

After breakfast we were given our boarding passes by a Quark’s Ushuaia representatives.

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Coming into Ushuaia in the morning.

On our way to get our belongings out of our cabin, we noticed this message from our kayak guides.  We were so glad that we were part of this special group!

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Buses took us from the ship dock to the airport.

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Ushuaia’s airport.

We had three hours until our flight.  Many of the people on our ship were also on our flight from Ushuaia to Buenos Aires.  So we chatted and did some reading in the airport.  Our flight was 3 1/2 hours to the airport in Buenos Aires.  We again had several hours before our overnight flight to Atlanta, Georgia.  The sky was really clear when we took off from Buenos Aires.

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Just one view of part of Buenos Aires.

We went through customs in Atlanta and then had time to get from the international concourse to the concourse for our flight to Columbus!  Twenty four hours of being in airports and planes was long enough for us.  We were thankful our flights were on time and went smoothly!

This trip was an incredible adventure and we highly recommend experiencing the 7th continent.  Our words and pictures don’t adequately portray the splendor and beauty of the wildlife and landscape of Antarctica, South Georgia, and the Falkland Islands

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We look forward to more traveling adventures and sharing them with you!

 

Day 9,10, and 11 January 31st, February 1st, and February 2nd

Days 9, 10, and 11

January 31st, February 1st, and February 2nd

Heading to South Georgia

The storm had passed so we headed toward South Georgia.  Once we were away from the protection of the islands we noticed how rough the seas were and we were experiencing waves up to 26-30 feet!  Heading west we were rocking side to side and forward and back!  Many people were not feeling very well!  The outer decks were closed!  By mid morning the Captain decided to turn back for the protection of the Falkland Islands and wait until the swells had died down!

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This really doesn’t capture how rough the seas were today!

Even though the waves were rough, the expedition team  continued to give their presentations.  If you were not feeling well, you could watch from your cabin on your TV so that was helpful for many passengers.  I went to the presentations, Dave stayed in the room because he wasn’t feeling very well!  DJ, our geologist on board, gave a talk on “An Introduction to Geology”.  Later in the morning, Nicky, our ship’s photographer, gave a very informative talk about taking pictures in Antarctica and what settings would be beneficial for our cameras.  Also, David, the historian, gave a talk about the history of South Georgia.  We really appreciated the expedition’s presentations that informed us about what we would be experiencing and also did follow up presentations to give us more information about our experiences!

When the ship was back to the protection of the bay, our captain did a “drive by” of Berkeley Sound!

Going back to the bay gave the kitchen and dining room time to secure their dishes, bowls, pitchers, etc…  Earlier they were crashing everywhere!  We had to double check everything in our cabin because of the rocking of the ship!

February 1st was a gorgeous day with the sun shining brightly.  It was a great day to be on the outside decks.  However the boat was still rocking some.  This video gives you an idea of the movement but it is nothing compared to yesterday and the night before!

We came inside to hear Miko’s presentation on “The Pinnipeds of South Georgia” and Sam’s talk about the “Southern Ocean Galapagos:  Birds of South Georgia”.

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Albatross

After dinner, Tara, one of our kayak guides, gave a slideshow and talk about her kayaking trip around Svalbard.  Her journey included polar bears and kayaking through ice!  It took her and the 2 friends kayaking with her 72 days!  She’s quite brave to tackle and conquer this feat!

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A beautiful double rainbow as our second day at sea comes to an end.

Today is Friday, February 2nd, and it is our third day at sea as we approach South Georgia.  The ship is still rocking quite a bit.  It was cooler, cloudy and foggy.  Some Orca whales were spotted.  We didn’t get any pictures of them.

This morning we listened to the historian’s talk on Shackleton’s expedition to Antarctica.

In the afternoon we cruised by Shag Rocks.  These rock formations are isolated in the middle of nowhere.  They are jagged, peaked islands that are estimated to be about 150 million years old!  They are home to thousands of blue-eyed shags along with some other species of birds.

The ship’s bridge is open almost all of the time.  It is fun to go there and sit and watch the captain and his crew work.

At our recap, Ali, our expedition leader, announced that we’d have a 4:15 AM wake up call to get ready for a 5 AM departure to Prion Island.  We are looking forward to visiting this island because it is difficult to get a permit to go ashore.  Only 50 people are allowed on the island at a time!  It is a nesting area for the Wandering Albatross.  Other wildlife thrives on this island too.  Getting off the ship after three days is a bonus too!

