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About Gixer

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    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Falkland Islands
  1. Hiya Ellen, I wouldnt worry too much about the penguin poop, walking boots or sturdy footwear will be fine, you wont need rubber boots. Drop me an email hun at samantha.john@yahoo.co.uk and I will give you my phone number so that when you get back from your penguin trip I can come meet you :) I'm going to be taking a break from the forum for a while, I am still in the middle of moving house (hope to be finally in by the end of next week) and we are then off to Florida for the Easter holidays and will be out of the Islands for over 6 weeks. Happy cruising to all xxx
  2. Disclaimer - With regards to this statement in the above post ''Anyway, mistakes do happen, but I am confident that all the other info I have posted is 100% correct.'' I just want to make it clear that I am of course confident in the info I have posted in a non tourist board official way ;)
  3. I dont want to get into any forum arguments, I use these boards for research, for fun and to keep in touch with cruise friends. However I now feel the need to defend myself, as it was never my intention to mislead anyone. The inacurracies quoted seem to be with Rockhoppers at Bluff and North Pond. I have checked back through the thread and cant actually see where I have said there are Rockhoppers at Bluff, but if I have then it is most definatley a Typo. There are several posts in which I have described many of the tours in detail and what wildlife can be seen at each, here are a few examples - Taken from post 14 on page 1, as you can see no Rockhoppers at Bluff are mentioned - Bluff Cove is a great tour, but Im going to be perfectly frank here, it cannot in any way compare to Volounteer point. At Bluff cove you will see nesting ***** penguins, Gentoos and a few visiting kings. Volounteer point has the second largest breeding colony of kings in the world, and also an abundence of ***** and gentoo's, that really is quite some sight. Bluff cove is a great experience, really wonderful, and you wont be dissapointed or travelling for a significant period of time so you will still have time to explore town. Also, futher on in the thread post 227 on page 14 has the actual cruise ship info on where Rockhoppers can be seen - View over 400 rockhopper penguins in their natural environment with stunning views of Berkeley Sound in the background. This is your one and only opportunity to photograph these cute penguins on your ships itinerary. You'll be picked up by your experienced local driver/guide in Port Stanley and driven 60 minutes to the penguin colony. Your journey will be in a comfortable 4 x 4 vehicle and will begin on the road to the Murrell Farm where it will then become an exciting overland experience, driving over the rolling peaty moor. This exclusive tour will take in views of your ship and Stanley also. These penguins have never before been available for viewing by cruise passengers. It is merely the building of the road that has now made them accessible. Youll have one hour 20 minutes to photograph these penguins with only a small group of people along. A guide will accompany you throughout your visit at the penguin site. Refreshments and snacks will be served. The situation with North Pond, this tour is a new one on me and one I havent been on yet. When I asked my neighbour if he knew where North Pond was, his reply was ''Well the only North Pond I know Che is the one where we go fishing on the Murrell'' Having since dragged out an OS map and looked for North Pond, I was shocked at just how many ponds there actually are! There are hundreds! The only North Pond I can see that might be the new excursion is the one up past Elephant Beach, and above that is also a Swan Pond, which isnt to be confused with Swan Inlet pond. As it stands at the moment I can hold my hands up and say I have honestly no idea where North Pond is or what wildlife is there, I quoted what I thought was a reliable source at the time, in all other instances where I have been unsure of something then I have said so in the thread, have checked out the info and then come back and passed it on. I apologise that the North Pond info got lost in the thread and I didnt check it out sooner (possibly due to having a house built and spending 5 weeks in the UK recently having surgery?) Anyway, mistakes do happen, but I am confident that all the other info I have posted is 100% correct. Bennies, the last thing I want to do is mislead people or cause problems for local guides, but staying on top of a thread like this isnt alway easy, in