Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Antarctica - Day 5

After a year of planning, 2 days of travel and 2 days of waiting around in Ushuaia, the big day where we all finally get on the ship is here!  I got up pretty early to make sure to get all my stuff packed up and ready to go, as it has to be taken to the lobby of the hotel next door by 9:00am so that it could be picked up and taken over to the ship for boarding.  It finally feels like the trip is real, but but now that my bag has been checked in next door there is still another 6 or 7 hours of waiting around to do until we can actually go through customs and board the ship at 4:00. 

Needless to say, the wait dragged on and on and seemed to take forever for 4pm to roll around.  I ran into Randy and Bob, the guy that went to dinner with me last night before so we all wandered around together while Randy looked for a few last minute clothing items.  The shopping helped pass the time a little but even after all that, there were still 5 hours to sit around and wait. Tick tock, tick tock….  I won’t bore you with the tedious details of the wait more than I might already have.

Everyone from the trip started to gather at the port at around 3:30, all seeming to be as anxious as I was to get this show on the road.  We milled around in front of the port Entry for a while until the time came to finally get our carry on bags scanned and board the ship. It was pretty funny in that the security scanning processed seemed like it was much more for show than for true security. They never even really watched the x-ray of the bags passing through.

Walking down the dock I passed 3 much bigger cruise type ships before reaching the Ushuaia and it pretty funny to realized our shipe was about half the size of any of the others docked there.  This was certainly going to be a no frills kind of sailing.  No pool, so spa, and rooms about 1/3 the size of rooms on any cruise ship I’ve ever seen.  I'm not complaining at all though, as I wanted this trip to be more about the adventure of getting there than one where I just sat in high luxury feeling totally disconnected from the world outside.  I want to feel like I earned the right to be there once we crossed the Drake.

The only thing I was nervous about for the trip was to find out who I would be sharing a room with since I didn't pay the extra money to have a solo cabin.  I just hoped the person I was sharing the room with would turn out to be a nice easy going kind of guy. I figured I'd be in the room a very limited amount of time anyway, so I saved my money to put toward the hotel rooms on the trip.  The guy that was assigned to my room turned out to be from Washington as well.  I don’t know if that was just totally random or not, but it was kind of nice to at least have something in common with him.

Here are a couple of photos of the room showing just how sparse it was and showing the shared bathroom.

Everyone got settled in to their rooms pretty quick and then headed up to the “lounge” area and the deck to watch the ship pull away from the dock at 6pm.

We are finally under way!  Looking back at the town on the way out, you can really see just how big the mountains are and how the close in around the city.  It’s really pretty and I can hear the excitement in everyone’s voices now that we are moving and the trip finally feels real.  Here are a few shots from the deck of the ship to show you what it looked like as we started the trip.

The ship spent the first 4 -5 hours sailing through the Beagle Channel which is the body of water between Argentina and Chile.  The water was nice and calm and the day was beautiful out there. I was actually surprised by how warm it was here today. 

As with all cruises or trips on ships like this, there is a safety briefing and then dinner tonight and I think I’m going to try to get some sleep after that.

As part of the safety briefing, they told us to not expect these calm seas when we wake up in the morning as we’ll be entering the Drake Straight sometime later tonight after 10pm.  It guess that means its time to find out if the Drake will live up to everything I’ve heard.

We were being told that the seas will be “calm” for the Drake in one breath, and then warned about always making sure to use both hands on the rails when going up and down the stairs and being told if we wake up in the middle of the night and get out of bed, to make sure we are fully awake first… and to take time to feel how the ship is moving before actually getting up. 

Hmmmmmm…. Sounds ominous.

No comments:

Post a Comment