Day 10 - February 20, 2011 - Ushuaia, Argentine Tierra del Fuego

By by Luke Kenny, Fisheries Scientist

Co-ordinates: S 54º 48’ W 68º 17’
Weather: Bright sunshine, warm
Air Temperature: 20º C 68º F
Sea Temperature: -
Pressure: 1015 hPa
Wind: Light breeze

This morning all the trials of the Drake Passage were quickly forgotten as we steamed into the Beagle Channel under glorious sunshine. The channel was calm and the surface reflecting the ship and all the scenery like a mirror. At 10:00 the Prince Albert II picked up the nautical pilot to guide us into Ushuaia. As we began this final leg of our voyage, I wandered up to The Theatre to join all the guests and the Expedition Team to watch the photo and film compilation created by our on board photographer, Kristine. Kristine never fails to capture all those special and intimate moments from the voyage, successfully portraying the Antarctic continent as we saw it, in all its splendour. At this time, one can’t help but reflect on how much we have seen and experienced in a relatively short time.

At 11:30 I attended the Captain’s Farewell cocktail party. Both Robin and Captain Alexander Golubev formally thanked all the guests and wished them a safe journey home and we toasted yet another successful and experience-rich voyage. Robin then auctioned off a nautical chart detailing our voyage and uniquely crafted with the artist flair of our on board Hairstylist, Marianne. The chart details the route, activities and weather conditions of the voyage, as well as motifs of the ship, whales sighted, penguins etc. The majority of the crew also sign the reverse of the chart, as the proceeds go to the Crew Welfare fund. This fund is used to reward the continued crew’s hard work, by financing shore side excursions and equipment for their mess on board the ship. The guests always respond generously, showing their appreciation for the hard-working staff of the ship.

In need of some fresh air, I joined some of the guests on Deck 6 forward, where we bathed in the warm sunshine and gazed to the mountains, which line the Beagle Channel. The hotel staff was making the most of the pleasant weather, opening up the Outdoor Grill on Deck 6 aft, and serving lunch to those guests who wished to enjoy the sunshine. By the time lunch wound down, we were coming alongside the wharf in Ushuaia.

Ashore, I strolled up San Martin Street to the old Prison, which is now a museum. Along the way I was joined by several like-minded guests, eager to see what the “city at the end of the world” had to offer. The museum not only interprets the lives of the prison inmates, but houses much information on the area’s maritime history, as well as some contemporary art exhibitions.

After a pleasant evening meal on board in The Restaurant, I joined some of the guests in the Panorama Lounge, including two from my home country of Ireland. They kindly offered to carry some mail home for me, so before retiring to bed I wrote two letters to send with them. No doubt my parents, whom I have not seen in over two years, will be pleasantly surprised.

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