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rafinmd

Around the Horn in 80 days.

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Thank you puppycanducruise, Debby, and Krazy Kruizers.  Try that link again, it worked for me but sometimes Wordpress has a delay between when a photo is posted and it works it's way into the indexing system.

 

It's an awesome morning in Ushuaia, I think even warmer than predicted.  My tour leaves in 20 minutes.

 

Day P27, Thursday, January 31, 2019, Cape Horn. South America


The weather in this area is fickle enough that I try to walk when conditions are favorable.  Sunrise was officially about 6AM and sunset at 9:41 but we didn't really see a lot of the sun.  Despite the lack of morning sun there was some color in the morning sky about 10 minutes before sunrise.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/dawn0131.jpg


We were originally supposed to arrive in glacier alley at 7 but it was more like 7:30.  I first noticed some lovely snow covered peaks around 7:15.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/firstsnow.jpg


The best glacier viewing was about 7:30 to 9.  Many were accompanied by tall waterfalls, one seeming twice as tall because it was reflected in the clear calm Beagle Channel.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/waterfall31.jpg


They came very fast for a while, including 2 lovely glaciers only a ship length or two apart.

 

double.jpg

 

About 9AM three events came together.  We were seeing the last of the glaciers (although snow capped peaks continued), I completed my 5th mile, and it started to rain.  At about that time we also passed the Antarctic Warrior, a Chilean supply vessel for their Antarctic bases, returning from a mission.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/warrior.jpg


About 9:45 our guides mentioned a couple of buildings on our port shore, delineating the border between Chile and Argentina.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/endofchile.jpg


Almost 30 days into the voyage we held a second muster drill.  With the idea that it may not be a good idea to muster under the lifeboats with heavy seas and gale force winds this one was done indoors.  Boat 1 (mine) was at the Ocean Bar, 2 the Pinnacle Grill, 3 the dining annex, and 4-8 each had designated sections in the dining room.  They also demonstrated a "thermal protection device", essentially a huge set of coveralls made out of the material used in space blankets.  It is designed to be put on over a life jacket but not designed for use in the water.  It is to help keep us warm in a freezing lifeboat.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/muster2.jpg


In his noon update Captain Jeroen indicated that conditions were really pretty decent with a temperature of 7/45, and a slight breeze.  I had broken out my Antarctica Parka but soon put it back in the closet.  Conditions should be even nicer in Ushuaia, with temperatures of 9/48.  He also indicated that out time at Cape Horn had been postponed, from 7 originally until 9.  We would hang in the area until about 10.


We had 2 afternoon presentations in the showroom.  First up at 2 was Lou Sanson, our expedition leader who boarded in Punta Arenas, on the Land of Fire.  At 3 Heather had her talk on Ushuaia, Grytviken, and Stanley.  Grytviken will be more of an expedition than a port call with very strict safety and environmental precautions.  There will be a mandatory briefing on our behavior there before our arrival.

 

A special Orange Gala Dinner was held in honor of Princess Beatrix' birthday.  The penguins were outfitted in orange, The Netherlands Royal Color.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/orangepenguins.jpg


We were all present at Table  19.  One of the Dining Room Hosts posed for pictures of us.  I had an orange tie, found by chance at a shop in Trujillo.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/orangegala.jpg


There was a watermelon gazpacho to start things off.  I continued with a fruit salad, the turf from surf and turf, and ice cream.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/dishes31.jpg


We hit the jackpot on return to our rooms with our pillow gifts, a book on cruising Antarctica, and a set consisting of a comforter, scarf, tuque, and gloves, all sporting the Grand Voyage logo.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/goodies31.jpg


The featured entertainment was a repeat performance by Jason Lyle Black with medleys of classical (starting with one of my favorites, Bach's Toccata in D), Broadway, and jazz music.  We were just arriving at Cape Horn as the show ended.  


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/horn1.jpg


The weather was a bit misty but not bad.  Chile's naval station at the summit was quite visible.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/hornbase.jpg


My parting shot will be a cheerful farewell to January.  It has been a rough year for January weather and I'm glad to see it end.  The forecasts I'm seeing for my area seem much nicer.  Welcome February.


