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Day 1 - February 9, 2009 - Ushuaia Embarkation

By Claudia Roedel

The sun was shining and there was little wind as the guests climbed up the gangway of the Prince Albert II in Ushuaia. At the top of the stairs, the smiling faces of the hotel staff welcomed guests, and directed them to the lounge where there was a nice buffet set up. In possession of their suite keys, some guests began to settle in, while others chose to explore the ship.

At 17:00, all guests were called to participate in the mandatory emergency drill. We all carried our orange life vests to The Theatre, and listened to the briefing given by Safety Officer Mika.

There was little a time to relax and explore the ship before the next presentation by Ignacio Rojas, our Expedition Leader, who gave a brief introduction to the ship, and to the expedition staff.

We have a very international and knowledgeable staff. Ignacio and myself are biologists from Brazil. Berenice is a naturalist from Argentina, Claudia Holgate a climatologist from South Africa. The United Kingdom is well represented: Chris Collins, our birder is from England and both David Munro, our Geographer, and Chris Edwards, Geologist, are from Scotland. Andrew Marshall and Richard Sidey, photographers, are from New Zealand. Peter Damish, historian, is American, while both Heidrum and Esther are from Germany. This is the team that will be responsible for enhancing the expedition experience by adding the cultural element to it. Throughout the voyage they will be sharing their extensive knowledge, giving lectures and guiding guests ashore.

After this briefing, we all got to the outer decks to watch the ship depart from Ushuaia. We cruised smoothly down the Beagle Channel with its rolling green hills on both sides as dinner was served.

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