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Antarctica Expedition Photo Trip Report


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Those beaked whale pictures are AWESOME! That is so freaking cool! There are so many species of whales that we know little to nothing about (with a few that we only have vague sightings of and don't really know if they're real) and I find it so fascinating. You never know what you might find and that's so cool that you got to be a part of a "first" for the expedition!

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Wow this really looks like an amazing trip! Great pictures, particularly those where the sun is out are fantastic! It must have been one hell of an experience!

 

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This seems like an appropriate name, considering the amount of penguin poop around the base...

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Day 8 - Danco Island and Enterprise Island

 

This was the last day we would be able to set foot on land before we made our way back to Argentina.

 

Danco Island was another island in a bay that had amazing 360 views from the top of the island. There was another Gentoo penguin colony on this island and we took some time to sit down and just relax in the midst of the penguins for one last time. These guys were hilarious every day we saw them and there is no other place in the world that we would be able to get this close to penguins in their natural habitat.

 

After Danco Island, we sailed to another stop, Enterprise Island, where we would take a Zodiac Tour to see a shipwreck from 1915. This was the only time where Antarctica actually felt freezing cold. Once we got in our Zodiac, the blizzard came in and the snow was rushing off the steep cliffs of the island. Our entire Zodiac toughed it out to make it to the shipwreck (out of the 18 Zodiacs, only 8 made it to the shipwreck because everyone else was cold). The story behind the shipwreck, which is called the Governoren, was that "during a party a lamp was knocked off a table and Governoren caught fire. The ship was full of 16,615 barrels of oil including additional wooden barrels holding surplus oil as capacity in the tanks was exceeded. This oil fueled the fire, causing it to quickly grow out of control, and Governoren was completely destroyed. Although resulting in the terrible loss of whale oil and of a historic ship, the captain set Governoren aground and the entire crew of 85 were able to escape, only to watch the blazing ship burn to ruin. None of the crew members were injured by the fire; all were rescued by another whaling vessel, but the loss of oil was a massive economic blow and setback to the industry at the time."

 

It was pretty crazy to see a shipwreck from that long ago still in a pretty good state (see pictures below).

 

After the Zodiacs were back on ship, it was time for the Polar Plunge. Yes, 75 crazy people decided to jump into the icy cold water of Antarctica off the side of the ship. I unfortunately did not participate in this activity but the show of everyone jumping off was hilarious to watch.

 

The next day we would be heading back to Argentina...but not before our ship would hit an iceberg. Yes, we hit an iceberg and lived to tell about it. More on that in the next update...

 

See pictures below for additional remarks from Day 8

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Danco Island...time to make the trek to the top for a 360 degree view of the bay

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1/4 of the way up we meet our friendly Penguin Colony

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Time to head up further

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The Penguin parade is beating us to the top

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I hope that's not poop that you're eating

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Are you looking at me?

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This really is my favorite. I love it when they lay down like this...they really look so fat.

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Dad making is way up the island!

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Quark Expeditions sister ship came to pay us a visit because they got caught in 75knot winds...that's really fast!

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Penguin cutting off Dad while going up the hill.

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There's our ship...it's so tiny!

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These guys have already found rocks and are making their nests

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You got a rock for me buddy?

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I got a rock for you buddy! (Photo Courtesy of Adrian Boyle)

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Anybody seen my chick?

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That is Cuverville Island in the distance.

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Ship in focus...

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...penguins in focus.

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We made it to the top!

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Ummm...that's not a penguin buddy...that's a pole...I think he's a little confused

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It looks like a tiny bathtub toy!

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HEY!!!!! MOVE!!!!!!

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Penguin or Skua...you decide

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Now it's time to head back down

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The "x" means to not cross...it's penguin territory.

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This guy was looking for something...

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Maybe he thinks his nest is under there?

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The kayakers looking at a seal

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Penguin under water! (Photo Courtesy of Steve Pfaller)

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The Governoren shipwreck

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Still in pretty good ship shape

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We made it just in time because if it's low tide, we would not be able to get this close.

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Really an incredible site.

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Antarctic Tern

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Kelp Gulls...they are like Sea Gulls but a lot dumber because they decided to call the freezing area of Antarctica their home.

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That night's dinner was meat...

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...and then fish and shrimp.

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Dessert was bland...again. After this I just order 2 scoops of ice cream and that was probably the best dessert of the whole trip.

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My dad had some cheese for dessert.

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Days 9 and 10 - Iceberg and the Drakes Passage

 

Yes...we hit an iceberg. And I'm not saying we hit a tiny iceberg and it made a scratch...no...we hit a huge iceberg and it made a gash.

 

The first night heading back to Argentina both my dad and I woke at about 3am to a really loud crash and then a long scraping sound. We both laid in our beds waiting for any type of announcement but nothing came on so we both went back to sleep. The next morning, the Expedition team had an unscheduled briefing and they said everyone should attend. It was during that briefing that they told us that we hit an iceberg last night but it was nothing to worry about and it was above the water line. The unfortunate thing was that the Captain had to head due West because he needed to keep the Port side (that's the left side) above the water line and the swells were making him head that way. He adjusted the ballast in the ship so we were leaning toward the right side at 10 degrees. This made the rest of the trip very uncomfortable and threw everyone's balance off.

 

During the briefing it did not seem like a very big issue and that they had everything under control. Skip ahead a few days, when we got back into Port, we saw the damage that was done from the iceberg. It ended up being a 40 foot long by 3 foot deep gash, that actually went inside some of the crews cabins (pictures below). Then we found out that they and to cancel the following 2 expeditions and had to take it to a dry dock to repair the ship.

