Ushuaia was a hint to what to expect as we headed south. It was very cool and breezy, but it was nothing compared to what we were about to encounter in the next day. We took a short side excursion to a ski resort to see the countryside and try some of the local lamb which was cooked over a fire. Very yummy and very different taste than lamb in the US, Turkey or New Zealand. Much sweeter. We also got to meet a local pack of slide dogs (Huskies) before we headed to the port and the ship.
Le Boreal stands out compared to the National Geographic and Quark expedition ships. The other two ships were 20 years or more older than Le Boreal and looked like they were in rough shape. I think we made a great choice. Boarding was very fast and very personal. It was a completely new experience to board a ship with only 200 passengers. The Le Boreal is very modern, clean and easy to feel like it is home. It only takes 3 minutes to go anywhere in the ship.
The services and facilities were limited, but the service from the crew was above and beyond. It was a delight to not have waiters and bar personnel asking you to purchase drinks or beverages every 10 minutes. Everything is included. Flowing wine at dinner and open bar in the evening with the piano playing in the observation lounge.
We were quickly in the ozone hole in the atmosphere above the Antarctic region and sunscreen is paramount in the cold weather compared to being in Hawaii or Tahiti. Before you know it, layers of clothing, hats and gloves are something you want to have handy so you can run outside and observe the latest sighting. We were fortunate that the initial weather crossing Drake passage was quite calm with mild swells.
Shortly after breakfast on the first day, we encountering our first iceberg that was further north than normally ever seen. Quite a sight that even surprised the captain and the guides. The sea birds were swarming around the light blue waters from the melting ice. A small pair of whales was seen shortly after the iceberg, but they did not breach the surface. Time for some warm bouillon after being outside in the cold wind and attend a lecture from Bob Burton on the history of the early expeditions to Antarctica.
After 3 days, we arrived in the southern most continent on Earth.
and what did we find? Of course we found some penguins!
and we also found some great wine to enjoy! A Portteus old vine Cabernet! Even the penguins like great Washington State wines this far south!