Thursday, 12 February 2015

Day 13 - Feb 9th & 10th – The Drake Passage

Well it had to happen, all good things come to an end and that includes our Antarctic adventure. We now make way towards the Drake Passage for our sail back to Ushuaia. The forecast is for calm weather for the first day with northerly winds building on the second day and then swinging west. They are not forecast to be high but we can still expect some swell.

Of course we are all hardened seadogs now and there is not one casualty of seasickness!
Over the couple of days we have presentations, movies, chill out time to catch up on reading, swap stories and memories of the past 12 days and celebrate another birthday! Happy Birthday Hayesy!

The crew also have a quiz of all things Antarctic which soon flushes out those who are competitive! Some of the Shackleton 100 gang (The Crean Team) did well coming in joint second. Well done us!

It's also time to settle up bills on the ship, start packing bags and generally prepare for heading back into civilization. Talk starts to turn to the fear of email and internet, the dreaded W word and all the other baggage of life in the rat race! Still, it had to end sometime so we have to be grateful for the experiences we've had, the sights we've seen and the people we've met along the way.

Before dinner on the 10th the ship's crew have arranged a certificate presentation to all passengers to mark the day and location we first set foot on the continent so nice keepsake for all.

We arrive back into the Beagle Channel by early evening and slowly cruise our way along. We cannot dock into Ushuaia until tomorrow morning so will anchor in the channel later.
Following a farewell dinner it's into the bar for drinks music and dancing. A nice end to the day…but there is one more surprise that lies in wait for us.

"Dolphins" comes the call from somewhere and before long we are out on deck in the darkness to witness a sight I will never forget. As the ship slowly moves through the water, a school of dolphins, maybe 8 or 10 in total are surfing back and forth across the bow of the ship, then diving away before turning back in to repeat. It's now totally dark outside but the phosphorescent in the water lights up the dolphins and their wakes they swim, creating glowing trails through the waters….I've never seen anything like it before. Maybe this is where sailors of old got the idea of mermaids. It's absolutely transfixing, so much so I don't even want to leave to get a camera in case I miss it. This spectacular show eventually ends and we make our way back inside. What a way to end!

Tomorrow we will land at Ushuaia and then fly northwards to Buenos Aires, back to civilization. We leave behind one of the most beautiful locations on the planet and start to think of family and friends back home.

It's been a fantastic trip with a great bunch of people!

Looking forward to next years adventure!

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