just the couple of posts that you yourself have made, you already have inaccuracies, the cost of the Gypsy Cove tour is now actually $20 and not $10 like it was last season. Chloe Kitty asked your advice on a tour to North Point - in your reply you have assumed she meant North Pond, so going on your reliable information, she might well have got off the tender thinking she was heading to North Point only to end up bitterly dissapointed and taking it out on the guides as to why on earth she is at a Pond. I havent brought this to your attention to cause any bad feeling between us, just to show you how very easily errors can occur. You gave Chloe Kitty advice with the best of intentions, even though a simple typo has rendered that advice inaccurate, but I would never have accused you of misleading her. I hope you enjoy helping out cruisers as much as I did, it is very rewarding, especially when people post after their cruise has ended what a wonderful time they had in the Islands. Thank You forum member for all the support, I'm glad that some of the advice was useful to you and enabled you to have fantastic experiences in the Falklands, ultimatley that was all I ever hoped for. Happy cruising to all xxx
  4. Please could you delete all my posts from the thread ''if anyone has any questions about the Falklands'' I dont want forum members being confused/reading conflicting info, I've tried to help as best I can over the last couple of years but ''Bennies'' has now kindly offered to share his/her expertise. :) It's time I was researching info for our upcoming cruise anyway :D Thank You x
  5. Hello all :) Sorry I havent been active in the forum for a while, I have been out of the Islands, I broke my hand just after Christmas and had to go to the UK for surgery as the joints in my fingers were smashed and needed pinning (You would think I of all people would remember about the dangers of high winds and vehicle doors right?! :eek:) Glenys & Alan, thank you so much for the cute Koala bear! I cant believe you guys brought that all the way from Australia for me! That was really kind, thank you :o Bob & Karen, so glad you enjoyed your trip - its lovely to be in contact with you now via Facebook! I havent had a chance to read back through the thread yet, but I did see a post from someone asking about Penguins in April - TBH April is not a great time, its right at the end of the season, if you want to see penguins then you need to be thinking about booking a tour to Volunteer point to see the kings or Bluff/Sparrow cove to see the Gentoos as they are resident all year round, the magellanics and rockhoppers will have mostly left by then apart from a few late hatching chicks.
  6. Hi Karen! So sorry I havent had a chance to email you back yet, the new house is taking up all my time, I am supposed to be looking at Blinds for the conservatory at the moment but the styles and colours are giving me a headache trying to choose so I thought while Im on line I would just pop into the forum for 5mins :o 300 pounds for 4 people sounds about right for a tour, North Pond is part of the Murrell, so lots of Birdlife and penguins to see. Deb - If back problems are an issue then I think Bluff would suit you better, the bus ride is easy along track road, and the journey by landrover is quite short and ''well worn'' so not quite as bumpy an experience as some of the others, and transfering from bus to 4x4 would definatley be easier than the boast option at Sparrow. :) Tgetz - Its great that you will have some time in town after your penguin excursion, the 26/27/28 of Dec is when we have our annual horse racing, everyone from town will be up at the Racecourse which is just past Goverment house and up on the left, its a really fun few days and would be nice for you to see, its a carnival atmosphere and Im sure your kids would enjoy it. If we are in town my girls would love to show your kids around the stables etc We usually go out to camp at Christmas as Shearing and Lamb marking happens that week, it all depends on if our new house is finished or not, if its finished we will stay in town, if not we will head out to the farm, I will email you and let you know where we are :) Hi Tammy, Your boys will have a great time here, my girls will be back in school on the 23rd Jan which I think is a Friday? They start back after the summer break on 19th Jan, quite early this year, the have almost all December off instead, last year it was all January! They dont get out of school until 4pm if your ship doesnt leave until a little later then it would be lovely for us all to meet up! :) Right, I must get back to choosing blinds, hope those of you cruising soon have wonderful trips! :D
  7. Gixer

