Day 11 |
Feb 08, 2010

Day At Sea, Drake Passage, Beagle Channel, Arrival To Ushuaia, Argentina

By Luciano “Luqui” Bernacchi, Birder, Glacier Expert and General Naturalist

Weather: Morning severe winds, partially cloudy, getting better entering Beagle Channel

Our last day at sea on yet another crossing of the feared Drake Passage. Yesterday had been a rough day, with big swells and strong winds. When I woke up, the seas were still rough with smaller swell, but severe winds. I went to the Bridge to chat with the officer and found out that the Prince Albert II was very close to the first island on the mouth of the Beagle Channel.

As usual, we had Albatrosses tailing the ship – the ever-present Giant Petrels and other interesting seabirds like Prions, Sooty and Greater Shearwater, and a couple more species.

At 10 o’clock Kara Weller from the Expedition Team offered her last lecture entitled “A Comparison of the Polar Regions”, commenting on the similarities and differences between the Antarctic and the Arctic. The Theatre was quite full, and we all enjoyed the interesting lecture full of facts about both Polar regions.

Soon after the lecture, all guests were gathered once again at The Theatre, this time to travel again to Antarctica as we all saw the DVD put together by the onboard photographer, Kristine. We enjoyed over an hour of beautiful images and footage of the past 10 days arranged in chronological order. We were presented with excellent images of icebergs, wildlife, guests and various moments during our time in Antarctica.

After the movie, the Expedition Team was invited to the stand on the stage to receive the thanks and applause of all guests. It is always very nice to feel we have helped to ensure our guests had a great time and a memorable voyage to Antarctica.

The transit through the Beagle Channel was very pleasant, and we sailed by South American terns, nesting blue eyed cormorants, and a Magellanic penguin rookery. At 1600 hours, we picked up the Pilot than would take the ship to our final destination, Ushuaia.

The last lecture of our program was given by Gennadi Milinevsky. He introduced the listeners to Antarctic science and life in a research station. Focusing on his many years experience at the Ukrainian station Vernasky, and his research about weather, atmosphere and climate change.

At half past six, Captain Alexander Golubev offered his Farewell Cocktail Party, and everyone was there, wearing their best. It was a good opportunity to chat with guests, and we all agreed on what an unforgettable trip we have all had. Most of the hard-working crew on board the Prince Albert II came on stage to receive the thanks of all travelers.

Dinner came soon, and as usual I succumbed to our chef’s excellent cuisine.

We arrived at Ushuaia at about half past 8, and after the usual formalities, the Prince Albert II was cleared. So shortly after dinner, most guests went for a walk around Ushuaia, the southern-most city in the world.

I was happy that another fabulous Antarctic voyage had ended so well, having had a great time working on board a fantastic ship, and sharing the experience with excellent people.