ANTARCTICA DISPATCH #5 SETTING SAIL ACROSS THE DRAKE

The time has finally arrived and shortly after I complete the upload of this post I will be heading out to the docks with all my luggage and camera gear to board our ship ‘The Ocean Nova’ for two days sailing across the notorious Drake passage to Antarctica. The last few days in Ushuaia has been a wonderful  opportunity to relax and get into the photographic groove.  I love spending time in small towns at the edge of civilisation; especially knowing that I am in the worlds most permanent southern city on the eve of an Antarctic adventure. I have taken the opportunity whilst in Ushuaia to ensure I am well fed and well rested in anticipation of long waking hours under great Antarctic light. I know from experience in Iceland how demanding the best hours of photographic light can be at the extreme latitudes of the globe and I am anticipating not much more than a few hours sleep every day over the next ten days. The importance of being suitably rested before embarking on this type and style of photographic shoot is not to be underestimated. Although some of the participants are packing ‘crates’ of good wine for the trip I will not be partaking in any extended drinking sessions (I know… thats just way out of character!). Although the temptation to drink a few yanks under the table (hey… we Aussies can drink!) is quite appealing I will be using any downtime away from my cameras strictly for sleep. I like to work as hard as I can when out on a remote photographic shoot and it doesn’t get much more remote than Antarctica.

Ushuaia is packed with outdoor clothing shops which means there have been plenty of opportunities to stock up on last minute clothing items before we depart; which many of the other participants have been taking advantage of. I pretty much bought everything I need with me knowing that there was unfortunately no 66 North (my preferred brand of outdoor clothing) store in South America. The photographic opportunities in Ushuaia have also been wonderful and I took the opportunity yesterday morning to charter a helicopter early in the morning for a flight over the Andes mountains (absolutely spectacular and stunning scenery).

The climate in Ushuaia has been much more to my liking than that in Buenos Aires and although I would not describe it as cold it is certainly a tad to cool for walking around in a t-shirt – ‘perfect climbing weather’ as Clint Eastwood would say (excerpt from the Movie The Eiger Sanction). The wind is up at the moment and it looks like the crossing will be quite exciting.

After we get through all of the required room allocation, life boat drills and general settling in time I am hoping to be able to do some photography from the deck of the ship as we sail out of the harbour. I am told there are quite a lot of wildlife opportunities and I have seen some impressive postcards of the Cape.

That is me done for the next ten days or so until we return from Antarctica. With no internet access and only satellite phone for communication with the rest of the world there will be no more up dates until I get back to Ushuaia. Time permitting I will write up a few posts over the next ten days and post them as a sort of journal when I get back.

I can hear the final call now for those leaving aboard the Ocean Nova so its time to slap on a sea sickness patch (just in case) and sign off. See you in ten days…

    One Response to “ANTARCTICA DISPATCH #5 SETTING SAIL ACROSS THE DRAKE”

  1. December 1, 2011 | Reply
    Joe says:

    Bon Voyage!! Or, as they say in Slovak: Šťastnú cestu!

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