Lots of Farewells and A Long-Awaited Hello

Sunday 15 January 2023

Day 12 – 13 January 2023

Waking up at the pier in Ushuaia we were welcomed by serene, mirror-like sea conditions, a drastic change after two days in the Drake Passage! Suitcases had been packed and sent away the night before, so we had a little time to have a last look around the ship, keeping our eyes peeled for any wildlife around the port. We sat down for one last breakfast together and eventually the announcement came that it was time for our group to leave. We were all sad to be leaving our floating home and there were hugs all round from the wonderful crew who all let us know how sad they were to see us go.

MS Roald Amundsen on the pier in Ushuaia (photo by Sonja)
The super helpful always smiley Amundsen Reception Team (photo by Sonja)

We were ferried by bus out of the port area and were given a couple of hours to explore Ushuaia. This was lovely news for me as I had been too busy running around trying to buy clothes before embarkation to replace key gear from my lost luggage. We all headed out to source some souvenirs and get our passports stamped with the tourist stamps proving that we’ve been to the “End of the World”.

Stamps in passport (photo by Katherine)

A few of us were also keeping their eyes trained onto the mountains behind the city and the sky above, and their efforts paid off. Some were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of an Andean Condor high up in the sky.

An Andean Condor in Ushuaia (this one was seen by everyone as it was ‘soaring’ above one of the souvenir shops, but some of the team did see a real one too!) (photo by Sonja)

All too soon it was time to head to the airport, however, there was very good news! My missing suitcase had finally been located and we were reunited at long last. I’ll be taking home mostly clean clothes unlike my fellow expeditions….

We used the time at Ushuaia airport to catch up on some sleep and do a little blog writing, finally it was time to board the first leg of our journey home. But first we had to say our final farewell to Sonja who is remaining in Ushuaia to receive the next lucky group of polar explorers.

And then we were in the air on Flight one Ushuaia to Buenos Aires. After a wee bit of a bumpy landing we took the pre-arranged shuttle to the hotel and then had some time of the afternoon left. So we headed out for some food and an ice cream to round off what had been a spectacular trip. Our team is now parting ways taking different routes home to Scotland. Most are heading home late on Saturday, others are taking a detour to Sao Paulo where they have an eighteen-hour layover (good luck troops!). But fingers crossed that we should all be reunited in St Andrews in time for our first class at 9am on Monday morning. Unfortunately the start of the second semester waits for no-one…..

St Andrews Expedition Group One back at Ushuaia airport

Written by Katherine

Katherine finally reunited with her suitcase at the end of the trip (photo by Sonja)

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