Embarkation at The End of the Earth
Aaron Saunders, Live Voyage Reports
Friday, January 16, 2015
Five o’clock comes surprisingly quickly when you’re jet lagged. But, as the nice English couple who rode the elevator with me at half past five said, “it’s never too early for adventure.” And today promises to be the start of a great adventure, as we fly to Ushuaia to embark Hurtigruten’s 2007-built FRAM for our voyage to Antarctica.
Checking out of the Hotel Emperador went smoothly and efficiently, and they had two staff members on-hand to cope with the rush. Unfortunately, the promised 05:45 breakfast wasn’t set up until 06:00 – a shame when everyone must be on coaches by 06:30. It was a touch on the small side: pastries and coffee. Keep some cash for the airport; you’ll want to buy a snack for the four hour flight to Ushuaia.
Aeropuerto Jorge Newbery, the domestic airport for Buenos Aires, is a quick 15 minute drive from the Hotel Emperador. Our boarding passes for our LAN Argentina flight were given to us on the coach, and 10 minutes after arriving at the airport, I was waiting at Gate 15 for our 07:30 boarding time.
As an interesting aside: there is no need to take out laptops or practically strip naked for the security check; just put any metal or electronic objects in your bag and put the whole thing through the scanner. Very practical.
Also practical is the charter flight to Ushuaia. It is interesting to think that each and every guest aboard the FRAM can fit comfortably inside an Airbus A320; a jet you have probably flown onboard on short to medium-haul flights.
My fellow guests hail from a number of countries, including Canada, the United States, Germany, England, France, and others. There is also a very large group onboard from China; if I had to guess, I’d say at least 60 people.