leaving for antarctica
It's my first evening on board the Orlova. The sea is calm, the evening was beautiful and low-wind when viewed from the bow of the ship, and I watched the land (islands?) roll by as a fellow passengers related the history of Tierra Del Fuego, conjuring up the images of the native Fuegians coated in a glistening layer of seal oil, lighting fires from on top of the mountains when they were first sighted by Magellan.
This morning started in my Ushuaia hostel with a packing panic, as I shrunk my backpack by putting all nonessentials into a large plastic bag and storing it at the hostel for my return. I then went down to the Albatross Hotel to catch the briefing by the Quark staff (where I realized that my ship is Quark's last sailing to Antarctica this season!), and hopped on the bus for the must forgettable tour (at least it was well-organized, but quite sterile) that i've taken on this trip.
After our tour was completed, we had a few hours to "explore Ushuaia" (ie. go to the internet cafe and surf the web for a while), then we headed down to the Antarctic termial for the briefest of customs inspections (since our ship wasn't visiting Chile or any other countries, and Antarctica isn't a country of its own, we were technically staying in Argentina the entire time), and finally hopped on board the Orlova to head out through the Beagle Channel, escorted by a "pilot boat" for some historical and probably-quite-obselete reason until we made it out of the channel.