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Ushuaia Argentina

Transfer to the Ship

Tuesday, November 18, 2007

Here is a shot of Lawrence getting up early in our room in Buenos Aires. By the way the beds are separate even though they look like a double bed in this shot. We are brothers but not that close; not that there is anything wrong with that.

Today we got up very early and headed to the airport to fly to Ushuaia. Ushuaia is at the southern most edge of the civilized world, everything beyond here is effectively uninhabited. With the exception of a few research bases there is no one beyond Ushuaia. The flight from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia is the best part of 4 hours in an MD 80 jetliner; so it is a long way down. The temperature in Buenos Aires was on average around 80 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature in Ushuaia has been on average 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and the temperature in the Antarctic Peninsula has been on average 20 degrees Fahrenheit; so we have been experiencing an exponential drop in temperature.

I was unable to go to sleep last night until 1:30 am local time in Buenos Aires as I was so excited about leaving for Ushuaia. I have slept only 6 hours or so in the last 48 hours; I am very, very tired. When we leave Ushuaia we will be in perpetual day light as the sun does not set for very long in the Antarctic this time of year; I guess I should just give up on getting any sleep until the trip is over.

In this shot you can see the two Antarctic explorers waiting to leave for the airport in Buenos Aires. For my English friends you may recognize that I look like a Cyberman. For my American friends you will have to watch Doctor Who to find out what a Cyberman looks like. By the way my ear goggles are just my Bluetooth wireless headset used to listen to music on my cell phone; oh modern technology. You can see I need sleep and a haircut too.

It took us awhile to figure out how to use the head, as it was referred to.

We were greeted by a snow blizzard when we landed in Ushuaia. Snow and sleet were blowing sideways across the runway at over 30 miles per hour. Luckily we had a sky bridge to leave the airplane via and were kept away from the freezing weather outside initially. After picking up our luggage we went aboard a small bus and were shuttled through Ushuaia to the docks where our ship the M/V Ushuaia was waiting for us. We had to walk from the bus to the ship this exposed us to the weather which was really quite cold. After a few photos we boarded the M/V Ushuaia, registered and were shown to our cabin. The room was small but adequate for our needs; although we did have to share a bath room with another cabin but, we soon spoke with the occupants and worked out a plan to share the facilities.

After a short reception, in the ready room, and short orientation lecture we conducted a life boat drill. Then we ate dinner and the ship set sail via the Beagle Channel to the open ocean and the Drake Passage beyond. The Beagle Channel was named for the ship which Charles Darwin sailed on while making his no famous trip around the world. Ushuaia still to this very day gives one a true sense of the adventure one imagines these early travelers experienced then.

Predictions of 30 knot winds over the Drake Passage only delayed or departure and did not stop it. Once underway dinner was served in the galley. Dinner was good and the sail through the Beagle Channel was smooth. However, the high winds predicted for the sail through the Drake Passage had everyone talking about their motion sickness medications and strategies. I had my motion sickness patch on but it fell off so I had to use another patch which reduced my planned number. This might be a problem for me at some point, time will tell.

Video of Ushuaia


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