Roy

 

Edited by rafinmd

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Love your detailed reports.  

 

Feb 2 -- Groundhog day -- wonder what Punxsutawney Phil will have to say about our weather tomorrow?  I don't expect good news -- it is snowing like crazy right now.

 

Great pictures.

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Roy, great report. Those overalls sound quite stylish.😜

 

Actually, I am pleased that HAL spent the time to tell you about them. Clearly a different type of life preserver.

 

Enjoy your tour.

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Good morning Roy!

Ive gotten caught up this early am and enjoyed your pictures! The penguins in orange were cute but it was a nice picture of you and your table mate! Nice orange tie too👍 It is surprising how fast 30 days have gone by. 

Today’s is the 1st of February and it will be a wonderful new day!

Thankyou for taking us on your adventures.

Denise😊

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Love the orange clogs on the penguins. 

 

I’m wondering if the discussion of the heat preserving emergency devices is a new requirement. The muster we had for Antarctica on Veendam in 2013 did not include them.

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1 hour ago, TiogaCruiser said:

I’m wondering if the discussion of the heat preserving emergency devices is a new requirement. The muster we had for Antarctica on Veendam in 2013 did not include them.

There was a time when musters were required every week, and I was on a long cruise; IIRC, we had five musters. Each one was different, including things I had never heard of before, but could be useful to know in an emergency. I can still picture an officer in some sort of rubber suit.
I take it there is just not sufficient time for all this on the first muster, so most of us never have the opportunity for the variety.

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Thank you all.  Must post and run to the first lecture.

 

Day P28. Friday, February 1, 2019, Ushuaia, Argentina


Thursday night was calm and uneventful.  I was up early for 6 laps around the ship.  The morning was cloudy but as I was finishing my walk the sun was on the verge of breaking through.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/dawn0201.jpg


Ushuaia is my very first ever South American port.  It  was here I boarded the Professor Multinovski for my first time in Antarctica in 1997.  Since then I've been back on the Crystal Symphony in 2016 and the Zaandam in 2017.  7tours this time ranged from an $80 scenic drive to a $185 combination National Park visit and catamaran cruise. I had not really considered a tour in Ushuaia this time but was fascinated by a "Lumberjack tour by 4x4" and booked that.


We left the ship at 9 and boarded 2 vehicles, Toyota pickups with nicely done passenger compartments in the beds.  We drove out of town on the Pan American Highway towards Buenos Aires, stopping at a scenic overlook after about 20 minutes.  Our driver/guide explained that growth is very slow here and the tree line is at about 700 meters.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/overlook.jpg


After another 20 minutes we left the highway on a very rustic trail, stopping at our turn around point for a little walk.  We were on peat and as we walked our feet sunk perhaps 2 inches into the very spongy surface.  We came to a dammed spot on a stream where a beaver lodge was sticking up quite prominently.  Beavers are an invasive pest that they are working on eliminating, but in this sensitive environment even positive changes must be done gradually.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/beaverlodge.jpg


We went back out the way we came in.  We needed to ford one stream and could see the other vehicle as it crossed.  There was quite a steep grade on the highway side of the stream.  A Toyota sedan had foolishly strayed onto the trail and had become stuck.  We would probably have offered assistance in any case but the car had the trail blocked so the other driver supplied a tow rope to get the car to safety.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/ford.jpg


We had a comfort stop just after leaving the trail.  The "Winter Center" is a hub of activity in the winter but functions as a restaurant in the summer and we had the opportunity to buy hot drinks and enjoy a warm cheery fire.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/winterctr.jpg


We had another short drive on a less rustic trail followed by another walk to a "lumberjack refuge" cabin.  A meal was waiting for us, bread cold cuts and a pot of steak.  We were back in town about 1:45 with the option to get off in town or be taken back to the ship.  Nobody in our vehicle went back to the ship.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/lumberhut.jpg


The city of Ushuaia is built on a hillside, with the central district running perhaps half a mile along the waterfront.  I was dropped off roughly in the middle of that stretch and then walked to the eastern fringe for a look at the old prison.  


