Wandering Cort #4 - Embarkation Day - On to Antarctica!

Ushuaia is a combination cruise ship port, tourist hub, and Antarctic adventure gateway.  Many cruise lines offer trips between Argentina and Chile through the Straits of Magellan with a stop in Ushuaia.  For those passengers, the dock is lined with tour operators offering a variety of shore excursions.  One block away souvenir shops line the street.

Tourists visiting Ushuaia can choose from climbing the Le Martial Glacier, skiing at several resorts during the Austral Winter, boating to a penguin colony, exploring Tierra del Fuego National Park, visiting the abandoned prison and several museums, or taking a bus trip to a farm.

Prior to embarking, we shopped for gifts and alcohol then ate lunch at a pizza parlor.  We ordered a large pizza split into 4ths with different toppings on each quarter.  One had crumbled hard boiled eggs and another had slices of ham like we might put on sandwiches.  The egg pizza tasted pretty good.

Everything that you need for an Antarctic adventure is available in Ushuaia at premium prices.  You could lose your luggage on your flight and replace it all: outdoor clothes, boots, even high end camera gear.

Alcohol is easy to find in Ushuaia.  The local shop owners must know that tourists will want to stock up before a cruise. All the gift shops have booze, there is a well stocked wine shop, and the grocery store had beer, wine, and liquor.

Yesterday was the official start of the trip, because we received a short briefing at 6PM.  Today we were scheduled to board the ship at 4 PM and pull away from the dock about 7PM.  So far the first two days of the 19 day trip seemed meaningless, except for the lifeboat and survival suit training.  Our first onboard meal was a full course extravaganza including appetizer, soup, salad, entree, and dessert.  If all of the meals are like this, I could get fat.

During our first briefing, we were strongly encouraged to start taking our seasick medicine, because once you are sick, it is too late to take the medicine.  I told Lynn that I was going to hold off because I was concerned about the side effects of the medicine.  The side effects can include dry mouth and throat, dizziness, sleepiness, and a spacey feeling.  Steve and I were planning to use the Scopolamine patch.  Lynn suggested using half of a patch to minimize the side effects.  This sounded like good idea.

I cut a patch in half.  Steve put mine behind my ear for me and I did the same for him, so we could get them in exactly the right place.  We washed out hands immediately because the Scopolamine can cause your pupils to dilate if you touch your eyes after handling the patch.  While we were waiting for the patch to take effect, Steve read the details of the patient insert.  Buried half way down in the text, it says not to cut the patches because they can leak and deliver an excess dose of the medicine.  Off came the half patches and on went full patches.