Sailing the Drake

Allison Silvaggio

No, this is not a reference to Drake, the Canadian-born rapper, with song titles that are actually quite fitting for a post about Antarctica. I’m pretty sure this isn’t what he meant, but I’m going to go with it anyway.

When heading on an Antarctic Expedition, you will most likely sail from Ushuaia.  The world’s most southerly city, which lies in Tierra del Fuego at the Austral tip of Patagonia.

We only had a few hours to explore, and after spending some time, I would highly recommend spending a few nights.  There are Museums, Hotels & Restaurants and some great hikes in Tierra del Fuego National Park.

You will then sail through the Beagle Channel (named after the ship HMS Beagle, during its first expedition of the southern part of South America which lasted from 1826 – 1830), and into the Drake Passage.

At this time, your ship’s Captain may advise if to expect a stormy Drake, and to start taking sea sickness medication, or the calm seas of the ‘Drake Lake.’  This being said, the Captain’s do a wonderful job

Keeping up with the constant weather reports, and changing course if needed to ensure a smoother crossing.

The Passage comprises 800 km of open ocean between Cape Horn and the South Shetland Islands, which lie NW of the Antarctic Peninsula.  It took our vessel just under two days to cross.

For those travellers who prefer not to take on the challenge of crossing the Drake Passage, there are also options to fly across and board your vessel at King George Island.                          

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