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/prison.jpg


Near the center of the town there is a monument to Ava Peron.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/evita.jpg


I walked as far as the Catholic Church, a very colorful structure.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/iglesia.jpg


Walking back along the waterfront the St. Christopher was sitting just off shore.  Originally built for the US Navy as a rescue tug she was never used by our navy and transferred to the UK in World War II as the HMS Justice.  Following the war she was sold to an Argentine company and abandoned in 1957.  The winds were picking up as I walked back on the pier to the Prinsendam.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/stchristopher.jpg


Ushuaia is a busy place in the summer.  There were 4 other passenger vessels in the port along with the Prinsendam.  One, the Stella Australis seems to stay in the Beagle Canal Area.  Ocean Adventurer and Le Lyrial are expedition ships, heading to Antarctica where they will be allowed to do landings.  Right across the dock from us was the Viking Sky, on it's world cruise heading for the Pacific.  There is only one dock and as soon as the cruise ships left an anchored container ship pulled in to transfer as much cargo as it could before the next batch of cruise ships.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/neighbors01.jpg


The Viking Sky was due to sail at 5PM.  This sailaway addict went up to the pool deck a little after 4:30 and watched as her last tour buses returned and the gangway was stowed.  I could hear a little bit of their captain's sailaway message and he indicated a delayed sailing due to the strength of the winds, so I went down to prepare for dinner.  I did note on our bow cam the Australis and Adventurer starting to pull away and went on deck for their departure.


We had a full table 19 with Kathi joining us so she could be ready for 9PM music trivia.  My choices were the pork and the key lime pie.  Le Lyrial and Viking Sky had both left by the time dinner ended.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/dishes01.jpg


All aboard was 7:30.  In his sailaway message Captain Jeroen indicated that the weather looked pretty good for our Drake Passage crossing although a storm would be following us and we might encounter some swells Saturday evening into Sunday morning.  We were just starting to move at 7:50 when I left and found a seat in the Showroom.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/devane.jpg


The featured entertainment was comedian Kevin Devane.  He was good although I was drowsy and missed part of his show.


I'll take my parting shot from the Viking Sky.  It seems like a lot of people on the Holland America forum of Cruise Critic seem to feel like Viking is close to the nirvana of cruising.  While in one of the shops on the dock I heard someone asked if they were on the whole cruise.  I did not hear the full reply but it included "I got on in Buenos Aires and thank God I get off in..."  Life is not always greener on the other side.  My experience with Viking River was not the best so I am not seriously looking at them but I thought the ship itself looked very nice.  One rumor I have heard is that they have overcommitted on building new ships and HAL could take over the contract for one of their coming ships.  I suspect that's a pipe dream but I would be very interested.


Roy

 

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Thanks for the update.

Looks like lovely blue skies for you.

As a side note, Wiarton Willie (our local groundhog) predicts an early spring.  Sure hope he's right.

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Enjoyed your review Roy! Great pics looks like good weather too! 

Ushuaia has nice weather and is a busy port!

Our friends on Viking Sky really enjoy her and is on her now for TWC! 

Have a great day! Look forward to more.

Denise😊

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Roy,

 

Thanks for the pictures and commentary on that extremely cold area. brrr! I'm glad you are finding new things to do.

 

You must be kidding - Viking with too many ships?? - impossible. Every port stop on the rivers in Western Europe - 3-4 Viking riverboats rafted together [at least you wouldn't have to climb - 'up and over'] 4-6 buses in every town square.  I was always with one of the smaller cruise lines. I had considered them a couple of times but the itinerary and the cost - never panned out when compared with the ones I chose.

 

Carole

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On 2/1/2019 at 9:19 AM, Krazy Kruizers said:

I waited several minutes this morning and the Straight of Magelan picture will not open -- 404 - File not found.

I'm not sure why this isn't working for you but this may be the one you're missing:

 

magellan.JPG.cac63deab46709677eb56ae8550b9af5.JPG

 

If not, then it may be this one:

 

overlook.JPG.f11fc2d5b5e09a952d26300abc232c69.JPG

 

Roy

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Carole, we're talking about too many ships now for Viking Ocean rather than Viking River.

 

I know they're huge in the river business.

 

ROy

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6 minutes ago, rafinmd said:

Carole, we're talking about too many ships now for Viking Ocean rather than Viking River.

 

I know they're huge in the river business.

 

ROy

 

I understand, Roy. I can't believe that they would 'ever admit' to having too many ships of any kind. Just knowing their history of glutting the market - ocean or river.

 

Carole

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Perhaps they will over-extend and have many ships to unload. 

 

After reading Bill and Mary Ann's report I feel very fortunate to be on the Prinsendam.  I've been to the Plaza San Miguel and it is nowhere near as nice as Miraflores.  I had hoped that Miraflores would be the new shuttle spot for all HAL cruises or at least for all Grand Voyages.  I think I might be disappointed if on the World Cruise.

 

Roy

 

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48 minutes ago, rafinmd said:

I'm not sure why this isn't working for you but this may be the one you're missing:

 

magellan.JPG.cac63deab46709677eb56ae8550b9af5.JPG

 

If not, then it may be this one:

 

overlook.JPG.f11fc2d5b5e09a952d26300abc232c69.JPG

 

Roy

 

Thank you

 

I also can not figure out why I got that message and the picture won's open up.

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Great pictures Roy.  The lumberjack trip sounded like one I would enjoy as well.

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Hi Roy,

Thanks for sharing your Prinsendam adventure with us.  I know you have done South America as I have, except I haven't been on the Antarctic leg.  Wishing you good weather; another cruise critic poster on the Zaandam posted great pics recently.

As you near the half way point of your cruise, do you feel the Prinsendam has grown a little "tired" at age 31?  I think HAL tried hard to maintain her, but there does come a time with anything mechanical like a ship, that it is better to start over with new or newer.  Your mention of a Viking ship availability sparks great interest.

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The lumberjack excursion sounds like it was fun.  I hope the weather hold for you in Antarctica.  When I went it was wonderful the last two days.  The first was overcast and windy, but not too terribly bad.

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3 hours ago, St Pete Cruiser said:

Hi Roy,

Thanks for sharing your Prinsendam adventure with us.  I know you have done South America as I have, except I haven't been on the Antarctic leg.  Wishing you good weather; another cruise critic poster on the Zaandam posted great pics recently.

As you near the half way point of your cruise, do you feel the Prinsendam has grown a little "tired" at age 31?  I think HAL tried hard to maintain her, but there does come a time with anything mechanical like a ship, that it is better to start over with new or newer.  Your mention of a Viking ship availability sparks great interest.

I seem to have sailed the Prinsendam every odd year since 2011.  Compared to 2017 I see little change but I've found the ship today significantly better than in 2015 and vastly better than in 2011.  Two of the biggest changes have been probably the nicest Canaletto in the fleet where there used to be a drafty, leaky canvas tarp, and a deck 12 aft that has changed from a cut up relic of something like a miniature golf course to a beautiful jogging track and shuffleboard court.  While I expect Crystal to continue as my primary cruise line, if I could I would almost certainly be booking something for 2020 or 2011.

 

Roy

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Can you give Erin the ACD a hug from James and Fleur, she is such a sweetie! We stay in contact with her after sailing on the Noordam with her. Enjoy the rest of your cruise.

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Teamflames, I'll try although I don't cross paths with Erin very often.

