Antarctica and South Georgia – 2023

After our first trip to Antarctica in 2016 the continent kept calling to us. Before COVID we gave in and booked an adventure different from our first. While our 2016 trip was purely to the Antarctic peninsula and early in the season this trip was to be at the very end of the season and take in not only the peninsula but also South Georgia Island and the Falkland Islands. Delayed multiple times due to the pandemic we finally were able to go in March of 2023. Even with it being 2023 given that this is a remote location in a contained environment there were still COVID testing pre-boarding and post as well as isolation protocols and the virus did make an appearance for several guests and crew that had to isolate for 5 days in the middle of the trip. Red and I stayed clean throughout thankfully which was quite a relief as a positive test pre-boarding means no trip!

Taking the long journey from Seattle to Ushuaia with various delays and swapped planes (thanks American Airlines – sigh) we made it but it was exciting at times. Two nights in very lovely Ushuaia we test and then board the boat – the Greg Mortimer of Aurora Expeditions. Aurora allows, unlike other ships, the bringing of your own alcohol on board so the day we were to board we found a duty-free shop. Asking the lady working there how much we could bring within duty free limits, she says “12”, and I’m like 12 what? And she says, “12 bottles” and I’m again like “any size? per person?”, she says “yes”. The only answer I had was “I can’t carry that much!” :). So properly outfitted our journey begins!

The Greg Mortimer is a purpose build polar expedition vessel providing a super stable ride with it’s x-bow and excellent viewing platforms and egress options on both sides and stern for zodiac cruises/landings and kayak adventures.

For example, I came out of the heated, comfortable observation lounge seen above, looked over the side and took this photograph! On another night when we were having a BBQ on the deck a pair of humpbacks came alongside to listen to our music and then proceeded to bubble net and feed right next to us!

The journey allowed us to capture many special moments. Antarctica was very different with little ice this time of year and South Georgia with millions of penguins and many, many 1000’s of seals was just magical. Please take a look at some of our photos:

Overall, an amazing and wonderful trip, not just seeing this magical part of the world but also making some wonderful new friends.

The seal pup’s couldn’t be kept at bay and hand a ton of personality.

And last a goodbye from a baby seal pup at the site of Shackleton’s grave.