Saturday, 25 February 2012

Day 1 of a 19 Day Grand Adventure

Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina
Photo © Annke Timmerberg

It was a beautiful fresh day when our plane landed on the tarmac at the small airport in Ushuaia Tierra del Fuego.  As we stepped out of the airport to the waiting motor coaches we could see beautiful snow-covered mountains.  It was obvious that it had snowed overnight in the higher elevations surrounding the southernmost city in the world.  February 24 and winter was already knocking on the door of Ushuaia and yet the 1st official day of autumn is still nearly a month away.
Photo © Annke Timmerberg
The snow seemed an appropriate beginning for a journey that is going to take us to Antarctica, South Georgia, The Falkland Islands and then Buenos Aires.  This is the last trip of the season to Antarctica for Fram.  Indeed it is the last trip in the southern hemisphere.  
For those of us that live and work onboard Fram we are excited.  It is an exciting way to end the season and it means that new destinations are just ahead! 
For the Expedition Team, South Georgia is always a place that gets us revved up.  The wildlife and the scenery blow the doors off just about anywhere else.
And then there are the Falkland Islands. Warmer, greener landscapes, different species of wildlife.  Flowers!  After a season of rocks and ice it is so refreshing to see flowers and green grass and to hear song birds once again.

Mandatory safety drill before leaving the pier.
Photo © Annke Timmerberg
It is 21:30 and our voyage is well underway.  We are comfortably ensconced in our cabins.  We all have spiffy new blue jackets.  We have opened our cruise accounts and registered our info with the ship’s doctor.  We took part in a mandatory safety drill before we left the pier.  We have had a delicious buffet dinner and then we all joined the Captain for a welcome cocktail on deck seven in the Observation Lounge.  We have had a busy afternoon since joining Fram but now we can relax.
We are sailing westward in the Beagle Channel on our way to the southern Atlantic Ocean and then Drake Passage.  The skies are overcast but the sea is very calm.  There is a light breeze blowing of ten knots.  We have ideal conditions.  There should be a gentle ocean swell to rock us to sleep.