Live #77, Crossing Drake Passage, Antarctica
01/04/2015 “All good things must come to an end.” a wise man once said, and so did our trip to Antarctica. We only spent a couple of days in that remote and magnificent place, but it felt like a much longer time. We saw breathtaking, ice-covered landscapes and a lot of wild life and now it was time to head back “home” towards Ushuaia, crossing the Drake Passage one more time to reach the mainland of South America again.
The weather improved once more on our way back home and even though we would not see any ice bergs, penguins or seals anymore, we would still have a lot of company. Nine species of sea birds were following our ship while we cruised back along the Drake Passage; which was, once more, surprisingly calm. At least we were able to spent a lot of time outside on deck to observe the birds. Albatrosses around us did not have any troubles keeping up with our ship and constantly stayed with us. Some other, such as pintado petrels, came by from time to time to say hi. A lot of people were really into the birds and observed them for hours. Personally, I’ve had enough after 20 minutes and got back inside again to play some more chess.
Everyone gathered for a group picture on deck and enjoyed their lunch afterwards. Other than watching the birds outside, there was not really much more to do than reflect on all the impressions of the last days, interact with the other passengers or follow one of the many lectures of the day. Anna told us about the biodiversity of marine animals and plants in Antarctica, stating that 80% of the species are only to be found in this part of the world and nowhere else. Pretty interesting fact! We also got more information about the exploration of the continent and were teased by visiting South Georgia next time, something I am certainly considering at some point!
We set anchor at the entrance of the Beagle Channel and were served our last dinner. I was truly enjoying each single one of them, but tonight was a really special farewell dinner including a great swan-shaped dessert. The crew finally introduced us to everyone working in the kitchen and they received a well earned applause. Especially our waiter was loved by everyone for his comical fill ins while he served us. He was just a great guy and could work as a comedian anywhere without speaking a single word, you can spot him on the picture below too.
We arrived back in Ushuaia in the morning and had one last breakfast together before waving each other good bye. Outside, everything was completely white in fresh snow, just like nature wanted us to stay in the same habitat a bit longer. I really loved the scenery and decided to follow it’s call for some small hikes before heading up north towards Chile and even more hiking (I cant wait to write about my trip to Torres del Paine!).
Luckily, I was in good company with my new Couchsurfing host as her friends were climbers as well and they would take me out to some local spots for some bouldering! I will truly miss Antarctica and can’t wait to get back some time, following Anna’s advice of venturing to South Georgia. Even though it is certainly one of those “once in a lifetime experiences”, it does not mean that you can’t go back and have it once more 🙂 Fare thee well, Antarctica!
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