Day 1 |
Jan 15, 2011

 Ushuaia, Argentina 

By by Marylou Blakeslee, General Naturalist


Co-ordinates: 54 48’ 36”S
Weather: sun and light drizzle
Air Temperature: 53.1F, 11.7C
Wind: 12km/h

Warm with hardly any wind is not my usual description of Ushuaia. Today, however, is another story. Glacially carved hills are bright with sunshine. Clouds move over the town creating shadows of darkness that crawl towards the sea.

The ship’s crew was busy all morning preparing the ship for this trip. A container of stores that had been delayed for many weeks arrived and all hands were needed to put away the items ordered so long ago. At last, the suitcases were placed in the suites and guests began to arrive. Weary from travelling, everyone was greeted with a warm washcloth and a glass of champagne.

I was occupied with helping to check everyone in, without much chance to really meet anyone until an announcement from Robin West, the Expedition Leader, changed all of that. It seemed that not every suite had received luggage and our port agent promised it would arrive on the 7pm flight. So to take advantage of the warm day and bucolic views, we were invited to a cocktail reception on the aft deck. Australians, wanting to see ice as blue as sapphires socialised with Canadians who had been dreaming of coming to Antarctica for over a decade. Our delayed departure turned out to be a wonderful opportunity for our new guests to get settled in and find their way around the ship.

After the safety briefing, I was introduced to all the adventurers that I would share the next 10 days with. My excitement grew as I saw all those expectant faces, and a few tired ones too.

Good weather is predicted for the Drake Passage for the next two days. That is good news for all of us. I enjoyed a wonderful dinner while the sunlight streamed through the dining room windows, giving us a dramatic view of this port town.

I’m heading to bed with wishes for Wandering Albatross flying behind our ship, which I hope to see when I awake.