Besides my six day journey through the Galapagos Islands more than ten years ago I have never been on a (cruise) ship. The idea of being trapped on a boat with no opportunity to run around freely, to climb a mountain or to just get into solitude whenever you want did not make cruises very appealing to me. So really curious to see how this will go for me – three weeks on a ship…

I wondered to the harbour in Ushuaia to embark my home for the next three weeks.

The Plancius is a former Norwegian vessel which has been transformed into an expedition ship for the Arctic and Antarctic. It holds a bit more than 100 people and 50 crew members.


After a warm welcome by the crew I settled into my cabin which will be my “castle” for the next week. I am sharing the cabin with Andrej and had a lucky draw! I guess I also didn’t know what to expect but the cabin is really nice. Probably one one of the nicest and most comfortable spots I have slept in the last year. We also have a nice bullseye which will give us a quick indication in the morning how it looks outside.

Well, after a first introduction the ship left the harbour and we started sailing towards the Falklands. We will sail for more than 6.000km in the next three weeks! I had no clue which vast distances I would be covering on this journey… We went through mandatory safety briefings and procedures and the crew introduced us to the rough schedule. Something which they emphasised on constantly that there will always be a rough plan but it will most likely not or/and happen differently. It’s an expedition, not a cruise. Jieehaaaa, I guess I am on the right boat and my fears of being stuck on a stiff cruise started to deteriorate. Apparently the winds and swells down here can and are enormous and make landings with the zodiacs impossible and to dangerous in some cases.

The expedition crew is a bunch of young guides all with a useful background in geology, glacier research, different biology topics and much more. The time on sea will be bridged with a lot of lectures on the area we are heading to now. Great, “free” education on top. I am really getting excited now.

Our rough schedule looks like this: On day at sea to get to the Falklands, 2 days at the Falklands, 2 days at seat to get to South Georgia and then 4 days on the island before we have to days at sea again to pass the South Orkney and South Shetland Islands with a couple of stops if the weather permits before we spend another 3-4 days in the Antarctic peninsula. Wow…! And what really excites me is that even the entire crew which has been to South Georgia before is still totally excited to go there and says that it is probably the most amazing place ever.

So after dinner and a first screening of the crowd I had to realise that I am tremendously dropping the average age but on the other hand everything and everybody is very relaxed and casual. And everybody of the 100 passengers seemed to be extremely interested in nature and the journey itself. Good vibes and I definitely went on the right ship!

Next day was the first day at sea. The waters were calm so there was time to explore the ship a bit more and watch for wildlife. We spotted penguins, seals and a lot of birds as albatrosses.

Black Browed Albatross



Giant Petrel

Another advantage or disadvantage – I’ll tell you at the end of the trip – is the amazing food on this boat! There is great breakfast and even better lunch and dinner with three course meals every day. I have the feeling I am actually only stumbling from meal to lecture and back the entire day 😉

Next stop: Falkland Islands. Continue reading part 2