Monday, August 16, 2010

2005 Trip of a lifetime – round 2 – part 1 …

Well since I already had my “trip of a lifetime” it wasn’t likely I would have another, now was it? Well… not so fast there partner… it happened to me again! In my first trip of a lifetime I went to Antarctica via New Zealand but five years later I had the opportunity to go to Antarctica again. You see, I went to a Le Diamant ln Antarcticaconference here at the University in the town where I live and I met a lady who worked for the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators (IAATO). She asked if I would be interested in being a volunteer on a tourist ship heading to Antarctica. Of course I jumped at the opportunity :) and she said I would hear from her if something came up. So nothing happened for a while so I figured my name was too far down the list. Then one day she called and said their was a French Company that needed a volunteer on their ship. She sent the specifics and after reading the paperwork I agreed to the assignment on the cruise ship Le Diamant owned by Compagnie du Ponant.
Now this trip was different than my last one to Antarctica because I was going to the other side of Antarctica and thus would travel Ushuaia Argentina - Gateway to Antarcticato Argentina instead of New Zealand. Also, this is the part of Antarctica that is the best of the best of the continent since this region is where the wildlife is most abundant.  So after an 13.5 hour flight that took me to Buenos Aires, Rio Grande, and finally to Ushuaia Argentina I checked into my hotel and walked about the city to familiarize myself with it. Ushuaia has been described as the southernmost city in the world. There are other settlements farther south than it, but the only Ushuaia Argentina - Bar Ideal one of any notable size is Puerto Williams, Chile which happened to be the first stop of this ship. After, a fine dinner at Le Ruedo, a wonderful all you can eat restaurant that featured fueganian style cooking that included lamb, chicken, sausage and beef slowly smoked over a fire pit in the restaurant.… it was off to the Ideal Bar (a local tavern) for a nightcap and then off to bed. The next day I would need to find the docks and figure out how I was going to get on the Le Diamant.  The ship was going to sail to Chile, several stops in and around Antarctica, and pass the Cape Horn before returning… more on the trip later…
Ushuaia Argentina sunrise
NOTE: One of the most interesting facts of this area is that the Pan American Highway ends (or begins) here and goes all the way to Alaska – some 17,000 miles away!


  1. What an incredible opportunity!! I can't wait to hear more about that trip.
    Love the pics...especially the one of the clouds in the sky. Just beautiful.

    Mike & Gerri (happytrails)

  2. yes I have a week off that i needed to take or lose so I will be posting this story since I have always wanted to get it organized... fun reliving it...

  3. Antartica is one our list of places to visit. Our friends Glen and Steve
    went down to Antartica last winter and did a cruise at Christmas they loved it as well. After seeing their pictures and reading their blog, it went onto our list.

    Glad you have been lucky enough to go twice.

    Kevin and Ruth

  4. So anxious to read all about this trip day by day! Thanks for putting it all together so we can read about your wonderful adventure. Someplace we probably will never get to, so it's fun to read about it from a traveler's blog who lived it!

    Karen and Steve
    (Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard