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Antarctica Quark Expedition on the Orlova |

On arrival at Tierra del Fuego, the Southern most point of land and on boarding our cruise where we would live for the next eleven days, we were told that we were about to embark on a trip that would change our lives. Well, yes that's so so true. Antarctica, the most unvisited continent in the world that is twice the size of Australia is just so beautiful and gave us so many experiences its hard to remember them all. We would go to bed at night and find it hard to remember all the fantastic moments from the previous day as they just kept on piling up. In 2000, 5000 people were lucky enough to visit this unusual place and it has now grown to 25,000 in 2005,2006.

Our éxpedition was the last one for the 4 month season of 2005,2006 and we were aboard a Russian ship called the Orlova which had a great Russian crew and then had Expedition staff to plan out and integrate with the 100 odd passengers on board from all over the world.Talk about true comfort. 4 to 5 course meals constantly. We nearly had to be rolled off the ship at the end. A true cruise. No meal was ever repeated and we regularly had champagne receptions.... It defo was not a backpacker holiday so we aimed to enjoy every minute of it while it lasted!!

Th age group ranged from 22 to 85 and we were surprised by the high numbers of young people there but to be honest everyone was so up for the trip that awaited them and the excitement on every ones face was great as we saw our first whale etc. Everyone on board had been to so many wonderful places all over the world so as you can imagine my list of places to travel continues to grow by the day!

Well after passing the Drakes passage (one of the roughest patches of water in the world) which lasted for two days (and of course I was sick) we arrived in the Antarctic circle on our way to the continent where many the Antarctic explorer had passed for the last 100 or so years before us. During these few days we were accompanied by amazing birds -wandering Albatross, Royal Albatross, Snow Petrels, Cape Petrels and Storm Petrels and attended regular lectures on the birds and mammals that we would see, all about their breeding and feeding patterns and what stage they were at this stage of the year. Shackleton, Crean, Nordenskold, Amundsen, Scott and other explorers tales were told as we passed some of the spots they tried or even succeeded on landing at. So interesting and never a dull moment. What a great start.

Locations Visited: None specified.

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