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The Drake

Amazing capture of my orca friends on the Drake by Jason!
Amazing capture of my orca friends on the Drake by Jason! (Jason Ransom)

Okay, yes. Now we are getting to the exciting part! The dreaded Drake. Your biggest question to me would probably be, “did you get the Drake Shake or the Drake Lake?”. I would argue we had mostly the Drake Lake, with a bit of shake. Luckily Molly and I survived with our motion sickness patches. Neither of us felt the seasickness, but many of our fellow travelers did, especially on the way down. The waves weren’t large but they were odd directions. The stabilizers on the Akademik Ioffe were fabulous, but when the waves are coming in all directions, there’s only so much those stabilizers can do. I have to say, half the battle is even fighting through the medication. Molly and I napped most of the way on the Drake. That stuff makes you sleepy and very, very dehydrated. I felt bad for our fellow shipmates who were seasick, but none of us really knew each other at that point. There were a few presentations to keep us busy, meals (for the ones who felt good enough to show up) and the brave souls who journeyed out on deck when it was safe to do so. The highlight of the way down was seeing the creature I wanted to see most – orcas. Now, me being from the northwest-ish part of the US, you may be surprised I had never seen an orca. Well, I haven’t! Not until the Drake Passage. And did you know there are different types of orcas?  There are 10 types! Some in the northern hemisphere and some in the southern hemisphere.

Ari Freidlaender made a stop on our ship to share his new research during a fireside chat - so cool!
Ari Freidlaender made a stop on our ship to share his new research during a fireside chat - so cool! (Franny Friesz)


Day 2 of the Drake was so flat, you could see blows from whales all across the horizon. It was incredible. When they announced that there were orcas at the bow, I ran faster than I ever knew I could. I may have slammed a door in Molly’s face, I was so excited. I didn’t have my camera with me, just my phone, and in my excitement took many pictures of the sky. Luckily, our photographer on board was much more prepared and had a fantastic shot of these beauties. Some travelers argue that it’s best to skip the drake and do a fly-cruise. I would try to convince every person not to skip the journey of the Drake. It is a right of passage as you earn your way to Antarctica, that’s the most argued point. But, what I really appreciated were the two days on the way home to say goodbye to the friends I’d made onboard. You share an incredible experience with about 90 other humans and that’s a big deal. The last day in Antarctica was super sad. But what made it bearable was knowing that I had two more days to enjoy with all of the people I grew to love on my journey. Do the Drake. It’s worth it!

The best part about traveling always, are the people you meet. We loved this couple from Australia on our Antarctica cruise!
The best part about traveling always, are the people you meet. We loved this couple from Australia on our Antarctica cruise! (Franny Friesz)

 

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