Our trip began with extensive planning. This was aided immensely by our travel agent, Expeditions Inc. Expeditions is located near where we live, although they do most of their business via the internet. They have more experience in polar vacation trips than any other agency I have found. Clothing, boots, photo supplies, medications and a large number of other items were carefully organized as this was not only a long trip but one where most items would not be available during the voyage.
Due to possible labor troubles related to the United Airlines bankruptcy, we elected to drive to Los Angeles to pick up our flight to Sydney, Australia, which was our first intermediate stop. From LAX, we flew United to Sydney and after a few hours in the Sydney Airport, flew Qantas on to Hobart, Tasmania.
On arrival in Hobart, we checked into our hotel for the next few days, the Grand Chancellor on the waterfront. Below is a panoramic view of the harbor taken from our hotel window.
We arrived in Hobart several days early to be sure that we made our ship departure. After a good night's sleep we took a day tour of the Russell Falls area just up the Derwent river from Hobart. We passed by the ever-present hops fields and got a chance to view the cute but vicious Tasmanian Devil at a wildlife park.
Proceeding on to Russell Falls Park, we walked down deep green pathways thru tree ferns and eucalyptus to view several waterfalls within the park. We needed our "green fix" since once in the Antarctic, there would be only white, grey, and blue. That night we returned to our hotel and enjoyed the nightscape of the harbor. Our Antarctic adventure would begin tomorrow!
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