Sunday 18 December 2011

Heading home

After a ferocious partial day on the Drake, the second and now third days were relatively calm and comfortable. In a way it was the perfect combination- to see this unique part of the marine world in both states- lion and lamb! If you are unconvinced about this contrast, read yesterday’s blog!

Sometime in the afternoon we approached the continent of South America close enough to make out some dark shapes on the horizon. Land ho! As we got nearer, the warm air wafted the beautiful smell of the Notofagus forest out over the ship. This seemed even more wonderful considering that one of the last smells we remembered from Antarctica was penguin poo!

 Soon we were sailing around the islands in the Parque Nacional del Cabo de Hornos, south of the big island of Tierra del Fuego and a little later we were treated to repeat visits by a large pod of Dusky Dolphins. Many times they ran up alongside the ship and breached or “porpoised”, with bodies completely out of the water. It did not take much imagination to suppose that they were welcoming us back to where we had started this journey!

In the late afternoon the Captain hosted a farewell reception in the Panorama lounge on deck 7, which was followed by our traditional Fram charity auction.

Well, tonight is the time to pack in preparation for our return journeys. This is always a bitter-sweet day because, although we want to get home for Christmas, we do not want this incredible experience in Chile and Antarctica to end. But alas it must.