Co-ordinates: 54º48’35”S, 068º17’58”W
Weather: sunny in the morning with rain showers in the afternoon
Air Temperature: 7ºC
Although it was sunny in the morning, the wind picked up and blew about 25 knots by the time our guests arrived by bus at about 3pm. Embarkation went smoothly and in less than an hour, all guests were onboard, checked in and settling into their suites.
As per international maritime regulations, we conducted our mandatory Safety & Life Boat Drill before setting sail from Ushuaia. During this drill we actually simulate leaving the Muster Station and heading up to Deck 7 to the Life Boat stations. Thankfully we only spent a short time on deck because the cold wind was howling and a few hats nearly blew overboard!
At 6pm the deck crew released the ropes holding us to the dock, and within a few minutes we were heading down the Beagle Channel on our way to Antarctica!!! Many of the guests, and all of the Expedition Team, gathered on the outside deck for sail-away drinks and canapés. It is always so nice to mingle with the new guests and catch their excitement as we head off on an adventure of a lifetime!
The final event of the day was the Staff Introductions at 6:45pm. During this time Robin West, our Expedition Leader, introduces the Heads of Department. This is followed by a personal introduction by each of the Expedition Team members. We are a highly diverse and extremely experienced team, with many decades of combined experience in the Antarctic.
The team consists of:
Robin West – Expedition Leader (South Africa)
Jarda Versloot – Assistant Expedition Leader (Holland)
Daniil Elterman – Expedition Staff Assistant (Latvia)
Juan Carlos Restrepo – Geologist & Glaciologist (Colombia)
Will Wagstaff – Ornithologist (England)
Hans Peter Reinthaller – Botanist (Austria)
Chris Srigley – General Naturalist (Canada)
Richard Sidey – photographer (New Zealand)
Peter Damisch – Historian (USA)
Stefan Kredel – Geologist (Germany)
and me – Robin Aiello – Marine Biologist (Australia)
So off we go – down the Beagle Channel to the Drake Passage. We should arrive at the Antarctic Peninsula in two days time!!! I cannot wait!!!