Voyage Journal 7929 Day 1

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Day 1 - December 10, 2009 - Ushuaia & Beagle Channel

By Chris Srigley, General Naturalist

Co-ordinates: 54°48’S 068°17.4’W
Weather: Moderate temperatures, mostly sunny and calm in the morning, partly cloudy and some wind in the afternoon and evening

I woke up this morning to nearly clear skies and very pleasant temperatures alongside the pier in Ushuaia, Argentina. After grabbing a quick breakfast, myself and the rest of the Expedition Team gathered outside the ship, to say our final farewell to the guests who were leaving us this morning. It’s always hard to say goodbye to new friends that have just spent the last 10 days with you, sharing remarkable experiences on an Antarctic journey! They were soon on their way, and we started preparing for our next group of guests that would embark around 3:00 pm.

The whole ship is very busy reorganizing all of the areas on the ship to prepare for the new guests’ arrival. Cleaning and changing linen in the suites, cleaning windows, refueling and taking on freshwater, taking on food and other supplies, etc. etc..

The first bus arrived right around 3:00 and the guests were greeted by our Expedition Leader, Conrad, as they walked to the gangway and boarded the Prince Albert II. Once onboard they were quickly processed through the few mandatory stages, passport collection, suite key card distribution and a quick security photo for our ship’s system.

Once that was all done, they found their way up to the Panorama Lounge for some snacks and refreshments, before finding their way to staterooms. Myself and several other staff members welcomed guests and spent some time conversing with and greeting our new travelers.

Soon it was time to depart, and I was out on deck talking with and meeting new friends. We were heading off on our voyage of discovery to the Antarctic Peninsula!

There was other business to take care of before dinner, so our time on deck was limited. First, was our mandatory safety drill, which is very important to get done as soon as possible after leaving port. And right before dinner, some of the department heads were introduced, along with the entire Expedition Team.

As we sailed east along the Beagle Channel, the wind picked up some, but the scenery was spectacular as always. The views from The Restaurant were a pleasant backdrop for our guests’ first dinner onboard.

Somewhere around the end of dinner, the pilot boat came out to meet the Prince Albert II, and we were soon on our own, headed for the Drake Passage, and our first full day at sea. I think everyone went to bed tonight with a sense of anticipation about lies ahead for us all tomorrow, and in the coming days!

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