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M/V Ushuaia the Drake Passage

Crossing the Drake Passage

Tuesday, November 19, 2007

The MV/ Ushuaia.

I woke up this morning from the first night sleeping on board the M/V Ushuaia and from the first real sleep I had in days. As had been predicted the Drake Passage was very rough due to the high winds of 30 to 40 mph.

However I slept like a baby due, in most part, to the motion sickness patch I was wearing and to the lack of sleep I have had since leaving Miami. The side effect of wearing the patch is a dry mouth; which is a small price to pay for not getting seasick.

Lawrence and I spent a good amount of time on deck exploring the ship and experiencing the naked force of the open water in the Drake Passage. I tested out some of my cold weather gear and it works like a charm. Mind you it was only 6 degrees centigrade on deck with a wind chill well below zero; so this is not anywhere near as cold as it will get at the Antarctic Peninsula.

As you can see from this shot our ship was being followed by kestrels and albatross. They followed us for two days without ever landing on the ship. They just bobbed up and down in the wind wake generated by the ship; simply amazing.

I had another good night of sleep last night. Not much was happening onboard, before dinner they showed a movie, then they served dinner. Many people did not attend this meal due to motion sickness but I found I could eat. The galley became very empty during the crossing of the passage. Even the crew were sick. At one point the meals became self serve as there were no crew well enough to work. I had another early night this night.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Icebergs come in all kinds of amazing shapes.

Another day on the Drake Passage, and we had 40 knot winds which produced 12 foot waves! The temperature dropped below freezing and I saw it snow over the open ocean for the first time in my life. It was a very tough day though with many people experiencing motion sickness including myself.

But around 8:00 p.m. local time we saw our first icebergs and then landfall! We ate dinner, which I was able to hold down, then we had a landing party briefing in anticipation of our first trip to an Antarctic beach. I am off to bed now and looking forward to walking on the Antarctic tomorrow. It seems like a dream, the whole thing. Perhaps this feeling is due to the seasickness medication, or the constant rolling motion of the waves, or perhaps because it just is.

Drake Passage Video

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