The Voyage Begins…

Ushuaia 7252 October 19, 2018

Image: Kapitan Khlebnikov in Ushuaia harbor, Argentina. iPhone 7 Plus,  hand-held.

Our new home arrived in Ushuaia’s harbor a half day early as we learned that a passenger on the trip before us had fractured a femur bone while walking on ice on Snow Hill Island and needed medical treatment.  We had also heard that that group experienced a “white out” that prevented helicopters from flying one of the days as well as -20 to -25 deg Celsius temps!! Fortunately, there were good endings, as the passenger received the necessary treatment and the group before us managed to see the Emperor penguins for 3 days.  We were hopeful and excited as we boarded the ship on the afternoon of October 19, 2018!

Ushuaia 7271 October 19, 2018

Image: Amy in front of the Kapitan Khlebnikov, Ushuaia harbor, Argentina. iPhone 7 Plus,  hand-held.

The ship was large (132.4 m/434 ft long and 48.7 m/160ft high) and could hold 110 passengers and 70 staff.  We had just over 100 passengers from countries all over the world.  Some were serious photographers and some were not, but many had goals to visit all the penguin species in the world.  As I entered the ship, I took quick iPhone shots of the hallways, as I wanted to capture the feel of the ship.

Ship 7287 October 2018

Image: Hallways of Kapitan Khlebnikov. iPhone 7 Plus,  hand-held.

I learned in one of the presentations from the expedition staff that the ship was built in Finland and launched in 1980 as an escort ice-breaker for other ships.  It was then remodeled in 1992 to carry passengers for Quark Expeditions in the Arctic and Antarctic.  I was in one of the triple cabins on deck 6 and below is a snapshot of our accommodations for the two weeks. I was the lucky one who had the top bunk, which made for fun times when crossing the Drake Passage!

Ship 8530 October 2018

Image: Triple cabin onboard Kapitan Khlebnikov. iPhone 7 Plus,  hand-held.

After dropping my camera gear in my new room, I quickly headed outside to check out the outer decks.  We boarded the ship on deck 4 and rooms were on levels 5-8.  The image below shows deck 8, the bridge level above it and the top deck.

Ship 7293 October 2018

Image: Outer deck 8 and above on Kapitan Khlebnikov. iPhone 7 Plus,  hand-held.

We had a short debriefing to meet the staff and learn the plan for the evening, followed by an emergency drill with our lifejackets.  There were 4 lifeboats onboard (see image below) as well as several zodiacs.  We were able to inspect the lifeboats and see inside them during the drill.

Ship 7319 October 2018

Image: Lifeboat on Kapitan Khlebnikov. iPhone 7 Plus,  hand-held.

We were free after that to explore until dinner.  The top deck provided some great views of both the ship and the surrounding environment.

Ushuaia 0931 October 19, 2018

Image: Kapitan Khlebnikov. Nikon D750, Nikkor 24-70 mm at 27 mm, f/16, 1/250 sec, ISO 400, hand-held.

As we got underway, I took a couple final shots of Ushuaia in the evening light.  We were told that we would be sailing in the Beagle Channel for approximately 6 hours and would enter the Drake Passage around midnight.

Ushuaia 0968 October 19, 2018

Image: Ushuaia harbor, Argentina. Nikon D750, Nikkor 24-70 mm at 44 mm, f/16, 1/200 sec, ISO 400, hand-held.

I took some anti-seasickness medication at dinner and hoped that the Drake would be a “lake” and not a “shake.”   My wish was not granted…

For those more interested in the ship’s layout, please see the schematic below provided to us by Quark Expeditions.

01 - KK Deck Plan

Author: Dr. Amy Novotny

Amy Novotny is a physical therapist, marathon/ultra runner and nature photographer. She treats patients for a variety of conditions but specializes in chronic pain and calming an overactive nervous system using special diaphragmatic breathing. She has used this technique to help her qualify and run in four Boston marathons! She enjoys the outdoors and can often be found running and hiking on trails in throughout Arizona. She attempts to capture the beauty of nature with her photography both locally in Arizona and also throughout the United States. She is becoming more interested in wildlife photography and attempting to capture the emotion of animal interactions. In her spare time, Amy volunteers as a photo guide for the Arizona Highways PhotoScapes nonprofit and shares her joy of nature with others. Please feel free to contact her regarding her photography, physical therapy or running.

11 thoughts on “The Voyage Begins…”

  1. Oh boy, it sounds like the story is likely to include parts where Amy will look like a relative of Shrek and then like a Smurf! I’m hoping I’m wrong and that you had an amazing time. Can’t wait for more pictures.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww. Thanks John! Where we went is much much different than the other areas of Antarctica in terms of scenery and breaking through ice, etc. from what I’ve been told from other crew and passengers who had been to Antarctica 5-6 times before. I’ve heard it was more like my Greenland experience with the blue icebergs on the other side. Either way, I know it will be spectacular for you.


  2. Your comment about the rough sea reminds me of my time in the Coast Guard in the Gulf of Alaska during a severe storm – quite exciting and scary at the same time. Of course we didn’t have the pool or gym.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh wow! You poor thing! Yes, it is scary when that happens. It’s funny that I was initially drawn to the pool and gym and many have mentioned it but the ship was so old and basic and no one even considered going down to use them.


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