Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did.
So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. --- Mark Twain

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Antarctica, Day 8

The most important event of the day was the landing on the Continent of Antarctica, as during the previous few days we had visited islands belonging to Antarctica and had been taken by the rubber boats up to a few hundred meters from the continent, but no stepping on the continent so far.


The landing place was Neko Harbour – just a piece of suitable coast for disembarkation between the glaciers. The festive moment could be illustrated by "one small step for the continent and a huge one for the stepper” or something analogous.


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Antarctica, Day 7

Usually a day begins with breakfast, but this time after the alarm only one glance out of the window was enough and I was up on deck.

Then ran down again, quickly put my jacket and hat on and right back to the deck again. As the ship was sailing slowly through the Lemaire Channel
In some places the Lemaire Channel is only 800 meters wide. The water is smooth like a mirror and there are slightly snowy cliffs on both sides

This is one of those times - when you think - that such a place does not exist in reality, that it is not possible. But it is.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Antarctica, Day 6

Cuverville Island.

The plan included two landings. The sky was cloudy, there were slight waves at sea and this time it was understandable by the smell from far already that a penguin colony was nearby.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Antarctica, Day 5

Last night it was said that if the weather permits there will be an unplanned early boat-ride in the morning at 7.00 and therefore it will be necessary to get up at 6 o`clock. And it was emphasized that everything depended on the weather and the wind speed and wave height.

Only there was no morning alarm and the next landing was at 9 am. The sky was cloudy and the water came from every possible direction.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Antarctica, Day 4

"Believe in your dreams and they may come true, believe in yourself and they will came true"

There were two planned landings of the schedule of February 24, namely - Half Moon Island and Deception Island.

Sea_Spirit_Day 24.02_IMG_0504
The sun rises early at 5:52 and the day is long, it is still summer. The breakfast is at 6.30 am and then back to the cabin, to get dressed and at 8 o'clock the next landing on the Half Moon island is waiting ahead.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Antarctica, Day 3

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans” – John Lennon.

The daily schedule of February 23. After breakfast the first lecture is about the British polar explorer Ernst Shackleton. Link

At 11.00 am the mandatory briefing about disembarkation took place. Some slides.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Antarctica, Day 2

"Beware of all Enterprises that require new clothes". - Henry David Thoreau.

I hope that this statement is not proper during the following days. Last night after the lifeboat alarm we were given a little time to take the bigger and basic life - jackets back to the cabin. Every jacket has the cabin number and is in use only in case of an emergency. In addition there are another smaller life - jackets in the cabins, they are not personal and are in everyday use while out at sea in the rubber boats "Zodiac".

Then we were handed over the necessary clothing and footwear of visiting Antarctica. The wardrobe consists of a new yellow warm hooded winter jacket and rubber boots. One was allowed to keep the jacket later as a memory, but boots had to be returned. As to the rest of the things– gloves, hat and waterproof pants – everybody was supposed to have them themselves. Because landing will take place just directly at the shore, not in port and inevitably one must walk the last few meters in water. In fact it was possible to buy or rent all the necessary equipment in Ushuaia. I had read commendations from several blogs - to take with enough memory cards to fit all the pictures and videos, but here from the shop on board it was possible to buy either memory cards or various warm and waterproof clothing.

Fortunately I have enough warm clothes with as in March 2010 by the same bus crossing the Alps gave me valuable experience what should be taken with and what to wear.


The agenda of February 22. We were told that the daily schedule will be followed - but first of all the weather conditions dictate where to go ashore and where not. It is very sensible because nature has to be considered first. And not following the plans blindly. Flexibility is important.

Overall there are planned two landings a day - one in the morning and another in the afternoon. The morning seminar was about the birds we will see during these days and the second one gave useful hints on photography themes.


The morning was beautiful, sunny and no big waves. This kind of Drake Strait also exists. It was in the morning. Later on the sky turned cloudier and it began to rain. And of course the wind turned heavier and the waves were bigger and bigger and bigger. In another briefing it was mentioned that there was a doctor on board and if necessary – one could get help. About the cabin. I was in a double cabin that was located just at the nose of the ship. And this place meant real shaking and rocking. The first night was ok in every way but during the next night it it was essential to hold on to the bed firmly otherwise one could fall out. Seat belts would have been helpful. Still - Drake Strait.

Internet. According to my knowledge the first post came up, I did not see any error message and Windows Live Writer did what it should do. I could even add one picture and by now 2 mega has gone from the limit of 10 mega internet.

 A few words about the colourful world of power plugs and sockets. In the cabins there are mostly 110V and U.S. standard sockets and only my Nikon camera battery charger belonged to this category. Good and positive news was that in the cabin there was a 220V socket and the bad news again was that it didn`t provide enough power for laptop. I had considered that all the rest of the stuff (the Sony camera and phone) could be be loaded over the USB flap, but now it meant to spread out all the wires and other things in some public room. And hope that nobody will stumble over them.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Antarctica, Day 1

At first an appropriate quote: “To get to know a country, you must have direct contact with the earth. It’s futile to gaze at the world through a car window” – Albert Einstein.

