The phrase “squeal like a pig” became crystal clear to us after a visit to the animal market in Otavalo, Ecuador. And “letting off steam” was brilliantly showcased by our visit to Baños, Ecuador during the eruption of the Tungurahua volcano.
Now that we are in Ushuaia, Argentina preparing to cruise to Antarctica, we are starting to appreciate a couple of other new phrases.
Waiting for our ship to come in
This trip has been planned since June of last year. We always wanted to see Antarctica, but we thought it would be out of our price range. As we were planning the Seattle Meet, Plan, Go event for last fall we met Erin from Gap Adventures, and after a few conversations we took them up on the summer sale of 35% off. We have been anticipating this trip now for 7 months.
We arrived 2 days before our departure date on an early flight from Buenos Aires. We did this mainly because this trip costs a lot of money, it can only happen within small window of time each year, and there is no “catch up” option if you miss your boat.
Because of this, we have had 48 hours to kill before we leave. Excitement is high, especially after seeing a familiar face from home who just so happened to be leaving for Antarctica the day we arrived.
We were walking around town yesterday morning and happened to look out as a red and white ship was sailing into port. Warren thought it might be our ship, which I highly doubted. We walked to the shore to take a closer look, and I’ll be damned if it wasn’t our ship. We watched it sail in to port and became even more excited about our upcoming journey.
I mean, really, we got to watch our own ship come in, and we finally go the meaning of that phrase. It is hard to contain your excitement when you see the visual representation of your dream sailing into view.
Going to the ends of the earth
I won’t kid you: it takes a long time to even get to the starting point of this journey. Ushuaia does truly feel like the end of the earth, even though it is a nice little town with all the modern conveniences.
We were lucky to already be in South America and to have the luxury of spending time with new friends in Buenos Aires to break up our trip, but most of our fellow travelers have come from North America and Europe. They traveled for sometimes 2 days to get here.
Ushuaia is so remote that the prison built here in 1901 and in use until 1947 had no perimeter fence. The warden correctly stated that anyone who ran off would either find the landscape too inhospitable and return immediately or quickly die of starvation and exposure to the elements before they found help.
Idle hands are the devil’s work
Maybe it because we are in a holding pattern waiting for departure, or maybe it is a little leftover bad mojo from staying too long in Lima, but we are definitely experiencing some friction in our relationship.
We are frustrated with each other and a little more sharp than usual. Is it because we are excited to go and frustrated the trip hasn’t started yet? Are we nervous about where we are going, especially after a few recent accidents in the Antarctic that our friends can’t help but email us about? It probably doesn’t help that we read about several accounts of shipwrecks in the Maritime Museum and saw the St. Christopher run aground on the shore right off Ushuaia.
Or is it option 3, where being at the end of the world brings everything into a stark focus, dusting off the rosy warm lens we normally use to see?
There are a few more phrases we hope to experience during our journey:
- Seeing the light – the aurora australis is the Southern Hemisphere version of the aurora borealis. If the conditions are right, we should be able to see these lights in the sky.
- Smooth sailing – Drake’s Passage is one of the roughest seas in the world, and we will take 2 days to go through it on each end of the journey. We are prepared for sickness with medicine and an emergency stash of crackers, but we hope to not have to use it. As we get ready to leave today the wind is very high.
- Take a chill pill – once we hit the cold sea air and have to bundle up to stay warm, we expect our hearts to warm up a bit and take the edge off. The last few weeks have been tough for a variety of reasons, and we’d like to freeze out those feelings and get back to our steady and easygoing selves.
Beginning the journey
Today we board the ship and set sail. We don’t know what this journey holds, but we do promise to take pictures, videos, and share our thoughts with all of you.
We will be posting daily on our Facebook page, and depending on the internet connection we will also be posting daily on the blog, including pictures. To follow along, just click “like” on our Facebook page or sign up to get our blog posts emailed to you every day.
We are very excited about this journey and can’t wait to share it with you.