Kavey says Ola from Buenos Aires

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Dec 13th, 2004, 10:05 AM
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Kavey says Ola from Buenos Aires

Hi folks
Well the Antarctic trip is well and truly over but we are currently in BA waiting for the next leg of our flights home. We left Ushuaia yesterday morning and arrived here in BA at 3pm and our flight to Madrid doesnīt leave until tonight.
The heat is oppressive so we havenīt done much sight-seeing here. Also the Antarctic trip was exhausting (but the most amazing experience) and catching ùp on sleep was the order of the day this morning.
We have found time to enjoy some wonderful Argentinian food though!
Will be back in London tomorrow and hope to catch up a little with you all soon after that.
Hope all is well with everyone...
Kavey
PS The trip was truly fantastic and anyone with a love for wildness, spectacular scenery and remoteness should certainly consider it. But it hasnīt dulled my yearning for Africa!
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Dec 13th, 2004, 11:14 AM
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Thanks for checking in with us, Kavey. It's wonderful to hear that you had a good time in Antarctica!
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Dec 14th, 2004, 07:03 AM
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Kavey I hadn't realized you were already in Antartica. I must say, reading your header I had to laugh out loud. A few years ago I followed you to Venice, last year to Africa, and now (having just returned from Peru) you seemed to be following me to South America! LOL
Glad to hear it went well and am eager to see a report and photos upon your return.
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Dec 14th, 2004, 08:37 AM
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By the way, I found this message in the Africa section, not South America. You might want to post again under the right header.
I will be going to BA and Antarctica next month. Would love to hear your impressions.
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Dec 14th, 2004, 12:56 PM
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Kavey, I hope you are going to write a report. Why is it that we want to follow you all over the world.
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Dec 14th, 2004, 03:17 PM
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Hi Kavey,
Can't wait to hear about your Antarctic Adventure..Your timing is perfect, I just recieved a brochure today from Fathom Expeditions who's ship I am considering for a 2006 trip.
Also in the middle of a great travel book written by Sara Wheeler, a fellow Brit, Terra Incognita.. Travels in Antarctica.
Happy Holidays,
Brenda
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Dec 15th, 2004, 08:51 AM
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Judy
Thanks! Nice to be back!

HLPhillips
How funny! Well this one doesn't really count as a trip to South America in my eyes as we only had one night in Ushuaia and one night in BA but I did thoroughly enjoy a tour of Peru, Bolivia and so on as a teenager with my family. I will never forget my visit to Machu Picchu as long as I live. The next trip is not for a while and is to the Galapagos Islands in April and then a relaxing week or two in Florida in November.

Lolo
Nah, I deliberately posted in the Africa forum as my message was intended to be a "hello" to virtual friends here in the Africa forum. I never posted in the South America forum before the trip and wasn't intending to post a trip report anyway so didn't seem any reason to post my "hello" in there. Really I was just saying "hey guys, I'm nearly home and ready and raring to continue the Africa chat!".

Brenda
We went with Peregrine (booked through Exodus but it wouldn't make a difference who you booked through) and can't recommend their operations enough. The ship, the Akademik Ioffe, is also billed as the Peregrine Mariner in the sales literature (I don't know why as it still sails as the Ioffe). It's a refitted research vessel and absolutely perfect for the job. The crew are absolutely incredible bunch of experts in all areas (award winning photographers, nobel peace prize winners, renowned researchers and just knowledgeable individuals) and made the trip for us.
I would thoroughly recommend that you include as much time as possible in South Georgia as well as down at the Antarctic Peninsula - we found it to be an equal sight to the peninsula itself and are so glad we didn't go for the shorter peninsula only trip.
Also ensure you opt for a vessel that can get you close in to shore and has few enough passengers that you can do LOTS of shore landings. Some of the large ships out there do mostly cruise pasts which just would NOT be the same.
Anyway, if I can help further, just let me know.

