Friday, December 30, 2011

Antarctica Day 10: Into The Calm Waters Of Terra Del Fuego

I am the albatross that waits for you at the end of the earth.
I am the forgotten soul of the dead sailors who crossed Cape Horn from all the seas of the world.
But they did not die in the furious waves.
Today they fly in my wings to eternity in the last trough of the Antarctic wind.
--- Poem “At Cape Horn”

We are paying for our Christmas Day experience and easy trip across the Drake Lake. As with all things Mother Nature sure has a way of balancing it out. It would be over 40 hours in the Drake Passage and everyone, myself included had had enough. Like these Crabeater seals our heads were just above the waterline but we were breathing. We were not defeated but the Drake Passage and Mother Nature certainly let us know who was in charge. The good news and I mean the very good news was we would be arriving at Terra Del Fuego and the South American mainland by 11 am. It would bring calm seas and calm stomacks. As fast as it started seas settled down just as quick. It was time for bed (a recurring theme these last couple days) I went right back to bed and slept soundly for 3 hours. The return from the Drake Passage started off as an fun way to spend time on the bridge with the crew learning about the ship, the ocean, weather and wind patterns and a little history lesson on the Drake Passage. It ended with the relief that it was over but being happy to have experienced it.

With calm seas and full bellies we sat through a final presentation by the staff. They put together a great DVD of our trip including lectures, itineraries and a photo essay. It was a very nice departing gesture and tied the entire trip together. Our final dinner was real good. Mussel and shrimp salad, soup and beef tenderloin and a little red wine to wash it down. There was a pretty big party but I stayed sober and went to bed earlly. Wake up call was 6 30 am and I wanted to part of a large hangover while trying to get off this ship in the morning. I needed to catch up  and connect with people that are important to me.

With the first daylight, we moored at the harbour in Ushuaia. After our last breakfast on board it was time to say goodbye to ship´s crew, staff, and the USHUAIA, which had been our home and shelter for the last nine days. With big smiles we walked down the gangway with a total navigated distance of 1575 nautical miles now in our memories.

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