Joan and I returned from a fabulous cruise/tour to
Argentina and Iguazu Falls on the Brazil-Argentina border.
We used Overseas Adventure Travel and flew to Buenos Aires for New
Years Eve. We flew first to Buenos Aires, Argentina, where we met
our tour mates and got to spend New Year's Eve and New Years Day in an
almost deserted city, as everything shut down for the holiday.
This allowed us to take our guided city tour without the typical
Argentine traffic jams. The tolling in of the New Year was done
in our hotel lobby with Nick, our tour leader and a couple of other
hardy souls who battled jet lag and travel fatigue to stay up.
The next night we went to a Tango show, which was very professional and
Here's a shot of the Pink House,
Argentina's White House. Juan and Evita Peron stood on the
balcony on the left to address the nation.
two days in Buenos Aires, we flew to Ushuaia in Argentine
It is the southernmost city in the world and is the port where the
expedition ships to Antarctica leave from. We spent
two days and one night there, visiting Tierra del Fuego National Park
and preparing for boarding our ship.
Here's a shot of Joan at the waterfront in Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world
Ushuaia, we visited Tierra del Fuego National Park. The region is
billed as fin del mundo (the end of the world) and it has unique
habitat and species. Ushuaia lies on the Beagel Channel, below
the Straits of Magellen, and is the main channel used to get to the
South Atlantic, bypass Cape Horn and steam south to Antarctica.
Here's Joan and I at Tierra del Fuego
National Park and a shot of the Beagle Channel, with the southernmost
national post office (Argentine) in the world on the pier and Chile and
the Andes Mountains in the distance.
boarded the MS Andrea, a boat with a Croatian and Philipino crew and
steamed out towards Antarctica. The crossing of the Drake Passage
was relatively smooth going south, with rolling waves that pitched the
boat from side to side all day and night. Most people wore the
patch and/or meds and there were not many people sick. For
safety, everything was tied down on the ship; tables, chairs, beds,
furniture, etc, all drawers had locks and the beds had wooden
boards on each side to prevent rolling out of bed when
sleeping. It was an adventure!
arrived in Antarctica by crossing 60 degrees south latitude and the
first landfall were the South Shetland Islands (no, not where Spunky
came from). We had our first of 11 landings after the second day
on the ship and it was an adventure, indeed. Just suiting up took
about 20 minutes. You start with thermal underwear, warm shirt
and jeans. You put on three layers of socks (liners, regular and
thick), then put on your knee high boots and pull your jeans legs down
over the boot top. Then you put on your waterproof outer pants
OVER your boots and jeans. You then put on your parka, scarf, hat
and earmuffs, glove liners and outer gloves, then a life jacket.
If you're bringing a camera or camcorder, you need to put it around
your neck or in your pocket in a plastic bag and put under your
parka. Then you're ready to get into the 10 person zodiac boat
for a short ride and a wet landing on the Antarctic shore.
most amazing views were of penguins, seals and icebergs. It was
estimated that we saw hundreds of thousands of penguins sitting on
eggs, just hatched chicks or larger juveniles. It needed to be
seen to be believed. The iceberg viewing was fantastic as
well. Icebergs as high as skyscrapers or as wide as several miles
were gliding right by the ship.
Penguins, penguins, penguins.
Hundreds of thousands of them.
Icebergs of unbelieveable sizes!
The LeMaire Channel - one of the most beautiful passages on the trip.
Beautiful scenery, with the zodiac and the
ship providing scale.
Getting in and out of the zodiacs and our
BBQ on deck off Peterman Island at the furthest south we got - 65
degrees - 11 minutes south