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About dpro

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Texas Gulf Coast
  1. dpro

    The Drake

    We crossed the Drake in February of 2010 and the captain said it was the "second worse crossing for that season". We had 50' plus seas and hurricane force wind. Wife was thrown out of her reading chair, I was tossed out of the bunk. At dinner, we all had to use the napkins to tie our chairs to the legs of the table to keep from being tossed out of them. One lady was thrown into a column and had to have stitches in her head. It was exactly what I wanted to experience, and even though we had sailed over 30 times when that occurred, I did get very sick. This went on for almost two days. IT WAS AWESOME (& very scary at times). However, for what we saw and experienced over 22 days, it was the trip of a lifetime. We leave in 6 weeks for a second trip. By all means go, you won't regret it and have at least a 50/50 chance you will have a "Drake Lake" and not the "Drake Shake". :eek: opatravels dot blogspot dot com for pics and details
  2. dpro

    Antarctica vs. Alaska

    We have been to both, Alaska 3 times and going back to AA next year. Antarctica is by leaps and bounds ahead of Alaska for sheer beauty. The excursions is the icing on the cake.
  3. I agree, we went on the Fram in 2010 for the "Shackleton Route", AA, S. Georgia, Falklands, etc. The ship only had 268 on board. We never had any problems with excursions. Once we got ashore, we basically had all the time we wanted, there was no one telling us we had to return after just an hour or so. We are going back on the Midnatsol in November of 2016, plus it leaves from Punta Arenas so there is so much to see there before we sail. Far South Expeditions has some absolutely great trips from Punta Arenas, and we are going to go two weeks early and do an 8 day tour of Patgagonia.
  4. [url]http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hampshire-21140661[/url]
  5. dpro

    Motion sickness and traveling the southern ocean

    [quote name='three4rd']Hi, I really appreciate the responses. I am encouraged to do this trip. Right now it's long range planning. We just don't have the time with working schedules to do this trip yet. Regarding patches, I've never used them. I do, however, have wristbands - which have always worked well for me. I wear them non-stop on any cruise no matter what is going on with the ocean! Perhaps patches work even better. I'll have to do some research on that one. Who would you recommend going with? My travel agent tells me Tauck is best - but also recommended General Tours. I do like how Hurtigruten also visits the other islands. The other tour companies I am looking at - Tauck and Collette primarily, do not go there. Thanks again, three4rd[/QUOTE] I guess this depends on how deep your pockets are. We got a great deal for the Fram, had as much times as we wanted onshore, food was good, nice, [COLOR="Red"]stabilized[/COLOR], ship, and crew was outstanding. Also we could pay with our CC. I am sure others who went with other lines are just as satisfied. We put our ear patches on when we boarded the plane in BA for the 3 hour flight, so we were covered by the time we got on board. The only discomfort was a bit of slight itch behind the ear, but it was nothing we could not deal with. The patches worked great for us, we preferred getting the medication instead of relying on the pressure points, though in your case why not do both? Good luck on planning, post here if you have any questions and I am sure there will be many who will offer advice.
  6. dpro

    Motion sickness and traveling the southern ocean

    [quote name='three4rd']Hi, I have been looking at various trips and many different companies for Antarctica. Frankly, my main concern is about seasickness. The more 'horror' stories I read about crossing the Drake, the more concerned I become about even going on this trip. I do need to wear wristbands even on a mild ocean cruise, and also sometimes take meclizine, and so I have no idea how I'd do in the Southern Ocean. Any advice or thoughts welcome. I've read some reviews that say this cruise is 'not for everyone'. Unfortunately that 'everyone' might be pointed at my direction. But I'd love to go. I'd be willing to put up with some seasickness in order to visit such an amazing place, but neither do I want to spend 5 figures on a trip during which I'd feel miserable for days on end. If possible, I'd prefer to choose a trip that only crosses the Drake once. I'd also, however, love to visit South Georgia and the Falklands - and I've read that in general the southern ocean can be rough anywhere in that area. I see that Quark even has a trip that flies there avoiding the Drake entirely. It's very expensive though and also doesn't visit South Georgia or the Falklands - but maybe for me the less cruising down there the better! Has anyone gone with Tauck, Collette, or Quark for Antarctica? Those are the main ones I have been considering. Thanks for any thoughts! PS...Does the MS Fram provide boots for the expeditions?[/QUOTE] Yes, the Fram does supply boots. We did the Fram on the Shackleton Route in Feb of 2010. After we crossed the "Drake Shake", we were told by the captain it was the 2d worse crossing of that year, and yes, I did get a bit of sea sickness, but not my wife. I managed it though by using the patches and taking the pills. Once you get across, the water is very calm. However, when we went around the horn, we were in hurricane force winds and it was very rough. Once we stopped in the Falklands and SG all was fine, the storms come and go and the Fram has excellent stabilizers to reduce the roll. BUT - all of this was easily managed by keeping the patches on and using the pills. We were not sick for days and days and recovered very quickly once the seas settled down. I have seen many reports of the "Drake Lake", so it is really a crap shoot on what you will get. [SIZE="6"][COLOR="Red"]PLEASE GO[/COLOR][/SIZE] - do not let the worry of a bit of seasickness stop you, get your patches and pills, ginger or whatever works for you. Once you get across the Drake and see the beauty, any thoughts you had of being sick will vanish. We are headed back in 2014, without any fear of the seasickness. I have a detailed log and pics here, some of which discusses the weather with pics. [url]http://opatravels.blogspot.com/2010/02/goin-south.html[/url]
  7. [quote name='boulders']I'm thinking about an Antarctica trip over Christmas next year. It would go to the Falklands and South Georgia as well. From what I've seen, the temps in the Falklands are about 8 degrees Celsius (high 40's Fahrenheit), though today the weather forecast says it is 14 Celsius, Antarctica is around zero (32 Fahrenheit) and South Georgia is somewhere in between. Those temps sound pretty balmy for this time of year to a Canadian. The cruiseline's recommendation for multilayers, parkas, double gloves etc, sound kind of overkill for those temps. For those of you who live in the US Northeast (where I lived for several years) or Canada - how does the weather in Antarctica compare? Between living in the northeast and moving back to Canada, we lived in Minnesota for several years where it got down to minus 25 Celsius or minus 30 Fahrenheit each winter. Frankly, anything above zero Fahrenheit sounds fine to me, but maybe there is more windchill in Antarctica?[/QUOTE] We experienced colder weather when we lived in Connecticut than we ever did in AA. Many days we were in shirtsleeves on deck. The coldest times were in the zodiacs with the wind chill, which only lasted until we reached shore or got back on board. On some windy days we wore just a shell on decks and were very comfortable with that. We went overboard on the clothing and extra layers, after the first outing we dropped about half of our layers and were comfortable after that. When we went to SG and the Falklands we wore just a long sleeve shirt and a very light sweater. It should be a summer excursion for you based on where you have lived. RonC
  8. dpro

    Trying to decide on Antarctic cruise

    We went with Hurtigruten on the Shackleton Route, it was awesome. Some during our research thought that since the Fram carried more than about 100 passengers, our time on shore would be affected, it was never the case. We had as much time onshore as we wanted. We are headed back in Feb 2014 for a second trip. Can't help with the bar menus, sorry. You can read our report with pics here: http://opatravels.blogspot.com/2010/02/goin-south.html
  9. dpro

    Waterproof Pants Question

    We wore water resistant lined shell pants, like you get at Academy or similar, they worked fine. You will be fine, in fact you may have gone overboard a bit on pants. I would splurge on the gloves though, you will need a liner pair, wool or similar, and a waterproof pair. We had waterproof glacier gloves that had the little finger hole for cameras, they worked great. Once ashore, take off the waterproof gloves and just use the wool liners. We fretted a lot about clothing also, and ended up taking more than we needed. It probably won't be as cold as you think, we experienced much colder weather when we lived in Connecticut than we ever did in AA. Enjoy your cruise, it's a trip not to be missed. Rc
  10. dpro

    Early planning questions for those who have been.

    [quote name='Familygoboston']Thank you Sarnia! I will check out your blog- I read and understand a little French, can't speak any though, and cannot write nearly so well as you do in English! Fram seems appealing for price and positive reviews, I am glad to hear that you had a good experience with them. It seems all the ships have between 90- 200 passengers. Looking at the itineraries, I am certain we could not fit in the South Georgia Falklands in while we are still working full time. This appears to need 20 days at a minimum and with travel days, I would imagine we would be away close to month, which is not possible in the next few years. Therefore, I think we would be more likely to do the circle crossing and spend more time on the continent and less time at sea. It sounds as if we have our budget in the right place! Of course it would be double that if my teen daughters insist they would like to go, but I don't see how they could get the time to do that while they are still in school- so this one will be just us!;) Merci ![/QUOTE] It is unfortunate you don't have time for SG & the Falklands, as the wildlife there is outstanding. We were on the Fram in 2010, if you want a more detailed report and pictures, go here: [url]http://opatravels.blogspot.com/2010/02/goin-south.html[/url] We always had as much time ashore as we wanted and were never told once it was time to reboard the ship. There were always zodiacs coming and going so I would not worry about that with the Fram taking 200+ passengers or so. We are going back in Feb. 2014. I would suggest booking as far out as possible, for Hurtigruten we got a much better deal booking early. As I recall, all inside cabins for our upcoming sailing were sold out in 3 or 4 days of the dates being available. Planning is half the fun, enjoy and wishing you happy sailing. RonC
  11. dpro

    Silversea Explorer-Antarctica Any Time to Relax??

