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Embarking on the Sea Spirit

 

SeaSpirit_SGI
The Sea Spirit at anchor © Charles & Mary Love

Puerto Madryn, October 21, 2017

Today we arrive in Puerto Madryn, a town on Argentina’s coast, nearly two hours by air from Buenos Aires.

The dining room of our hotel in Puerto Madryn looks onto the sparking blue waters of Golfo Nuevo. Gathered in front of a large picture window, our fellow passengers on the Sea Spirit are engrossed in some early morning whale watching.

Southern right whales come to the warm waters in the bays around Puerto Madryn to give birth during the winter months. As a result, whale-watching is a major attraction here, along with visits to Peninsula Valdés to see wild guanacos and a thriving colony of Magellanic penguins. On embarkation day, Poseidon Expeditions has arranged a full-day excursion here to whale-watch, walk through an active penguin rookery and have lunch at a sheep farm.

In late afternoon, we board the Sea Spirit, where Anja Erdmann, our expedition leader, tells us not to expect a milk-run. Our itinerary must be flexible to adapt to changing weather and ocean conditions. Even for those who’ve traveled to the Antarctic peninsula, South Georgia Island, known for dramatic scenery and one of the largest concentrations of wildlife on the planet, is a huge draw. We’ll have more time there (up to six days) than many other expeditions allow. And the Sea Spirit offers a bonus: Because the ship carries fewer passengers than larger vessels, our expedition team can offer more and longer landings.

A quick tour reveals that the luxurious 114-passenger Sea Spirit, has spacious cabins and public areas, including an elegant dining room, a library stocked with books about polar destinations and the Club Lounge, a popular place for morning coffee, afternoon tea, cocktails and socializing—day or night.

At sunset, we head to the bow. In front of us, Southern right whales, blowing and sounding, escort us through the mouth of Gulfo Nuevo into the Patagonian Sea. A Hollywood director couldn’t have staged a more dramatic scene! Finally, we’re on our way to South Georgia Island via the Falklands … stay tuned for more.

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