We have wondered how to tell you about our trip to Antarctica โ„๏ธ? How to do it right, without mixing all the feelings and experiences at once ๐Ÿ˜…? So we decided to describe it one by one, in several parts, exactly the way we have experienced it.

The Beginning

So we have sailed into these far waters on a 23.6-meter yacht under the Polish flag with the crew of Chief One: Expeditions โ›ต๏ธ We left Ushuaia’s port in Argentina on December 6th, 2019 with strong winds and gray clouds. We planned to leave the day before, but due to unfavorable weather conditions, we were not allowed to do so.ย Perhaps only someone crazy would ignore the warnings in these parts of the world ๐Ÿค”โ“

We started with great conditions, the perfect wind of 8 knots for the first few hours, and then a very calm cruise through the Beagle Channel where we have spotted the first penguins from a far distance ๐Ÿง After getting out of the canal, the conditions changed dramatically. After all, there is a reason why these waters are considered one of the most difficult & dangerous in the world ๐Ÿ™ˆโ“ The famous Drake Passage is a place where the Pacific Ocean meets the Atlantic Ocean and where winds can blow very strong. That’s the result of the temperature difference between cold Antarctica and warmer air from the north. And this is what happened to us ๐ŸŒŠ๐Ÿ’จ๐Ÿ˜… Although it was blowing in a good direction, we have reached a wind speed of 60-70 knots (12 in the Beaufort scale), which in gusts exceeded even 100 knots!!!…and in the assistance of 8-10 meters waves ๐ŸŒŠ๐Ÿ˜… Luckily for the race boat like Chief One, it wasn’t that big of a deal. It was here where we have achieved maximum speed, breaking the yacht record – 17 knotsโ—๏ธEven though it was the first time we faced such demanding conditions, we felt no fear or danger. We were prepared in our heads that it would probably not be the most pleasant sailing.

As you can see, the beginning of the expedition was quite a rough ride and almost every crew member felt it clearly on their skin ๐Ÿ˜œ Despite the very exciting sailing circumstances, most of the crew, including us, due to the medicines for seasickness, was rather sleepy or ‘struggled to survive ‘๐Ÿคฎ, occasionally nibbling on rusks or a slice of bread during each three-hour watch.

It turned out relatively quickly that the participants of the expedition were really very positive souls. We differed from each other in age, sailing and life experience, education, lifestyle, religion, characters, and even nationality (apart from 9 Poles, there were 2 Turkish girls and 1 Slovak boy), but this did not prevent us from simply getting to know each other. I guess in such a difficult circumstances people get along with each other faster and so it was with us ๐Ÿ˜Š

We were divided by Captain Irek into three teams (3ppl each), regularly performing watches (every 6 hours). It turned out to be a great solution. From the very beginning, everyone knew exactly what his duties were – when it was time to work, and when for blissful laziness, reading a book or playing board games ๐Ÿ˜œ Duties in the kitchen were spread out fairly evenly, and somehow, everybody naturally cooked or washed up sometimes. The undeniable leader in the kitchen was, however, our watch officer, Jasiu (who, apart from culinary, had a few other talents we could experience) .๐Ÿ‘

And so we sailed … The rhythm of the day was basically determined by the watches. And when we have calmly organized ourselves with the duties on board, we have started to be more and more interested in what appears around us ๐Ÿ˜ We were more and more willing to observe the breaking waves and the accompanying great albatrosses. More boldly we revealed the tightly wrapped faces to feel the real Antarctic wind on our cheeks. After passing Drake’s test, we were ready for Antarctica ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ถ

These were the first days of sailing. As you can see, there was not much space for excitement, but take it easy, in the next post we will describe our visit to the Polish Antarctic Research Station of Henryk Arctowski! Read more to see what’s happened there, how was our very first, direct meeting with penguins and seals ๐Ÿ’™

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