Discovering The Blue Continent

Dec 11th, 2010, 12:08 AM
  #21  
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Nikao,

We had so many beautiful and warm days that at times it was easy to forget we were near the south pole. Hearing the stories and complaints about it being cold still was funny especially the way they were told.
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Dec 11th, 2010, 12:17 AM
  #22  
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Giovanna,

Not home yet. Just spent 15hrs getting to EZE from Ushuaia via El Carafete and a $45 cab ride at 3am from AEP. More about that later. Major delays and cancellations out of USH. US by far has one of the best air travel system.

No penguins on Beagle Canal cruise but whales in harbor were so cool. Saw enough "Gentoos" in Antarctica that I think I will count them instead of sheep when I need to get to sleep!

Will post more on Beagle Canal cruise. Did you go to Bridge Island?
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Dec 11th, 2010, 12:23 AM
  #23  
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SelfpropelledTripod,

Get busy posting. Even a tripod does not have a leg to stand on if it has been over a year

I have hardly had time to sort my pictures. Quark did provide a nice DVD at the end of our daily activities combined with pictures we contributed. I will use it as a guide to post my experiences but as you are aware it can be a daunting task.
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Dec 14th, 2010, 08:26 PM
  #24  
 
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<< Did you go to Bridge Island?>>

I'm not sure. Doesn't ring a bell by name, but we did stop at a number of isles in the channel (I mistakenly said Beagle Canal, meant Beagle Channel). If I remember correctly our first sight was the lighthouse which was thrilling for me. It was raining rather hard for the whole cruise, but the crew tried very hard to keep the windows squeegied. I went out on a narrow walkway several times to take pictures at our stops. Managed to get some decent pictures.
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Dec 19th, 2010, 10:52 AM
  #25  
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Giovanna,

Here's a Bridge Island link that may bring back some memories. Too bad you had rainy weather for your tour

I think "Beagle Canal" is the correct local pronounciation.


http://dmbtraveler195.blogspot.com/2...d-ushuaia.html
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Dec 19th, 2010, 11:31 AM
  #26  
 
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Thanks for the link! Looks beautiful. I'm sure now that we did not visit Bridge Island.
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Dec 19th, 2010, 11:42 AM
  #27  
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Giovanna,

That I guess is the problem with going on the bigger boats or may be the weather had something to do with it.

For me, it was another nice part of our tour especially, learning a little bit more about the area and the interesting plant life.
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Dec 24th, 2010, 05:11 AM
  #28  
 
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"Saw enough "Gentoos" in Antarctica that I think I will count them instead of sheep when I need to get to sleep!"

Funny you should say that ... since we returned from our Antarctica trip in 2007, I've been counting penguins too if I have difficulty falling asleep ... I mix them up a bit ... a king here, a gentoo there, some Adelies and Macaronis thrown in for good measure ;-)
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Dec 24th, 2010, 07:57 PM
  #29  
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eenusa,

Think you saw a few more than I did so your sleep therapy may work just a little better than mine. Either way, they are a lot cuter than sheep
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Jan 11th, 2011, 12:44 PM
  #30  
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BOARDING AKADEMIK IOFFE TO ANTARCTICA


The weather is gorgeous as we board the Ioffe where we are greeted by friendly smiles and cold glasses of champagne. Inside, I hope the nice weather and welcoming smiles are a sign of what lies ahead, I have a good feeling that it is. The Ioffe boarding is on the third floor and fortunate for me I am only steps away from my cabin which is across the hall from the dining room.

After unloading carry on baggage, most of us make our way to the upper deck to take in views of Ushuaia. Mountains with small patches of snow stand out against clear skies with high fluffy clouds. More importantly there is just a mild breeze with relatively calm seas. This should make for smooth sailing on the initial part of our journey.

About quarter past six an announcement is made, we have received our clearance from the Argentine custom officials and the Akademik Ioffe smoothly maneuvers away from Puerto Ushuaia. Along with 106 other passengers, I am on my way to Antarctica.

Photos:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVxGW0-NsT0
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Jan 11th, 2011, 04:35 PM
  #31  
 
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Coincidentally, it was a year ago today that we were in Ushuaia.
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Jan 13th, 2011, 07:01 AM
  #32  
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Giovanna,

Wish you got to enjoy more of Ushuaia

I still am having good memories of visiting there.
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Jan 13th, 2011, 07:10 AM
  #33  
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DAY 1 ON THE AKADEMIK IOFFE


After a few moments of saying goodbye to Ushuaia from the upper deck of the Ioffe we are corralled inside to the dining room for our first of two mandatory safety briefings. Although this is a serious matter, we all get laughs as we watch an immersion suit demonstration by one of the expedition staff members.

We are soon dismissed from our briefing and I head back to my cabin. Seven short blasts followed by a long one and I am putting on warm clothes and a life jacket. Joining other passengers I take two sets of stairs to my muster station. Here more emergency procedures are reviewed and we get a glimpse of the life boats we hope we will not have to use anytime in the next 11 days.

With the required emergency drills over it's back to Cabin 314 where I get a port hole view of Beagle Canal as I unpack the rest of my belongings. My cabin turns out to be efficiently segregated with lots of storage and closet space. The room has bunks beds along with a fold out couch. Our Quark provided, fashionably bright yellow parkas along with special zodiac life preservers hang on a nearby wall. Our r “hope we don't need 'em” immersion suits are nicely tucked away beneath the fold out couch.

An interesting piece of equipment is also found in our cabins, a rotary dialed phone! Are you puzzled? Then you must be a lot younger than I am! Although the ship has modern day communication equipment this is a workable phone left over from yesteryear that is used for emergencies.

We are told that although the emergency number is “666” we will be connected directly to the bridge if it is dialed and not to that other place that starts with an “H” and end in “LL”.

