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Our team building was complete and the day had arrived for us to ‘move in’ to the 2041 – the yacht that would take us to Antarctica. It was pretty exciting…

Saturday 20th January 2001

Up at 7:12am, dressed, breakfast, then finished packing and got everything organised. I discovered that I had to pay for things like phone bills etc myself. Whoops – my bill came to US$100 – nearly $200! Not the wisest thing to do. I paid by VISA.

Then got the minibus to the wharf and the yacht, 2041.

Then got the minibus to the wharf and we met the captain – Mark and his wife Emily. We waited around for a while and eventually Brenda and Hilda arrived.

We then did some introductions – around the table (we were all in the Saloon and the Galley).

Oh – we also packed our gear in our rooms. The cabin space we were allocated was tiny! I was in the same cabin as Andres (Condor) and Marcus (Yank). I managed to fit all my gear into my tub!

Anyway the introductions went well and then Mark told us what was to happen today. We split into two groups.

I started downstairs with Marcus, Pip and Hilda. Mark showed us the things in the galley and some of the safety features. We also looked at the toilet and how to operate it and other bits and pieces. It was good.

Then it was a bit after 12pm and we broke for lunch. Again more laughter and jokes, mainly at others’ expense.

After lunch our group went up on deck and Emily showed us a few things. It was good, looking at winching, man overboard and our lifejackets. A couple of people (Hilda and Marcus) put on the big protective clothes – it looked funny. It was a helpful time.

After that we did a bit of organising and then Mark got the whole team on deck and we went through a few jobs and responsibilities. I have the job of ‘Antarctic Protocol’ – I have to ensure we comply!

We were also allocated our watches, I’m on watch with Brenda and Lynn. I think that means we’re up till pretty late on the first night!

Anyway after that, went into town and wandered around there for a while. I tried to get some money out, but I couldn’t! Jane ended up lending some to me!

I had a wander. This really is a very spectacular part of the world. I’m very fortunate to be on this trip.

I took some photos, wandered up to the end of the wharf and then to the 2041. I helped move some food about and wrote in here.

Things have gone pretty well so far. I’m really looking forward to the sailing now, Emily and Mark have said that you could almost sail the 2041 with 1 person! So that made me feel a lot better. I’m willing to learn about sailing and Mark and Emily are going to be very willing to teach us.

The big thing at the moment is sea-sickness. Everyone is talking about it and are discussing remedies. I’m hoping that I can be a bit of an iron-stomach and not get it too bad.

We have dinner ashore tonight – then tomorrow off the Chile and my first day of sailing!

I wandered into Ushuaia with Andrews and I practised more of my Spanish. We met up with others at the Food Garden and waited outside La Rueda for more.

I practised more Spanish with Andres and found out he is known as ‘Little Ant’ in his soccer team in Colombia. I said to him the name we have is ‘dogsbody’.

Then in for dinner. We had everyone on the boat there except for Jane who wasn’t feeling particularly well.

Dinner was good, pleasant conversation with Lynn and Hilda and Mark and Andres. We also talked with Andres trying to get the correct words in Spanish.

I feel like I’m getting the grasp of a bit Spanish, having Andres around is excellent.

Dinner was great – I ate heaps and had meat salad.

People went off to Internet cafes etc. I left at a bit after 10pm with Pip, went back to the boat. Got a bit sorted out and now I’m ready for bed. I took a sea-sickness pill – I hope to get a good nights sleep.

I can’t quite believe we sail out of Ushuaia tomorrow! The wait for this has been so long. Tomorrow we’re in Chile, then we’re off to attack the Drake Passage.

I don’t quite know what I’m feeling, it still isn’t quite real! I’m almost more excited about the prospect of sailing and learning to sail than I am about Antarctica. I suppose it’s because the Antarctica trip has become part of my expectations and my thoughts for so long! It will be a great skill learning to sail and I’m hoping to make the most of it. Paul Cameron said if I get some seamanship course when I get back I could possibly be on a crew on a Sydney to Hobart or somethin!?! Now I’m going to try and sleep in my new bed for the next 2.5 weeks or so! I hope it is good.

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