Kavey
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Dec 23rd, 2004, 05:54 AM
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Kavey - I do hope that you will take a couple of moments to at least give us the highlights of your Antarctica trip. We're planning on going in two years for our 25th anniversary and would love to hear about your experience.
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Dec 23rd, 2004, 08:58 AM
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Eenusa,
Check out Kavey great post on the Latin American forumn.
Can't wait to see her wonderful photographs.
Happy Holidays,
Brenda
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Dec 23rd, 2004, 10:21 AM
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Thanks - will do so.
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Dec 23rd, 2004, 11:17 AM
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I was kind of curious after the post about putting info on the other board so I went over and did a search on Antarctica and there wasn't much information and certainly nothing on the Peregrine company's offerings and what their boats and trips are like... so I thought I'd add a little something there after all.
I didn't want everyone assuming the only way to see the area was in a huge cruise-by like the Marco Polo!
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Dec 24th, 2004, 04:03 AM
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Oops! Marco Polo? The Orient Lines Marco Polo? Cruise by? Not quite. We went on the Marco Polo and went ashore quite a few times. How well I remember the Zodiaks. The Russian trawlers are the most frequent visitors, but there are others who do this. Liz
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Dec 25th, 2004, 04:53 AM
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Liz
Really? We encountered that ship during our trip (I think that was the one) and because they had 400 passengers they weren't doing many landings - if I haven't got the wrong ship, our expedition leader was talking to their captain on the radio. They were about to do a landing in Deception Island but because it took a long while to get 400 people off and back on the ship (in turn because of the limits) they said it would take most of the day.
There are indeed lots of ships that do Antarctic cruises, some are smaller than the one we went on too.
The main advantage to less pax is that it's easier and quicker to get everyone on shore at the same time which means more excursions and longer ashore each time.
Some of the itineraries I have looked at in bigger ships did list many less landings and talked about cruising by various sites but not landing.
I don't want to misrepresent the Marco Polo however as I might be mixing it up with another ship/ line.
Kavey
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Dec 25th, 2004, 06:00 AM
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Kavey-
I checked Orient Cruise Lines website and it still is the same as when we went. I read your trip report and ours was just the same except we were on a cruise ship and had a wonderful splashy show each night and gourmet food for our meals. Real nice dining experiences.
We had all of the same naturalists and lectures all day. From the looks of your ship on the internet it was much smaller. We had plenty of Zokiaks we all got to spend all the time we wanted on shore each day. Much more than I needed. I couldn't stand the smell of the place. Imagine rotting krill and bird poop all over. You could smell it miles before you got there. We dined with our lecturers and got to know more than I ever thought we would.
We also had many, many Brits on our ship. People from all over the world, many of whom were going because it was another notch on their belt for rare places to visit before they died. The other travelers were a high point to talk to. One guy had gone on every trip this ship ever made to the Peninsula. When you think of the years and the number of trips it was well over 100. I'm talking for 3 months every year, just staying on this ship.
We also had the opportunity to swim in a natural hot springs at one of the islands. Some did this. Stripped right down to their swim suits. It was absolutely freezing and we had about 5 layers of clothes on along with our knee high rubber boots. Then at night I'd don my long knit dresses and it was a whole different world aboard. The Marco Polo actually carries 800, but they are limited to half that for this series of cruises in the Antarctic. Don't think it was too large by any means. We had wonderful activities on board to take advantage of and plenty of opportunities to meet many very interesting people. Everyone went ashore that chose to. You were assigned a time each day, either morning or afternoon at each place and there were only the number each time you were there that the zodiaks carried. It certainly wasn't crowded. You just walked around and looked at the nesting birds and albatrosses dive bombing them to get the krill that fell to the ground. Sometimes we had a specialist ashore explaining an old structure or such. We had about an hour it seems each day and I usually was ready to leave early and return to the ship. It was so slick wherever you went and very difficult to walk. Like walking on eggs. The chicks were quite large when we were there in January and the season would soon end. I enjoyed watching the seals on the icebergs as we sailed along.
