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 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 Dining Room.
Out On Deck.
The Mud Room. Where we kept our lifejackets and boots for each landing.
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.
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.