+27 (0)82 4000 470 rob@robcaskie.com

After having to rush back to Ushuaia a full day early, it appears we have had a run of good fortune. The weather in Antarctica on the day we were forced to forfeit was so windy, that safe operations were extremely unlikely. Yet the weather today in Ushuaia was almost unbelievable. Even locals say best day here in 10 years! An ambient temperature of 20 Celsius, not a breath of wind, and a wide open blue sky. Suzana organised a catamaran tour for the guests and team, that we could remain in a Covid-free bubble. On a glassy sea we viewed an old ranch at the water’s edge – a very harsh place to try and make a living out of farming. Magellanic Penguins were everywhere, along with Imperial Cormorants, South American Terns, Skuas, Giant Petrels and various species of Gull. We visited an historic lighthouse, on a remote spit of rock absolutely surrounded by roosting and nesting Imperial Cormorants.

The greatest surprise for me was South American Sea Lions. These animals are comfortably 2 or even 3 times the size of Antarctic Fur Seals, and also have hinged pelvises so move about on both front and rear flippers. The males have a mane around their necks and much larger, squarer faces than the Fur Seals – far more like a Lion or Mastiff in profile. Being windless, the skipper could take the catamaran right up to the Sea Lions for incredible viewing and photography.

We stopped on an island, for guests to take a walk and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding islands, mountains, glaciers and forest. There was a couple on the beach in their own little boat, who I don’t believe were pleased to see 120 guests disembark on their beach, closely followed by another craft with even more passengers. Today was a bonus in Ushuaia, and the weather Gods were smiling upon us.

Tomorrow we all disembark, and fly by charter flight back to Buenos Aires. I fly immediately onwards tomorrow evening to Santiago, Chile. On 22 January I fly from Santiago to Punta Arenas to begin a mandatory 10 days quarantine period before embarking Silver Whisper with Silversea, for a trip to Antarctica, Cape Horn, South Georgia, Tristan da Cunha and ending in Cape Town (Cape to Cape). This past two months with A&K (4 cruises) has been absolutely awesome, working with fantastic folk from all over the globe. A few lines scribbled in haste as I attempt to pack and be ready to get off in the morning.

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