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Antarctica: The Expedition, Beagle Channel, Drake Passage, Halfmoon Island, Rocas Hydrurga with Cuverville Island, Palmer Station with Lemaire Channel & Petermann Island, Brown Station with Neko Harbor, Brown Bluff with Esperanza Station, Whalers Bay with Yankee Harbor, Drake Passage

Antarctica: Deep down under
by Prakash Bang, Editor in Chief

My 10-day Antarctica Expedition would certainly remain amongst my best travel experience. For company were a few other enthusiastic travellers and crew aboard our ship Ushuaia. Time and again we were entertained by the antics of penguins, seals, whales and sea birds.

Humpback Whales, Somewhere in Antarctica Of the 10 days of cruising, about 4 days would be gone in crossing the Drake Passage. That would give us 6 days of cruising the Antarctic waters and landings on various islands and the Antarctic Peninsula. Weather was rather kind. We crossed the Drake Passage in about 33 hours whilst going and in about 36 hours on our return leg.

Ushuaia, Argentina is a small town on the southernmost tip of the world and is the place from where ships leave for the Antarctic (refer to my post on Ushuaia). Generally speaking it would cost upwards of $4000 per head to undertake a 10-day cruise. The cost would be substantially higher for superior cabins & suites. The cost would dramatically come down at the last moment for berths going vacant. But then that's taking a chance. Going all the way without confirmed seats is not a very good idea.

Prakash Bang, Somewhere in Antarctica I was absolutely delighted by the crew and staff on The Ushuaia. The ship had a capacity to hold only 84 passengers and 38 crew & staff. The small size ensured that we got all the attention that we deserved. Special mention must be made to the team in charge of the expedition. Agustin, the team leader, was extremely learned and carried a fantastic sense of humour - which was of essence - a must if one has to go through the daily recap of the day's event and what's to happen the next day. I take this opportunity to thank Ute Hohn-Bowen, my friend and Director of Antarpply Expeditions for having upgraded my group to superior cabins. The gesture ensured that my cabin window doubled up as a picture frame! Ute has a great team working for her and I wish her well.

While I kept my own notes of the daily happenings, I have taken the liberty to refer to the logs that were much better recorded by the expedition team. Pictures, of course, were shot by me.

Expedition Log
January 09th to January 19th, 2010
South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula

Master of the vessel:
Jorge Aldegheri

Expedition leader:
Agustín Ullmann

Hotel Manager:
Jaime Llanquinao

Jimena Kloster

Lecturers / Guides:
Daniel Martinioni
Marcos Gazzolo
Mingo Moreno
Mariano Albano

Dr. Konstantin Petrosyan

The itinerary:
January 09: Ushuaia, Beagle Channel, Argentina.
January 10: Drake Passage.
January 11: Drake Passage. Half Moon Island.
January 12: Hydrurga Rocks. Cuverville Island.
January 13: Palmer Station. Lemaire Channel. Pleneau Island. Petermann Island.
January 14: Brown Station - Skontorp Cove, Paradise Bay. Neko Harbor, Anvord Bay.
January 15: Brown Bluff. Esperanza Station.
January 16: Whalers Bay, Deception Island. Yankee Harbor, Greenwich Island.
January 17: Drake Passage.
January 18: Drake Passage. Mouth of the Beagle Channel.
January 19: Ushuaia, Argentina.

Total navigated distance:
1800 nautical miles.

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