Antarctica trip 2009
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Antarctica 2009

The Trip overall

We started with snow in Edinburgh, going down to London with British Midland on Monday 19th the day before the flight south was due.  On Tuesday 20th, we flew first to Madrid, and then took another overnight Iberia flight to Buenos Aires.  Two nights in Buenos Aires meant that our flight to the southern tip of South America - Ushuaia - was early on Friday morning, January 23.  Before joining the MS Fram in the afternoon, we had time for a trip to the Tierra del Fuego National park.

The main part of the trip comprised the cruise and landings in Antarctica.

On our return from Antarctica we landed in Ushuaia early in the morning of Wednesday February 04, leaving time to visit Lake Escondido before flying back to Buenos Aires in time for dinner at Cabaña Las Lilas in the renovated Puerto Madero area.  On Thursday we had time to visit Evita's grave, before flying back to Madrid on another overnight flight.  From a rainy Madrid on Friday morning, we took a plane to a snowy Heathrow (to discover the disruption snow had caused in the UK earlier that week), and then via British Midland again back to Edinburgh.

Buenos Aires

The Tango has its roots in South America, and we had the chance to visit a Tango Show which was a well-run history of the Tango complete with food and drink.  Quite a challenge to photograph from a table at the back of the auditorium, and one of the first times I have used full manual mode in the field.

The name Evita will always be associated with Buenos Aires, and this is where she is buried, in the Duarte family grave, in the amazing Recoleta cemetery.  Visit here early in the morning before the tourists arrive, if you can.

Although Buenos Aires is well-known for its huge portions - particularly steak - along with the refined Argentinean wines now available, there is also refined food.

Ushuaia

The world's end - southernmost city, etc. etc.  But not only that - we took the chance to make excursions on both our southbound and northbound visits to Ushuaia.  While you are there, don't forget to try some King Crab - huge portions and excellent quality.  We ate at El Vieljo Marina on the sea-front, but there were many other restaurants such as the crab-window shown left.

The "end of the world" sign was photographed in the early morning sunshine when we returned to Ushuaia.

Ushuaia - the town

One of the classic Ushuaia shots!

It's built right next to the southern Andes.

Whilst some of the buildings are quite colourful, you could mistake the building on the right for something in Scandinavia.

How exciting to glimpse our ship at the end of the street!

Ushuaia - Tierra del Fuego National park

There were three stops on this coach trip, and loos available at all three stops!  Most helpful to those who needed them!

The most southerly Post Office in the world - except for Port Lockroy, of course!

Volcanic-looking, isn't it?  Volcanoes in the Andes are certainly active from time to time.

The helpful guide went to great lengths to ensure that we knew which parts were Argentina and which parts were Chile.  I suspect the distant mountains were Chile, but I can't remember now!

Some of the trees suffered from some sort of parasitic growth - the light-green stuff here.  It didn't seem to have harmed the trees, though.

Ushuaia - Lake Escondido - the Hidden Lake

There is much spectacular scenery from the southern parts of the Andes during the drive to Lake Escondido..

..and the keener ones can take a walk down to the lake itself (DJT took the coach!).

The hidden lake itself ..

.. and this shows just some of the flowers found there.

Drake's Passage

Think Cape Horn, stormy seas, rough crossings, empty dining rooms.  Well, that's what I had expected, but with incredible luck it was calm both ways!

Southbound there was just a slight swell, and the ship listed very gently from side-to-side.  Carrying soup to the table from the excellent buffet was the most challenging aspect of this part of the journey!

Northbound we were accompanied by hundreds of birds, requiring many attempts by this unskilled bird-photographer to get one decent image.  Thanks goodness for digital photography!  We discovered the delights of the various auto-focus options during this sunny afternoon.

The landings in Antarctica

Our eleven landings and polarcirkel boat cruises deserve a page of their own!  I've provided the logs from my hand-held GPS (a Garmin GPSmap 60CSx), in Google Earth format.

Date Times (UTC) Place View on Google Earth
2009 Jan 25 2110 2223 Half Moon Island Half Moon Island
2009 Jan 26 1407 - 1557 Almirante Brown Almirante Brown
2009 Jan 26 2016 2133 Cuverville Island Cuverville Island
2009 Jan 27 1857 1934 cruise Detaille Island Detaille Island
2009 Jan 28 2008 - 2050 cruise Dion Islands Dion Islands
2009 Jan 29 1141 1313 Stonington Island Stonington Island
2009 Jan 29 2227 2346 Horseshoe Island Horseshoe Island
2009 Jan 30 2117 - 2227 Fish Island Fish Island
2009 Jan 31 1144 1509 Petermann Island Petermann Island
2009 Jan 31 2051 2220 Jougla Point and Port Lockroy Jougla Point and Port Lockroy
2009 Feb 01 1119 1602 (1) Neko Harbour (not available)

(1) Total "stationary" time, shore excursion not logged.

 

 
Copyright © David Taylor, Edinburgh   Last modified: 2012 Apr 27 at 16:53