Sunday, July 7, 2024

Antarctica 2023 ✈ Days 11-13: Drake Passage • Disembarkation

Antarctica had always felt like a distant and unreachable bucket list destination, not just because of its geographical location, but more so because it is so expensive. Honestly, I never thought it'd be possible for me to check off this bucket list item but we decided to make this trip happen and celebrated our 10th anniversary with an extraordinary adventure to the end of the earth - Antarctica! I am so grateful for the opportunity to finally step foot on my 7th continent and to experience this incredible journey with our moms.

13D12N Antarctica Cruise - Oceanwide Basecamp Expedition

5 December 2023 (Tues): Day 11 - Drake Passage

After wrapping up our final landing at Cuverville Island the day before, we started our journey towards the Drake Passage for the next 2 days to get back to Ushuaia.

We could feel the Drake Shake starting in the middle of the night. Thankfully, we were feeling ok and were able to make it to breakfast. After breakfast, we returned our muck boots and I went up to the lounge to submit some photos for the photo competition. 

 After lunch, we spent the rest of the afternoon chilling in our room as the ship was rocking more intensely as the day went on, and we didn't want to risk getting sick moving around too much. At this point, we were 'lectured-out' so we decided to skip all the lectures. I had too much fun watching the bow cam waiting to see the big waves. Who knew waves could be so entertaining. 

Daily recap at 6.15pm. We would still be on the Drake Passage the next day so there were more lectures and presentation by the expedition guides, which we planned to skip as well.

Plated dinner at 7pm. MiL skippped dinner as she wasn't feeling well, due to a cold not seasick. We gathered at the lounge after dinner to find out who won the photography competition. Surprisingly, I was one of the finalists for 2 (out of 3) categories - Comedy and Landscape. No I didn't win but it was fun just to participate.

6 December 2023 (Wed): Day 12 - Drake Passage

Captain Toni certainly timed the 'most difficult time' on the Drake Passage when we were asleep. I woke up at 3.45am - 4.30am and watched the bow cam for 45 minutes to capture some crazy waves. (The timestamps on the screen were inaccurate) It was legit a full blown storm on the Drake Passage. Our portholes were closed but I can imagine it'd look like a washing machine out there. I certainly don't mind paying for all the good weather we had in Antarctica over the past week with this 'Drake Shake' experience.

We survived the 'rock and roll' throughout the night and made it for breakfast. We had to hold on to the railings to make sure we didn't fall. There were more lectures throughout the day but we skipped all of them coz it was more fun watching waves and being lazy in the room.

Luch was sandwich and dessert as the ship was rolling too much for the kitchen to prepare the buffet. The captain finally opened the deck around 11am as we've sailed past the worst part of the Drake Passage.

Had our final daily recap of this trip at 6pm. We started of with the Captain's Cocktail where Captain Toni raised his glass to a successful voyage. We were also surprised to see all the Expedition Team dressing up nicely for this farewell toast. Kudos to this team for an incredible trip! 

We also watched the slideshow of our trip that Juan put together. The wonderful images accompanied by footages of wildlife from all the places we visited during this trip reminded us of all the amazing things we saw and the amazing experiences we had in the white continent. 

We didn't realize that we had a EUR 30 bar voucher in our room until the last day, so we decided to get some drinks from the bar at the very last!

After our farewell gathering in the lounge, we had our final dinner onboard at 7.15pm. Another delicious plated dinner filled with laughters and many happy faces. We also had a chance to show our gratitude to the hotel team who had been working hard to make sure we always got what we needed throughout the trip.

7 December 2023 (Thurs): Day 13 - Disembarkation Day

After spending an amazing 13D12N on the Hondius, which has taken us on an remarkable journey to the Antarctic Peninsula, it was finally time to say goodbye.

Our ship docked at Ushuaia around 5pm. We left our luggages outside our room before going for breakfast. My instant noodles again of course. :)

Time to say goodbye to our 'home' for the last 12 nights - Hondius rooms 310 and 312.

We disembarked the ship at 8.45am and bid farewell to the wonderful staffs who were out by the ship to send us off. We are so thankful that everything went smoothly for our trip and extremely grateful for the opportunity to visit this bucket list destination. 

We had about 5 hours to wait before catching our flight from Ushuaia to Buenos Aires. After disembarking the ship and leaving our luggages at Oceanwide's luggage storage, our first and most important stop was for free wifi!!

We went to Tante Sara cafe to hangout for a few hours and to use the free wifi. This was the same cafe we had lunch before embarking the ship 2 weeks ago. Everyone was so focused trying to catch up on everything we missed in  the internet world over the past 2! We also bumped into a few of the expedition guides at the cafe. Total cost for this meal was ARS 38,985 ($46).

181 emails to clear after 2 weeks of internet detox. We also called back to Malaysia to catch up with the kiddos.

Took an Uber to the airport at 1.30pm. We got lucky with this Uber vehicle that had just enough space to fit all our luggages in the trunk.

Arrived Ushuaia airport at 1.45pm. There was a line at the check-in counter but glad we got there early. We booked our flight from Ushuaia to Buenos Aires AEP on Aerolineas Argentinas for $74/pax. 

Nice view of the snow-capped mountains as we departed Ushuaia at 4.15pm. We were lucky to get the emergency row for this 4.5 hour flight (with a short transit in Trelew).

Side story, I didn't know what time we'd disembark (coz I didn't read the cruise details) so when Aerolineas changed the schedule for our original flight and allowed us to make a free change, I requested to change to this flight that left later in the afternoon to give us more time in case we disembark at noon. I could have gotten a 1pm flight and we'd arrive Buenos Aires earlier if I had done my homework. Oh well.

Our flight landed at Beunos Aires AEP airport around 8.45pm and it was already 9.45pm by the time we got to our hotel for 1-night in Buenos Aires - Hotel Costa Rica.

We booked this hotel with our Chase Sapphire Preferred $50 hotel credit +560 Ultimate Rewards points. The hotel is a cute boutique hotel with heritage feel located in Palermo.

We were all pretty tired at this point so we just ordered some pizzas from the hotel and enjoyed the night view at the rooftop terrace. This hotel was pretty basic but good enough for just a few hours of sleep. The 'private' (but not en-suite) bathroom was a lil' annoying even though it was just right across our room as we had to use an old school key to lock and unlock it each time.

No comments: