Ushuaia, Falklands, South Georgia Island, Antarctic Peninsula
After a morning in bed from seasickness yesterday, we’re at the Falkland Islands. There was a super early excursion today at 0600. The whole kitchen crew managed to get off together. This island was actually a farm for a very English couple. We walked for twenty minutes or so over the hills and it felt great to stretch my legs. On the other side of the island was a Rockhopper Penguin rookery combined with an Albatross rookery. There were many juveniles and we got to within three feet of a couple little guys. The Falklands can be a beautiful place, especially with the sun rising over the water.
Dolphins! We had some locals playing with the ship as we cruised along. I went out to the bow and looked down. These two were swimming along barely a couple feet in front of the bow, occasionally pulling off and jumping up for a breath. So cool! I snagged a video on my phone of the action. Today we hit Stanley, the port town in the Falklands. It felt almost normal to go to the pub with the galley crew and have a couple Guinness with burgers. Now we are two days away from South Georgia Island.
Salisbury Plains on South Georgia Island is the most amazing place! It’s the world’s second largest King Penguin colony with 90,000 birds. Lots of Arctic Fur Seals too. Those are the dangerous ones. I got rushed by an adult seal. Had to give him the stare down. We walked among the birds and many little seal pups. Such cute little dudes. They would turn their heads completely upside down and look at you wrong way around. Many of the pups and penguins were snoozing so I could get up close.
Talked to one of the kayak guides and they have a dry suit that will fit me, so I’m going kayaking when we get to the Antarctic Peninsula! Stoked!
Tomorrow we land at Grytviken, an old abandoned whaling town. All the buildings are rusting into the ground, and there is a museum there to check out. Hitting that after breakfast.
Grytviken was so cool! We got there in the afternoon and I insisted on getting off the ship to see it. First order of business was meeting the crew from the sailboat Alexandra that is following Shackleton’s journey. With the Discovery Channel filming us in the sunshine we toasted Shackleton. We all had a shot of scotch and poured some on his grave in a short but moving ceremony. There were many elephant seals and fur seals basking in the sun all around, belching and farting! What a noise and so noisome.
The remains of the old whaling equipment were fascinating! I walked around for a while and shot tons of industrial photos. There are big tanks, and lots of conveyor machinery. After that I checked out the museum there. There is a replica of the Robert Baird (I think that’s the name), the 22’ covered boat that Shackleton and 4 men sailed 800 miles through the worst seas in the world to land on South Georgia Island. You should read the story, it makes any modern tough guy look like a pussy.
We’re at the Antarctic Peninsula! Unfortunately there was no way to land at Point Wild, but we got to see it. Talk about a desolate place to camp! This is the spot Shackleton had to leave 22 men to wait in hopes that they got through.
I went swimming! Yes, swimming in the ocean in Antarctica! Brrrr!! Then BBQ on the deck as the sun set.
By the way, I’m going for the full McBeardo these days. Feels strange. Kaetlyn will be shocked when she gets here!
In town today for a couple hours before heading back out for a 10 day trip. Thirty days left!!! Three more ten day trips and I’m free!!! Only 20 days until Kaetlyn gets here! So stoked!!!No comments
Well, what a long, strange trip it’s been…
Not really. This first ten day trip after my break has been very good actually. Chef Mike has really helped organize and streamline the operations. Cody has gone to Hawaii and it’s just John, Jer, Mike and Liz in the kitchen. Banging it out and looking forward to the end.
Mike has been insisting on outside breaks and getting off the boat as often as possible. This is such a small but important step in our mental health! PMA is the word in the galley. That’s Positive Mental Attitude!
My biggest news so far? Kaetlyn is coming for the last tour!!!! So stoked I can hardly sit down! One Ocean lets us bring a guest for one trip, once a staff member has been working for 5 trips. I get to show Kaetlyn the Antarctic!!! She gets here on the 16th and jumps on the last ten day trip with me! It’s going to be so good to see her, spend some time together and go on excursions to see cool things. If she wants to we can even camp on shore over night. I may not have a lot in this world, but when I can share an amazing experience with her, I’m stoked to do so!
Let me tell you about my day last week.
Got up and made breakfast. The crew came in and we put lunch together. After a quick lunch service, we cleaned up. Then Mike and I got on a Zodiac. Ken drove us and the photographer to this amazing arch iceberg near the ship. After zooming around the iceberg for a bit, Ken let me drive the zodiac to the beach. Woot!
The beach was covered in penguins and their chicks. So much noise! And guano! We walked around and took some shots. I grabbed a couple videos to try and show the scene. There was a hike, but we had to get back to the ship to prep for dinner service.
Dinner was a BBQ on the rear deck. All the guests filed by and said hello as we served up eye of round steaks, calamari, and weenies fresh off the grill. Everyone loved it! As we finished up I snagged a hot dog, turned around to eat it, and saw four penguins frolicking in the water just off the boat. Beautiful!
The next day was even cooler.
We stopped at Vernadsky Station, an old research station originally run by the British, and now run by the Ukranians. Very cool little spot, and they have their own bar! Of course the Brits built a bar at the bottom of the world! We loaded the zodiac with the pallet of food we were handing off and zoomed in. I skipped the tour and introduced myself to the chef. Though he spoke no English and I spoke no Ukraine, we connected immediately. Super nice folks, they set me up with a shot of their hand made clear whiskey. Wow! Strong stuff! It got even stronger when the Russian chef from the boat, Valary, and some of the Russian crew sat down and we all had a few more shots. It was cool to be included in the Eastern Bloc crowd! As we left the Ukranian chef set me up with a 750 ml bottle of their hooch to take back to the boat. Woohoo! Ukraninian moonshine from the bottom of the world!
Well, it’s the port day before our last eighteen day trip, and I’ve got some shopping to do. Holla atcha later, y’all!No comments
Ushuaia, Falkland Islands, South Georgia Island, Antarctic Peninsula, Ushuaia.
Smooth start. This group seem really hungry! They devoured the appies we put out, and at dinner the soups and salads disappeared at an alarming rate. Plus there are a few allergies to worry about, the celiac being the biggest concern for us. Somehow we’ll manage.
Only 18 more days till my trip off! Twelve days in Chile! So excited! Sleeping in a real bed, sleeping in, no cooking, getting fresh ink. I guess this means I have short-timer illness. Can’t wait even though it’ll cost me a bit.
To deal with the seasickness I’m all patched in. Got the little goodie stuck behind my ear and feeding me the drugs I need. Praise Jebas for the patch!!
Webmail doesn’t seem to be working so I’m off to bed. Peace.
Back in the swing of things. We’re a day away from Stanley in the Falkland Islands where I hope to get off the boat and go check it out. Rough seas at the moment. I think Stanley is the name of the town, not the island. Rocked service today. Every new group of passengers come with their own mix of issues. (Don’t we all?) Celiac, Vegan, Lactose Intolerant, Seafood Allergy, Nut Allergy, the list goes on. This trip there are at least 11 special diets we have to cater to. I’m happy to make people’s dining experience a good one. At the same time, it adds much complexity to the service, though we are getting better at it.
Another day, another fine meal.
Two days ago we were in Stanley in the Falkland Islands. I got a chance to go check it out and it was strange! As typical a small English country town as you can imagine. Even all the prices int he shops were in pounds. Nice to see it.
Had a nasty bug or something yesterday, nearly took me out. Had to crash immediately after work. Feeling tons better today and looking forward to doing BBQ buffet out on the stern deck this evening.
We rocked the BBQ on deck! We were anchored in the bay where Shackleton walked over South Georgia Island to reach the whale processing town. The whole place is still there, rusting in to the ground. Fascinating stuff!
Many days of being ill in bed. The Drake was a beast this last trip. But I got up for every service and did what I had to do, even as the kitchen slides back and forth. Kinda dangerous when 20 gallons of hot soup come flying off the stove!
Trip break coming up!!!!1 comment
Here we go again.
Crossed the Drake and it’s been a surprisingly smooth trip so far. The last trip out we had calm waters both down to the peninsula and back to Ushuaia. Captain Beluga (that’s his actual name) said that in 20 years of making that crossing he’s only had it calm in both directions three times. Kinda makes me concerned for when we do get the nasty weather.
It looks like I’ve managed to find a solution or the seasickness. The Doc has given me the patch and it works a treat. Well, except for the odd side effect of removing my ability to read and focus up close. Apparently the drug effects the part of your eyes that adjust focus for close objects. Freaked me out the first time it happened, but I can live with it.
Things are starting to really hit a rhythm on the boat. I’m settling in to the Garde Manger position nicely and working with John, Cody and Liz is going well. Cody’s energy really helps us push forward and get ahead of the curve. That means we end up with time to chill during the day. Sometimes I go on deck for a bit to see the amazing vistas, though more often I head back to the cabin for a much needed nap. Love powernaps!
It’s getting all Christmassy around here. Some good times flirting with the Russian girls and having nighttime dance parties to good Russian techno in the empty dining room. Woot! It’s been really fun learning some Russian words and engaging with the crew. Valary the Russian head chef teaches me a new word every morning. Really nice people.
