Voyage to Antarctica

Later today I board my cruise ship the Ocean Nova, to begin my 10 day trip around the Antarctic Peninsular, hopefully the trip of a life time. Antarctica is a place that has long fascinated me from first hearing the amazing feats of Ernest Shackleton in my teens, then later in my first post university job where I worked with a guy who had just spent 18 months working on the British Antarctic survey, and who’s slides I found simple amazing. Now I’m about to embark on my own Antarctic adventure as part of a 73 strong photographic party. The journey down to Ushuaia on the southern most tip of Argentina, was rather long and arduous, 37 hours from door to door, 3 flights, cramped seats and a lot of waiting around in airports, but you can’t help be impressed by this ever growing tourist destination nestled into the southern tip of the Andes Mountains of Tierra del Fuego province. I was surprised how large and curiously cosmopolitan Ushuaia turned out to be, with a bustling downtown area festooned with gift shops, outdoor gear shops and even a Casino. Not quite what I had expected. However, the surrounding mountains and snow covered, jagged, volcanic peaks paint a dramatic setting for this little town in the middle of nowhere. I was expecting it to be a little colder too, but temperatures now are just a tad colder that in the UK although the weather seems to change quite suddenly and dramatically and can go from blissful sunshine to storm force winds in a matter of minutes. In just over 2 hours time we board our ship and will commence our journey down the Beagle Channel then out into the infamous Drake Passage on our voyage to the South Shetlands Island. This to me is greeted with excitement but also great in-trepidation of the fear of encountering high seas and being dreadfully sea sick. Like most of the party, I’ve put on my scopolamine patch behind my ear, but have grave reservations that such a small filmy piece of sticking paster can curb my somewhat fragile sea-worthiness and a strong tendency of becoming horribly seasick even on calm waters. I am not good on boats. The last emails are written, the last calls to friends and family made, our last chance to blog or browse is hastily grabbed as we shall soon be leaving the comfort of the wi-fi enable hotel, to the internet void of the Antarctic. Let the journey begin …

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