I didn't notice you mentioned the Scotts were there. I thought they were leading your group. Wasn't that why you picked that particular sailing? Hope they made it. Liz
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Dec 25th, 2004, 04:01 PM
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Sounds fantastic, Liz! And it sounds a perfect trip for those who want more comfortable surroundings during the trip too - our ship was more expeditiony in feel - several of the cabins were not ensuite. Food was great but no shows each night - only shows were going out onto top deck or bow for the views in the evenings and singalongs in the bar. So for those who want more comfort as they go, I imagine something like Marco Polo would suit them very well.
I must admit though that an hour a day would not have been enough for me, not at all. Most days we were near land we'd go ashore sometime between 8.30 and 9.30 and come back onto the boat just in time for lunch. Then in the afternoons we'd go ashore between 2.30 and 3.30 and we would often be ashore till 6.30 and not want to come back even then. Infact, in nearly every case I longed to stay longer!
I know what you mean about the smell - it was very strong - the penguin poo, the seal excretions and everything... but it was part of the experience! Wouldn't have missed it.
I am sure some of the experts could be crossover - certainly many of ours were not full time employees of the tour operator but contracted to them for one or more trip only.
And yes the Scotts were there, and it was lovely to spend more time with them!
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Dec 26th, 2004, 04:07 AM
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Kavey-
Whew! I was worried. Sounds great and all were there. I just don't remember the details about landings except there were too many for me. It was over 5 years ago that we went and I really longed to be in Africa rather than there. It seems we went ashore more than once a day but I figure we couldn't have. We got a ticket each evening which put us in a group and each time our group went we could go. I remember taking umpteen showers a day and it seemed we were always changing clothes. It was so hot wearing the ski suits and long underwear around on board. I just can't imagine wanting to stay longer. I was always ready to return on the first trip back to the ship. I wanted to be ready for meals I guess. Others could have stayed longer. Just the difference in people I suppose. The experts and the helpers for the zokiaks all said that they would work for free just to be able to return each year. Since the season is only three months, they do other things the rest of the year. That was their love though. Liz
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Dec 26th, 2004, 11:31 AM
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Hi Liz and Kavey,
Thanks for this great thread..We are contemplating a trip to Antarctica in 2006 and your reports are very helpful in deciding what type of ship to book.
We are very active and were worried it would be like taking a geriatric cruise to Alaska. But it sounds like there is so much to do, see and learn aboard these trips.
I have been looking at Peregrine and Fathom Expeditions so far and really like the idea of being able to sea kayak amongst the icebergs. Kind of scary and dangerous (did this once in Prince William Sound, AK) but such a different feeling being at water level and looking up at these towering chunks of ice. It was so quiet and magical.
Both of your trips sounds wonderful.
Wishing you safe travels in 2006,
Brenda
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Dec 28th, 2004, 05:24 AM
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Brenda
The look on the Kayakers' faces made it clear how very much they enjoyed every single kayak trip they made. Do keep in mind though that they did have to miss some of the shore landings to do those kayak trips.
One woman did give up part way through one trip and missed some subsequent ones - she hadn't done kayaking before and wasn't quite fit enough. It sounds like it was pretty demanding stuff.
But if you've done it before in cold situations you'll be fine I'm sure.
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Dec 28th, 2004, 06:49 AM
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PS Just to clarify - the Scotts weren't leading the group - they were there as additional experts. Unlike the other experts they were not contracting directly to Peregrine but, as far as I am aware, had been signed on as additional experts by Paul Goldstein of Exodus. Exodus have very strong links to Peregrine (used to be jointly owned I think but aren't any more or something like that) and so it's all a bit hazy. The Scotts stayed in a passenger cabin (up on our floor, as it happens) and weren't involved in regular crew duties or driving zodiacs like the others but did do some lectures/ presentations and were always available during excursions and on the ship itself to offer tips and help people work out their cameras etc.
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Jan 1st, 2005, 10:41 AM
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Hi Kavey

Just wondering:
We've been to Antarctica 3 years ago. It realy changed our life (this spirtual experience).I'm wondering -our first trip to Africa was last April and since then we returned twice.. It's one of the few places along with Antarctica we feel we belong to..What do you thing Africa vs. Antarctica?
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