Antarctica and the Falklands with Hurtigruten

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Date of travel

February, 2020

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The flight out was lovely with British Airways in Premium Economy, picked because one of my friend is 6 feet 4 inches tall. He found plenty of legroom! We booked our own flights and arrived one day before the rest of the passengers which gave my friends the chance to meet their friend who took us round Santiago then on to the hotel to meet the group. The o lay snag at the second hotel, a Sheraton, was the state of the pool! We had a nice flight down to Punta Arenas, after a very early departure from the hotel. The ship, MS Roadl Amundsen was not too large, and we soon met interesting people. We landed on some islands on the West Antarctic Peninsula. At our second trip ashore by zodiac, we did a Polar Plunge in water of 4C with an air temperature of 5C. Because of a problem on the ship, the pool was quite cool, so the sea felt the same! Most people just went up to their waist then ducked down to get their shoulders wet. I walked out then swam until I was out of my depth. The ship doctor photographed it on my iPad. When he checked and gave me a certificate later, he thought I was the oldest person on the ship to do it! I was only 75 then! After a lovely trip, calling in at the Falklands, (I felt at home with the red telephone boxes and pillar boxes) we returned to Punta Arenas, where we found we could not disembark as another ship, which we had met at Port Stanley in the Falklands, had tried to disembark passengers with the Covid-19 virus! We had to refuel and take on supplies, then cruise round for another 9 days, being given wine with lunch and dinner while discussions took place between Hurtigruten, governments, etc. Eventually, it was agreed we could fly from Stanley to Santiago, then to London on a charter flight. Unfortunately, only the Economy seats were available even though some people offered to pay extra for Premium or Business, so the return flight was bad. When I got the underground from Heathrow, it was strange seeing so few people on it! My friends and I were very glad the problem occurred at the end of the trip. Those people who had been going to fly out to meet the ship lost their holidays!


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