March 10th – Shetland Islands, Robert Point

Ooooo and it begins….so much to share.

Importantly when on an expedition, you must understand that mother nature is a powerful beast and each day we adapt to what weather is being offered. Your itinerary is constantly changing to work with this, the captain of the ship and the expedition leader make important decisions each day to enhance your experience in the region. And for me…mother nature could not have been more kind.

Today was a good day! We sailed past our first iceberg’s and survived a smooth Drake Passage crossing (something everyone hopes for)! This is a deep waterway, (1,000 km) wide, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans between Cape Horn (the southernmost point of South America) and the South Shetland Islands, situated about (160 km) north of the Antarctic Peninsula. Renown for being some of the roughest waters around the world. BUT NOT TODAY!

This enabled us to gain valuable distance and arrive so early at the South Shetland Islands we could fortunately start our magical journey at 2pm today and explore ‘Robert Point’. It was time to put our ship training into real life and gear up for our 1st Zodiac cruise and excursion. Each lasting about 1.5 hours. The 199 guests being split into land and cruise excursions. This method keeps our protected continent pristine, only 100 humans can be on a landing at a time.

March 9th – out to sea

With a full day out to sea we had left the Beagle Channel and straight into the Drake passage South bound we go! Full swing into our adventure now and no turning back.We were super fortunate and experienced very calm seas. Magnificent body of water as you look out to the horizon of nothing! Today was filled with presentations educating us on the wildlife and science of Antarctica. Very interesting and experienced staff who have so much knowledge to share with us on board. Each evening we have a debrief on the days events and talk about the schedule for the following day.

Throughout the day we saw Southern Ocean whales and multiple types of sea birds.

In the afternoon we would perform a safety drill with our life jackets that have been allocated and later that evening Quark would fit us with our incredibly warm jackets and boots for our excursions. These are fantastic quality and a gift for you to take home. The process was seamless, fun and exciting!

March 8th – Quark Expeditions, and we set sail!

The excitement levels are high! An early morning charter flight to Ushuaia, you have the whole day to arrive and board the ship. (And do not forget to put on your motion sickness patch at this point, it needs to be 12 hours before sailing). This is the beginning of ‘Antarctic explorer – discovering the 7th Continent’:

Before boarding onto our new home, we were once again tested for our health and sent up the gang way to join our fellow sailors and settle into our cabins. Quark staff were very welcoming and guided us through the ship to make us feel at home. They put on an incredible afternoon tea ‘spread’ in the Polaris lounge for arrivals which we later learn is part of the daily schedule.

Tonight, we set sail at 18:30 and leave the port of Ushuaia, a beautiful port to leave as we watch the surrounding mountains disappear into the distance and start our adventure!

Tonight, we sit down to a wonderful dinner and are welcomed on to the ship with open arms.  Afterward we meet in the Nautilus lounge and are introduced to the Expedition Team and head crew. Presentations start and we learn about the schedule for each day. Today is about meeting the staff, other sailors and getting to know your surrounding.