Monday, September 23, 2013

16. Drake Passage, Harberton, Ushuaia. Heading Back, Walks in the Park and a Final Goodbye

After leaving the Melchior Islands we headed back to open ocean. On the way to Antarctica everyone was curious about the Drake Passage and we all knew that we had to endure this a few days but the reward would be at the end of the ocean crossing. Going back is different though. You know now what to expect and for some of us the outlook of a few days of rolling waves was not something to look forward to.

The first hours again were a bit hard, but this time I held up and could relish my food as usual.
Eventually the ocean would be so calm that we had to use the motor to return on schedule in Ushuaia.
We got a last goodbye with another gorgeous sunset and dolphins that accompanied us for quite a while.

At night it was possible to have a view at the infamous Cape Horn far away in the distance.

Back at Argentina we made a stop at the Estancia Harberton, one of the first settlements in this remote region which has a very interesting history.
Nowadays it is part of the Argentinian heritage and has a good museum with all kinds of information about whales and seals living here. They categorize and do research on beached sea mammals and it was a welcome stop. It felt strange to walk on grass again.

This night we had our official farewell party with another barbecue. With no more sailing ahead the party lasted until the early hours.

That left us with one more day going back to Ushuaia, remarkably there were whales in the Beagle Channel,  Sei Whales which had not been seen here for 16 years. They kept far away though.

The 28th it would be the official end of the trip. All left the boat and I have to admit I had a hard time saying goodbye.

I did stay a few more days in Ushuaia, to slowly get used again to the 'real world'. I visited the National Parks and made several very enjoyable hikes, actually I saw another whale at the Bahia Ensanada, just from the mainland.

I did meet a few of the crew on my last night in Ushuaia, were we had some good drinks. Saturday the 3rd of March I would fly back home, but not before saying a final goodbye to the Europa that would sail again for another adventure and was leaving for South Africa.

This album here has pictures of the the Bark Europa at the Drake Passage, Seal Skeletons at the Harberton Estancia, Pictures from the National Park in Ushuaia including Woodpeckers and Caracaras and the Bark Europa finally leaving.
It has 39 pictures.

click here for the album

This was the end of a journey of a lifetime for me. All crew of the Bark Europa and my fellow passengers thanks for an incredible experience.

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