 

Day P29, Saturday, February 2, 2019, At sea (Drake Passage), MS Prinsendam


It was a very busy sea day and a good day to be inside the Elegant Explorer.  It was a very busy sea day and a good day to be inside the Elegant Explorer.  I'll start with a bit of unfinished business.  On Friday morning there was a certificate for rounding the horn on my mail holder.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/capehorn19.jpg


I left my cocoon about 5:30.  Heading upstairs I found the doors I tried locked and assumed the lower promenade deck was closed.  That was likely premature.  I went outside at the lido and things were fine so I walked 2 miles around the deck 12 jogging track.  Sunrise in Ushuaia was almost 6AM.  Today it was 5:35 and I had just missed the time but it was quite foggy anyway.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/fognotsun02.jpg


When I first started up to breakfast deck 7 was open and I walked 5 laps between breakfast and the time my room was being cleaned.  While on the lower promenade deck the wind and fog had both picked up and the fog horn was sounding regularly.  The cushions had been put out but there was no trace of chair hogs.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/nochairhogs.jpg


There were 2 morning lectures, Craig Franklin at 10 on Antarctic ecosystems and Lou Sanson at 11 on 200 years of Antarctic exploration.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/sanson.jpg


In his noon update Captain Jeroen reported that we would likely have some interesting sea conditions starting around 10PM.  We would pass 60 degrees of latitude mid-afternoon (3:10PM) and at that time the Antarctic environmental restrictions would take effect.  I walked around the lower promenade deck on my way to the noon update and lunch and it was starting to rain so my total for the day ended at 3 1/2 miles, 2 miles on deck 12 and the remainder on deck 7.  As I returned from lunch there were 2 people in the lido pool.  They said the water was fine but I bet getting out was not so easy.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/waterfine.jpg


The temperature for the day had been about 8C/48F.  I was quite comfortable in the early hours walking in my fleece and rain jacket but by noon the wind had picked up and it was a bit too cold even with my parka.


There was one afternoon talk (2PM) by Noel Miller on the tragedy of the Scott polar expedition.  I had some free time until 4PM when the dedication of the Nieuw Statendam was broadcast in the Showroom at Sea.  That is my next trip (transatlantic) in 77 days, 50 of which will be in the comfort of the Elegant Explorer.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/dedication.jpg


Captain Jeroen is attempting to invite each of his passengers to cocktails in his quarters and then dinner.  This was our turn for table 19 including Kathi.  It is the first Captain's suite I have visited on Holland America.  It is reputed to be the biggest in the fleet; it is about 50% more spacious than the one on the Crystal Symphony.  


Dinner followed in the dining room with hosted tables.  They were supposed to be hosted by Captain Jeroen, Staff Captain Paul, Hotel Director Rene, Chief Engineer Peter, and Environmental Officer Michael.  Captain Jeroen greeted us and then excused himself to be on the bridge as we traversed through fog.  The Staff Captain took his table and Security Officer Norm filled in at Paul's table as we went down to dinner.  We headed down to the dining room (decorated for a Winter Wonderland celebration) for dinner.  I was sheparded onto an elevator for the trip to the dining room, the first time I've been in an elevator since Ft. Lauderdale.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/wonderland.jpg


Table 19's crew was hosted by Hotel Director Rene and his wife.  It was a fixed menu with 3 entree choices and 2 for desert.  After a chicken soup starter my choices were a veal dish and a sort of peach tort for desert.  As we left I stopped for a photo of the penguins, now accompanied by a couple of chicks.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/winterpenguins.jpg


The featured entertainment was a vocal trio called "Shades of Buble", singing music of Michael Buble.  Since dinner started late I missed the show.  I had been concerned that I might have an effective inside cabin for part of the voyage but my porthole covers are still folded against the ceiling for our first Drake Passage crossing.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/nocovers.jpg


As my parting shot I understand Phil did not see his shadow, predicting an early spring.  His track record is not very good but I hope he is right this time.


Roy

 

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Thank you Roy for your great blog. The work you put in and the time it must take to put all this together is much appreciated.

 

I will be on the Zaandam in that part of the world in about 6 weeks time (going the other way round The Horn) and your writing and photos have been so helpful building up excitement for our trip.

Keep going Roy and know that we are all hang on to your coat-tails.

Chris

P.S It seems the penguins have not been idle!

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