Bad News and Good News

Well, the bad news is that I am not going to be able to visit Iguazu Falls on this trip after all. But the good news is that, with a lot of last minute support from my dear friends in Texas who handled first stages while I was mud-bound and incommunicado in Torres del Paine, I have managed to get myself onto a “last minute” trip to Antarctica and will be leaving in a few days time.

In accordance with the booking conditions, I am not supposed to discuss the price of my eleven day trip on the Sea Spirit but, suffice it to say, it was reasonably close to the lowest price quoted on the “how to” websites and nowhere near as much as the full price. This was very important to me because it accurately reflects the priority that I personally assign to a visit to the Seventh Continent. To say nothing of any readings that might register on my personal¬†guiltometer.

Of course, no inveterate traveller is likely to turn down such an opportunity and, much as there are places that feature higher on my wish list, I must admit to having engineered our trip to the bottom of the world in such a way as to give me a reasonable chance once I reached the neighbourhood. Ushuaia is full of travel agencies offering “Antartida” trips but very few genuine, last minute reduced places to Antarctica are available and most of them do a good line in expensive consolation trips to Cape Horn or Penguin Island. An extremely fortunate recommendation from one of my Dragoman companions put me in touch with Sarah at the rather confusingly named Free Style Adventure Travel* and she supported me through the complicated booking process despite the fact that British pounds seem to be regarded as so much fancy coloured toilet paper in Argentina these days.

Anyway, let’s get back onto the subject:

I do remember studying the Southern Continents in my school geography classes and that when it came to an exam question such as: “describe the climatic regions/agriculture/weather patterns of ONE of the Southern Continents” the codicil “EXCEPT Antarctica” was always added. For the rarely admitted truth is that the White Continent is without a doubt the least interesting of the four. {I always picked South America for the gorgeous uninterrupted sweep of the Cordillera, Africa being too complex and Australia too dry}.

Grahame caught his flight home this afternoon, having already navigated parts of the Circumpolar Ocean in a real ship**, so I am undertaking the next part of this adventure on my own. ¬†I expect that the bookshelves of the hostel where will I hole up to await my departure will be full of accounts of the famous voyages of polar exploration but I’ve probably already read most of them and there is a lot of work to be done on the Patagonian photographs.

* Sandy wrote in exasperation: “I can’t believe how many times I’ve had to feed this (expletive) e-mail address in to get it right”.

** Sarah calls him El Capitan

 

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