Crossing the Drake Passage to Antarctica!

I woke up by the rocking of the ship and when I looked out to the window, huge waves were crashing on our windows! It was no kidding when people said the Drake Passage is known to be the roughest sea! The prescribed medicine worked, otherwise, I would be in the bathroom at this point! Jason was also awake and turned on the TV to see where we are; one of the channels has a map of our current location….open ocean crossing the Drake Passage!

We carefully held onto the rails and walked up one deck to Restaurant Aune for breakfast. Our breakfast:

Since the restaurant was located at the back of the boat, it has more motion than the middle where our room was located. As we were eating and looking outside, a huge wave as tall as the restaurant crashed onto the ship, the ship really tilted sideways and all the loose things like plates, cups, and silverware went flying!!! The lady who sat next to us fell off her chair, flew across the aisle, and hit herself on the buffet station wall. The crew came immediately to help her up and checked on her. It happened so fast that no one was expecting the damage.

After that, whenever we saw a huge wave coming, we hold on tight to our plates, cups, and silverware. Then the next second, we could hear broken plates and “ahhhhh” screams from the kitchen! One of the crew said it was the roughest day of the season so far! If they rated this as “moderate”, I can’t imagine how rough can it get and I hope that I’ll never experience that!

We went back to our room, watch movies to kill time, and then it was time for lunch. I messaged Peter and them and they were all feeling sick! They weren’t prepared for the rough sea even though I warned them before sigh! They got and took the seasick pills from the reception and it take time to kick in.

Lunch menu at Restaurant Aune:

Onion soup sounded great for this condition but it tasted terrible!

The chicken breast was dry and tasteless.

Next, we headed over to the activity info session – basically, only 3 paid activities: kayaking (124 Euros), snowshoeing (62 Euros), and overnight camping (I think 500 Euros) and 1 free activity: science boat. All those 4 activities are lottery-based as they are small group activities…kayaking was almost daily weather dependent while overnight camping was just once during the duration of the cruise. You can enter the draw for the activities you are interested in. We entered all except for the overnight camping. The results of the lucky draws were posted on deck 5 (very close to our room) the night before the activity.

The lucky draw pool, kayaking is the most popular and camping the least popular:

They divided the 280 passengers into 3 boat groups: petrels, whales, and seals. Then, they break down further into 3 subgroups with each. Ours was Crabeater Seal. Peter and they were assigned to a different boat group and we went to the activity desk to have them changed to our group so we can be together.

For kayaking, it was mandatory to attend the kayaking safety instruction briefing. They showed how to put on the suits which they provided and a quick lesson on using the equipment. We never kayak before so I paid attention 😉

A lot of people were seasick so they live-stream the lectures and moved events to the next day. Luckily, I was fine with the prescribed medication, it was a huge difference. Whereas, Peter and they said they were “traumatized” by it so ruined their experience a bit.

For dinner, we went to Restaurant Fredheim, I can’t stand the food at Restaurant Aune! I had a burger, it was at least fine and got our daily dose of blueberry milkshake!

Jason ordered a steak that was overcooked….they hardly can get the steak right at this cruise -.-!

After dinner, we went back to our room to watch movies and I fell asleep in the middle…I guess the rough sea really made me tired. At least I got good rest to prepare for the next day!

The next day was way better and what a difference it made, the ship was lively with people instead of everyone staying inside their cabin. Then, there was an early announcement that since the sea was calmer, the ship was able to pick up speed and we’ll be arriving in Antarctica this afternoon instead of tomorrow morning WOW!!!!

We arrived at Yankee Harbor, Antarctica!!!

I couldn’t believe this is what Antarctica looks like! Antarctica in my mind is one big flat continent covered with thick ice. Instead, it has mountains, islands, just wow! We were all out at deck 11 for photos even though it was super windy!

I changed my camera lens to 70-200 with a 1.5x extender to search for penguins but didn’t spot any yet…

I spotted 3 red cabins instead!!! Those were either emergency shelters or research stations. There was a sailing boat too!

Look at the size of those mountain peaks that dwarfed the ship!

It was too windy that the captain decided to head to the nearby Half Moon Island to try our luck at landing.

Look at the blueness and the pattern of that glacier, it reminded me of Iceland.

Without luck, it was windy at Half Moon Island as well so the landing for today was canceled. It was a bonus landing so I wasn’t too upset that it got canceled.

Restaurant Fredheim was closed for repairs, I guess they had some damage from the rough sea so our only option was the nasty Restaurant Aune. Here is the Day 3 at sea dinner menu:

The beef tartar:


The roasted pork tenderloin tasted so bad!

Jason ordered the fish:

I stuffed myself with bread because there was no way I could finish that nasty tenderloin 🙁

The thick-milk pudding was the best dish of the dinner, how sad!

Jason had the ice cream and they were much better.

We watched the live-stream of the activity session for tomorrow. Our Crabeater Seal group was among the first groups to land tomorrow!!! However, we later found out that we got the lucky draw for the science boat and the timing was in conflict with our landing time. We asked the staff at the activity desk and she said in a situation like this, we can either join an earlier or later landing boat. Also, to keep everyone entertained and utilize the time in Antarctica, they scheduled small zodiac boat tours in parallel so you are not just sitting there and waiting for your landing time.

I was really looking forward to the next day to set my foot on Antarctica!!!

5 thoughts on “Crossing the Drake Passage to Antarctica!

  1. Yee, would you mind sharing the name of your prescribed medicine for seasick? Thank you so much. I’m looking forward to your next post.

  2. We are really considering this trip and loving your as usual very detailed reports.
    Have you happened to find a pair of gloves that allow you to use your iphone? I’ve bought some over the years, but have found none actually effective. Thanks.

    1. I got the fleece gloves from 32 Degrees and it works on the touchscreen. It is sold out since the end of the winter season and they cleared out the inventory. I would think they’ll have it back end of the year.

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