Jan. 23, Thurs.: Back to Punta Arenas

Trip Start Jan 13, 2014
Trip End Jan 25, 2014

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Flag of Antarctica  , South Shetland Islands,
Thursday, January 23, 2014

Jan. 23, Thurs.

This was a day of "lasts:"

Our last wake up call : "Good Morning Antarctica Travelers, It is seven o'clock in the morning.  Breakfast will be served at 7:30."  (in a New Zealand accent)

Our last time to "Dress for Antarctica."

Our last time to zodiak to shore.

Our last time to enjoy penguins.

Our last time to wear a life jacket!

Our last time in Antarctica.

We left our suitcases outside our room during breakfast.  We were dressed and ready to zodiak by 8:30.  The plane coming with the "newbies" was scheduled to arrive at 10:00.  We dumped our life vests in a pile, and explored the beautiful wooden Russian Orthodox chapel, stamped our passports in the Russian office, and began the thirty minute hike up the hill to the airstrip.

It was very cold and windy, and although we had thought of dumping our yellow rain slickers on the ship, we were very glad to have them on!  We waited by the "terminal" for our plane to land, watched the "uninitiated" deplane, waited for the ship to refuel (they SHIP the jet fuel in), and finally boarded.  Needless to say, there is NO SECURITY at this "ariport", which has no building.  The line to the bathroom was LONG!!!  There were no facilities since we left the boat, two hours ago. 

We had a similar lunch, and in two hours landed in Punta Arenas.  The flight was unremarkable.

We were met by Antarctica XXI people, two large buses.  We dumped our Yellow "Duck" suits in the trash can... they served their purpose well, kept us dry and fought off the winds, but they have no use in Topeka.

The arrival to the hotel was well organized as was everything on this trip.  We were handed cloth bags to put our boots in.  Our luggage that was left behind was waiting for us.  Our rooms were assigned and key cards quickly handed out.

We went to the central park to buy some souvenirs; we saw a tree "wrapped" with crochet;  then to the museum; next a walk around the harbor.  We saw a huge cruise ship, and commented that it would NOT be making a trip to Antarctica, since the largest ship allowed can only have 500 people.

We met our friends Greet and Walt for a lovely seafood dinner at a restaurant along the harbour.  Time to bed; an early departure of 4:30 am tomorrow.
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