A few thoughts about the trip:
1. The crossing to Antarctica was very easy. The Drake was flat and we made it from Ushuaia to the South Shetlands in 40 hours. Because we made such good time, our first stop was on the Aitcho Islands in the South Shetlands. From there we made our way to Brown Bluff and our first landing on the peninsula the next morning.
2. The expedition staff was extremely knowledgeable and always available to answer questions.
3. There were so many memorable sights and sounds it's hard to pick any favorites. The two at the top of my list were sailing among the tabular icebergs in the Strait of Antarctica in the driving snow and entering the Lamaire Channel at 10:00 at night in lightly falling snow. The Lamaire was like sailing into a black and white photo at that time of night.
4. I was really glad we brought hiking sticks. They were very helpful on the hikes up the glaciers. They were also helpful along many of the beaches. Some of the beaches are rocky and in a couple instances covered with snow. That made them slippery. They have a few sticks available to borrow.
5. I'm glad we decided to borrow boots from the ship. They were plentiful and in good shape.
6. The Silversea parkas are very effective. Just remember to layer.
7. Average temperature for the entire trip was right around freezing, plus or minus 2-3 degrees F. At one point we had winds of 70 MPH but we were in a channel and the seas remained relatively flat.
8. I never wore my waterproof gloves. I just wore my glove liners and they were fine. There was one time I wished I had them however. We were on a Zodiac tour doing some seal watching. The winds came up, there was a lot of spray and it started to snow. My glove liners got wet and cold. Of course, this was the one time I left my waterproof gloves on the ship.
9. It's hard to get an empty washing machine, especially on sea days.
10. Seas were generally calm while in Antarctica. The one exception was the run from Brown Bluff to Cuverville Island. We were in an exposed area and the seas got very rough.
11. I highly recommend buying the video of the cruise. ($150 US) Our photographer was Richard Sidey. He did an excellent job capturing our trip. He left the ship in Ushuaia for a vacation. I assume another photographer will replace him.
12. The return crossing on the Drake was fairly rough. Seas were probably in the 10-15 foot range most of the way. We made good time and actually arrived in Ushuaia around 6:00 PM on the Feb. 8, with disembarkation scheduled for 8:00 AM the next morning.
In conclusion, a trip of a lifetime.