Day 8 January 30th

Stanley, Falkland Islands

We were one of the first groups off the ship because we signed up to go to Gypsy Cove on Stanley.  It’s about 4 miles from where we got off the zodiac.  We rode a bus there and then trekked around the cove.  On the beach was a group of magellanic penguins.  We weren’t allowed to go down to the beach because there is a possibility that land mines left from the Falkland War of 1982 might wash ashore!  So we photographed them from afar.  Gypsy Cove is on the northwest corner of Yorke Bay and it is the best place for viewing shore birds and magellanic penguins on this island.

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Gypsy Cove- Magellanic Penguins

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Diddle Dee

After our visit here we rode a bus back into town and we explored some of the city sites and ate lunch at a little cafe.  We purchased an internet card for $8.00 for 60 minutes but we found the internet service really wasn’t any better here than on the ship.  We were disappointed and that’s when we gave up trying to post to the blog.

We made it back to the ship before it started raining really hard and the storm began in earnest.  Our ship left Stanley to go to a protective bay to let the worst of the storm get by us.  On our way we had a mandatory biosecurity screening.  All of our gear that would be going on to shore in South Georgia needed to be inspected by the expedition team.  Each of them had a vacuum cleaner to clean anything that might contaminate the ecosystem in South Georgia.  It was very interesting to go through this process.  After our gear was checked we also had to sign that our gear meets South Georgia’s strict environmental standards.  More places to to enforce such restrictions!

Berkeley Sound was where we anchored to wait out the worst of the storm!

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The storm is coming!

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It was raining very hard and the wind was really strong.  We were told to secure all items in our cabin and when moving around our cabin or the ship, we were to always have one hand on the ship.  There was quite a lot of swaying.  It was hard to not roll out of bed!

Day 6 January 28th

When our ship was out of the channel we noticed that the ship rocked quite a bit and it wasn’t even bad weather.  We decided to put on the patch to prevent seasickness and we were very glad that we did because today was a day at sea as we head across the Scotia Sea to the Falkland Islands .

During the day we had a mandatory IAATO (International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators) briefing.  Ali, our expedition leader, explained the rules and regulations that the members have agreed upon to protect this remote and delicate area of the world.  They have established safe and environmentally sound regulations and restrictions that we are to all follow! IMG_5119 This briefing was followed by a mandatory zodiac meeting.  They went over the proper way to get on and off the zodiac and also the sailor hold that you use and the proper way to wear our life vest.  All of our stops on this voyage will be done by zodiacs so this was important information.IMG_4775

Since we had signed up for kayaking, we had a mandatory kayak meeting.  Only 16 people were able to kayak so we felt really privileged to participate in this program.  Todd and Tara, our kayak guides, went over the process and safety and we all introduced ourselves and explained our kayak experiences.

David, an expedition team member, who is a historian, presented a slide show and talk on the history of the Falkland Islands.IMG_6626

We also were fitted with our muck boots!  They are about knee high and keep you dry!  These boots were mandatory footwear whenever we were in a zodiac.

 

Miko, a marine biologist, gave a presentation called “Stowaways and Marauders:  The Curious Case of Island Ecology”.

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Miko’s presentation was followed by a recap and briefing.

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We found these presentations informative and were well done.  The expedition team members did an exceptional job preparing us for what we would be seeing by explaining about the land, birds, marine life, icebergs, glaciers, and climate changes.

Our captain, Alexey Zakalashmyuk, and his officers arrived for the Captain’s Welcome Cocktails.  They served a lot of delicious looking hors d’oeuvres and a variety of drinks.

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The captain and his officers!

In Buenos Aires

Day 2 & 3

January 24th and 25th

Our flight from Columbus to Atlanta was on time.  The flight leaving Atlanta for Buenos Aires was completely full and departed close to the departure time.  However, we were 3 hours late landing because of heavy air traffic and winds in Buenos Aires.  Air Traffic Control said that it would be a hour before we could land.  The pilots decided we would need fuel so we were diverted to Uruguay!  We sat there for quite a while trying to get the fuel.  Once we had refueled, we took off for a 35 minute flight back to Buenos Aires!

We felt sorry for our driver who came to the airport twice!  We were only about 150 miles from Buenos Aires when we took our little side trip!  Hector, our driver, was a good sport and dropped us off at our hotel.  It is a beautiful hotel and our room is very spacious but we weren’t in it very much at all.  We were happy to be able to check in immediately and one of the first things we did was to shower and change clothes.  You feel pretty gross after 32 hours!

Once we felt refreshed we had some lunch!  The hotel has a beautiful outdoor space with a restaurant.  We chose to sit outside in the warm sunshine!