Happy Merry! Yay for Santa! Or whatever.
Lots of happy people celebrating. The dinner service was smooth and Cody and I escaped early. Later on Lena dragged me in to another dance party in the empty dining room. Party on!
Now we’re on the Drake and only a day away from port in Ushuaia! Wifi! Shopping! Land!
The email I can be reached at while on board ship is : email@example.com (Yes, you will need to include the plus symbol). Very small bandwidth, 250 kb, so no pictures please.No comments
Once more into the breach, lads!
After an all too brief stop in port in Ushuaia we’re heading south again. We’ve got a whole new group of clients and few new staff. Our last head chef had a medical issue that meant he had to head home, so John Thayer, our Sous-chef, got a field promotion. With him as head chef, I guess that makes me sous-chef, and we have a new guy on the team. Cody is working out great! He’s fast and really level headed. Welcome to the team, mate!
We were warned that the Drake crossing was going to be particularly rough this time, so I got well dosed by the Doc. I love the patch!! Stuck it on before bed, popped a pill in the morning, and I was mostly functional in the kitchen. The drugs sure do make you drowsy though. Good thing I’m not handling sharp implements in a room with hot elements… oh wait…
It’s all good. With a smaller contingent of guests, and a more cohesive team, the meals are going out smoothly and we’re getting a lot more organized. I’m looking forward to some of the food we’ll be putting out. Rave reviews so far.
Antarctica is beautiful outside the porthole. The ice! Speaking of the ice, one of the guests on the last tour bought a bottle of really good whiskey in the auction. He insisted on all the staff getting a glass of it. During the day, the expedition staff had brought in a chunk of ice from a glacier to put in the glasses. 1000 year old ice from before pollution! That has to be one of the best glasses of whisky I’ve had.
Camped overnight on shore! That’s right, slept in the snow on Antarctica under a sun that didn’t set. Very cold in the bivvy! We went on shore with some staff and a bunch of guests , and dug ourselves sleeping trenches in the snow, then crawled in to the sleeping bags in our bivouacs. What an amazing experience. There were curious penguins around us. Three of the little fellows even woke me up as they looked down in to my snow pit. And the sounds of big ice calving off the glaciers into the ocean went on all night. Saw some big waves pushed out by them. That morning coffee sure felt good too.
The Drake has been very kind to us on this trip so far. The doc and I finally figured out the meds that work. I’m on the patch any time we cross the Drake. It makes me kind of drowsy, but at least I can still work.
Speaking of, I’ve kind of settled in to the Garde Manger position in the kitchen. With John doing the head chef role and Cody bringing energy and style to the Sous chef spot we’re really clicking as a team.
Finally, Port Day! We’re pulling in in the morning. After we serve breakfast and store the new provisions, we get a couple hours in town to wifi and spend money. Then it’s back on the boat with a new group of passengers for 10 days.
Good news! I finalized my trip off. January 15 to 27 I’ll be on land. Vala Pariso has been mentioned as a sweet spot, so I’ll be going there. Anyone want to join me?1 comment
What an introduction! We finally got on board the day before the guests were due to arrive and walked right in to the middle of a crapstorm! The whole galley crew and the Hotel Manager are new. Without any lead time we were on the hook to find everything in the various locations around the boat and put out quality food for 110 guests and staff in an under equipped kitchen and a plating area of about 6 feet square. Oh yeah, and the boat moves around a ton too.
Unfortunately I have discovered that in big swell on this boat, I get seasickness. Damn! It’s taken me out of work for two separate days. Good thing the crew I’m working with picked up the slack as I lay in my bunk. With some good meds from the doc, I should be on my feet and cranking through the worst of it.
We’ve been making some interesting food and solving lots of technical challenges because of the situation. Makes for a lot of creative culinary solutions. What an edumacation!No comments
Well, here I am…
Let me tell you about the journey so far:
I left Hornby Island with my Dad and Mary to Vancouver on November 13th. Nothing new about a trip to Vancouver, but once I was there, I checked in to my hotel and ran through the last preparations for heading south. Buying chef uniforms, getting visas, checking last minute details. Then, all of a sudden, it was time to go. Woot!
My dad kindly gave me a lift to the airport and I was away!
First a flight to Toronto where I had a one hour changeover to the other plane. Unfortunately not long enough to escape the clutches of airport security to see Kaetlyn. So close, and yet so far…
Next up was the 13 hour flight to Santiago, Chile. Thankfully I had arranged for an emergency exit row seat and lucked in to one with six feet of legroom. That was a lifesaver on such a long haul. I don’t fit those seats so well! With much sleeping and watching of movies on my computer, I survived the trip to Santiago. Once there we had another one hour layover before we got back on the same plane and flew the last 4 hours to Buenos Aires. Made it this far!
