We are packed-up, excited and ready-to-go from the very early morning, as we await information on the landing conditions on King George Island. Normally the flights take off early, but we are ready to wait in case the flights are postponed. We keep ourselves close to the hotel and the Punta Arenas land team, and drive to the airport as soon as our chartered airline gives us the green light. The expectation of exploring the 7th Continent builds, as we have donned our parkas, warm clothes and boots.
Once the fasten your seatbelts sign lights up, it’s time to fly across the famed Drake Passage - a body of water that marks the intersection of the cold Antarctic with the warmer Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. We substitute 2 days of sailing with 2 hours of flying.
Our landing is smooth as the planes are built for these types of landings and runways. Our luggage is transported to the ship and we enjoy a 2 kilometer walk along the Chilean Eduardo Frei base and the neighboring Bellingshausen Russian research station. King George Island is the largest of the South Shetland Islands and home to no less than 10 research stations, 2 churches and of course the Antarctic peninsula's only airstrip in use for commercially chartered flights. The expedition team is awaiting us with Zodiacs on the Fildes Bay beach and will ferry us to our ship. Once onboard, the exciting Antarctic wildlife comes into view with our first sight of seals, penguins and albatrosses. In other words, it’s time to explore the Antarctic islands of the South Shetland chain and be marveled by the captivating landscapes we will encounter along the way.