Antarctica – discovered by Bellingshousen in 1820 lies about 1,000 kilometres from Ushuaia, in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. While walking around in town a lot of ads catch the eye announcing that” this is the very best place to visit Antarctica”. Actually that`s true as Antarctica is now open for tourism and the vast majority of cruises start from here - Ushuaia, some data says that even 90%. Basically it is also possible to visit Antarctica from other continents. Beginning the voyage from South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, but from these places the journey takes 4-6 days more – considering the distance of the port of departure.

A typical shorter boat trip from Ushuaia to Antarctica lasts 8-12 days, the first two days for getting there and the last two days for returning. During the cruise the Drake Strait will be crossed. There is no sense to describe the waves to the people who are familiar to the marine conditions there - but for others – the strait is stormy, there have been even waves that are several tens of meters high (fortunately – not always).

Some more info – the visit of Antarctica is strictly regulated and from tourist vessels only up to 100 visitors are permitted at a time on land. And that is quite important criterion for choosing the ship. From smaller ships (up to 100 passengers) almost all the passengers can get ashore. As to bigger cruise ships with thousands of tourists – there are quite different rules for them. And usually the passengers are not allowed to go ashore. But it is also clear that the ship accommodating 100 passengers sways considerably more compared to vessels that accommodate 300 or 500 passengers .

 Anyway here I am now trying to write in chronological order my voyage impressions and other useful information as well. Though it usually happens that more and more new things come up and it is difficult to follow the schedule, but here is the story:

The Antarctic journey began at 15.30 with meeting in the parking lot next to the port of Ushuaia. The flag of "Quark Expeditions” greeted us and while registering everybody had to present two important things, first the passport and secondly the air ticket booking of departure - so that in case the ship will return later than expected - the Airline could be informed. Then – the usual -Welcome on board, the first introductory meeting, the presentation of the employees of the ship and after that the obligatory training alarm during which the lifejacket had to be put on, then we had to come to the appointed place and after a short time line up next to the rescue boats . No need to climb inside the - just standing there was enough.


The ship left the port of Ushuaia at 18p.m. and moved along the Beagle Channel towards the Atlantic Ocean.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Isla Martillo

Day 730,
82 710 km since the beginning of the journey,

The title of this post could easily be “The penguin - special”.

85 kilometres from Ushuaia on the island of Isla Martillo there is the greatest penguin colony in Patagonia, and in addition there are supposed to be a few dozen pairs of bigger Gentoo penguins. Only if one has a wish to pay them a visit- it is not so that you can go there any time you like. As it was at the Valdez Peninsula. In Ushuaia a number of half-day and also longer cruises take the visitors along the Beagle Channel and to the island of Isla Martillo, so that the penguins could be watched from the ship, but only The PiraTourTravel will take the tourists to the island.

The Duration of the visit and the number of the guests are limited as well. During a day 80 visitors are allowed – that means 4 groups, each consisting of 20 participants, and the time limit is one hour. What this means in short is - that the trip must be booked in advance for the next day, otherwise all the tickets are sold out already.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Ushuaia Carnaval

Day 725


Like in many Latin American cities there is also Carnival in Ushuaia. This event here took place yesterday, February 11 and for that reason the coastal street was closed to the traffic in the length of one kilometre

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

End of the road

Day 724.
Ushuaia - Estancia Moat - Ushuaia.

 In case someone wishes - It is possible to drive from Ushuaia even further on southwards . Although not directly along the coast - as the coastal road soon comes to an end at the parking lot , but at first it is necessary to drive back along Ruta 3 Road for 40 miles, and then the road - named J (Ruta 33) built by the army - will take one back to the coast .
The Beagle Channel – one of the three straits between the Atlantic and the Pacific - is on the right. Isla Navarno – that belongs to Chile - is further on.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Ushuaia 1

Day 721,
82 512 km since the beginning of the journey,

Ushuaia - located in Tierra del Fuegio - has been named the world's most southern city, but actually two other cities in Chile – Punta Arenas and Puerto Williams – use the same attractive name - "The Southernmost in the World". For clarification the map:

On the map the north is up – as we are used to –and if we take a quick look at the map then – Punta Arenas is in the north of Ushuaia and Puerto Williams can be found in the south of Ushuaia.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Patagonia 3, Cueva de las Manos and Perito Moreno Glacier

Further to southwards

The Rio Punturas Canyon and the UNESCO world heritage site "Cueva de las Manos" (Cave of the Hands) are about 160 kilometres from the small town of Perito Moreno. This interesting place was rediscovered only in 1881.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Patagonia 2, Ruta 40

In the beginning - just in case a warning - now follows technical talk that belongs to the category of "How the car is able to withstand and move." And this time no pictures of penguins or any other animals or birds.

The legendary 5000 kilometre of Ruta 40 is Argentina's longest road, reaching from the Bolivian border down to the town of Rio Gallegos in Patagonia (and there are plans to build the road up to the Cabo Virgenes)


The distance between Rio Mayo and Perito Morenois is more than a hundred kilometres and the journey will take several hours. Everything rumbles and shakes, the road is absolutely uneven. The speed of 20 km per hour should be reasonable as the increasing of the speed turns the rumbling and vibration even stronger and nothing destroys a car faster than speeding on such roads.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Patagonia 1

Trelew is a small town in Patagonia, founded in 1886, the number of inhabitants is 100 000

The restored railway station building.