So what was my day like? Where am I now?
My day started at 4 AM. Got ups with Moises and Sandra to shoot the sunrise over Beagle Bay and the end of the world. One problem arose. There was no sunrise except for some brief flashes of pink as the sun rose behind the clouds. Oh well, still searching for that perfect shot. Will always search. Never give up. Got back into my room at about 5:30 and immediately fell asleep for three hours. Woke up in an instant and bolted out of bed. Had to pack and get down to breakfast. By 8:45 was ready and went down for my must needed cups of java. We had to have all our suitcases in the lobby by 9:30 and checked out by 10.
After breakfast Moises, Sandra and myself went to walk the streets of Ushuaia. The sidewalks are very old and uneven. One member of the group slipped and fell. He was sent hone by Andy, Marc and the ships doctor. Imagine traveling all this way to slip, fall and be sent home. Luckily they have trip insurance so they will just go next year. The three of us first went shopping in an Arctic clothing and accessories store. Moises and Sandra tried on ski pants and accessories. They are such a fun couple to be with. I have had a great time with them and will miss them dearly when the trip is over. I did not buy anything since I have brought snow pants and lots of warm clothing with me. It was then onto another shop to look around. We finally wound up in a coffee shop and had our cappuccinos the way Andy likes it. Double up. We then walked into another shop. I had previously bought Olivia a special cup made of a squash like shell that the gauchos drink Mate in. You say it MA-TE. This shop had boxes of Mate for sale and a small book on Mate and how to prepare it. I am not a tea drinker, but found the Mate very enjoyable. Bought a box of Mate leaves and the book. Now I just need to move to Patagonia and become a gaucho.
It was then time to return the van and go to a small building that was the entrance to the pier and our boat , the Ushuaia. We arrived in the check in building at about 2 PM and were scheduled to make our way down the pier at 3:30. Moises has a way about him talking to people. He got the guards to let us go through security early. We then started the long way towards the boat. Passed some small shops selling souvenirs, food and beverages and then the wind really picked up. Large gusts were making us take one step back for two steps forward. We finally arrived at the boat and was told we were too early. Got some shelter in a near by building and waited about thirty minutes. We then walked down the pier and boarded. The boat is nothing fancy. Does not have a spa, swimming pools and saunas. It is a converted working boat. I was led up to my room. What can I say about a room on a boat? Very small, but livable for me. The bathroom and shower are tiny and the room has very little way to maneuver around. I will and can make it work. We then had a welcome cocktail party. The food served was very good and tasty. I then went outside and took some pictures of the snow capped mountains and water as we headed out of Beagle Bay to the dreaded Drake. We then were all given a safety class and told that the alarm for abandon ship would be sounded in ten minutes. We needed to go to our rooms and wait. When the alarm sounded we took our life vests out and went down to the main deck to be led outside to the life boats.
The woman who gave us the safety course told us that the Drake was getting bad and that we would be experiencing a bad passage over the next 24 hours. My dream come true. Experiencing the Drake the old fashioned way. Dinner was at 8. The food was very tasty and good. The ship doctor walked around each table and gave each of us four pills. We were told to take one pill then and another twelve hours later. The other two are for the trip back. These were strong pills for motion and sea sickness. We all followed her orders.
After dinner we had two naturalists, husband and wife, describe the various plant and wildlife on the Antarctic Peninsula. Very interesting and full of facts. Jack, one of the naturalists, gave us a lecture on taking pictures in Antartica. He concentrated on focus point and composition. Also very interesting. The lecture ended at about 11 and it was now time to hunker down and enjoy the Drake. It is now 12:30 as I write and the boat is starting to rock and sway. The rocking and swaying is getting longer and larger as time goes by. Hope I can sleep tonight. Need to experience the full force of the Drake and not be sick or sleep through it. This is part of the experience of going to Antartica. Will it be worth it? We will know soon enough.
Hope I survive. If I do, will write the next blog tomorrow night.
Once I return to the civilized world, I will publish each Antartica blog one at a time. Will not bombard everyone with nine at once. I want everyone to read and joy.
PS: I hav e returned home for the next five months