Last year’s TED Mission Blue conference in the Galapagos Islands took place on board the National Geographic Endeavor, in association with Lindblad Expeditions. After the conference I wrote to Sven Lindblad, suggesting they might want an ocean rower to come and speak on some forthcoming trip. He wrote back saying “How about Antarctica?”
So here I am, now on board the National Geographic Explorer, cruising through the Beagle Passage as I write.
Today started early, WAY too early, in Santiago, Chile. We flew to Ushuaia, Argentina, which claims to be the End of the Earth. I have a whole ocean of ideas about the End of the Earth, but that’s another story. Let’s just take it geographically for now.
We landed in Ushuaia around noon, and walked the last section of Highway 3, the Pan American Highway, down to Pataia Bay. There was a dramatic drop in temperature. “It’s a bit chilly (Chile), or rather, a bit Argentina,” I joked lamely to a fellow traveller. She didn’t get it. Not surprising really.
From there we took a boat, via various malodorous colonies of seals and birds, back to Ushuaia, where we boarded the ship that will be our home for the next 10 days. Tomorrow we face the Drake Passage, one of the most notorious stretches of water in the world. Will it be Drake Lake or Drake Shake? The forecast is good, but many of my fellow voyagers are already sporting sea sickness patches behind their ears – just in case.
T’would be most embarrassing if the resident “Global Luminary” (don’t ask me, I didn’t create my job description) was chucking up over the side. So I will attempt to maintain a truly British stiff upper lip, and cast iron stomach, and staunch sea legs….. and fingers crossed. (All sounds rather contortionist and uncomfortable.)
I will do my best to post regular updates over the coming days, but we have been warned that internet access may decline as we reach more extreme latitudes. And we know that internet access from boats can be extremely trying…. Meanwhile, keep an eye on the Daily Expedition Reports from on board – the expedition lead team will no doubt have better-informed updates on daily events. They may even know what the “birds” are….