Surprisingly there are no locks on the room doors (for quick emergency access) so leave your crown jewels at home or they can be stored in a safe with the onboard hotel manager.

It's not much longer before dinner is being served. Since my cabin is near the rear entrance of the dining room, I wait a few minutes and avoid the queue at the main entrance.

A self served small mix salad along with fried halibut, potatoes and broccoli, and I have had my first of many dinners onboard the Ioffe. Not bad.

With a full stomach, I take a walk to explore a bit more of the Akademik Ioffe. From bow to stern I am rewarded with beautiful views of Beagle Canal and a stunning sunset sky. It is almost 10pm and the sun is working it's artistic magic. Gone are the oranges seen at the higher latitudes now replaced with soft blues, along with soothing pinks and purples. As snow cap mountains fade in the distance it is a scenery you want to last forever.

On board the Ioffe is an Argentine Pilot Captain who is navigating us along the historically disputed boundaries of the Beagle Canal. On one side lies Chile and the other, Argentina. The important sea passages here were once so disputed that it took the intervention and threat of excommunication by Pope John Paul to get both sides to reach an agreement.

A chill is in the air as the sun's heat disappears for the day and I step inside the lounge to warm up. Here there is a piano (just in case Billy Joel or Sir Elton comes on board), movies and books. Back outside I watch as a tug boat approaches and our temporary navigator disembarks. The Ioffe is now on it's own. Nonetheless, I am confident with the remaining crew as we head to open seas.

With Carlos from Colombia serving as Alcohol And Snack Ambassador, a small but notable crowd from countries like Germany, Taiwan, Bolivia and The US have gathered for brief international talks and drinks. Proper introductions are made and possible agendas discussed before the meeting is adjoined.

A quick check of our navigation progress chart tells me the sun will be back at 04:53am.This is less than seven hours away as I head to my upper bunk bed.

Photos:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j4_xHOMS02U
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Jan 13th, 2011, 09:22 AM
  #34  
 
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Enjoying your trip report. I remember those incredible sunsets.
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Jan 13th, 2011, 04:26 PM
  #35  
 
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Loving your report! I was also on the Ioffe, but with a different operator (OneOcean instead of Quark), so your trip report brings back vivid memories (e.g., I can visualize exactly where your cabin is), but some things are different (e.g., we didn't get immersion suits, but I seem to recall my first night's dinner sounding much more appetizing -- we had a really great Canadian head chef).

Yeah, yeah, I know I owe you all a trip report! (At this rate, I'm hoping I can just link to DMBTravler's and say "What he said!" )
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Jan 14th, 2011, 05:02 AM
  #36  
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Glad to bring back the memories

SelfPropelledTripod, Feel free to "copy and paste"!
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Jan 15th, 2011, 08:03 AM
  #37  
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CROSSING THE DRAKE PASSAGE

It seems as if we have found favor with the sea gods as the weather and sea conditions are quite nice for our introduction to the Drake Passage. Nothing more than a little roller coaster rocking and rolling under mostly clear blue skies.

I am content to take it all in and count my blessings.

Video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aqz8EwJ2rwU
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Jan 15th, 2011, 08:10 AM
  #38  
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DAY 2 ON THE IOFFE IS FOR THE BIRDS


Somewhere in the night we officially enter the Drake Passage with little fanfare. The seas are so relatively calm that they keep me asleep right through breakfast. With three full meals served everyday, missing one or two of them should help me slim down for summer. However, that diet plan evaporates faster than a boiling pot of tea as I soon find myself in the lunch queue.

Like dinner last night there is a small salad bar, soup and a menu offering a fish, meat and vegetarian dish. Orders are taken and our entrees are served by a serious group of hard working mostly Russian dining room staff.

After lunch the dining room is converted into one of two presentation rooms where lectures are offered on various subjects related to Antarctica. The lectures are split between port and starboard side passengers in order to avoid overcrowding the room.

This afternoon, we are learning about sea birds and I find the albatross fascinating. To highlight our bird learning experience we are given the challenge to walk out on the deck and see how many of them we can spot. Although on vacation, we are in some ways a part of a scientific research team. Our wildlife sightings are noted and posted on a daily public record. There are a few surprises even to the some of the expedition staff who are research scientists as some birds are spotted in unexpected areas.

Out on the stern, I capture photos of several birds that are following in the wake of the ship although it is very difficult getting them to pose for the shots. I am told the ship's propellers while stirring the seas brings food to the surface and provides a nice buffet for our flying friends.

It seems as if Neptune has granted us favor as the weather this afternoon crossing the Drake Passage is surprisingly calm and beautiful although storm clouds can be seen far to the west of our position. Enjoying my weather good fortune, I spend a fair amount of time on the deck taking it all in.

A stroll around the deck and I observe kayakers making preparations for their outings in a few days. This is an additional expedition offering that will set you back about $800. I guess, no Starbucks for you next month.


Slideshow Photos:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jGyaDPSfOPk
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Jan 15th, 2011, 11:11 AM
  #39  
 
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Good shots once again. Reminded me a bit of a whale watch we took out of San Pedro, CA It was cold and foggy and we unfortunately had not one sighting. One of the crew starting throwing chum off the back of the boat and the gulls came in droves. We wanted to see whales, but this was certainly something to see.

Glad your weather has remained good and the seas are comparatively calm.
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Jan 15th, 2011, 11:11 AM
  #40  
 
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Good shots once again. Reminded me a bit of a whale watch we took out of San Pedro, CA It was cold and foggy and we unfortunately had not one sighting. One of the crew starting throwing chum off the back of the boat and the gulls came in droves. We wanted to see whales, but this was certainly something to see.

Glad your weather has remained good and the seas are comparatively calm.
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