I've been wanting to visit Antarctica since I was a child - I finally did.
The Day I Almost Didn’t Get on the Ship
When you’ve paid a large chunk of your savings to go on the trip of a lifetime, you would probably be smart about it and not do anything stupid that will make you miss the trip.
A few hours before the scheduled departure to Antarctica, I was nowhere near the port in Ushuaia, the City at The End of the World, where the ship was. I was far away, in the Tierra del Fuego National Park, halfway through a 5-hour hike (which had seemed like such a great idea earlier in the morning).
Making matters worse, I had just been struck by a horrible realization: My brand-new GoPro, that I had purchased just for Antarctica, was missing, along with two months' worth of panoramic photos of my ongoing travels through South America. I had left it on a rock when I stopped for a snack an hour ago in the middle of the hike.
Great. Just great.
Happily trekking, before I realised I was in so much trouble
To add to that, I was running late for the last bus that would take me to Ushuaia. The bus would leave in an hour, and I had another 2 hours worth of trekking to do to get to the bus stop. Mathematically, my chances didn't seem very good. If I fail to catch the bus, I can kiss my ship, my money plus all my hopes and dreams goodbye.
Or I might catch a glance of the ship as it left me
I have a history of missing flights and trains. However, on this momentous day, I miraculously made it to the port just in time (albeit with sore legs and bruises on my feet from all the panicked running I did).
The ship, Plancius, was the very last one at the far end of the port, and looked tiny next to the gigantic cruise ships and shipping vessels. It could only fit 108 passengers, which was fine with me. I wanted a small crowd on my first (and probably only) trip to Antarctica, and given how I feel about humans in general, the fewer the better.
Yaaaaaassss, I didn't miss the ship!
I joined the last bit of the queue of passengers waiting to get on the ship and met Tania from Australia, who was standing behind me in line. She turned out to be my roommate, and together we walked up the plank and to our room.
The first order of business (after squealing over the room and the beds and the window) was to join everybody else at the Observation Deck for the mandatory safety briefing and emergency drill. We met the captain and the crew, got lectured on how to keep safe and were shown where the bright-orange lifeboats were located, you know, just in case.
With my roommate, Tania
Just as the sun was starting to sink, we set sail. Ushuaia disappeared behind us, and I stood at the front of the ship, watching the darkness settle over the water... without a GoPro to capture the moment.
Bye bye, Ushuaia!
The Day I Couldn’t Stop Puking
The Drake Passage is no joke.