I'll never go back to Antarctica.
If you've read my posts on Antarctica, you'll know how much I enjoyed it. How beautiful it is. How clean and crisp the scenery is. How amazing the wildlife sightings are.
Yes, I very much fell in love with Antarctica. But I will never choose to go back.
Because I was very lucky. WE were very lucky, on this expedition. We got to see so much wildlife - more than other expeditions - because of timing. We also made some amazing landings - some which other expeditions couldn't - because the weather was very much in our favor, as was the location of the ice. Also, the Drake Passage was quite kind to us on our journey into and out of the peninsula.
So if I ever went back, I may not be on such a lucky expedition. And you may not have realized it, but getting to Antarctica is a bit of a pain. Well, for me it was. And slightly more painful coming back to the States.
The airline I chose to fly from Miami to Buenos Aires and then Buenos Aires to Ushuaia (and all the way back on the return journey) was extremely flakey. They kept "unconfirming" my reservation after each leg. Additionally, once I got to Buenos Aires, I had to change airports. And going to Antarctica, I had a good window of five hours to get from one airport to the other, and get checked in for the flight. But coming back, I only had a three hour window. And we arrived late in Buenos Aires. And I wasted a substantial amount of time waiting at one airport for my luggage, as the airline wouldn't let me carry-on a 9 kg piece when the limit was 8 kg.
My luggage never came out on to the belt. And I had to get to the other airport and check in for my next flight. So I hopped into a cab and demanded they drive fast. I got to the airport, and had to wait for the airline to find my reservation, which they had unconfirmed again after the previous flight check-in. Then I had to wait in a long-ass line for passport control just to get onto my flight to Miami... And to sum it up... I barely made my flight. They were boarding the last passengers as I ran up to the gate.
I was beyond exstatic to be on the plane, and headed home.
So, yes. I loved the Antarctica trip. And I think everyone should go if they have the chance. But, that said, I do have tips:
- Go on the expedition over New Year's. We lucked out on a number of things because of the season's weather. And we also got to see a number of baby penguins. So it was the right time for the wildlife.
- Fly Air Aerolineas. DO NOT FLY LAN AIRLINES! Air Aerolineas flies to and from Ushuaia (which is where you have to get to in order to board the ship) from the same airport in Buenos Aires. So no switching airports. This makes life very easy. I realized that this was the airline to fly as I was waiting to check in for my own flight and saw a number of expedition crew members standing in line for Air Aerolineas.
- When coming back to the States after the trip, book yourself on a MORNING flight to Buenos Aires. The flights to the States leave in the very late evening... BUT you need to give yourself plenty of time to go through check-in and passport control before boarding your U.S. flight.
- Pack extremely light. I did. And there were still plenty of things I brought that just ended up being useless. If I hadn't packed them, I probably could have gotten my luggage on my small flight in Ushuaia as a carry-on, and not have wasted so much time.
I am still awaiting my luggage from the airline. They found it in Ushuaia still, after I had landed in Boston. I have little faith it will make it's way back to me. But I am okay with that.
It was a life-changing experience for me... And I am so grateful to have had it. But yes, there is no reason for me to ever go back there.