Saturday, March 15, 2014

Days 225 & 226: Retracing Our Steps

We tiptoed out of our hostel to catch our early bus, our bodies complaining over the small amount of sleep we'd received after so much physical activity. But we were soon too distracted to notice, when one look at the sky took our breaths away.

We passed the time on the bus and at the El Calafate airport working on blog entries and trying to catch up on emails. El Chalten is pretty off-the-grid, so our internet accessibility had been limited to a few messages that sat in our outboxes for a few hours before finally sending.

For a second time, we flew into the Ushuaia airport and made our way to Yakush Hostel. We tried accomplishing a few of the things we had to do, like laundry, but discovered that everywhere was closed because it was Carnaval. We caught glimpses of the parade, a few people in costume, and a lot of flag waving, but the streets had died down by 7 pm.

So, why are we back in Ushuaia, you might ask? Well, we've been in contact with companies for a few months now, crossing our fingers for a good deal on a ship cabin. As of 4 pm on Day 226, we were on our way to...ANTARCTICA!!!

We arrived and climbed aboard to discover that, no surprise, our budget had landed us in the last cabin of the ship, deep in its bowels. We were sharing a bathroom with a cool couple who had been at our hostel, Tom and Beatte. We had time to check in, marvel at how much space we had, and unpack our things. It was going to be nice to be in the same place for the next ten days!

Everyone met upstairs for a welcome drink and buffet. We cheersed a good voyage and got settled in making friends. With only 88 passengers on our small boat, the crew promised we'd quickly feel like family. They explained the safety procedures, we all donned our cute life jackets, and did a practice drill.

At eight o'clock we sat down for dinner, and got a first taste of the three course meals we'd come to expect. We tried to get used to the rocking as we ate, and started to get to know our fellow passengers. By the time dinner finished we were happy to sway our way down two flights of stairs to our room and slide ourselves into our tightly tucked bunk beds with bar barriers to keep us in.

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