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Antarctica 2010 - Day 4

Tuesday, January 26, 2010 13:10

Finally the day has arrived for us to begin our voyage to Antarctica. Before that though we have a trip to the Tierra del Fuego National Park. The national park is located north of Ushuaia and the morning was spent taking a look at the flora and fauna of the area. The Pan American Highway which begins in Alaska and winds down through North and South America ends here. We had a really great day with plenty of sunshine and dramatic backdrops of snow capped peaks.


It was back to town then and after some lunch there was time to pick up a last few bits and pieces before going to the ship. At 4pm we boarded ship and were brought to our cabins along with our bags. The M/V Plancius is just back from its maiden voyage after almost two years being refitted in Vlissingen in the Netherlands.


The ship is in beautiful condition with all the modern comforts, a far cry from what the 19th century explorers were faced with. After an introductory brief by the staff and crew we then had a full safety drill, donning lifejackets and evacuating to the lifeboats.


At last we started to sail. We left the dock at Ushuaia at about 6pm local time, 9pm GMT to make our way down the Beagle Channel towards the Drake Passage.


Eating dinner while we sailed down the Beagle was really enjoyable. It's a fairly wide channel which runs roughly west to east before then turning south to open out into the Drake Passage. Its north shore stretches back to the towering mountains of Patagonia and the changing light and shadows made from some really beautiful scenes.


As we are in southern hemisphere summertime we have long days with the sun setting at about 10pm. A few of us spent some time out on deck taking in the night sky which was starting to unfold above us. Everything that is familiar in the sky totally changes and we get to see the Southern Cross constellation which isn't visible I the north.


A couple of nightcaps in the bar rounded off a great day and soon we would be making our way into the Drake Passage. Next stop Antarctica!


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