Day 9 (9th Jan): Lemaire channel / Port Charcot in Antarctica and Argentina Travel log

  • Jan. 22, 2023, 3:32 p.m.
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This morning we had scenic cruising on the Lemaire channel. We were told the ship would pass through narrow straits with tall mountains on either side. It was cool, but the weather was so foggy, we couldn’t see the tip of the hills on either side of the ship, and we are used to river cruise ships where you are much closer to shore, so the scenery still felt distant. There were some whale sightings and glacier calving as we sailed through, but the effect was diminished because of limited visibility.

The most interesting part was that the sail ship Europa was ahead of us, going to the Ukrainian research station, and eventually we caught up to them by noon, while we sailed towards Port Charcot. The sailors waved as we passed. That ship gives you a sense of how early explorers would tackle these waters:

Port Charcot is a large landing site, so we had 1 ½ hours of off-ship time. But this also means we have to wait for a longer time for it to be our turn (we happened to be in the middle of rotation this time). So it was a leisurely wait to get off the ship. We had some lunch, a nap (I was tired all day) and afternoon tea before going. Once off the ship, the weather was nice. There is a Geentoo colony there, and a cool bay where icebergs gather (an expedition guide calls it an iceberg graveyard). There is also a high point we could hike to that gives a nice view of both. It was a long hike though. So it was a nice long landing, with some close up penguin observation time - we saw them stealing rocks from each others’ nests. We saw one single chinstrap penguin. Our friend did the “polar plunge”, arranged by the cruise company, where you would dive into Antarctic waters. I don’t see the point of that. By the time we started to get back down from the high point, it started to snow and the wind picked up. So I was feeling the snow cutting into my face. And the only time I got to sit in the front of a Zodiac was this time, so I bore the brunt of the wind. By the time I came back I was completely soaked.

After we came back, we went to the jacuzzi and sauna to warm up. Other people in the sauna and jacuzzi had done the polar plunge too (and thus needed them), and claim it wasn’t too bad - because the air temperature was as cold as the water. I don’t follow the logic. We went to the fancy restaurant afterwards; the food was a bit nicer; but I”m not sure it’s worth the 25 euros extra.

View from top of Port Charcot:

Last updated January 24, 2023

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