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While enjoying our lunch, Kay wanted to take a picture looking out from the patio and showing the blue skies.  Well, she took her phone out of her purse and it wouldn’t unlock or accept her passcode!  She knew she had it right and even checked on her secure password site just in case she was wrong because it had been over 36 hours with only about a couple hours of sleep.  A very, very long story short, the phone is useless.  We talked to the front desk about an Apple Store nearby.  They marked the closest on the map.  We ended up going to two and each is an authorized Apple resale store, not an actual store where they would fix my phone for free or replace it because it is still under warranty!  What an unwanted adventure!  We did a restore hoping to fix what we think is a software issue but to continue with setting up the phone after the restore, the phone needs an authorization code which they send to one of her other Apple devices which are at home!  What a royal pain but you learn to just go with the flow!  We got back to the hotel in time to get ready to a Dinner/Tango show.

We went to the Rojo Hotel for their Rojo Dinner and Tango show.  It was fantastic!

Buenos Aires time zone is 2 hours ahead so when the show ended we were thrilled that our driver was there to pick us up and drop us off at the hotel.  We crashed not too long after our return.

Thursday morning after a short but much needed night’s sleep we were up and out for a 4 hour private tour of Buenos Aires.  Our driver was Hector who had picked us up at the airport and our English speaking guide was a young woman named Nayla Gallo.  We enjoyed her sharing and history of Buenos Aires.  She is a guide full time.

Just a few of our highlights included:

Floralis Genérica which is a sculpture made of steel and aluminum

The Recoleta Cemetery contains the graves of notable people, including Eva Peron, presidents of Argentina, the founder of the Argentine Navy, and many more.

We visited the El Ateneo Bookstore.  This was a beautiful and famous South American book store because it was a theater that was converted into the bookstore.  The stage is a cafe. Where you would have purchased concessions for the theater, that is now where you check out.  We found it very interesting that there are many bookstores are in Buenos Aires and that is because taxes are very high on tablets and Kindles!

We walked around the neighborhood of La Boca.  It is known for its colorful houses.  El Caminto is the cobblestone street in the center of La Boca.

Later in the afternoon we visited The Colon Theater  and the tour was well worth the time.  We had another excellent guide!  It is famous around the world.  It has exceptional acoustics and performers do not need to wear a mic.  They boast that there isn’t a bad seat in the place.

It was a beautiful day and we enjoyed every minute exploring and learning more about Buenos Aires.  This post just touched the surface of what we experienced today.  Tomorrow we leave for Ushuaia and say goodbye to Buenos Aires!

Today is the Day!

Today is the day! 

After much anticipation, we will be leaving this afternoon.  Hopefully all of our flights are on time.

Packing was a real challenge.  We’ve never been gone so long on a trip where the temperatures could be extremely cold.  Layers was our goal.  We also couldn’t pack more than one suitcase a piece and a smaller size carry on due to our flight restrictions in Argentina.

Matilda was our designated supervisor as we laid out items to pack!  I don’t think she cared for all of the clothing and such on the bed!

Our suitcases are ready to be zipped up and begin our journey!  Not much space for the amount of time we are going to be gone.  Obviously we will be using the laundry facilities on our ship because otherwise none of the other passengers or crew would stand near us!

I volunteer in a kindergarten class and a first grade class once a week.  Karen has a small stuffed Tacky the Penguin who will be traveling with us!  I’m interested to see what he will get into during this Antarctic trip.  If you don’t know the children’s book you need to read it.  There is a series of Tacky stories by Helen Lester.  “Tacky was an odd bird but a nice bird to have around!”  My favorite is the first one, Tacky the Penguin!

We are hoping for safe travels and an incredible, once in a lifetime experience!

Epic Antarctica Trip: It’s almost time!

We are starting this blog to share our travel adventures.  On Tuesday we leave for Antarctica, a vacation that we have planned for many years and have had it booked for over a year.  It is finally getting “real”!  We are SO excited to experience this amazing continent!

Dave and I will miss our family and friends and Matilda, our rescued dog that we’ve only had since September.

Who wouldn’t miss this cute little face.  She is such a sweetheart.  We are fortunate that my sister is staying with her so she will continue to be spoiled and be the center of attention.

Our travel adventure begins with a flight from Columbus to Atlanta, then from Atlanta to Buenos Aires.  We will spend a couple of days exploring this Argentina city before flying down to the city of Ushuaia where we will board our ship.  We will have some time to explore this city too.

Quark Expeditions will be leading our Antarctica trip.  Our ship is not your typical cruise ship.  It is called the Ocean Adventurer.  It’s much smaller than any cruise ship that we’ve been on and it is ice-strengthened.  Here is a picture of our ship.

We hope to add to this blog on a daily basis as long as we have internet access!  Stay tuned for more pictures and adventure updates!