Day 11 |
Dec 20, 2009

At Sea Through Beagle Channel And Ushuaia

By Marylou Blakeslee, Naturalist

Co-ordinates: 54 o 48.621’S 68o 17.923’W

Weather: Calm partly overcast conditions

Air Temperature: 4.5 C

Pressure: 983HPa

Wind: 70 km/h Northerly wind

We woke to sunshine in the Drake Passage. The seas had calmed and so too our stomachs. The winds were steady but light and the air was much warmer than we had all become accustomed to.

I stepped outside to watch the birds. From the stern of our ship, the Giant Petrels and Wandering Albatross glided in effortless flight. They soared high then low and every once in awhile, the albatross would be along side, just at our level. It was a photographer’s dream. The clicking of cameras could be heard above the gasps of wonder as this, the largest bird of flight in the world was right before our eyes.

Victoria heralded us on the exploits of the famous explorers, Scott and Amundsen. Throughout the rest of the day, we all discussed the merits and short fallings of each character. Our experiences with Antarctic weather made us more aware of the severe consequences of any wrong decision.

Closer and closer we sailed toward Ushuaia, and the Beagle Channel. Luciano presented a program about Patagonia. The wildlife and the trekking in remote places made me want to extend my travels to include more time in Patagonia.

Soon land was in sight and we entered the Beagle Channel. Kelp gulls now escorted our ship. We marveled at how long it had been since we saw green hills covered in vegetation. I discussed the glacial influence on the land, the U shaped valleys and the moraines.

At approximately 3pm the pilot boarded our ship and took us to port. Again the sun shone on us as we tied up at the dock.

I had another delicious dinner with friends that I had come to know and enjoy over this past week. The lure of Ushuaia beckoned but I headed to an early night’s sleep on a motionless ship.