Archive for the ‘Argentina’ Category

Lindblad Expedition’s National Geographic Explorer

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

National Geographic Explorer (it''s a pretty big ship but the scenery in Antarctica makes it look insignificant)

The ship we took down to Antarctica was the National Geographic Explorer.  It’s a purpose built ship to handle travelling in the Arctic and Antarctic regions.  It only carries about 130 guests which is very important in Antartica because the Antarctic treaty only allows 100 people per ship on the continent at one time.

National Geographic Explorer crashing into waves in the the Drake passage

It has ice reinforced hulls (that the Captain loves to use to break through ice) and stabilizers (which we were very grateful for in the Drake passage).

Kayaks and Zodiacs on the National Geographic Explorer

It has kayaks and zodiacs to use for landings and an ROV they use to take under water video.  They have great common areas which we really only used during the Drake passage… except for the Lounge which was used daily for briefings.  When we were on the antarctic peninsula there was really only time to eat, sleep, go on excursions and listen to the talks by the guest speakers.  The two key speakers were the adventurer and mountaineer Peter Hillary and National Geographic Photographer Ira Block but there were also many naturalists on board there were experts in their own right.  I’ll do a post more about them later.

Here are a few more pictures from around the ship.

View of the Beagle Channel from our balcony as we left Ushuaia.

View of the Beagle Channel from the NatGeo Explorer as we left Ushuaia

Ushuaia, Argentina – the southern most city in the world

Monday, January 17th, 2011

B&W Panoramic of Ushuaia

After our 4 hour charter flight from Santiago we arrived in Ushuaia.  They had a short city tour and harbor cruise planned for us which was a nice little side trip while the National Geographic Explorer was being cleaned up from its previous trip.

Clelia 2

We saw the Clelia 2 at the pier.  This was the ship that was disabled in high seas a few weeks earlier.  Check out the video in my previous blog post.  Supposedly they are only a few weeks away from putting it back into service but I would never be a passenger on that ship.  There is just no comparison on the sea worthiness of the Clelia 2 vs the National Geographic Explorer.

219-foot yacht, Archimedes

I also saw another amazing yacht docked next to our ship.  It was the 219 foot Archimedes.  After a quick google search I found out it is owned by James Simons, the founder of Renaissance, one of the largest hedge funds in the world.  It was also there when we came back from Antarctica but there was a lot of activity getting it stocked up with food and other supplies.  Maybe Simons was on his way down…

Here is the boat we boarded for the harbor cruise.

Ushuaia harbor cruise

and some of the pics we got from the harbor cruise around Ushuaia.

B&W lighthouse landscape

A whole lot of birds that have a name I can't remember

Seals and birds