13th-15th April: At sea, Rio Del Plata, Buenos Aires

On the 13th and 14th we were at sea and this offered an opportunity to prepare images and posts, though as it turned out it took some time to get the opportunity to post them.

On the 15th we arrived in Rio Del Plata and our sea voyage of 27 days to Antarctica, the Falklands and the Atlantic coast of Patagonia was at an end.  A very special opportunity it was too, especially as a specifically photographic expedition with only 16 passengers.  We felt in very safe hands with the Russian Captain and crew and all the excursions were very well organised.  Anyone interested in similar expeditions may wish to check out the Aurora Expeditions website.

We had a few hours in Rio Del Plata which is a large modern city.  The city centre had lots of shops as city centres do but it appeared to lack the anarchic charm of some of the Patagonian towns we had visited.

So then, on a bus and off to Buenos Aires.  You may recall the view from the Hotel window in the first post from Buenos Aires and we were heading for the same Hotel.    We arrived at 5pm in rush hour on a Friday night, coming up on the other side of the road.  It was most impressive to see the bus driver come round the big roundabout and force his way across six “lanes” of traffic (no lane markings) to park outside the Hotel on just the other side of the roundabout.

10th April: South Atlantic Ocean

Another day at sea, a little less calm but not wild like the Drake Passage. Having come further north, most of the albatrosses had dropped away but there were still giant petrels trailing after the ship. I’d seen quite a few of these on the trip but not got any good images so I decided to rectify this. It was much easier to get sharp images without the ship constantly rearing underfoot though not quite as exhilerating.

Some were able to see a sei whale that passed us by. I didn’t get any images of that though there are lots of images of whales in my Antarctic posts.

There were several tours of the ship’s engine room and I went on one of them. Above is the ship’s massive engine – one bank of cylinders to the left and you can just see the edge of the other to the right.

Being an engineer requires unusual dedication – the ship may be rolling in a heavy sea and you have to keep the engine going, watch out for the many things you can hit your head on and endure the deafening noise and the diesel fumes. Below is a workbench area where they can fix anything that breaks.

Then spectacular sunsets again, this time at sea.

9th April: Patagonia (Puerto Deseado and South Atlantic Ocean )

After a few hours in Puerto Deseado in the morning, we spent the rest of the day at sea.

On the right is the pilot, disembarking back off the side of the ship onto a tugboat in the open sea.  The sea was very calm at this time but I imagine it could be quite a tricky operation in a rough sea.

We sailed north along the coast of Patagonia and recieved a fine view of the lighthouse at Cabo Blanco as we passed close by.

The Capo Blanco lighthouse as we passed by, looking directly into the sun.

Here is another view, a bit further on.