Posted by: gypsytales | February 6, 2010

Two Sleeps Until…The White Continent

View of Beagle Channel


Ushuaia has been our longest stop since we embarked on our journey on the 9th December 2009.   

view of town from harbour

Initially we planned on leaving Ushuaia after a couple of days to start the next leg of our journey through Chile.  Most of southern Chile is only navigable by ferry and we were looking forward to sailing the fjords for a couple of days and surprising our 4 French co-workers from the farm, who will be boarding the ferry on Tuesday 9 Feb. 

But one encounter here and another there opened up new possibilities which led to new opportunities.  But isn’t that what spontaneous travel is all about?  

all the mountains have snow in summer

Instead on Monday 8 February we will be boarding Antarctic Dream to Antarctica along with Michael who we met at our hostel in El Calafate.  The three of us went out to celebrate our good fortune for discovering the last 3 “cheap” tickets left for this trip.  Unbeknown to us, this must have been about the most expensive restaurant in Ushuaia.  Chez Manu Restaurant has a fantastic view of the harbour and air strip and word is, if you have been to Ushuaia and have NOT eaten King Crab you haven’t been to Ushuaia, so King Crab it was for all three of us!  


The last couple of days we have rented a cosy and warm little cabana and it has been a great time to catch up on rest.  Although you wouldn’t think so, going to bed after 2am and waking up at 10am has made us very lazy.  We have also both come down with colds and coughs and so we’ve also spent a lot of time just sleeping.

us with Paul and Sandi

We met Paul and Sandi from Canada in El Calafate and they too popped down to Ushuaia for a couple of days.  We spent some time with them too and on the evening before they flew off to Buenos Aires we had dinner together at the cabana.    

Shopping for food is a very relaxing experience.  Everything is in walking distance and of course you have to pass the local bakery and after paying a visit you come out with packets loaded with freshly baked goodies, both sweet and savoury.      

It’s summer here at the moment or is it?  It doesn’t seem that the weather reaches much above 10 degrees centigrade in summer and on a couple of days it’s been about 3 or 4 degrees.  But then again it is the most southern city in the world with a sub-polar oceanic climate.  With almost 2 weeks here so far, I’m beginning to enjoy the cooler weather.  There’s something wonderful about walking around in the icy air that kind of burns your nostrils when you breath and then arriving at a coffee shop to the smell of roasting coffee beans and a warm place to sit and chat….

One day we visited the cemetry….I know that sounds weird, but cemetaries actually tell a story and particularly the history of the town.  It would seem that Argentina has a lot more mausoleums (burying above ground in crypts).  The sky was grey, the weather was cool as we quietly walked between family vaults all very heavily decorated with various pieces of memorabilia.  Some of these vaults actually looked liked houses with flowers, pictures, tables and chairs and even cleaning products lying inside.  

So with only 2 sleeps left the butterflies are now beginning to fly.  Our ship will be in harbour tomorrow so we’ll go and get a sneak preview.  We also went to collect our gear today for when we get into the zodiacs.  Apparently they can be wet landings so we need to be kitted out.  If you read some of my posts from the farm how much I loved wearing those farm boots…..well, I dare say I have myself another pair of boots for Antarctica along with waterproof trousers and a heavy duty, warm jacket for getting off the ship.   

There is so much to still tell you about sailing through Drake Passage, about the on-board lectures from the scientists who will be joining us on the expedition, all the good food and rough sea stories….but I guess this will only happen once we get to experience it for real….   

I doubt there will be any internet connection while we are on the ship so we’ll keep the stories for when we return.   

Right now we are off to the Irish Pub to meet Michael and to claim our two free beers.    

Until our return on Thursday 18 February 2010….Sweet Dreams 🙂 




  1. Really looking forward to the stories and pictures you will have on your return.

    Vaya con dios!

  2. Hey there – I love the exciting turn of events. Spontaneous traveling to the umpteenth degree! Hope you are feeling better and have a wonderful time in the ‘Big white’ x Christa & Kobus

  3. Still stuck in boiling JHB, the mad woman and the grumpy bear finally caught up with all your news. Wow, what a wonderful bouquet of adventures so far! It’s not dreams come true stuff – it’s far beyond it! No doubt these gypsies are so “alive” that a bit of flu will be brushed off quickly. Cant wait to hear all about your expedition experiences! Love the pics and …finally you can now also say: “who needs meat!” Breathe deep, live the moment! Love you both.

  4. Wow, cant wait to hear about the next chapter!

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