Preamble in Antarctica and Argentina Travel log
- Jan. 15, 2023, 10:34 p.m.
In past trips I’ve used facebook to document the photos of the trip and OD to document the narrative, but this one has so much media that it really should be narrative-driven. So I’ll put more media into this book.
I’m still in Buenos Aires, waiting to get on a red-eye tomorrow night. But I can’t sleep - probably from drinking the coke that La Professeure accidentally asked me to buy, along with the bottle of water she wanted, because she felt “wrong” buying just the water (I’m not sure why that is so??). But I never say no to coke.
Anyway, the thought on my first “expedition” trip before the “real” entries:
A lot of luck is involved in what you can see. We expected to see penguin chicks, but didn’t because this year’s nesting is delayed due to heavy snow earlier in the season (the experts said any chicks hatched even as early as next week would not grow up fast enough to be independent before winter hits, so this year is a total loss for a lot of colonies). I didn’t expect to see many whales, but there were some stops where the ship was practically surrounded by them. That extends to the weather: after the first day in Antarctica, we didn’t see the sun until we were back at Ushaia. And it also extends to activities too: the ship has a limited number of kayaks, guides, and days with good enough weather conditions, so only half the people who wanted to go on kayaking (88 out of 170+) managed to go. We were in the other half. We had to look on from the ship or on shore as other passengers kayaking amongst the whales or penguins. But it was still a worthwhile experience, as later posts should hopefully show.
Smart phone cameras don’t cut it if you want to capture wildlife. I went to Antarctica to see ice and landscape, not expecting to see so many things that move. I thought we would find those at South Georgia islands or Falkland islands. But I regret not getting a “real” camera, since there is so much wildlife down here.
Expeditions are dangerous - I can easily see somebody doing something stupid and killing themselves. Our drake passages were luckily calm, but our friend still got seasick.
Lots more people go to Antarctica now - when we came back to Buenos Aires, every other tourist we ran into were just spending a few extra days here after an Antartica cruise like us. The scientists on our ship said there are 60000 visitors to Antarctica this year, up from 5000 from 15 or so years ago (though I personally know of three people who had gone more than 10 years ago). I hope the increased tourism won’t affect the wildlife… which seems to be an active research area - there are researchers on our ship are looking into exactly that.
Things are cheap here in Argentina - the economy is in a nose dive, with two consecutive years of >90% inflation. So as bad as things are in North America, there are people who have it worse. So La Professeure tips a lot - 50-100%. We had other tourist couples seated with us telling us “that’s too much!’
I’ll probably post the real entries once we get home.
Zappel ⋅ January 15, 2023
This all sounds like an amazing adventure and I can't wait to hear more!