 

I am very thankful that the crew acted fast and they were able to keep us all safe. That being said, there wasn't much else to see or do on the way back to Argentina except go through all our videos and photos and watch The Dark Knight about 15 times since it was on a continuos run on the TV's in the room.

 

The day that we arrived at port, that day would be the longest day of traveling I think I've ever had...

 

See pictures below for additional remarks from Days 9-10

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This was my typical breakfast...Ham and Cheese Omelet from the Omelet station, pancakes, oranges, yogurt, water and apple juice. You usually needed a heartl breakfast because you didn't know when you were going to eat lunch or if anything was appetizing during lunch.

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Here's the iceberg damage taken once we got ashore

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Yeah...that's pretty bad!

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Here's a view looking down from the deck the day after we hit it!

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I'd say that's a good size hole!

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Final dinner of the night was the second best...Beef Wellington

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Dessert sucked once again, so after this I got 2 scoops of ice cream again.

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Dad is "King of the World" and we officially conquered Antarctica...but the vacation wasn't over yet...

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The birds welcomed us on the way back (Photo Courtesy of Paula Talaba)

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(Photo Courtesy of Paula Talaba)

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People were fortunate enough to see several Humpback and Fin Whales while I was laying down in bed (Photo Courtesy of Paula Talaba)

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(Photo Courtesy of Paula Talaba)

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This one looks like Mega Shark. Next SyFy movie "Mega Shark vs Iceberg-a-saurus" (Photo Courtesy of Paula Talaba)

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Day 11 and ... whatever day we got back home... I lost track...

 

When we arrived in Port in Ushuaia we and several hours to kill before we had to be at the airport so we got on a Tour Bus and headed for Tierra del Fuego National Park. (Tierra del Fuego means "lung of fire"). It was a pretty park but after seeing Antarctica and knowing that my dad and I had a long travel day ahead of us, we were kind of just going through the motions and not really taking the sites in. The place is beautiful, but I think after visiting Antarctica we were still riding that high and not really caring about green stuff.

 

This began the longest traveling day for me. We arrived in Ushuaia at 8am local time (3am USA Pacific Time). When then did the tour at Tierra del Fuego until we arrived at the airport at 12pm local time (7am Pacific Time). The charter flight left at 2:00 local time (10am Pacific Time). We landed in Buenos Aires at 5:15pm local time (12:15 Pacific Time). Our flight was suppose to leave at 9:15pm local time (4:15 Pacific Time) but we got delayed while in the airplane until 10:15pm local time (5:15pm Pacific Time). We landed in Atlanta at 6:45am Eastern Time (3:45am Pacific Time) and went through horrible customs. We made it out of customs and security just as they were starting to board our flight to San Diego. We left at 8:30am Eastern Time (5:30am Pacific Time) and landed in San Diego at 10:15am Pacific Time. We then proceeded to get our bags, get a Taxi, and we arrived at my dad's house around 11:30am Pacific Time. But it's not over...I drove back to Tucson that very same day because I needed to be back at work. So I left my dad's house at 12:15pm Pacific Time and then arrived in Tucson at 7:45pm Arizona Time (6:45pm Pacific Time)

 

Whew...that was a long day.

 

Thus concludes this Trip Report about Antarctica. I will be posting a few of the handouts that we got from Quark Expeditions but I really do have to say that these guys were amazing. If any of you are seriously interested in either Antarctica or even the North Pole, check out their website at http://www.quarkexpeditions.com.

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Tierra del Fuego...the End of the World

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This si the sign that says that you are at the end of the Pan-American Highway.

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Mountains with fresh snow on them

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It snowed the night before we arrived.

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I'm sure it looks amazing with blue sky!

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Here's one of the stops

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It looks like the Oregon Coast

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Where are the penguins and snow?

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There's snow!

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Goose!

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Guess which ones the female. Guess which one is more tasty to eat

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Another view of the mountain range

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THROUGH THE TREES!!!!!! Sorry guys, I had to! I missed my opportunity for THROUGH THE ICEBERGS so I had to make it up some how

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Snow, mountain, green stuff.

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See ya later End of the World!

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Flying back over the Andes to Buenos Aires

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Buenos Aires...

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...and like most International airports, it is out in the middle of no where!

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San Diego!!! HOME!!! Wait...now I have to drive another 6 1/2 hours! Oh god! Hope you enjoyed!

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Now THAT was a really cool TR to read!!! Awesome pics, awesome captions and details, awesome trip. The only non-awesome thing seems to be the food which reminds me of something from a wedding reception I went to at a Holiday Inn. Did they give you a menu at all or they served what they served and if you didn't like it you could order ice cream?

 

Did you get cabin fever at all being on a small ship for a week with only small parts of certain days off the boat? That iceberg gash is absolutely enormous. Thanks for posting!!

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I'm so glad you enjoyed it! Just rounding the horn was rough enough for me on an 80k ton cruise ship. My parents did antarctica and said I would have died. I get seasick on 100k ton plus cruise ships in calm water so it's a no go for me! The penguins though!!! PENGUINS!!!!

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Something that is definitely on my bucket list! Great photos and descriptions - good balance, not too wordy, but contained all of the info. One interesting fact is that without its ice, Antarctica is actually an archipelago and its largest island is smaller than Greenland...

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I think this is by far my favorite Trip Report I have ever read here on TPR. The photos were awesome, and the experience looks like it was a once in a life time thing. You got to take the vacation that most people only dream of! Thank's for taking the time to share the trip with us!

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Great Photo TR. I've always enjoyed seeing Photo TRs of places that typically don't get seen and Antarctica is definitely one of those places. Love all the pictures. All the glaciers look just stunning.

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