Journey to Antarctica – Day 3

Punta Arenas

Window Box in Punta Arenas

Today started with a rather early get-up. 2am to be precise. I’d really struggled to get to sleep so by the time my alarm sounded 2:00 am, I felt like I’d only been asleep for around 20 minutes. Groggy beyond belief. However, after a not-so-warm shower (cold in fact), I was soon dressed, packed and down in the hotel foyer the rest of the tour members, helping myself to some much needed coffee. At around 3:00 am out two coaches were fully loaded and on our way to Santiago airport only for ours having to return briefly to the hotel as one member of our team (who shall remain nameless) realised he forgotten his laptop of all things.

 

A member of the local constabulary.

A member of the local constabulary.

Our flight to Punta Arenas in southern Chile took around 3 hours, and we all soon became aware of the big temperature change from the summer heat of Santiago to the cool and windy 8 degrees presented to us as we border the coaches for our 20 minute journey to our downtown hotel. Fleeces and jackets suitably adorned.

Hotel Rey Don Filipe

Hotel Rey Don Filipe, Punta Arenas

The hotel Rey Don Filipe was pleasant and modern and I was now sharing a room with my future shipmate buddy, Dominic. We had some free time to explore Punta Arenas, before each having to attend a boot fitting to size up the rubber boots we would required for our trip to the Antarctic. A presentation from the Antarctica XXI tour operation team followed a little later which included things like safety and how to dress for the zodiac boats and landings. The each member of our group, suitable adorned with rather large name tags, were asked to stand up and say a little about ourselves and our passion for photography. It was an eclectic mix, with the majority from the USA and Canada, but also a sizeable (and noisy) bunch from Australia, as well as a smattering of Brits, Swiss, Polish, Irish and even someone from Israel. All, I have to say, a pleasant and friendly bunch; rather  different from my previous trip!

Ferdinand Magellan

Memorial to Ferdinand Magellan in Punta Arenas.

The day ended with a trip out to one of Punta Arenas premier restaurants set within a delightful old colonial house. Good food and plenty of wine were enjoyed by all during which it was announced the weather for the following day was good and our flight to Antarctica would go ahead in the morning. You could feel the anticipation rising. We were going to Antarctica!

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Journey to Antarctica – Day 2

Santiago

Old man in Santiago

Old gentleman in Santiago

Today we had a chance to relax and explore a little of Santiago whilst the rest of the Antarctica participants arrived from their various destinations. Despite just 3 hours time difference from the UK I felt pretty smashed from the previous days journey and slept through till 5:30 am local time. I chilled out in the morning, chatting with several other members then went for a walk around central Santiago with a few of the other photographers, taking in the relaxed Sunday afternoon atmosphere and a chance to meander the streets and do a little street photograph. Snapshots of my journey. I’m not one for street photography but snapped several of the colourful local people.

Some local ladies posing for the cameraman

Some local ladies posing for the cameraman

In the evening we got to meet the Luminous Landscape crew, Michael Reichmann, Kevin Raber, William Neill and cameraman Chris Sanderson, for drinks and and introductory lecture about our trip. However, an extremely early checkout scheduled for a 3am departure to the airport necessitated an early retirement for me, to try and catch a few our sleep before our 6am flight down to Punta Arenas in southern Chile.

Colourful Street life

The colourful street life in Santiago

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