The MS Expedition – My Voyage To Antarctica

The MS Expedition – My Voyage To Antarctica

Having watched a few documentaries on Antarctica, including Michael Palin’s “Pole to Pole” where he flew into the continent, getting a boat there was the only thing I wanted to do. I love boats, I always loved being at sea. Working on boats was great and I hope I may do that again someday. So having booked my Antarctica trip in April 2010, from a computer in this library in Longford, Tasmania, Australia, time went quickly and before I knew it I was in southern Argentina ready for “the big trip”.

At the time I was working in broccoli harvesting and had no internet access and was living in the Poatina wilderness. On my only trip to use internet that month, I took the plunge and booked it! I had just turned 30 and this was my 30th birthday present to myself.

I didn’t think of it at all until the trip finally reared its head on the 5th November 2010, just over 6 months after booking it. In fact I had no idea what sort of boat I would be leaving from.

Then on my first afternoon in Ushuaia my solo jaunt round the world’s southernmost city saw me feast my eyes on the Motor Ship Expedition (MS Expedition), the red vessel which would take us to Antarctica.

So here I will report on exactly that – the boat itself! In Ushuaia I was to learn that the boat from the previous Antarctica trip from the same company I was using (GAP Adventures), a boat called the Motor Ship Explorer (MS Explorer) had sank back in 2007, off the coast of Antarctica. Sailing in Antarctica is always a risk – icebergs are small and we are alone – if anything happens to the ship we’re stranded!! But that’s part of the adventure.

Without further ado, we were on board the MS Expedition and heading to Antarctica.

My room, 319. I shared with Mark from Adelaide, Australia.

Our shower room.

My window view!!

The Lounge Bar.

The Forward Deck.

The Aft Deck.

The Funnel.

The Ship docked in Ushuaia.

The Main Lounge – where we met for all presentations and group briefings.

 

The Library – featuring a Lonely Planet Section! You will never get bored on this ship!

The Engine Room.

The Bridge.


The Dining Room.


Out On Deck.


The Hall.


The Mud Room. Where we kept our lifejackets and boots for each landing.


The Zodiacs.


The Polar Bear Bar at Night. There were basically 2 bars on board – 1 was the Lounge Bar which did a Happy Hour from around 4 – 6pm ish. Then later on was the Polar Bear Bar – it was our “local” in Antarctica.

 

Tea and Coffee Area.

The Route Map – live and constantly updated to show exactly where we were. I had many maps with me as well as 3 books and I was updating my notes all the time. 

Information Boards. Believe me there were a lot of these and it would have been impossible to read everything.


Reception.


The Internet and Phone room. I never used them due to the cost, but apparently they sometimes worked! Imagine making a phone call or updating Facebook from Antarctica. Personally I’m old school and wanted to be cut off from communication for 2 weeks!

The Sauna. I wore Haya’s bikini for no reason other than Antarctica is a crazy experience and you do these things. Rodrigo and Russell seemed slightly more normal though.

I’ve written quite a lot about Antarctica already, easily the best trip I have ever been on, but just felt it was an idea to write about the actual vessel that took us there and the wonderful crew that kept us safe and entertained.

Some notes on the Motorship Expedition:
MS Expedition is an expedition cruise ship owned and operated by the Canada-based G Adventures (formerly known as Gap Adventures). She was built as a car/passenger ferry in 1972 by Helsingör Skibs & Maskinbygg, Helsingør, Denmark as MS Kattegat for Jydsk Færgefart A/S. Subsequently she sailed under the names MS nf Tiger for P&O Normandy Ferries, MS Tiger for Townsend Thoresen and MS Ålandsfärjan for Viking Line, prior to conversion into a cruise ship in 2008.
More here – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MS_Expedition


Nationalities Met On Board – Chilean, Argentinian, Brazilian, Israeli, Northern Irish (me), Irish, Australian, Hong Kongese, Vietnamese, Philippines, US, Canadian, Scottish, English, French, German, Swiss, New Zealand, Italian, Belgian, Austrian, Russian, Bulgarian, Japanese, Danish.


Days Spent On Board – 12/13


Bars Visited – Lounge Bar (Happy Hour), Polar Bear Bar


Favourite Beer – Beagle Channel Ale


Countries Sailed In – Argentina, Chile, Antarctica


Continents Sailed In – South America, Antarctica


SEEING THE MS EXPEDITION FOR THE FIRST TIME PRE-TRIP IN USHUAIA:



ARRIVAL IN MY ROOM 319 ON BOARD THE MS EXPEDITION:

INSIDE MY ROOM 319:



ONBOARD THE MS EXPEDITION ON THE BEAGLE CHANNEL:



ON THE BEAGLE CHANNEL:



BREAKFAST ON BOARD THE MS EXPEDITION:



ERNEST SHACKLETON LECTURE ON BOARD:



LIFEBOAT TRAINING:



FIRST SIGHTING OF ANTARCTICA:



JULIO’S SPEECH ONBOARD THE MS EXPEDITION:



SNOWSTORM ON DECK:



JULIO’S ANNOUNCEMENT ONBOARD MS EXPEDITION:



STEVIE ADMITS HE’S DRUNK ON THE MS EXPEDITION:



FOLDING MY EARS ONBOARD THE MS EXPEDITION:



FINAL NIGHT DRINKS ON BOARD THE MS EXPEDITION:

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6 thoughts on “The MS Expedition – My Voyage To Antarctica

  • This article has just made my day! The waiter who’s in the second photo of the dining room was still working on the MS Expedition when I went! Randal! What a bloke, he would always come round to my table at meal times and bring me beer and he also sung live music at night sometimes in their Monkey Eating Eagle band, so cool to see his face on your photos too!

  • Hi Paul – wow I cannot believe they still have the same staff – that is cool – 4 years on. These articles of mine are really old now and I don’t like looking back on them at all in fact…a band? We had a terrible solo guy on guitar called Ramon! Safe travels. Jonny

  • How come you don’t like looking back on them Jonny? You always say Antarctica was one of your favourite trips!!!! Yeah a band, they were pretty good! Several of the crew formed it and they did all old rock and roll music like the Beatles and Eagles

  • Hi Paul – I love the trips – it’s not the trips – it’s the poor quality of my early blog posts, my archives 2007 – 2011 are good for photos and places but not for English and the way I wrote the story! It took a while to develop the writing style and format to the way I want it and the consistency I strive for these days. Jonny

  • Ahhh right I get you, I see what you mean, your writing style has certainly developed over the years and come a long way. I do like reading through your older material too though, for me the writing feels more raw and personal (Not that your current material isn’t)

  • Hi Paul, for me the difference is the older material wasn’t marketed at anyone. Despite my background in PR those early posts were just me telling the story, not trying to give advice or help others, which is why the more recent stuff covers tips on sightseeing, borders, visas and hostels. Safe travels. Jonny

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