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The ride back across the Drake Passage from Antarctica was much much worse

 

Day 4: There’s only 2 places in the world where you can sail directly into a volcano. The first one is Santorini, Greece (yawn), the second one is Deception Island in Antarctica:

 

And we got exactly the kind of epic weather we had been hoping for: 

 

 

We first landed by a colony of Chinstrap Penguins:

 
 

Chinese vs. Penguins

 

Then hiked up the volcano’s mouth of Deception Island: 

 

 

And just took it all in:

 
 

 

What better way to spend your last day in Antarctica: 

 

Expedition leaders FTW

Then a brief rest on the ship with rum and hot chocolate by the bridge:

 

Later in the afternoon as if some bookended epilogue, we visited the serene Half-Moon Island — home to one of the largest colonies of Chinstrap Penguins: 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

We found a lone Macaroni Penguin, totally out of place at this part of the Antarctic: 

 

After about an hour walking around the island, we took one last breath of Antarctic air before setting foot back on our ship. This was to be our last stop before sailing home.

 
 

Our last sight of Antarctica

And for the next 2 days we took on the Drake Passage one more time before arriving back to civilization:

"Icebergs, right ahead!"

 

Things got really rough sailing home. The “Drake Lake” suddenly became the “Drake Shake” at around 5am of Day 2. Some people stayed in bed all day, while others headed to the bridge to catch some epic waves: 

Never ever step outside a ship when there’s a storm outside!

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

After enduring the Drake Passage, we caught sight of dolphins playfully following our ship. By then we knew we were nearing the mouth of the Beagle Channel:

 
 

 

The first signs of civilization began to encroach upon the horizon: 

 

And by evening we were slowly being towed towards Ushuaia. 

 

We docked 7am the next morning:

When there weren’t penguins to take photos of, the Chinese took photos with Tabitha instead

 

Back in Ushuaia

 

After a few housekeeping formalities, we were eventually allowed to disembark at 9am, approximately 210 hours after we first boarded the m/v Ortelius for Antarctica:

Our group disembarking

 

In the flurry of handshakes and hugs, the goodbyes began to set in: 

And before I knew it, we were already forging ahead . . . more places to see, more people to meet; Antarctica was already becoming a memory for all of us: A dream that became too real to believe, a trip too unbelievable to be true. 

I caught the 5:45pm flight for El Calafate.

El Calafate

 

…And a new adventure…

 

…begins…

“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.” – Jack Kerouac

– At time of posting in Deception Island, it was 23 °F
Humidity: n/a | Wind Speed: 25km/hr | Cloud Cover: blizzard