Our Ford Transit didn't come with a GPS. We do need one, however, and on our initial travels, we used a smart phone as our GPS. Our iPhone works reasonably well, but the display is small, and the ambient road noise sometimes overwhelms the voice commands when we're at highway speeds. Since we plan to be traveling a lot over the next few years, we wanted something better. Here's how we chose it.Read More
We spent March 2006 in Tierra del Fuego at the bottom of the world. We were anchored in Ushuaia, Argentina, the southernmost city on the planet, and met up with old cruising friends on Fifth Season and Asylum. Both couples were heading off to Antarctica for excursions, having just booked their tickets with a local travel agent. We visited the booking office and found that if we waited till the last minute, there were deep discounts (50+%) for unsold cabins. Still, the price was steep … $2,750/pp for 10 days. We wrestled with the idea of going. It was a big hit to the budget, but it was also a once in a lifetime opportunity to visit Antarctica. If you've followed us for awhile, you'll know that we love to explore, but usually on the cheap. The budget took second place for a change. We traveled aboard the MS Explorer aka The Little Red Ship and our itinerary took us from Ushuaia across the Drake Passage to the Antarctic peninsula with several land excursions along the way. There were less than 100 passengers aboard and the crew included an ornithologist, a marine mammal expert, a geologist and an Antarctic historian.
It was an other worldly experience and one we'll never forget. Take a look …
More Antarctica? Check out our Nine of Cups web page.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. … words of wisdom from Mark Twain
Continuing in our series of reminiscent posts, Antarctica has to be one of the most exciting trips we've ever taken. The White Continent is not a usual destination and only recently has it really been accessible to visitors. Hope you don't mind the reminiscing a bit. Part of the pleasure of living aboard and cruising is sharing the experiences with other people.
We were moored in Ushuaia, Argentina at the bottom of the world, having completed the 1,200 mile passage through the Patagonian canals from Puerto Montt, Chile. Friends had flown into Ushuaia and when we met up with them, they shared with us their excitement over an upcoming scheduled passage to Antarctica aboard “the little red boat”.
We followed their lead and found that if we waited and booked a last minute passage, we could take advantage of half fare savings for a 10-day excursion trip to the Antarctic peninsular. Though it really wasn't quite in the budget, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity and we took it. No regrets.
The trip was incredible. We were mesmerized by the ice floe and huge ice bergs. Weather varied between biting cold, wind and blizzards and sunshine and blue skies.
There was even some green moss poking through in places, contrasting sharply with the dark, barren rock and shale.
We had 12 trips ashore and each one was an adventure unto itself. We visited historical sites like the British Lockroy station where we had our passports stamped. We tossed back a vodka shooter at Vernadsky, a Ukranian research station which proclaimed itself the most southern bar on the planet.
But the real thrill was the wildlife … up close and personal. Who knew there were so many different kinds of penguins? Chinstraps, adelies, gentoos.
The rules about approaching the penguins were strict, but there were no rules about them approaching us … and they did.
Seals, birds, whales … all thrive in this hostile environment and we shared it with them for just a moment. The bad news? Both of our digital cameras died due to cold and exposure, never to be revived, but we managed lots of photos prior to their demise.
Come with us for a quick tour here or linger awhile on our website.
Oh, and by the way, there is a Lonely Planet Antarctica guide available, believe it or not, and it was pretty darned good.
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