Unfortunately, through miscommunication with the company, I didn’t know there was a hotel arranged and someone to meet me at the airport. With only a hundred bucks is my pocket, I had to make my way to my hotel, which I had booked online the previous week, on my own. In Buenos Aires the international terminal is thirty five kilometres outside of the city, so getting a taxi was clearly out of my budget. After consulting with a very helpful information booth girl, I found the right bus to take me to the right train that would get me near my hotel. Much walking around and asking people who didn’t speak English later, I rolled in the door. Whew!
The next day included the flight to Ushuaia, and thankfully the domestic airport was only a short taxi ride away. Away we go! Flying in to Ushuaia was a trip! The plane goes between a couple mountains at the upper reaches of its flight and there is lots of turbulence. The whole plane clapped when we finally touched down!
As I walked out of baggage claim, I saw some folks with my name on a sign. Some of the crew!
More in the next post…
What a trudge! Made it safe and sound though, just ignore the gunfire in the distance, keep walking…
I left ground at Vancouver on Friday at 1430 and touched down in Buenos Aires at 1500 local time Saturday. That’s right, we flew 4 hours to Toronto Airport, waited there an hour (unfortunately not long enough to escape the system and see Kaetlyn. So close), flew 10 hours to Santiago, Chile, waited there another hour and a half, flew 2 hours to Buenos Aires. Then it took me close to 5 hours of buses, trains and walking to find my hotel. Whew!
I’m looking forward to getting a chance to see a bit more of Argentina on the return journey, especially getting to try some of the local food. Unfortunately there’s no time on this trip. In the morning I’m in a taxi to the domestic airport and then on a plane for nearly 4 hours down to Ushuaia.
Then the work begins! So excited to be finally getting there and joining the One Ocean Expeditions crew! I’ve been reading up on Antarctica, its wildlife and its history. Really interesting place, and the people that spend time there are very interesting as well. Looking forward to meeting some of them.
Anyhoo, I’m done! To bed for this weary traveler and on to the adventure in the morning!No comments
Riiiiight… I have a blog!
It’s been almost a year since I’ve updated this. And what a year it’s been!
Finished Chef School with honors, worked hard in a couple high-end restaurants in Ontario, came back to Hornby and worked hard at the Sea Breeze Restuarant all summer. Some excellent parties and good times were had! And now it’s on to the next adventure!
I’ve been hired as a cook on board the Academik Sergey Vavilov, an Eco-tour cruise ship operating for OneOcean Expeditions out of Ushuia, Argentina. Leaving the world’s Southernmost Port City every 10 days or so with a fresh group of guests, we will be braving the Drake Passsage and seeing the various islands and areas of Antarctica! So excited! I’ll be working with 3 other chefs to produce 4 meals a day for 96 guests and about 60 crew. 128 days of work, no breaks! With the guests being very high-end, I expect we will be producing some really tasty and interesting meals, so I will get to learn a huge amount! And what an adventure it will be!
The trip starts when I fly out of Vancouver on the 16th of November. Woot!No comments
Chefs, Farmers and Foodies against the Mega Quarry!!!
Yesterday Sonan and I helped Chef Stefan prep for our offering at Foodstock today. Between the the 3 of us we brunoised (can you past tense that word?) 60 lbs of potatoes, and diced 16 kg of lobster over 5.5 hours in the kitchen of La Petite France.
Today I picked Sonan up at 0700 for the 1.5 hour drive out to the farms where it was happening. With a couple hours to set up we were dialled when the crowds hit. Off of a folding table and 2 butane burners we served Lobster, Clam and Potato “Risotto” to over 2000 people! Rain or shine (and we had both) we were flying trying to keep up with the never ending lineup! We didn’t even slow down when the rest of the crew from the Culinary Arts School of Ontario showed up. Nice to see you guys! Now, back to cooking!
Before and after the work part of the day, we walked around and met a bunch of top end chefs including Michael Statlander, the organizer. I was intending to go to the chefs after party and hang with them. Unfortunately the stomach troubles I’d been successfully ignoring all day started really ramping up. Even that I could have probably dealt with, but by then I’d run out of bourbon to share and I hate showing up at a party with nothing to contribute. Besides, I have a test tomorrow at 0800. (not that that really was going to be a problem)
Thank you so much Chef Stefan! What an opportunity! What an awesome day!!!!No comments