    [quote name='Mountainduo']We cruise often. We love it. We love to explore, primarily on our own. We rarely opt for the group activities like shore excursions. For balance, we also enjoy our hours of leisurely vacation—relaxing on the ship, watching the world go by. We never complain about a day at sea. Our cruises in the Norwegian fjords have been our favorites—a combination of exiting (and exhausting) hikes on shore, and strolling the deck as the beautiful scenery passes by. Now, we turn to Antarctica. A “drive-by” cruise on a larger ship would provide wonderful scenery, while enjoying the relaxation of the cruise. But not getting up close and personal would be frustrating. The attractive alternative—Silversea Explorer. Our only concern is that the cruise would be too much of “school field trip”. Meetings, zodiac excursions, lectures, etc. I’m sure each would be great fun and interesting; getting closer to the environment and wildlife would be excellent. I understand there are some travelers who welcome the programmed activity every day nonstop. It fits for them. But, we worry that it would be too constant for us. Are most days nearly consumed with programmed activity? Do some passengers elect to skip a day of activity and relax for a “day at sea”? Would that be frowned upon? We want the adventure, we’d enjoy the activity; but would there be aspects of a relaxing vacation, for balance? Thanks[/QUOTE] We went with Hurtigruten, they had the lectures & activities, etc. We had plenty of time on our own, you can choose to attend the lectures or not. Mostly we did not. The lectures were not that long anyway, you do have to attend a couple of required lectures. You also do not have to take the zodiac excursions, but I can not imagine going to AA and not doing this. The short answer is you should have as much time as you want on your own, activities on our 22 day trip were not required. We had very high expectations for AA, and in every case the actual experience far exceeded our expectations. Go without worry, you won't regret it. Rc
  12. dpro

    Packing questions

    We wore our leather jackets and a light sweater most of the time while on deck, if misty or more wind, we wore our waterproof shell. Most others had some type of shell or windbreaker on and lightweight gloves. You may experience more wind in a drive-by sailing than we did. Rc
  13. dpro

    Packing questions

    We took a BP to hold our two DSLR cameras, and water. It came in handy to store gear we wore while in the zodiacs but did not need to wear on shore.
  14. dpro

    Seeing Antarctica from a larger Cruise Ship

    It would be like seeing the Grand Canyon from a helo. You won't set foot on Antarctica on a "drive-by" cruise ship. Rc
  15. dpro

    Packing questions

    [quote name='Turtles06']Thank you all for the tips about waterproof pants and what you wore underneath. I ordered insulated waterproof pants yesterday from LL Bean and should get them soon. Sounds like they may be sufficient on certain landings just with long johns underneath, but we'll be prepared with another layer for colder days and zodiac cruising. [B]If I may ask a different question: [/B]for you folks who brought a DSLR along (as I will be doing), did you have it in a waterproof backpack (or similar bag) in the zodiac? Cougfan, I believe you said on another thread that you did. Lindblad recommends this, and I've actually bought one they suggest (made by Outdoor Research), but my partner (who is not into photography) kind of thinks I'm nuts to bring this along. (It's actually quite light, she just thinks it will be a pain when we are ashore.) For folks who didn't use a waterproof bag, did you wing it with plastic bags; were they sufficient? I just don't want some big splash, wave or a fall to take out my camera. I watched a webinar by Nat Geo's Director of Expedition Photography, and he really recommended the waterproof bag. He said at least one person on every trip has a camera ruined by water. :([/QUOTE] When I was an outdoor gear tester, we tested the Aloksak Waterproof Bags and they were exceptional at keeping gear dry. You can do a search, they come in many different sizes and are reasonably cheap. We took a regular, small backpack and had the equipment in the Aloksak bags inside the backpack. Our ships' company would not let us board the zodiac with anything in our hands, so while we did carry two DSLR cameras, we used a smaller P&S that we kept in an inside pocket on our jacket. We had no problems with batteries, take a spare or two and keep one charged all the time. Also, recommend you take memory cards in 4g or so range, not the huge ones; if you have a problem, you could lose all of your photos on a large card. We had some passengers who had camera problems, including one woman who had all her photos and camera gear in a backpack that she left in the hotel lobby, (even tho she was advised not to do so), and someone made off with all of her photos and camera gear, at the end of the trip. Not sure where you are flying into, but we were warned that well dressed thieves troll the hotel lobbies looking for small bags to abscond with. RonC