Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Embarkation Day

This is it…Embarkation Day! We arrived in Tierra del Fuego with great anticipation of our upcoming adventure to the frozen Deep South. Much of the day was passed exploring this picturesque town, while at the pier the MV Fram crew and staff were making preparations for our arrival and imminent departure.

Ushuaia, or “bay that penetrates to the west” in the indigenous Yaghan tongue, is a flourishing duty-free port with a fishing industry famous for its southern king crab (centolla). The rugged spine of the Andes stretches the entire length of the South American continent, coming right down to meet the sea here in Patagonia. With a rapidly growing population of 55,000, Ushuaia is one of the most southerly cities in the world, and also the most popular jump-off point for travel to Antarctica.

Coming on board we were greeted by expedition and hotel staff and after checking in to our cabins we began to check out the ship, admiring this beautiful vessel that will be our home for the next nine days. A glorious rainbow spanned the harbour as the last lines were thrown at 19.00. The Fram’s bow turned southwards and we were on our way down the Beagle Channel, past the verdant shores of Patagonia, past the last greenery we would see for some time. We are headed south, far south, to the land of ice, to the most wonderful, pristine place on this planet. We are headed for Antarctica.