Getting Ready: Antarctica & Argentina 2007

After a whirlwind decision-making process that amazingly took me just ONE week (unheard of in the “world of Laurel”), it looks like I will be departing for Buenos Aires on Dec. 4 and then making my way to Antarctica from Ushuaia on Dec. 9. It’ll take a couple of days to reach the Antarctic Peninsula. I’ll spend three days exploring the peninsula and then the ship heads to the South Shetland Islands for a couple of days before returning to Ushuaia on Dec. 19. I fly back to Buenos Aires that same day for a couple days there again before flying home to L.A. So, in all, I spend about one week in Argentina (Buenos Aires and Ushuaia) and 11 days on a ship. As I am not really a ship-kind-of-traveler, this is about the longest period of time I can see myself living onboard a vessel… even a relatively nice one. We’ll see how it goes. I’ve got my scopolamine patches for seasickness, just in case, as the Drake Passage is said to be the roughest in the world. Yeah. Don’t worry, I am fully insured.  : / 

Here’s my itinerary:

 

Dec. 4 — depart LAX for Buenos Aires, Argentina

 

Dec. 5-7 — Buenos Aires

 

Dec. 7-9 — Ushuaia, Argentina. The morning of Dec. 8, I will visit Tierra del Fuego National Park, part of Patagonia. The rest of this time before the voyage, I’ll explore Ushuaia, the southernmost city on the planet. There’s an “End of the World” museum I’d like to visit.

 

Dec. 9 — Board the Polar Star for voyage to Antarctica. Here’s Polar Star Expeditions’ description of the trip:

Highlights: This voyage is a “classic” voyage to Antarctica on a comfortable icebreaker. Five days in Antarctica/Shetland Islands, a great amount of time.

Summary: Journey to the seventh continent on this expedition and discover a vast land of snowy expanses, impressive white mountain peaks, majestic icebergs, and ice-filled fjords. Visit historic points of interest, research stations and delight in the antics of the spectacular penguin rookeries, sunbathing seals, and magnificent whales.  

Day 1 (Dec. 9): Ushuaia
Board the Polar Star in Ushuaia to embark on the classic voyage to the Antarctic. 

Days 2-3 (Dec. 10-11): Drake Passage
As you head south, crossing the Antarctic Convergence you prepare for the adventures ahead with a lecture program and time for wildlife viewing from the decks and ship’s bridge. 
 

Days 4-6 (Dec. 12-14): Antarctica Peninsula
These days are spent making land excursions, Zodiac cruises and attending lectures as you have the opportunity to absorb the striking beauty of the landscapes and share this untouched wilderness with penguins, seals, whales and seabirds. You may see Gentoo, Adelie and Chinstrap penguins, and there is the possibility to see Fur, Leopard, Weddell and Crabeater seals as well as Minke, Humpback, Orca and other whales. Landings may include wildlife, historic or research sites such as Petermann Island, Port Lockroy, Cierva Cove, Mikkelson, Paradise Bay, and Neko Harbour
 

Days 7-8 (Dec. 15-16): South Shetland Islands
This area is well known for spectacular penguin rookeries which are inhabited by Chinstrap, Gentoo, and Adelie penguins. It is also of geological note being volcanic and 80% covered in permanent ice. You may make landings at Whaler’s Bay to feel the effects of the dormant volcano on Deception Island as well as Half Moon Island and plan to also visit Arctowski base and Penguin Island
 

Days 9-10 (Dec. 17-18): Drake Passage & Beagle Channel
As you head back towards Argentina, keep a constant lookout for whales, dolphins and an array of seabirds while taking time for final lectures, debriefing and a farewell reception. 
 

Day 11 (Dec. 19): Ushuaia
You disembark after breakfast in the charming town of Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego of Argentina
  

 

I have minimal expectations on this trip. Given the unpredictable nature of the weather in this part of the world, I thought it best not to get my hopes up for any particular animal sightings or landings in special locations. So, we’ll just see how it goes. The basic goal is simply to step foot on the “white continent”. I won’t lie, though. Seeing a leopard seal would be cool. They scare me to death. That’s about it. I think that just being surrounded by so much ice and snow and NO vegetation whatsoever will be quite an experience. It’s been seven years since I lived in a snowy climate. So, my body’s Southern California thermostat is in for a challenge, I think. Wish me, my two pairs of polar fleece thermal underwear, and all my other insulating layers of clothing LUCK !  :  } 

I will, of course, relay my observations and experiences to this blog from the ship and from Argentina as well. So, stay tuned and check back here periodically if you’re interested or just want to avoid your holiday gift shopping. I’ll try to send notices to everyone on my e-mail list whenever I make a new post. 

Adios. 

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3 Comments on “Getting Ready: Antarctica & Argentina 2007”

  1. Edward Colton Says:

    I had a really great sinking ship joke. Oh well…

    Have fun and take a ton of pictures.

    Cousin Ed

  2. Mike Colton Says:

    Looks like its going to be an awesome trip. I checked out the website for the ship you’re going on – the Polar Star – and it looks really cool. So after this, I assume you’ll have been to all the continents? I’m very jealous and I want to hear all about it when I see you on Christmas Eve!

  3. SteveH Says:

    Ice is a wonderful thin and there is lots of it there, However, no need to visit the north pole, the ice there is almost non existant. Bring some back and maybe we can mail it north and hope it growns!!!


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