An unusual cruise on the route of the pioneers of 100 years ago. Antarctica, 1000 km beyond the end of the known world, beyond the far end of South America.
Everything starts from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Direct flight from Italy. We come from our cold winter to the scorching heat of south american summer, because this is the only suitable time to visit Antarctica.
Short stop to take breath and then further down to Ushuaia, the door to Antarctica situated on the Beagle channel.
Today Antarctica belongs to no one and to the entire world. A treaty between nations rules the presence of teams of the scientific bases and an agreement between tour operators has led to the creation of a committee of self-control to prevent a wild invasion of tourism in Antarctica.
The Akademik Sergey Vavilov vessel will be our ship, a russian icebreaker put it back and adapted as cruise ship.
Everything was pleasant and appropriately transformed to accomodate demanding travellers. It’s now waiting for us in the dock of Ushuaia.
We embark, we are assigned our cabin; it’s afternoon and we are ready to sail.
On board with us there is a team of experts, their job will be to explain the secrets of this world. An ornithologist, an anthropologist, a geologist, a IAATO inspector to check that no one dares to do the least harm to nature and animals. A doctor, always on the move between one cabin and the other, always ready and available to our calls and needs. Then there are the pilots of the zodiac landing boats used in our daily excursions.
We pass the legendary Cape Horn. Then the Drake passage, hours and hours of open sea, strong wind and waves meters high, but the Vavilov resists, it is used to face extreme sailing conditions.
Joining us in this crossing, in the sky there are albatross, sea eagles and other rare seabirds. And in the water, whales, orcas, penguins.
Then the sea becomes calm as a lake and around us we see a landscape in black and white. The first iceberg appears at the horizon. But it’s the infinite silence that impresses you most and which wraps up everything.
For days and days we see a succession of natural and breathtaking sceneries: mountain peaks and untouched glaciers but also plains, expanses of snow, deep fjords, beaches, volcanos, icebergs, icebergs and again icebergs of all shapes and sizes.
Two excursions a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, 3 hours each on board of the zodiacs.
We leave our ship and fully equipped with boots, parkas, gloves and hats we take place in the zodiacs and go to explore this magic world. The first landing is as fascinating as the last. The meeting with the busy penguins that come near to you at tens is exciting. Would like to touch them, caress, cuddle! No, absolutely prohibited! You must not disturb or frighten them. Unforgettable days!
Other excursions allow us the sighting of many whales, seals and other Antarctic species.
We visit a Russian base still active in Antarctica, we speak with the Russian personnel involved in the mission. They are doing researches on the ozone hole. They stay there for six months, by rotation, longer it is not possible, they confess!
It is not only the charm of the distance, the excitement of arriving so far, not just the feeling of being out of this world to make you tremble with emotion when you step on this continent, but it’s realizing all this and you don’t think it true to be here as well!