Embarking to Antarctica

This is my last day in Ushuaia. I have checked out of my hotel and left my bag at reception to be transported to the ship sometime during the day. I don’t have a lot to do to fill in the time today as I have already covered most of the available activities here.

I did spend some time this morning, talking to a young lady at the sales office for one of the Beagle Channel cruises. She remembered me from the other day when she tried to sell me a tour on her company’s sailing boat. It was an all day tour and I didn’t have enough time to fit it in.

I have met a couple of other people who will be travelling on my ship today, and, no doubt, I will meet the others when we have to assemble in the restaurant of my hotel at 3.30 pm this afternoon for a briefing and boarding. One of them was an American woman of Japanese descent, named Keiko who lives in Washington State in the US. She was on the same tour as me to the National Park yesterday and we paddled down the river by canoe together.

In the meantime, I have found a cafe called the Tante Sara which has a wifi connection and I can post this blog entry..

I took this picture along the harbour this morning.

Ushuaia Harbour

Yesterday the wharf was full with a number of large trawlers and two large container ships. They must have been exiled as I see that they are now moored out in the Channel and the wharf today is full of cruise ships. The large one to the right is the Star Princess. Coincidentally, this is the ship that we sailed on for our trip up the Inside Passage to Alaska. My ship for this adventure is the Akademik Sergei Vavilov (with the red and blue stripes on its funnel) in front of it. The Star Princess is the 21st largest cruise ship afloat (109,000 tones) while the Vavilov displaces only 6000 tonnes. It is only 1/18th of the size of the Star Princess and looks tiny by comparison.

I actually sailed on the Vavilov on my previous trip to Antarctica. It is owned by a Russian research academy and with its sister ship the Akademik Ioffe spied on American submarines during the Cold War.It is based in Kaliningrad and is chartered by expedition companies in both the Antarctic and Arctic summers. The money from these charters pays for research activities in the other months. I understand that it was completely refitted a year or so ago and I will be interested to see the difference.

I think that this will be my last post with photos until I return back to Argentina in nineteen days time. On the ship, I will only have access to email through the ship’s satellite communication system and there is not enough bandwidth to handle photos. I think I have everything in order to be able to blog by email and I aim to update my website as often as possible.

So now, you can wish me good luck as you wave me goodbye. It’s time for me to hit the high seas.


Bruce is a keen traveller and photographer. This web site describes his travel and family interests

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