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Antarctica: boarding ms Expedition with pleasant surprise

Being a last-minute passenger on the trip to Antarctica does not leave you with your bagpack being delivered to your cabin door, neither it provides with special Canadian Goose Winter Jacket, but that’s not why I’ve embarked on this journey in the first place. To be an around the world traveller, extra jacket would give me just additional cost of having to sending it back home, like I’ll have to do with my Antarctica book and journey certifications after my trip is finished.

My last day in Ushuaia before embarking went fortunately fast with my heart beating faster then usual under huge excitement. I had this strange moment of compulsory need for getting myself Smoking Pipe and Nougat flavoured Argentinian tobacco. Don’t ask, it’s part of me that crawled out and just done it’s own thing, funny to watch for the rest of me. Then I had juicy steak with beer that I’ve got invited to from Martin (Snopek) my Argentinian friend with Slovak roots.

Walking down the streets to harbour was a joy. I was accompanied by other fellow backpacker, Udesh from South Africa who was staying at same hostel as me.

We both smiled and hoped to be on the ship very soon. Once on board and checking in they couldn’t find me on the list for a moment and I was ready to chain myself to door refusing to leave. Bit of panic in my eyes sparkled new idea and I’ve tolled them to search by my name Zuzana. There I was, cabin 207 smiled at me steward. they’ve obviously screwed up my surname, oh boy what a surprise over these years…

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I’ve dropped of my backpack, said Hello to my two new cabin mates and went off on ship discovery mission. Announcement said we were free to wonder all around the ship and that was all I needed to hear. Obviously there were restricted areas unreachable without knowing the code (later on I’ve managed to see much more from ship, but that’s an other story you’ll read later), but all the rest was an open maze. I’ve grabbed my camera, snap some photos of Ushuaia just like the one bellow.

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I managed to find the bridge door which was open and politely stood outside with eager eyes trying to see as much as possible on what was going on inside. An officer has spotted me and kindly invited me inside. First I was bit hesitant thinking he’s joking, but then I’ve stepped in questioning him. Is this really possible to enter bridge? Silly me, ‘don’t give people ideas, so they can change their minds!’, I’ve reminded myself.

Fortunately, it was all good and we started to chat immediately. I’ve noticed officers Eastern European accent and introduced myself.  This was received with strong handshake and big smile. I was speaking to Nicolay from Odesa – Ukraine. Such a warm welcome on board made me feel great and I’ve asked myself quietly. Could this get any better?
– Oh, Yes it did!

Just about when radio message to bridge sounded in background, other officer came to us turning towards Nicolay saying: Captain, all the passengers are now on board, we are ready to leave. I suddenly realized, I’ve been happily talking to the most important man on the Expedition, our Captain = Ice master!

I’ve also understood it was time for me to leave the bridge and find my way back to my ‘engine cabin’. All the time I was smiling and saying to myself, what a glorious start and what a charismatic man. I felt very calm knowing, I’ll be in good hands sailing on open sea, idea that was bit haunting, as I’ve never done it in my life before. Especially after hearing about returning journey of last passengers, big storm with 10 – 15 meters waves and sea sickness struggle.

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