ushuaia and tierra del fuego
That's Ushuaia, Argentina not Ibiza for you party people!!
We stayed at the very gorgeous Arakur Resort and Spa ... who helped organise a private tour through parts of Tierra del Fuego National Park ~ that's Claudio our driver in the pic below! Also the Arakur had the best empanadas in the whole of Argentina, in our five-week taste-testing session ~ Fuegian Lamb empanadas chased down by a very lovely Argentine Pinot Noir ~ yum!
Our home for the next 11 days!
We had a brilliant cabin, at the back of the boat ~ with two windows, one looking out the back and the other looking portside. A fabulous surprise upon boarding ~ a bottle of celebratory bubbles in our room!!
The Plancius only has capacity for just over 100 guests and a staff of 47 – everything was fantastic, with meals being three courses with a choice of three mains ... and really rather cheap drinks!
We only managed to see one ~ and this is quite rare, as they don't usually frequent the area of Antarctica we were in ... and as you can see, nesting amongst Chinstraps!
camping ... overnight!
Building our own 'snow grave' ... no tents! You can see two tents in one of the pics, purely for emergency purposes. Three sleeping bags inside a bivvy bag ~ it was still bloody freezing for Em, very little sleep, but an incredible experience, enhanced by the penguin that decided to sleep not two metres from us during the night and the seal, who was about ten metres away, stayed all night, and was very obliging for the photoshoot!
wow, wow, wow!
This truly was something we shall never forget ~ for almost 45 minutes, we got really quite close as we watched a pod of four Killer Whales, circle and taunt a group of about 30 seals. (They were spotted from the Bridge, so the captain cut the engines and we drifted in closer and closer.) They circled and 'spy-hopped' the massive sheet of ice, until it eventually started cracking, thus creating panic in the seals ... whilst you can see from the pics just a single seal being eyed off – he did miraculously survive that day!
We were later told just how privileged we were to witness this, as some of the Expedition staff had never seen this before despite numerous seasons in Antarctica – and apparently the BBC can spend two or three seasons down there, specifically to shoot similar, but never seeing it ~ just amazing!