Thursday 8 November 2012
Highlights: Setting sail for Antarctica
Boarding of the MS Expedition commenced at 4 pm giving me most of the day to catch up on e-mails, upload photos and explore the city. Checkout was at 10 am giving 6 hours without a room to rest and charge devices.
Today was overcast but it only drizzled making it not so bad to walk around. First objective was buying postcards for Harry, Darby and Erin. I was mostly looking for Patagonia area ones but they sold mostly Antarctica postcards which isn’t surprising since most expedition leave from the southern most city in the world.
This city also has a casino but I decided not to lose any money by visiting. I did buy so snacks working on the basis they would be more expensive on the ship.
At 3.30 pm Kurt, Ben and myself walked the 60 metres from the Hotel Albatros to the bus, although we didn’t find it straight away. The bus, or in our case van, drives you about 300 metres to the terminal. You can’t walk to the ship due to security issues. In the van we were given our cabin-cruise passes and it turns out Ben was upgraded to a twin from a triple and we were sharing again. Since he is such a good guy this works out very well for me. Kurt also got upgraded from a quad to a triple.
You have to use your identity card to enter and leave the boat so they know we’re you are. My bag was outside my cabin which was a lot better than I expected. We then had a compulsory evacuation briefing which at the end involved a practise evacuation. We had to return to our room grab our lifejacket, return to our designated area and then proceed to our life raft / boat. It was extremely cold waiting outside which surprised me since I thought I had gotten the hang of the cold weather.
Before dinner I familiarised myself with the ship and watched us depart from the top deck. Dinner offered a few selections, I selected the fish option while sharing a beer ($4 USD) with Ben. You quote your cabin number when purchasing something not included like soft drinks, beer and wine.
Everyone was very excited to be on this expedition. There is no chance I’ll remember the names of most of the 132 passengers, I might have a better chance with some of the 64 staff and crew, especially the ones giving directions.
Our first passage is down the Beagle Channel during which time we are protected from the worst of the elements. It promises to be an interesting night sleeping in rough seas once we get out into the Drake Passage and have no protection from the strong winds and sea.