Day Sixteen, In Antarctica – Crossing the Drake Passage

The worst part of our comfortable ride came between midnight and 3 am last night. Waves slapped the side of the boat while the ship rocked above the water in a clockwise, circular fashion which made for an interesting night’s sleep, if any. But at least our items stayed in our cabinets on deck 2. Cathy and Greg had a crazy night. The lock that held their closet door closed broke open, so the doors swung freely. All the DVDs in the owner’s suite flew out of the TV cabinet and across the sitting room. I think they managed to stay in their bed, but I’m certain daylight could be seen between their bodies and mattress. And to think we had an easy crossing! We were hearing of reports of ships getting the windows of the captains bridge knocked out and of passengers being sequestered to their cabins. We dodged all of this…awesome captain!

We made up for an adventurous night, with another another slow day. We opted for a few presentations and then watched a short film about rounding Cape Horn that was very funny. Later we got hear about some of the trips to the Arctic…I’m sold on seeing the polar bears…that will have to be an adventure in the next few years.

We made it to the Beagle Channel early, so we have throttled back as we don’t disembark until tomorrow. While we have been putzing around, the Quark Team put on a live auction to raise money for penguins. There were a variety of items, but the two big tickets items were the map with our itinerary which also included some pencil sketchings by one of the team members, Colin, and the ability to captain the ship with supervision of course. Our Arkansas friends, Greg and Cathy, won the bidding. At the hands of our friends, the Sea Spirit pulled a 360 in the Beagle Channel! Not even Cheli had done that!

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We earned several certificates on our trip…..including a certificate for crossing the circle, kayaking, climbing the hill and riding a snow slide on the Antarctic Continent, and the polar plunge. The polar plunge certificate was my favorite…”In Paradise Bay on a sunny, blue sky day, a puzzled penguin audience observed Beth of questionable sanity and near to nude plunge into 2 degree Celsius Antarctic waters.”

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I’m sad to be disembarking tomorrow! We made some great new friends from around the world and enjoyed some incredible experiences, including watching dolphins jump during the captain cocktail hour and a farewell night of dancing with the expedition team. Our team leader left us with an appropriate quote, “Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away.” Antarctica is breathtaking! The end…ETB

PS…Stay tuned for Colorado hikes, a weekend in Hilton Head, and a warm climate trip to Palau and some more weekly photo challenges.

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Day Fifteen, In Antarctica – Crossing the Drake Passage

The port holes were closed up last night, in preparation of the crossing. The port holes weren’t closed going south, thus the crew definitely geared up for rougher weather. Though the thirty foot sea predictions turned out to be closer to 12 to 18 foot seas, whew! In the briefing this evening, we found out the captain had to change his course 100 nautical miles and travel at full throttle for us to enjoy this “improved, more comfortable” ride. I hope the trend continues as even with the change, chairs tipped over, dishes fell off the table and people tossed up and down out of their bed (glad we are on deck 2). From what I understand, our passage has been very smooth compared to other larger ships in that passed through earlier, though not smooth enough to keep the hallways free of barf bags. There were several available on deck 2…not so many on the higher decks…I suppose they were being used! Continue reading “Day Fifteen, In Antarctica – Crossing the Drake Passage”

Day Five – On the Way to Antarctica – Crossing the Drake Passage

Despite not sleeping all night, somehow I got some shut eye in the morning as I didn’t wake up until 8:45…breakfast started at 8. Luckily, the meals are sort of come and go style. We ended up chatting with some of the staff for a bit and missed the sea bird briefing, but an activity is planned for almost every hour of the 577 nautical miles across the Drake Passage, so we didn’t feel like we were missing much! Besides the staff is awesome! Continue reading “Day Five – On the Way to Antarctica – Crossing the Drake Passage”