My Personal Travel Experience
In February 2023 my husband and I with 4 friends travelled to Buenos Aires and stayed 4 days in the city, where we enjoyed the food and culture, before beginning our Viking Journey. First 4 Days was spent at the Marriott which is located Ave 9 de Julio in the main part of town. We were close to everything and walked everywhere and experienced the real feel of the city. We also did a private tour of the city which was very good and gave us a better insight to the politics of Argentina.
9 Feb 2023
Then we moved to the more upmarket part of town, to the Hilton, joining the Viking group.
The Hilton is in the newer part of the city. It was a very busy place looking after a number of Viking clients on different ships. There were 4 over the previous 3 days. Hilton also is the accommodation for Tauck Tours. It is a very busy Hotel in summer with large numbers of Cruise ships and Tour groups.
We departed early from the Hilton and were transferred to the airport. There were 2 charter flights and one normal flight, which we were on. 3 Hour flight to Ushuaia. What an amazing place to visit. It’s the southernmost city in the world. Ushuaia has a very busy port with at least 3 to 4 Ships departing each day heading to Antarctic during the summer months.
We were all excited to board the Ship (Viking Polaris). Polaris is amazing and cabins are fantastic. We were located on deck 2. The ship is only 7 decks. Deck 6 is suites guests and The Hanger is below deck 1, where all the zodiacs, submarine and special operation’s boasts are kept. Viking call them the Toys.
Sea day on the Drake Passage which were about 3 meter swells. We had a great sleep and just relaxed and looked out at the ocean. On Polaris there is a place called The Hide, which is located in the bow on deck 1. There are windows you can look out at the wave’s splash over the windows when the sea is rough. They use the Hide for functions and evening talks. It’s very dark and cosy place to be.
Crossed the “Drake Lake” and arrived ahead of schedule in Fournier Bay around midday. Everyone was out on deck looking at all the whales eating and flashing their tails. All the toys (zodiac, kayaks, special operations boat and the 2 submarines) were then prepared ready for our adventures to start. We did our first zodiac and followed whales and viewed a massive iceberg’s. It was also snowing while we were in the Zodiac. Then to our amazement we were notified we were on the 6 pm submarine. We were so excited…
We were on George the Yellow Submarine and the 6 of us were at the bottom of the bay at 660 feet/208 meters. Absolutely incredible.
We woke up to look out our window at Damoy Point, which was simply breathtaking.
After breakfast we boarded the Zodiacs for our first landing to see penguins. Damoy Point was an Argentinian base camp which was used back in the day for whaling. There was a very old hut located on the Island which was been renovated for historical preservation. This was also a base camp back in 1975 for the British Antarctic survey team. We hiked up a hill and look over the Bay towards the ship and admired the view and all the penguins’ 🐧. Took amazing photos and did not realise there were twins in a nest. Took great shot of the ship. This is where you can post, postcards. Which we did and still waiting from then to arrive home.
The next morning we went to Winter Island. An English base which was now sold to the Ukraine government a few years ago. There are large radio aerials and satellite equipment there to monitor the Ozone layer. This is where a group of scientist first discovered the hole in the Ozone layer. They are still monitoring the Ozone layer today and have recently found it is now retracting. There was an old English hut called Wordie House also on the island. We were able to look around inside and see how they lived there. We were lucky to have on board an historian who worked there over 40 years ago. He lived with the scientist who discovered the hole in the Ozone layer. Nick Cox worked for the British scientific team, surveying Antarctic. Our friends kayaked in the bay which was very sheltered and out of the wind. We were able to do a special operations boat ride around the Island.
Next morning we arrived in the Errera Channel. Our adventures today was to visit Couverville Island, the largest penguin colony, with around 13,000 penguins. We took the zodiac to the island. The bay we were in was spectacular with many of icebergs and snow covered mountains. There were a number of wales in this bay, just cruising around eating krill and also sleeping. The weather was fantastic with the sun out and being sheltered by the wind. We all had a lovely time sitting at the aft of the ship admiring this unbelievable place that very few people ever get to see.
We arrived at Chiriguano Bay, where in the morning watched the science team release a weather balloon, which is part of a global science program. The balloon reached a height of 30 km. You were able to find out more that afternoon at the Aula.(The theatre at the aft of the ship, used for lectures and talks).
There were no landings today and we just zodiac cruised around the bay, looking at glaciers and listening to the cracking of glaciers. When we returned to the ship there was a BBQ on the top deck. The food was Amazing with one dish of seafood 🦞 “eat lobster again!” and the other was meat dish of a T bone and even a massive tomahawk steak. I am sure the tomahawk steak would have been about 2 kg.
That night when we went to bed around 9:45 pm I was woken up by the sounds of whales blowing and breaching right outside our window. We spent some time (freezing) looking out our window, and we saw about 8 whales 🐋. One was right next to the ship and others were very close, but too dark to take photos. It was just amazing to listen them. It’s about the sounds in Antarctic.
Today we arrived at Mikkelsen Harbour, an old whaling station. The weather was overcast and snowing with lots of ice 🧊 in the water. We took the zodiac to the beach and saw the old whaling station, with many of old whale 🐋 bones. There were some larger icebergs on the shore line and plenty of bird life. I have a photo of a Shag on a rock (an old saying). It was a very interesting zodiac ride returning to the ship, going through lots of small icebergs. After lunch we were on the last special operation boat and zoomed around ice burgs. Listening to the ice flow moving across the sea and the sounds of the boat pushing the icebergs away. It was brilliant and freezing with the wind in your face. We also came up close to some Leopard seals just hanging out on icebergs, resting after their lunch of penguins. Leaped Seals are the top of the food chain in Antarctica.
This morning we cruised pass Deception Island which is a volcanic 🌋 caldera. The Viking team gave us hot chocolate with Baileys and an amazing breakfast rolls at 8 am out on a freezing 🥶 deck. This helped us keep warm while watching the scenery. Then we cruised of too Yankee Harbour, where we did our last Zodiac landing to visit more penguins 🐧. The babies were very inquisitive and came right up to us. One nibbled on my hiking pole. I have some incredible photos. On the island there were elephant seals. Apparently they were only 1/2 grown. We were able to see and hear them lying around and the male being very dominant to his females. Please see video below. On the zodiac returning to the ship they crew gave us a Mimosa to celebrate our last landing. I was sitting in the front of the zodiac and our driver took us into same wave’s 🌊 where I was socked, but luckily it did not get into my jacket. After dinner we headed north and later that night off to cross the Drake Passage.
At the beginning of the crossing it was a bit rough then calmed down to about 3 meters. After and amazing time we needed a sea 🌊day to relax as we had been very busy down in Antarctica.
It was a great night sleep rocking in our bed at sea and tired from this amazing adventure! Then we were in the Beagle Channel and arrived in Ushuaia early afternoon. After we docked we were able to disembark to walk into Ushuaia and do some shopping 🛍 in the Main Street. Ushuaia is the most southernmost City in the World. With almost 80,000 people.
Very busy in the summer months.
Departed Ushuaia and travelled back to Buenos Aires ready for our next adventure.
Viking do an amazing job looking after you and I highly recomend you consider Viking Cruises.
Please contact me for more information.
Sue From Mimosa Cruise & Ttavel.