Drake Passage, Quark Sea Adventurer style…

This is not bad for the Drake Passage they said.
This is very mild they said.
You’ve had it easy, surely you want some rough seas before arriving back they said.
This is only 5-7 metre swells, only occasionally hitting 10 metres they said.
The glasses crashing is normal they said.
The tray load of dishes bursting out the kitchen door is nothing to worry about they said.
The red wine bottles falling in laps is part of the fun they said.
Yes, it can get much worse they said.
You’re lucky they said.
Come on, this is nothing they said.

Now, I don’t know about you… but getting thrown around in the sea in a ship, albeit robust, is not really my idea of fun and certainly not something I go out of my way to experience.

But experience we did as the only way to return to the rest of the world is via the Drake Passage and we were on it, rocking and rolling, like we were in an enormous gyrating aquatic washing machine.

That said, is was kind of fun! Once the motion sickness was contained, you could almost chuckle on the big rolls, especially as the dining room was trying to function normally, with the push and pull being counterproductive.

Would I miss this if I never had to do it again? NO
Would I do it again if it meant returning to Antarctica with Quark Expeditions? YES, IN A HEARTBEAT!


Last Day on the Antarctic continent; a sad farewell…

Saying goodbye was sad indeed. Daughter and I both burst into tears, knowing that this dream had not only been realised but may not ever be repeated. This had us sobbing as the sun set and a few days later when disembarking from the ship and saying goodbye to our new pals.

Who knew saying goodbye to ice and cold could make you quite so emotional!

Prior to the last hooray, Neko Harbour and Cuverville Island, through the Gerlache Strait was an impressive way to finish off.

“Neko Harbour” is an inlet on the Antarctic Peninsula on Andvord Bay, situated on the west coast of Graham Land. [Wikipedia]

“Cuverville Island” or Île de Cavelier de Cuverville is a dark, rocky island lying in Errera Channel between Arctowski Peninsula and the northern part of Rongé Island, off the west coast of Graham Land in Antarctica. [Wikipedia]

A famous body of water in the Antarctic Peninsula, “The Gerlache Strait” is a must see due to its spiky blue icebergs, humpback whale spotting, snow and mountains. It can be found between Anvers Island and the Danco Coast and is usually visited en route to Neko Harbour or the Lemaire Channel where ships cross the Antarctic Circle at 66 degrees.


Sending Post from Antarctica…

And Port Lockroy is the place to do it. Even though it may take up to 90 days, it will eventually be delivered.

The reason it takes so long is because it goes from Port Lockroy to:

  1. Port Stanley, Falkland Islands by boat (depending when the next one goes)
  2. UK by plane
  3. then disbursed out across the world

“Port Lockroy” is not only an important natural and historic environment, but also a destination for many from around the world who want to come and learn more about the Antarctic. One role is to consistently monitor through a long-term environmental study, now running for more than a decade, the impact of visitors to the site; and, in conjunction with that study, regulate the number of visitors and ships visiting the area, as well as, in accordance with the Antarctic Treaty, imposing strict site guidelines to ensure the environment is properly cared for.

The gift shop and museum acts as a fund raiser, together with offering the postal services.

And as well as studying the local wildlife…


65degrees 17’S – as far South as we could go…

Sadly… couldn’t make it to the Antarctic Circle. Mother Nature had decided it was not our time.

In 1901, Ernest Shackleton made it to 88degrees S; 97 miles from the South Pole.

When Captain James Cook tried, he made it to 67degrees 15’S in 1772 and 67degrees 31’S in 1773 and the furthest in 1774 at 71degrees 10’S.

Roald Amundsen was the First Man to Reach South Pole. On Dec. 14, 1911, he and four fellow Norwegian explorers became the first men to reach the South Pole, beating the ill-fated team of British Capt. Robert F. Scott by just over a month.

As you can see though, we were not going anywhere…