    Help with Hotel In Santiago!

    I love Santiago, its one of my favourite places. There are hotels and guest houses to suit all budgets. I prefer to stay in either the Ritz or the Hyatt when travelling through on vacation, they arrange collection from the airport, city tours etc, rooms are nice, great views of the Andes, lovely swimming pool (especially the Hyatt) and nice on site restraunts. These hotels are not cheap though, so we usually only stay 2 nights as a treat while waiting on connecting flights. If we are in Santiago for shopping and not on a ''vacation'' trip then we tend to use the Marriott as it is right next to Parque Arauco shopping centre and easy to get to all the major attractions. It really depends on your budget and what you want to see and do with your time in the city :)
  8. Layers is definatley the key! January is our peak summer month, so you have picked a wondefrul time to visit, having said that you may experience blazing sunshine, fierce winds, snow showers, or all 3 at the same time :D The weather is the most difficult thing to predict at the best of times, but down here we dont know whats going on one moment to the next so an acurate forecast for the next hour is impossible to give let alone a week or so in advance lol First things first is make sure your feet are taken care of, good walking boots come top of the list. I would wear a t-shirt as it can get very hot, bring a sweater and a wind/waterproof jacket. Also something to cover your ears, the wind can be so strong during the summer and after 2 mins of it whistling down your ears you will end up with awful earache. A fleecy hat that pulls down or some earmuffs are essential. And dont forget the sun cream, we are right under the hole in the ozone layer, even on cloudy days the sunburn risk is HIGH. For those of you going off on tours it would be wise to carry some water with you, once your out of Stanley there are no shops at all, just miles and miles of empty nothingness.
  9. Hi everyone :) I just want to reassure you all that the damadge done by the oil spill in Berkely Sound wont affect your wildlife experiences when you visit. The spill has been contained and conservation have been working non stop cleaning the place up. Lots of penguins were brought into town to have oil cleaned off, and everyone helped with the efforts from all the school kids to people donating towels, detergents etc. Some of the coast line around the sound is still affected, but none of your tours go anywhere near that area. Fortunatley the main breeding grounds of Volounteer, Bluff & Sparrow have come away from the tragedy remarkably unscathed (Although I was saddend to see an oiled penguin at Gypsy Cove yesterday) Conservation will be keeping a very close eye on the number of breeding pairs this year and how many chicks are hatched, we will then be able to better assess the impact and damadge caused by the spill. Anyway, onto the next question - Bluff or Sparrow cove? There isnt much difference in the tours, both will afford you plenty of time to look around town as well as close encounters with the penguins. Sparrow cove last season most definatley had the most friendly chicks, I have seen some wonderful photos and videos from cruisers who were sat on the floor and had penguins climbing over their legs. Both tours are great and it would be very difficult trying to pick one over the other.
  10. Hello Cruiser's! I am so sorry I havent been around for a while, we are in the process of having a new house built and it has been very time consuming! I havent had a chance to read back through the thread yet so aplogies that I havent been able to answer any recent questions. Now that the tourist season is about to begin I will try my best to check in on the thread once every few days, so if you have any questions fire away, but it may take a few days to get a reply. We are desperatley trying/hoping to be in the new house by Christmas so I appreciate your patience :o I hope your all excited about your up-coming trips and looking forward to visiting the Islands! :)
  11. Hi S&B, 2 hours is plenty of time to have a look around town and do a little shopping. When you get off the tender turn right and walk down the street about 50 yards and on the left hand side is the Waterfront gift shop, they have the best selection of fridge magnets. Carry on to the Catherdral and have your photo taken under the beautiful whale bone arch. Next you will come to the West Store where you can stock up on snacks and opposite that is the Capstan gift Shop they have some lovely things in there. Carry on down along Victory Green past the Ship Mast and cannons, keep walking down until you get to the little white clapboard church. Just past that on the left is the Falklands war memorial. Carry on straight along and you reach Goverment house. Just past that is the 1st World war memorial and the ship wreck. On your way back take a right turn at the West store and you will see Deano's bar, turn left and you will see the Pink Shop, and futher along the Falklands wool shop, carry on down the road look to your left at the junction and at the bottom of the hill is the tender pier (about 30 yards) and POD gift shop. Stop in at the Globe as you head down the hill for a quick beer on your way to the tender. You could do all the above in an hour :)
  12. Gixer

