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5 hours ago, janzin said:

This is really good to know...two recommendations...I will stock up on Bonine for our Svalbard trip, for sure.

Here's how bad I am.  Can't watch IMAX, can't go on a merry-go-round, too much swinging and I get sick (I'm referring to the playground equipment!), windy roads in cars make me sick.  I've been one of the few non-nauseous passengers on a small boat because of Bonine.  They all thought I was an old salt!  BONINE is a miracle!

5 hours ago, Photo-Kiboko said:


Thank You for the trip report and all these informations.

I have seen the Sea Spirit only from the outside.

It looks like the cabins are much more luxurious as on the similar sized Plancius and Ortelius. Interesting comparison.  I have looked at Plancius itineraries.

I did a similar trip in November 2014.

I remember many locations.

Also, I have shared the cabin with strangers. This was not a problem.

In November you do not see any chicks. Also you won't see any whales. 

The Rock hoppers transport and steal stones. Fighting for nest sites. Mating.

The Chin Straps are clean, because the breeding sites are still covered with snow.

In South Georgia you might see plenty of sea elephants. The fights are almost over. Mating has started.

There are also the sea elephant pubs.

Sea Bears fighting for territory and are very aggressive in November.  Good first hand accounts of November, also a good time especially in South Georgia.


I have enjoyed your pictures from Andrews Bay.

We could not go on land, because of bad weather (high waves and heavy rain).  Everything is so weather and sea dependent.  The staff said they can't always make it to St. Andrews.  But that is why Salisbury Plain was also on the agenda.  I think some trips stop at a place called Gold Harbor, too, which we did not go.


I am looking forward to see more pictures from you trip.  Thanks!


Best regards





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Subtitle: What would have been helpful for me to know when I was contemplating and planning a trip like this.   The report turned out to be longer than an Antarctic winter!  Sections are col

Those darn buckets, eh @offshorebirder? It is a magnificent destination, so the photos naturally follow, @TonyQ * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *  * * * *  

Yes, South Georgia was my starting point.  I considered just a South Georgia trip.   * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *  * * * *   Q4:  When to go?

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7 hours ago, kilopascal said:

I would have to echo @Atravelynn on this.  I will get motion sickness on the slowest of the slow water vessels and the drug in Bonine (meclizine) works the best for me.  Year's ago a dive master told me (after I 'fed the fish' that morning) to take a dose the night before and then half the morning of.  Worked much better me that way.  I've managed to do several live aboards nausea free thanks to meclizine.

The night before is a good hint!  I know the package says it must be taken in advance, not once you get sick, but one time my husband and I thought we could handle the waves on 12-passenger boat in Alaska.  WRONG.  About 30 minutes into the trip we were turning green so we each took a Bonine and felt better within minutes.  But taking it after the symptoms start is not recommended.

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Salisbury Plain, South Georgia – Sea Spirit in the background



Saunders Island, South Georgia – Gentoos building a nest



Cuverville Island, Antarctica – Gentoos on nest



Brown Argentinian Research Station, Antarctic Peninsula, taken from zodiac


The Sea Spirit staff provided us these maps of our excursions and landings on a souvenir tiny replica of Sea Spirit flash drive.  22 activities in total, 3 on the Falklands/Malvinas, 10 on South Georgia, 7 in and around Antarctica with 2 landings on the peninsula of the continent so you could officially say you were ON Antarctica, and there were 2 north of Antarctica in the South Shetland Islands.



Falklands/Malvinas, Sites 1, 2, 3




South Georgia, Sites 4-13


Especially in South Georgia, it is evident from the map that we were crisscrossing and backtracking all over the place to find spots with conditions that permitted us to go ashore. That meant the captain and crew had to work much harder, sometimes all night long, and it meant the catering staff had to alter plans and suddenly have dinner ready 90 minutes early or prepare a last minute 5 am continental breakfast.  The expedition staff that surveyed the landing areas and got us safely to those spots also had to work overtime, as landing times changed and activities shifted to accommodate the wind and waves. It also meant more cost to Poseidon because we covered more miles than the stated itinerary as we went south to north to south again in South Georgia.  Then, not shown on these maps, we headed north for a while before turning south to make our way to Antarctica, all in a quest to avoid very uncomfortable sailing conditions.

I so appreciated this extra effort and the rewards we reaped from it!



Antarctic Islands, and Antarctic Peninsula, Shetland Islands, 7 sites visited.  This map did not “copy” as well as the other ones.




Saunders Island, South Georgia – Gentoos building a nest



Zodiac Cruise near the Almirante Brown Argentinian Research Station, Antarctica Peninsula – Humpback and even some Gentoo Penguins



St. Andrews Bay, South Georgia – King Penguins


In order, here are the landings or activities we did that are indicated on the maps above:




            Saunders Bay


South Georgia

            Prion Island

            Salisbury Plain

            Prince Olav Harbor (by zodiac)

            Cooper Bay (by zodiac)

            Drygalski Fjord (viewed from the ship)

            Moltke Harbor

            Jason Harbor


            Ocean Harbor

            St. Andrews Bay

Antarctica and South Shetland Islands

            Elephant Island (viewed from the ship)

            Turret Point of South Shetlands

            Deception Island of South Shetlands

            Danco Island

            Gonzalez Videla Chilean Research

            Cuverville Island

            Almirante Brown Argentinian Research Station

            Half Moon Island of South Shetlands

            Aitcho Island of South Shetlands



Saunders Island, Falklands – Gentoo and Magellanic



Ocean Harbor, South Georgia - historic building from whaling days in background



Danco Island in Antarctica - Gentoo Colony



Cooper Bay, South Georgia - Macaroni Penguin colony, from zodiac



Westpoint, Falklands – Rockhopper Penguins


The Macaroni penguins have more golden hair than the Rockhoppers.  The previous two pictures show each species.




Flights—more complex than other trips I’ve done


Polar Cruises suggested using the agent, Exito Travel for airfare.       http://www.exitotravel.com/  



Jason Harbor, South Georgia, Antarctic Tern


Exito’s price was the same as what I found on Kayak as I recall, and there was no booking fee, so I used them.  Polar Cruises, which is a separate entity from Exito, kindly offered to look over the flight info before I paid for it, and I accepted that offer.


Antarctic Prion, taken from ship


Just about every flight from another continent to Ushuaia, Argentina first lands in Buenos Aires, Argentina at Aeropuerto Internacional Ministro Pistarini de Ezeiza, (EZE).  Then the flight from BA to Ushuaia is out of Aeroparque Internacional Jorge Newbery (AEP).  These two airports are about 40 miles apart.  Depending on traffic, it can take up to 3 hours to make the trip.  The Polar Cruise info indicated 45 minutes to 1 hour, but a few passengers I met said they were freaking out as their transfer extended to 2+ hours due to congested traffic. 


I had 6 hours between flights and it took me just over 90 minutes midday on a Friday to go between airports, but I ended up on a college bus tour of some sort with extra stops when my “shared shuttle” reservation was misfiled under the wrong date by Manuel Tienda Leon, the transport company. 


How to get between the two airports?  Here is what Polar Cruises suggested to me:


“We suggest using Manuel Tienda Leon & Remis Car Services for transfers. They have a kiosk in the international airport after baggage claim just before you leave the secure area. Manuel Tienda Leon also has a shuttle bus but it does take longer so you need to have plenty of time to be at the other airport 2 hours before flight time.”   You must make your way to the kiosk; they will not be waiting with your name on a sign.

“There is also a taxi kiosk located inside the EZE airport, just once you exit the secure area. DON’T go outside to get a taxi, most of those taxis are not official taxis and will overcharge you. Cost (as of March 2017) is about 900 pesos. They don’t take credit cards, only pesos.”


Here are the options as of Jan 2019 for ground transfer between airports by Manuel Tienda, also known as TransArgentina by TransTours.

Shared Shuttle...................................................$ 27.50  USD (what I booked)

Private Sedan (1 – 3 passengers)...................    79.50  USD

Private Large Sedan (1 – 4 passengers)..........  89.50  USD

Private Van up to 8........................................... 235.00  USD

Motor Coach up to 40.....................................  seek quote


Polar Cruises or Exito Travel cannot arrange the transfer between airports for clients.  I had to book online directly with Manuel Tienda, also known as TransArgentina by TransTours by credit card.





Wandering Albatross between Falklands and South Georgia, photographed from ship


This was my round trip flight, booked through Exito Travel.


Thus, Jan 3

12:37 pm Depart Milwaukee, WI (MKE)

 3:36 pm Arrive Atlanta, GA (ATL)

Delta Airlines 2475


Thurs, Jan 3

9:01 pm Depart Atlanta, GA (ATL)


Fri, Jan 4

9:20 am Arrive Buenos Aires- Ezeiza (EZE)

Delta Airlines 0101

Collect all luggage, go through customs


The airport to airport ground transfer with Manuel Tienda, also known as TransArgentina by TransTours, took place here.


Fri, Jan 4

3:05 pm Depart Buenos Aires- Newbery/Aeroparque

7:10 pm Arrive Ushiaia Malvinas Argentinas Ushuaia International Airport (USH)

Aerolineas Argentinas 1890




Fri, Jan 25

1:45 pm Depart Ushiaia Malvinas Argentinas Ushuaia International Airport (USH)

6:25 pm Arrive Buenos Aires- Ezeiza (EZE)

Aerolineas Argentinas 1890


Fri, Jan 25

9:17 pm Depart Buenos Aires- Ezeiza (EZE)


Sat, Jan 26

5:01 am Arrive Atlanta, GA (ATL) Collect luggage checked through from Ushuaia

Delta Air Lines 0110


Sat, Jan 26

8:18 am Depart Atlanta, GA (ATL)

9:23 am Arrive Milwaukee, WI (MKE)

Delta Airlines 2044


Note:  No ground transfer between airports was needed on the return route for my itinerary.  Many of my shipmates, who had booked air on their own, did have to do another ground transfer between airports for the return flight.  The other Polar Cruise bookers (who I assume may have used the recommended Exito for air arrangements like I did) all skipped the ground transfer on the return flight, just like me.



Brown Argentinian Research Station, Antarctic Peninsula, photographed from zodiac – Antarctic Shag


Booking on Delta (or I assume any international carrier) had an advantage because the luggage rules were those of the international carrier, Delta, throughout all of the flights. It was not Aerolineas Argentinas’s rules.  Delta allowed 50 lbs for a checked bag (and maybe even 2 bags at 50 lbs), and no weight restriction for the carry-on. Of course, the normal carry-on size restrictions applied.  In contrast, Aerolineas Argentinas had limits of 33 lbs for a checked bag and 10-17 lbs (depending on whom I talked to) for the carryon limit.  You could pay for heavier checked luggage but the Aerolineas Argentina carryon rules did not permit additional weight.



Gonzalez Vidale Chilean Research Station, Antarctic Peninsula, Sheathbill


Here is how 3 parties that I know of on the ship handled the Aerolineas Argentinas carry-on luggage rules.  One was told by the agent to wear her heavier camera around her neck, thereby reducing her carryon weight.  Another was a professional photographer who just piled his gear in his Pelican and checked it, hoping it would arrive safely in one piece, and it did. The last was a couple where the woman had a lot of photo gear but the man did not, so between them they redistributed the weight to meet the carry-on limit.  All were subject to the restrictions and not allowed more than the carry-on limit per Aerolineas Argentinas rules.


I had no problems, no hassles, no weigh-ins for my 40 lb checked bag or my 18-lb carry-on because I was booked on Delta and the international carrier rules applied. 


Dyrgalski Fjord, South Georgia – Snow Petrel, the only place to see them on this trip, photographed from ship



Black browed Albatross and Wandering Albatross between Falklands and

 South Georgia, photographed from ship


Passengers who booked the roundtrip flight to/from Buenos Aires and then later added the Aerolineas Argentinas flight from BA to Ushuaia had two problems.  First, they were subject to the Aerolineas Argentinas weight restrictions.  Second, when there was a switch in airlines booked separately, luggage tended to get misplaced.  One of my cabinmates thought she’d spend a few days in Buenos Aires before the trip.  When her Antarctica gear did not show up in BA she was in a panic because there was no good place to buy winter gear in the tropical Buenos Aires, and she had allotted no extra day for Ushuaia.  Her stuff did show up a day later in BA. Whew!



Wandering Albatross between Falklands and South Georgia, photographed from ship



Black browed Albatross between Falklands and South Georgia, photographed from ship


All the photos accompanying the info on flights are, naturally, flying birds and this next photo looks like it might be trying in vain to be a BIF.  Or maybe it is practicing its swimming strokes.


Salisbury Plain, South Georgia – King Penguin



Saunders Island, Falklands – Gentoos



St. Andrews Bay, South Georgia – King Penguins



Aitcho Island of South Shetland Islands, north of Antarctica – Chinstrap Penguin and Sheathbill



Brown Argentinian Research Station on Antarctic Peninsula, photographed from zodiac – humpback whale



Antarctica, taken from ship


Quote of the Trip—An Offer You Can’t Refuse


Since I was traveling alone, I thought some conversation starters with my shipmates might be a good idea.  What could be a more perfect conversation starter than penguin socks?  I bought 6 pairs online before leaving and packed them all. On the ship I wore different pairs different days and the socks did spark some comments.


Here’s my “Quote of the Trip” offer:  If you go to Antarctica and would like a pair of my penguin socks, I will send you a laundered pair for you to keep.  Women’s size 9-11.  Did you know the 9-11 means how long the foot is in inches, not the shoe size?  A size 9-11 sock is about a 7-10 US shoe size for women.




Here I am in a blue pair of penguin socks, but I have several colors you can choose from to complement your shipwear.




Ocean Harbor, South Georgia – Fur Seal



Salisbury Plain, South Georgia – King Penguins



Half Moon Island of Shetland Islands – Chinstrap Penguin



Turret Point of South Shetland Islands, north of Antarctica – Adélie Penguin



St. Andrews Bay, South Georgia – King Penguin



Prion Island, South Georgia – Wandering Albatross



Westpoint, Falklands, White browed Albatross


Next is arriving a day early & all that entailed, and The excellent staff.


Edited by Atravelynn
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Love the penguin socks! I may have to steal that idea for Svalbard...polar bear socks should be easy to find! :D

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7 minutes ago, janzin said:

Love the penguin socks! I may have to steal that idea for Svalbard...polar bear socks should be easy to find! :D

You might be able to find lots of polar bear themed items.  I also brought a penguin scarf--gray with black and white penguins on it.  There were 2 occasions when you could dress up if you wanted.  My penguin scarf was my formal attire.  You could go for the polar bear scarf.  I'm sure there is one out there somewhere.

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Arriving a Day Early vs. the Standard Itinerary’s Day 1


The standard itinerary had guests arriving Sat Jan 5, Day 1.  The airport transfer and night at Arakur Hotel in Ushuaia for Day 1 were part of the trip cost.  On Sun Jan 6 Day 2 embarkation was about 3:30 pm, which allowed time in the morning before boarding the ship IF stores were open, to shop for replacement gear in the unlikely event luggage had been lost.  But many stores were not open on Sunday. 


There was an optional tour, promoted by Poseidon Expeditions, to Tierra del Fuego from about 7:15 am – 2:00 pm Jan 6 Day 2, the embarkation day, that returned in plenty of time before we boarded at about 3:30 pm.


Luggage had to be outside the room at 7am-ish on Sun Jan 6, regardless of what you did during that day.


I decided to arrive in Ushuaia a day early, on Fri Jan 4 because:


a) Coming from a snowy climate there might be weather delays.


b) I enquired with Polar Cruises if they had a backup plan for clients arriving without luggage and the plan was to buy replacement gear in Ushuaia. I wanted a day to be able to replace items in the unlikely event my luggage was lost or delayed.


c) I wanted to fully recover from the overnight international flight and jet lag before sharing a triple cabin where, if I were sleeping and waking at odd hours, it might inconvenience my cabinmates.  An extra day would help get me back on schedule.


Westpoint, Falklands – there are 2 Rockhopper chicks in the photo



Gonzalez Videla Chilean Research Station, Antarctic Peninsula – Gentoos, viewed from zodiac



Saunders Island, Falklands -  Gentoo Chicks


My guess is no more than 10% -15% of the passengers arrived at Arakur Hotel in Ushuaia a day early.  I expected more.  But I would estimate there were also at least another 10% -15% who were in Argentina somewhere on Jan 4 doing pre-cruise travel, so they were relatively nearby and not flying in from across the world.


Turret Point, Shetland Islands north of Antarctica – elephant seals



Half Moon Island, Shetland Islands, north of Antarctica – hopping Chinstrap



Westpoint, Falklands – Black browed Albatross and chick



Saunders Island, Falklands – Magellanic Penguin



Saunders Island, Falklands – Gentoo



St. Andrews Bay, South Georgia – King Penguins



Antarctica sunset, taken from ship


The next comments may seem petty on my part, but I wanted to share the situation so others may benefit and be able to avoid any pettiness on their parts.


I informed Polar Cruises I’d be arriving a day early and would need the transfer to Arakur Hotel on Jan 4 instead of Jan 5.  Polar Cruises, then, informed me the transfer was only good for Jan 5 and that I would have to pay $22 in advance for the transfer on a different day.  I tried repeatedly to have the transfer, which was part of the trip cost, switched to a day earlier, but no go. Such effort for $22 may be considered a bit petty, I admit, but it was also the principle. I added the $22 to my invoice.  I suppose I could have just taken a taxi from the airport to Arakur, but I liked the certainty of a hotel transfer as a solo traveler after a couple of days of exhausting travel.


Then, it came time to book the extra night. 


Polar Cruises: “That will be $492.”


Me: “What?  I’m not paying nearly $500 for a hotel room unless it comes with its own penguin colony.”


PC: “The $492 is the cost of a triple room.”


Me: “But I am alone on Jan 4 so I don’t need a triple hotel room.”


PC: “The triple hotel room goes along with the triple-share cabin.”


Me: “Can’t I be put in a less expensive single room if I am alone on Jan 4?”


PC: “Yes, but then you’ll have to change rooms the next day to be part of the triple hotel room on Jan 5.


Me: “That seems like a hassle.  How much is this single room?  Maybe I’ll just keep it for two nights.”


PC: “$354 per night.”


Me: “That’s still very high if there is no penguin colony ensuite.  Isn’t there a less expensive room for me for one or two nights?”


PC: “No, not at Arakur Hotel.”


Me: “What about other hotels in the area?”


Polar Cruises promptly emailed a list of other lodging options.  I was seriously considering one that would have saved me about $175.  But if changing rooms was a hassle, changing hotels would be more so, especially if I was in the middle of tracking down replacement Antarctic gear due to missing luggage. There’d also be the cost of a taxi between Hotel #1 and Arakur, which was located way up the hill and not in town, so that would eat into any savings.


I looked into booking the Arakur room myself but there was no availability on Arakur’s website or other booking websites for Arakur on the date I wanted.  For other dates, rooms were about $75 less than $354 if I booked it myself, but again those weren’t the dates I needed.


So reluctantly, I said, “I’ll take the $354 room at Arakur for one night and then switch to the triple the next day.”


A nice surprise upon arrival at Arakur was that I was allowed to remain in the single room for both Jan 4, the day before the trip, and Jan 5, the official Day 1 of the trip.  No check out and check in hassles and no additional charge.  I must not have been too petty and annoying to earn that reward!  My cabin-mates shared a double room the day they arrived, Jan 5, meaning we all benefited by having extra space and fewer bodies in our hotel rooms.


Not all itineraries include the first night’s lodging in Ushuaia before embarkation in the total cost.


I made up the penguin colony comments, but the rest is all true.


Cooper Bay, South Georgia – Macaroni Penguins, viewed from zodiac – If these guys had been my hotel mates,

I would have felt better about the cost of the room.



Salisbury Plain, South Georgia – Fur seal pups – Or if these guys had been my hotel mates,

I would have felt better about the cost of the room.


On the ship I did encounter two separate couples who had come in on the 4th or before and booked a different, less expensive hotel in town in Ushuaia. Then they transferred to Arakur in the early evening of the 5th, Day 1 and checked in with the expedition desk.  If you wanted to spend a big part of your first extra day in town rather than up the mountain at Arakur in the forest, then an in-town hotel would actually make sense.  Arakur had a free shuttle between the hotel and downtown (about a 15-minute trip) that ran about every 90 minutes throughout the day. No reservation, just show up.  I suppose you could take that free shuttle from downtown up to Arakur with your luggage (rather than a taxi) although this shuttle was more of a people mover and lacked luggage storage.  Just learned no luggage allowed.


Ocean Harbor, South Georgia – One of about 4 Leucistic fur seals we saw



Westpoint, Falklands – Black browed Albatross



Saunders Island, Falklands – Gentoos



Antarctica, taken from the ship


Excellent Staff, Wide Array of Expertise, All Helpful, Friendly, and Enjoyable




Aaron Strahlke, Geologist.  He used his expertise in Geophysics for his geology story-telling presentations with graphics that were the talk of the ship—not kidding, they were that good.


Ab Steenvoorden, Ornithologist.  His international birding skills were helpful during the landings and watching petrels and albatrosses from the ship.  He will be taking the role of Expedition Leader going forward will do a wonderful job.


Anja Erdmann, Expedition Leader.  Loved by all of on board.  Very hands on.  She was the first smiling face we would see for all our zodiac landings.


Flipper Suta, Logistics and Zodiacs.  Also, a mechanic and a funny guy.  I forget the source of the nickname Flipper, but it had nothing to do with dolphins.


Georgina Strange, Naturalist and birder.  A Falklands resident, she also has her own nature, birding and photo company, Design in Nature.  She was one of four photographers to recently have a photo become a Falklands postage stamp.  The stamps were available during our visit and the Falkland Islands Jan 4, 2019 edition of Penguin News had an article on Georgina and her stamp!


John Bozinov, Ship Photographer.  John did photography presentations for all types of cameras, including cell phones.  He had workshops where participants took photos from the ship and he answered a myriad of individual questions. He put together a pictorial review of the trip and a slide show with videos, so if you did not want to bother taking photos, you’d still end up with a beautiful array of images on a souvenir tiny replica of Sea Spirit flash drive. The slide show was a touching finale to the trip that we all enjoyed in the Oceanus Lounge our last night.


John was licensed to use a drone, for photos from interesting perspective.  All passengers were made aware in advance, numerous times, that drones were not allowed, as we did not have permits and would not be getting any.


Example of Ship Photographer John’s photos that were provided to us.  I think this was from the drone he was allowed to use.


John also took photos of everyone who did the Polar Plunge and shared them with the group, unless the “plunger” requested privacy.  I used black squares over faces to preserve privacy.


About 20 of the 111 on our ship took the polar plunge.  I did not.  This is a composite of several of the plunge photos that John shared with us on a souvenir tiny replica of Sea Spirit flash drive.



Luis Turi, Kayak Master. Luis was in charge of all the kayak trips (which I did not do) and is the director of the kayaking outfitter, Compañía de Guías de Patagonia.


Peter Anderson, Artist on Board.  Peter has sailed around the world and is a balloonist who has participated in record-setting balloon flights.  No ballooning over the Antarctic, though.


The following is a sampling of a few of the 42 sketches from the trip that Peter Anderson shared with us, all contained on the souvenir tiny replica of Sea Spirit flash drive.





Examples of just 2 of Peter’s sketches.  We were given all 42.


He also gave drawing lessons to passengers in the evening and had an enthusiastic following.  When not being artistic, Peter was an integral part of the crew.


Peter Mihalik, the Piano Player.  He also oversaw the zodiac boarding and other tasks.  Fascinating guy!  He was a veterinarian in Slovakia, then studied classical music and jazz in Budapest.  He admitted that the motion of the ship presented a challenge when playing the piano.


Peter von Sassen, a journalist and broadcaster with his own TV show in Germany.  He brought those skills and a love of Antarctic history to his presentations.


There really were 3 Peters in the crew, and several more Peter passengers.


Sarah Kather, Geographer and Biologist with a keen interest in botany.  She shared her knowledge of Antarctic plants and its few resident insects with us.


Sergey Shirokiy, Historian.  Before joining Poseidon, Sergey had been the head of tourism for the Russian Arctic.


In addition to their particular talents, these staff members worked behind the scenes and (except for the Peter, the Piano Player) were also “Captains of the Zodiacs.”


All staff members were great, including those not mentioned here who worked at the reception desk, the waiters, the numerous chefs, the crew, and the housekeeping staff.  We did have some cleaning issues with our cabin attendant but those got resolved.  


The captain was quite the comedian and entertainer when addressing the group at the start and end of the trip. He allowed an open bridge for most of the trip and in that work setting we saw a serious and highly focused side of him.



Ship Photographer John Bozinov’s photo of the captain addressing the passengers, assembled in the Oceanic Lounge.



Some of those working behind the scenes



There is a painter in this shot



Saunders Island, Falklands – Magellanic Penguin



St. Andrews Bay, South Georgia – King Penguins



Half Moon Island of South Shetland Islands, north of Antarctica, Chinstrap Penguin



Antarctica, taken from ship


Next is Jan 4, arrival; Jan 5 extra day in Ushuaia at Arakur;

Jan 6 Tierra del Fuego & Embarkation; Jan 7 Sailing towards Falkands/Malvinas.



Edited by Atravelynn
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Fantastic detail and inspiring photos. Really wonderful 

It seems you had a crew with great expertise, even if not great celebrity 

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1 hour ago, TonyQ said:

Fantastic detail and inspiring photos. Really wonderful 

It seems you had a crew with great expertise, even if not great celebrity...yet

They were great!

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Fantastic photos and such helpful details! Your rock-hopping rockhoppers are great.  As always, an inspirational trip report from you sends me to my calendar to start planning........

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Also, re:bonine, have you ever tried the patch for seasickness?  We used the patch on a recent Galapagos trip in a very small boat, and found that it worked really well for us..

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1 hour ago, jmharack said:

Also, re:bonine, have you ever tried the patch for seasickness?  We used the patch on a recent Galapagos trip in a very small boat, and found that it worked really well for us..

My doctor said he could no longer prescribe them.  I doubt he has many patients requesting the patch, so maybe he was wrong.   I had asked for the patch because I heard they are so good.  Interesting that you recently used the patch.  So you were able to get it.

Edited by Atravelynn
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Hmm... several of the people on our boat had the patch.. and this was just this past summer.  It worked well for everyone on our trip, but this is a pretty small sample.  I think I got a refill as recently as December, for crossing the Cook Strait in NZ.  So, if it's been banned, this would have been really recent.

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I'm so enjoying your awesome shots and fantastic details/info/suggestions. 


Thanks for the recommendations of bonine - i'll check that out for the boating trip in August. I'm not sure if it's available over the counter but I'll ask around. 



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5 minutes ago, Kitsafari said:

I'm so enjoying your awesome shots and fantastic details/info/suggestions. 


Thanks for the recommendations of bonine - i'll check that out for the boating trip in August. I'm not sure if it's available over the counter but I'll ask around. 



You can equip yourself with Bonine AND a patch.   Hope you are going somewhere interesting in Aug!

Edited by Atravelynn
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2 minutes ago, Atravelynn said:

You can equip yourself with Bonine AND a patch.   Hope you are going somewhere interesting in Aug!


Gabon! a boat out to see whales. you know how great I am on a boat (recalling Musekese!), even on calm waters.  so I can sympathise with all your motion sickness symptoms. I am so amazed you braved the waters of Drake Passage and await eagerly to see how you coped with it. 



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10 hours ago, Kitsafari said:


Gabon! a boat out to see whales. you know how great I am on a boat (recalling Musekese!), even on calm waters.  so I can sympathise with all your motion sickness symptoms. I am so amazed you braved the waters of Drake Passage and await eagerly to see how you coped with it.  Spoiler alert:  Drake Lake.  But we had 25 ft waves elsewhere.

I remember the boat on at Musekese!  Whales in Gabon, how exciting.  You'll want to experiment with Bonine, patches, etc. to be prepared for that.



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African Flying Adventures

Thanks, @Atravelynn for the write up of such an extensive report. We are due for next year February to sail to Tristan da Cunha, which is a bit more north but they also have some wildlife specials there. 

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Just wonderful Lynn, your reports are always top notch but this one is really special. Thanks so much for all the practical info, I hope I can put it to good use. Why exactly was that hotel so expensive? As you say quite an insane price, was it luxurious? Really super photos, you seem to be on best terms with your DSLR, very impressive BIFs especially.

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On 6/5/2019 at 9:33 AM, African Flying Adventures said:

Thanks, @Atravelynn for the write up of such an extensive report. We are due for next year February to sail to Tristan da Cunha, which is a bit more north but they also have some wildlife specials there. 

I'll admit I had to look up Tristan da Cunha.  Hope you see some good stuff there and then enlighten us.


Jan 4, 2019, I arrived a day before the stated itinerary, in the evening.


The Arakur shuttle driver greeted me, just outside baggage claim, with my name on a sign.  I took that $22 hotel shuttle (that had been the subject of much consternation, debate and negotiation) with several others from the Ushuaia airport to Arakur Hotel, about 20 minutes away. I checked in about 8:30 pm and went to bed.


Arakur Hotel, high up on the hill (green buildings) “One of the World’s Leading Hotels.”  Taken from the docked ship.


Arakur, “One of the World’s Leading Hotels.”  This prestigious honor was demonstrated for me when there was a misunderstanding (my fault) about the afternoon “turn-down-service-chocolates” for my pillow.   To address my concerns, two different staff members each delivered armloads of boxed turn-down-service-chocolates to my room. I tried to decline but they insisted I take them.  Of course, I complied.


There is a no tipping policy at Arakur stated in my predeparture info from Polar Cruises, which I confirmed upon arrival.


The hotel has one black and one cream colored dog and both enjoy the company of the guests.




Jan 5, 2019 Day 1 of itinerary, when passengers arrive in Ushuaia and check into Arakur Hotel.


Since I had arrived the night before, I had the full Day 1 to enjoy Ushuaia. That included:


~ A walk by myself around the extensive Arakur grounds of Cerro Alarken Nature Reserve in Tierra del Fuego, which was safe to do alone per hotel staff. Ran into one other couple briefly, but that's all. I had to check out and back in with the spa desk for my walk, which was a good safety measure.  Picturesque views and vegetation and a caracara.


Cerro Alarken Nature Reserve in Tierra del Fuego, Arakur grounds, Dog Orchid


~ An orientation meeting with the Poseidon Expedition Desk at Arakur to explain the embarkation process and everything the next day. This was an individual meeting at my convenience where they told me about the optional Tierra del Fuego excursion the next day from 7:15 -2pm (about $100 USD) and an optional Train to the End of the World within the park (about $30 USD).  I did both and am very glad I did.


~Complimentary 15-minute shuttle ride from the Arakur lobby to the town of Ushuaia (and back) where I spent about 90 minutes. There are many top notch outdoor gear and expedition shops one or more streets back from the oceanfront in Ushuaia. These shops are closed every day during lunch for a few hours.  Also many are closed on Sunday.



~ A guided afternoon walk with a naturalist ($10 USD) through the Cerro Alarken Nature Reserve in Tierra del Fuego.  I signed up in advance at the spa desk.  The naturalist was a beginner who forgot her guide books, but it was a nice 90-minute walk with a break for hot chocolate and cookies and a rainbow!  Two other women went and we encountered about 2 other people.



Cerro Alarken Nature Reserve in Tierra del Fuego, Arakur grounds, walk with naturalist,  peat bogs



Cerro Alarken Nature Reserve in Tierra del Fuego, Arakur grounds, walk with naturalist, rainbow on Olivia Mountain


~Dinner with one of my shipmates.  For a table with a view in the dining room you need to reserve in advance, maybe even days in advance.




All in all, I was glad I arrived one day early.  Much less stressful and much more restful.






Excerpt from the log provided for us on a souvenir tiny replica of Sea Spirit flash drive.


Jan 6, 2019 Day 2 of itinerary, embarkation day, plus an optional Tierra del Fuego visit


Early extensive buffet breakfast around 6 am at Arakur and bags outside of the room about 7 am.


Since I chose to do the Tierra del Fuego tour, I departed from the hotel at about 7:15 am in a van with approximately 8 others.  If someone wanted to see Tierra del Fuego, it is not necessary to arrive a day early to allow time for a visit because of this offering on the day of embarkation. 


It took us about half an hour to get to the park.  Packing a snack was a good idea because there was one brief stop for a bit of lunch, but I would have missed the Black necked Swan if I had gone for lunch.


Black Neck Swan, Roca Lake, Tierra del Fuego during excursion the morning before embarking


The Train to the End of the World lasted about 45-minutes and had a stop for scenic views and waterfalls, a brief hike and photos.  Nice excursion, especially if you like trains.


Train to the End of the World Tierra del Fuego during excursion the morning before embarking



Upland Goose, Tierra del Fuego during excursion



Upland Goose chick, Tierra del Fuego during excursion



Roca Lake, Tierra del Fuego during excursion



Chimango Caracara, Tierra del Fuego during excursion



Chimango Caracara, Tierra del Fuego during excursion



Note I need and am wearing rain gear around Ushuaia


Back from Tierra del Fuego to the city of Ushuaia about 2 pm and we needed to be at the docks at the “End of the World” sign, shown in the lower photo above, at 3:30 pm, where we boarded a couple of buses that drove us a few minutes to where Sea Spirit was docked. 


Awaiting each of us in Cabin 347, in our native English or German, was a detailed booklet about our trip with plenty of room for writing notes, plus a detachable pen/flashlight combo for writing those notes (even in the dark). Very handy.  This booklet is identical to a 60-page PDF that was emailed to me.  So, if you prefer the hard copy, Poseidon provides it on board. (I was not successful in getting a hard copy mailed to me before the trip, only the email attachment.) When we reached South Georgia, our library increased, compliments of Poseidon, with another informative manual on that island.  We got a nice big fold-up map of the entire journey too.


First wildlife shot from the ship, docked in Ushuaia, Kelp Gulls


After the lifeboat drill we were officially on our way through the Beagle Channel (named for HMS Beagle on which Darwin sailed in his explorations of the area, along with the Galapagos).






large.1602964851_7THLOG.jpg.28b5b6baa1d4Excerpt from the log provided for us on a souvenir tiny replica of Sea Spirit flash drive.


Jan 7, 2019 Day 3 of itinerary, at sea, sailing toward Falklands

South Atlantic Ocean sailing offered many opportunities for Giant Petrel photos. 


There is a distinction between Northern Giant Petrels, which have a slight reddish tint to their bill and Southern Giant Petrels with a green tint. Both Northern and Southern Giant Petrels both live in the Southern Hemisphere.






Taken from ship, between Ushuaia and Falklands – Southern Giant Petrel, with slight green on bill.


John, the ship photographer, held some photo sessions during the sea day where he gave us tips, including interesting ship perspectives.


This photo was taken by me but was John, the ship photographer’s, idea.  Cool effect.


John also suggested using the ship’s life preserver as a frame for photos.  And he suggested taking photos using the ship’s circular porthole as a frame but with a cellphone, rather than a camera, because the cellphone focuses better in that situation.  I tried both the life preserver and the porthole with cellphone but did not like the results.  Nice idea, though.


We were told, today, Jan 7, was the best weather day of the season so far.


Next is Q6:  Seasickness?

Jan 8, Day 4 of itinerary-Falklands for Westpoint (1), Saunders Island (2)


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50 minutes ago, michael-ibk said:

Just wonderful Lynn, your reports are always top notch but this one is really special. Thank you! Thanks so much for all the practical info, I hope I can put it to good use. You already are acclimated to the cold weather, so that's one step toward Antarctica. Why exactly was that hotel so expensive?  It is one of the best in the world and that level of service and luxury, especially in that location, comes at a cost.   As you say quite an insane price, was it luxurious? Really super photos, you seem to be on best terms with your DSLR, very impressive BIFs especially.  I kept about 1 in 200!


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I echo the endorsement of Bonine.   I take half a pill when  I go to bed the night before and a whole pill that morning when I get up.  And after a couple of days at sea, the need for Bonine recedes, unless it is very big seas.  


Thanks for this highly detailed TR @Atravelynn - good of you to describe the pros and cons, luggage advice, difficult airport transfers, and more.


Good advice regarding arriving a day early.  Good to have the extra day in case of Murphy's Law.


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* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *  * * * *


Q6: How bad was the seasickness, including the Drake Passage?


Calling @Antee

On 6/4/2019 at 7:37 PM, jmharack said:

Also, re:bonine, have you ever tried the patch for seasickness?  We used the patch on a recent Galapagos trip in a very small boat, and found that it worked really well for us..


  A6:    Half of an over-the-counter Bonine every 6 hours and the EmeTerm Antiemetic Electrode Stimulator wrist band (link here) kept me feeling fine with no missed meals even though I’d consider myself very prone to nausea. 




I asked my doctor for a patch prescription but he said he couldn’t give me one. I brought non-electric wristbands, herbal ear patches, ginger anti-nausea gum, and some other stuff but never used any of it.  I was worried about seasickness, but the Bonine to a great extent and the Eme Term Motion Sickness Wrist Band to some extent, did the trick. 


On the ship they gave out free nausea tablets for anyone who wanted them and announced in advance when we should take them.  On rough days, bags were readily available all over the ship. 


Bags available when seas got rough. Almost decorative.



Kind of rough – there is a bird in the photo (lower right)


We had “Drake Lake” so nothing harrowing for our Drake Passage, but at other times waves reached nearly 25 feet, which sent many passengers to their beds and cut the dining room population in half during meals.



Drake Passage, rather smooth


During rough spells, many of us opted to rest in bed.  The rocking motion of the ship induced sleepiness along with the various anti-nausea meds, including to some degree, the Bonine I took.  The EmeTerm Motion Sickness Wrist Band did not make me sleepy.

No one on the ship that I knew of was miserable the whole time or missed a lot of activities due to seasickness.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *  * * * *





Westpoint, Falklands - Rockhopper penguin chicks in a downpour




Cuverville Island, Antarctica Peninsula – Gentoos




Stanley, Falklands –Kelp Goose, Male is white, female is dark.  Taken during the afternoon guided walk back to the ship.



Salisbury Plain, South Georgia – Seal pup and Giant Petrel


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3 hours ago, offshorebirder said:

I echo the endorsement of Bonine.   I take half a pill when  I go to bed the night before and a whole pill that morning when I get up.  And after a couple of days at sea, the need for Bonine recedes, unless it is very big seas.  Another Bonine user ant thanks for sharing your regimen.


Thanks for this highly detailed TR @Atravelynn - good of you to describe the pros and cons, luggage advice, difficult airport transfers, and more.


Good advice regarding arriving a day early.  Good to have the extra day in case of Murphy's Law.


Murphy left me alone thank goodness.






Log provided for us on a souvenir tiny replica of Sea Spirit flash drive.


Jan 8, 2019 Day 4 of itinerary in Falklands, Westpoint in morning, Saunders Island in afternoon.

Westpoint, Falklands 1st of 22 sites (I spent 3 hours at this site, which includes the ¾ mile walk to the albatross and penguin colony at Devil’s Nose and the farmhouse breakfast after.)


From the zodiac landing site to Devil’s Nose nesting area of Westpoint was the longest walk of the entire trip, just under a mile, most of it uphill on flat ground.  For those who chose not to walk, there was vehicle transport in a truck that could carry about 6 at a time.  Most of our group walked. 


The previous day may have been the best day of the season but the 8th was the rainiest day at this location that any of the staff (including Georgina, the Falklands resident) could recall. Half of all the rain in the Falklands falls during just 12 days and our visit was one of those 12 days, but an extra rainy one.             

Given the driving rain, I am impressed that the photos turned out and I was glad I did not ruin my camera(s).  I had a waterproof cover for the cameras that was not a plastic bag, as we were told not to bring plastic bags and they are officially banned in South Georgia.


Here is Ship Artist Peter's rendition of the rain.


Note the artist’s comments about the wind being from the wrong direction, which are repeated in red.


Normally the Black browed Albatross would be taking off and alighting at Devil’s Nose, permitting photos of hovering birds with outstretched wings. But the wind direction prevented them from taking flight.


Westpoint, Falklands  - This wing flapping by the Black browed Albatross was about the extent of the flying.



Westpoint, Falklands – An endearing photo because the Black browed Albatross chick is flapping its wings along with the parent.




Westpoint, Falklands – Black browed Albatross



Westpoint, Falklands – Black browed Albatross & a couple of Rockhoppers



Photographing Rockhoppers hopping between rocks was a challenge, but a few complied.



Westpoint, Falklands – Rockhopper doing its rock hopping



Westpoint, Falklands – Rockhopper doing its rock hopping



Westpoint, Falklands – Rockhopper chick, drenched



Westpoint, Falklands – Rockhopper Penguins and chicks



Westpoint, Falklands – Black browed Albatross



Westpoint, Falklands – Black browed Albatross colony




Westpoint, Falklands – Black browed Albatross, good look at the brow



Westpoint, Falklands – Rockhopper Penguin parents attending to chicks



Westpoint, Falklands – Black browed Albatross, classic couples bonding


Part of our morning included a visit to the farmhouse of Alan and Jackie, who own of the land where the albatross and penguins dwell. They treated us to an array of sumptuous homemade pastries.  I felt terrible traipsing through the hall to their kitchen in wet dripping clothes.  They prepared by covering the floors with extra rugs, towels, etc.  But no one could really prepare for such an unexpected and prolonged downpour.


Breakfast pastry spread Westpoint, Falklands, Home of Alan and Jackie, photo by John the Ship Photographer.


It was our choice how much time to spend at the bird colony and how much time to spend at breakfast.


I was glad I had more than one pair of rain pants because the ones from the morning were still wet when it was time for the afternoon excursion.


Saunders Island, Falklands 2nd of 22 sites (I spent the maximum 1 hour, 50 minutes at the site.) It also is possible to see Black browed Albatross here, but that area was not accessible during our visit.)


Saunders Island, Falklands – 2 Magellanic Penguins and a distant Gentoo



Saunders Island, Falklands – Gentoo nest building



Saunders Island, Falklands – Gentoos communicating



Saunders Island, Falklands – Gentoo Penguins



Saunders Island, Falklands – Gentoo Penguins squabbling



Saunders Island, Falklands – Rare find of King Penguins.  I saw only about 25 on the Falklands.



Saunders Island, Falklands – Gentoo



Saunders Island, Falklands – Gentoo, focus on the feet





Saunders Island, Falklands – Striated Caracara



Saunders Island, Falklands – Gentoo Chicks



Saunders Island, Falklands – Skuas feeding on dead penguin chick




Saunders Island, Falklands, Magellanic Oystercatcher



Saunders Island, Falklands – Magellanic Penguins



Saunders Island, Falklands – endemic Falkland Steamer Ducks -- male has orange bill and female has yellow



Saunders Island, Falklands – Gentoo Colony


Next is Jan 9, Day 5 of itinerary-Falklands for Stanley (3);

Jan 10-11 sailing to South Georgia



Edited by Atravelynn
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Really enjoying this report! And absolutely fabulous photos. What camera gear were you using?


Also...and maybe you are saving this treat for later because I know you never leave out any small detail...I am dying to see a photo of the "souvenir tiny replica of Sea Spirit flash drive" :lol::D:lol:

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Only read the first page so far, will catch up on the rest for sure! What a wealth of information, and what great photos! I really like the photo with the sailboat, it adds scale to the scenery.


But damn...I always thought Antarctica was off the cards for me. I interviewed once for a job with the BAS in South Georgia (didn't regret not getting the job though) and I have a friend who has done several seasons as a crew member (did you encounter a guy from Alaska with a name starting with a D?) and he often posts fantastic pictures. $11,000-12,000 would be by far the most expensive holiday I've done, but it is within reach with some dedicated saving over some time. When you book, do you have to pay in full, or is there a downpayment and then having to pay the remainder later? Especially when booking 2 years in advance?

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