Our first view of the Beagle Channel is from the air as we approach Ushuaia.
Le Boreal receives fuel and cargo at the Ushuaia dock
Our Expedition Leader, Larry Hobbs, greets us as we arrive at Le Boreal
Captain Patrick Marchesseau welcomes us at the top of the gangway
Le Boreal - December 09, 2011
Friday, 9 December 2011
Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina
Temperature: 55° F
Wind speed: 10 knots
Cloud cover: 30%
We converged on the small city of Ushuaia, all of us arriving from distant reaches of the planet for the same reason: to embark on an expedition to experience the magnificent Antarctic continent firsthand. As our flight approached Ushuaia, the majestic clouds parted at times to provide us with striking views of the southern Andes. The glaciers, glacial lakes and towering peaks had to be seen to be believed. When we arrived at "El Fin del Mundo" (as Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world, is locally known), we found a growing outpost with plenty of restaurants and shops catering to adventurous travelers. We could hardly imagine a more picturesque setting from which to embark on our journey to the White Continent. Under brilliant sunshine, we arrived at our ship and home for the next ten days, Le Boreal. We made our way up the gangway, where we were welcomed by the ship's staff and crew.
After settling into our staterooms and getting familiar with the ship a bit, we headed to La Bouselle to partake in some welcome champagne and snacks. Following a lifeboat drill, we joined our Cruise Director Jannie Cloete and our Expedition Leader Larry Hobbs in The Theater for an introduction to the ship and her staff. As each member of the Expedition Staff gave us a welcome and some background on themselves, it became clear that their passion for Antarctica and their desire to share it with us would make this a grand adventure indeed! Our day drew to a close over dinner and some live piano music in The Grand Salon. Many of us ventured outside onto the outer decks to take in the sunset and moonrise over the magnificent mountains along the Beagle Channel. Rafts of Magellanic penguins passed alongside the ship, while flocks of noisy terns crossed in front of us, gleaming white in the brilliant sun.
We breathed in our last breath of South America and of the green vegetation covering the mountainsides, all the while contemplating the experiences that lie ahead of us. We drifted off to sleep in our new home away from home, eagerly anticipating awakening to the vast Southern Ocean.