    Return Flight from Val to Orlando

    Do you mean Valpariso to Orlando? If so then the most likley route would be Santiago to Miami, then Miami to Orlando, this is what we did in January, we couldnt get any direct flights from Santiago straight through to Orlando. There are a couple of flights each night from Santiago to Miami, its usually the LAN flight first followed by the AA flight, the LAN flight from memory left at about 9pm and we landed in Miami at 5am the AA flight leaves an hour after that. We then had to take a connection from Miami to Orlando. The config of the flight outbound was 2-4-2 with LAN and the config of the return was 2-3-2 with AA I think the flight was about 8 hours.
  13. Hi Don, BurBunny is right, there is no way possible that you could do this excursion on your own. You are off road for the best part of the trip, the tracks are sometimes visable and sometimes not depending on weather/flooding etc, you could be following a track that you think is the correct one only to discover your heading in totally the wrong direction and are actually following sheep gathering tracks left by farmers. The chances of you getting lost/bogged are very very real. There are no markers, so sign posts, no maps, just miles and miles of nothingness. I have only driven it twice myself, always with a landrover infront of me and one behind me, Im pretty confident off road but I wouldnt attempt that journey unless I was with the guys who know the way/ground conditions better than anyone else, and even they sometimes make mistakes and get bogged! Its a brilliant trip and highly recommended, a real ''once in a lifetime'' type thing :) Hi Bluesea777 WOW what I wouldnt give to be in Bermuda right now, its COLD here at the moment!!! Bluff Cove is a great trip, you get to see the Penguins and still have enough time to explore around town. I would recommend the Brasserie for lunch, when you get off the tender go straight up the hill infront of you, only about 100 yards and its on the right hand side of the road, they always do a gorgeous local Lamb dish, the one they have on at the moment is Lamb shanks cooked in a sort of tomato/veg/beans stew with mash potatoes, its lovely! Your coming at a great time of year, your going to see loads of cute fluffy penguin chicks! p.s - I gave up on the Independance idea, we have done Europe to death and in April the weather can still be pretty cold, so we switched and are doing Liberty of the Seas Eastern Caribbean instead ;)
  14. Gixer

    SOuth America with 8 and 10 year old

    I think a SA cruise would be a great experience for all of you. Im sure the adults would appreciate the experience and the kids will enjoy something very different and unique, an adventure. They would be privilaged indeed to go on such a cruise. Ok, it's not your typical carribbean vacation, but there is a lot to be said for a little culture and history on your travels! I am all for taking kids ''off the beaten path'' so to speak and whenever we travel we always try and show our girls as much local culture/history as possible. I have seen a few children come ashore from cruise lines, not many, but a few, and they all looked to be having a great time. If your kids are into a sunshine/swimming pool vacation then a SA cruise wont fit the bill, but if you want to see amazing wildlife and visit increadible places then SA is for you! If your cruise involves a stop in the Falklands let me know, I have 2 girls of similar ages as your kids who will be on school break at the time you plan on visiting, if your grandchildren need a wii/playstation/internet/horse riding/beach/penguin fix while they are here then I'm sure that can be arranged :)
  15. [quote name='ddean52']. If rccl could just give us the correct information I might feel better. [B][FONT=Comic Sans MS][SIZE=4][COLOR=red]Yes, all I would like is the simple truth from Royal Carib.! Telling us what to expect would go a long way![/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT][/B][/quote] I think you just hit the nail on the head - all the people who have had immersion forced upon them by RCCL want nothing more than information. It really is time they came out with a statement and told people what they can expect - officially. I took the descision to cancel our cruise, maybe this could have been avoided had RCCL actually done something about telling me and everyone else what changes will take place. But they havent, and in doing so have lost a $16K booking. I have spoken to several people at RCCL who have all had different ''suggestions'' as to what an immersion cruise really is - Im sorry, but I dont want suggestions that differ from customer service agent to customer service agent, I want facts, and I havent had any so far. If people knew exactly what an immersion cruise was and how it would affect them, then they have all the information they need to make a considered, informed descision, unfortuanatley RCCL hasnt provided its cutomers with that information, hence all this confusion. I feel so bad for all the folks who have already booked airfare/excursions etc I would hate to be in your situation. I am lucky, I found out in plenty enough time to cancel with no costs incured and enough time to sort out an alternative vacation. I really think the people who are preaching to the folks who are stuck between a rock and a hard place are pretty insensitive - imagine how you would feel if you booked something over a year in advance, had laid down a lot of money only to have it all switched at the last minute - You may say that you would embrace such changes, but somehow I dont think so :rolleyes: