Day 1 |
Dec 19, 2010

Ushuaia, Argentina 

By by Franz Gingele, Geologist

Co-ordinates: S 54º 48.35’, W 68º 17.57’

Weather: Cloudy and rainshowers
Air Temperature: 9ºC
Pressure: 979 hPa
Wind: calm

After a rather calm and benign Drake Passage, we are docked in Ushuaia, getting ready to start another voyage to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Antarctica. It is high season for Antarctic cruising and the pier in Ushuaia is busy with cruise vessels of all types and sizes.

Although it is Sunday most shops open after 10 a.m. and we are busy buying Christmas decorations for our celebrations onboard. (There are not a lot of shops on the way to South Georgia where we plan to spend Christmas.)

In the afternoon the suites are ready and at 3 p.m. our new guests arrive after a charter flight from Buenos Aires and a tour of the surroundings of Ushuaia. On board they are presented with their cruise cards, a quick picture is taken and then they are escorted to their suites by our butlers.

The Prince Albert II casts off the lines at 5 p.m. and while we sail west in the Beagle Channel the quaint little town of Ushuaia slowly drops behind us. Luckily it stopped raining and with hardly any wind we can enjoy the beautiful scenery of Tierra del Fuego from the back deck, sipping on a glass of champagne.

The mandatory lifeboat drill and safety briefing takes place in the Theatre and just before dinner Conrad, our Expedition Leader, introduces his staff. Dinner is well attended since many of our guests take the opportunity to have a decent meal while we are still in the calm waters of the Beagle Channel. You never know what kind of weather the next day will bring and how the body will react to the motion of the sea and the ship. Even before we leave the Beagle most of our guests have retired to their suites after a long trip from various regions of the world including the U.K., the U.S., Australia, Germany, Russia, Hong Kong and China. We are on our way to an exciting expedition to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula.