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12/10/2007

Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego

From the many and varied nationalities recorded on the passenger list, it is obvious we have gathered from around the globe to board Explorer II at Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. The good weather allowed grandstand views from the decks of mountains still covered with a sprinkling of snow.

As soon as we boarded, we were made welcome and shown to our cabins where we could refresh ourselves after a long and eventful day, followed by afternoon tea and a celebratory glass of champagne. But before moorings were cast off, we had to gather for the all-important lifeboat drill which is mandatory on joining a ship. This was directed by the Captain, John Moulds, an officer with great experience of Antarctic cruising. More informally, we later gathered in the main lounge where Jannie Cloete, the cruise director, outlined the facilities on board. Then expedition leader Larry Hobbs introduced the Expedition Staff of naturalists and lecturers who will be guiding, educating and entertaining us.

Finally, and shortly after Explorer II slipped her moorings and headed down the Beagle Channel, we enjoyed our first dinner as the forested shoreline of Tierra del Fuego glided past. The calm waters of the Beagle Channel enable us to unpack, explore the ship and settle in before facing the open seas of the Drake Passage.


   

Cruise Director Jannie Cloete welcomed us aboard the Explorer II.

Chief Housekeeper Ann Bennet

We were welcomed with champagne and special treats this afternoon.

The last look at land with trees under a beautiful sunset as we set sail for the "great white south."


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