Synapse in Antarctica
I recently went on a 13-day trip to Antarctica. I took a crimson Aeronaut as my carry-on bag and a Synapse as my personal bag (and I took it on all our landings.)
Though it was expensive (about $8,000), it was worth it and I would highly recommend it. Details are available at http://www.hurtigruten.us/Antarctica...Sea-Adventure/
(Sorry the picture is kind of dark. Should have turned my flash on.)
You are going to have to tell us way more than that about your fantastic journey! :)
yes; agree with backpack. You can't leave us hanging with this!!!
Sorry, didn't have time when I posted the original post.
Anyway, the ship (an icebreaker) left Ushuaia, Argentina (the southernmost point in Argentina) on January 20 at around 7:30 pm on January 20.
It took approximately 2 days to get to our first landing spot on the Antarctica Peninsula. The sea was calm and the days were filled with various lectures on the history of Antarctic exploration, climate change, etc.
From January 22 through January 28, we made about 2 landings per day (a total of 13 landings - we were very fortunate; according to the ship's expedition team, the weather and ice conditions normally permit 6-7 landings on this tour in previous years.)
The weather was generally nice - overcast/sunny with temperatures in the high 30s - low 40s with little wind, though on two of our landings the wind was about 40 mph with light snow or rain.
As one would imagine, the scenery was spectacular, especially the mountains and icebergs, and the sheer number of penguins at some of the landing spots was amazing (Paulet Island has approximately 300,000 penguins. As far as one can see, you can see nothing but penguins in close quarters.)
We also saw penguins swimming (doing something like the butterfly, basically jumping out of the water - I wonder how long they can swim like that), a various assortment of seals, and some whales (some people saw a sleeping whale, though I missed that.)
Getting back on topic regarding TB, the crimson Aeronaut came in handy when picking up checked baggage (Argentine airline has a 5-kg limit on carry on baggage - my Aeronaut weighed more than that, because I brought way more clothes than I actually needed.) It was basically the only non-wheeled luggage in our group, not to mention the only one that was not navy or black.
The other lesson I learned was that if I ever come back, I will either have to wear non-polarizing glasses or get a camera with a viewfinder. Even if the sun was not out, my glasses went completely dark, which made it difficult to see the screen on my camera...
If anyone is interested, I'm working on posting my photos to Flickr (but be warned that my photography "skills" are point and shoot.) What I have (not finished yet) is at
very cool, apyang! and amazing pictures - they make me want to go to antartica now!
Love your pictures, yummy food!
When you have time to catch your breath could you tell us more about the accommodations, flights, food on the airplanes and the boat, is the boat equipped with "something that minimize the effects of the swell" and what were the stops, how did you get around outside of the boat?
The more things you can think about, the better. :)
On the morning of 1/18, I flew from San Francisco to New York (JFK), where I met up with the rest of our travel group (about 20 people) before we flew via American Airlines to Buenos Aires (Argentina), where there unfortunately is a $140 entry fee for Americans (and I think Brits and Aussies.)
I did not eat on the San Francisco to NY flight since I brought a meal, but I did eat dinner on the NY-Buenos Aires flight. It was not bad (though I don't remember what it was...). I did manage to get a bit of sleep since there was nobody sitting next to me.
By the time we landed, it was the morning of 1/19. We had a short bus tour of Buenos Aires before we had to go to the domestic airport for a flight to Usuhaia (the southernmost city in Argentina).
I had to check in my Aeronaut since the airline only allowed 1 carry-on with a limit of 5 kg (11 lb), which I don't think they enforced because I saw people bring on bags which appeared to weigh much more than that. If I knew then what I know now, I would have taken (or at least tried to take) both my Aeronaut and Synapse aboard.
Unfortunately we had a 7 hour delay because the air conditioning in the plane was broken (man, it was hot in there.) Everybody had to get off the plane and go back to the terminal. By the time they fixed the AC, the flight crew had exceeded their allowable work hours, so they had to get another crew. So instead of leaving at 3:55, we left around 11 pm and arrived at Usuhaia at 3 am on 1/20.
We spent most of the day visiting the national park there (whose name escapes me at the moment) and boarded the ship around 5 pm.
I will continue this post tomorrow when I have my notes, but I'll answer some of backpack's questions now.
The ship is an icebreaker designed to sail in the arctic regions, so the accomodations were rather cramped, though I'm sure most people did not spend much time in their cabins. I had a good cabin - both closer to the center of the ship and on a low deck (both of these things minimize the possibility of seasickness.).
I did catch some talk about some gyrostabilizer (???), but I'm not really sure what the ship has to minimize the swell.
We went onto 8-person boats in order to land. Prior to getting onto the boats, we had to wear rubber boots and decontaminate them (to avoid introducing new species). Sometimes landings were delayed because the waters were a bit rough for those boats. I have some pictures of those boats, but I don't remember if they are in the pictures I already have on flickr.
TO BE CONTINUED
Thanks--Antarctica is my dream trip.