The Southern Cross appeared in the sky as we made our way down the Beagle Channel towards the Drake Passage which separates the tip of South America from Antarctica. These waters divide Argentina to the north and Chile to the south. Shortly after leaving Ushuaia, “the southernmost city in the world”, we passed by Puerto Williams, Chile, “the southernmost town in the world.”
There are no more lights between here and Antarctica. We are sailing out into the late summer austral night.
Students and staff boarded the Ushuaia late this afternoon and began settling into the routine of shipboard life. The first order of business – the safety drill. After a quick briefing, the alarm bell rang for a minute and we assembled at muster stations, donned awkward life vests, and clambered into covered lifeboats. The revised Polar Code stipulates that covered boats will be required on all passenger vessels as of this year.
It was a cozy fit and experiencing these sealed confines in a drill was enough for at least one claustrophobic student.
M/V Ushuaia sets sail (Photo credit: Lee Narraway/Students on Ice)