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Waynetor

live Island Princess 59 day Circle South America Ja 9 -Mr 7

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Jan 21-2 Lima (Callao), Peru intro

Callao is Peru’s chief seaport and home to its main airport.  Founded in 1537 by the Spanish, the city has a long naval history and was one of the most important Spanish towns during the colonial era.  Callao is within the Lima Metropolitan Area, with the Historic Centre of Callao located 15km (9.3mi) west of the Historic Centre of Lima.

 

Callao is built on and around a peninsula.  A historical fortress, the Castillo de Real Felipe (site of “Rodil’s Last Stand"), stands on the promontory overlooking the harbour.

 

Lima is the capital and the largest city of Peru.  With the seaport of Callao, it forms a contiguous urban area with a population of more than 10 million.  Lima is the 2nd most populous city in the Americas.

 

Lima is home to the country's highest concentration of museums.  The Historic Centre, made up of the districts of Lima and Rimac, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1988.

 

The January average high temperature is 27C (80F) with just rare chance of a trace of rain.

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Day 13 Tuesday Lima (Callao), Peru arr 5am

Tonight is the first of 3 overnight stays on this voyage.

 

Today started a bit foggy but slowly improved through the morning.  The skies were overcast most of the day with just a bit of sunshine in the late afternoon.  The high temperature was 24C (76F).

 

This is a very busy industrial port and you need to take a small van shuttle ride to the port gate if that is where you want to go to catch a taxi or walk.

 

I have seen warning from several sources about the area outside the port and other parts of Callao are unsafe for tourist and passengers should only take tours or taxis from within the port.

 

Callao does not have much for tourist.  Most tours from here go to Lima.

 

When we were here before (2009) our tour to Lima give us some highlights and a fair bit of time to walk around the cliffside shore and park area plus some of the old colonial area.  At that time there were dozens of cow statues all very artistically posed and painted – this was similar to the moose statues for a time in Toronto or the elephant statues we saw in Singapore.

 

One thing I remember is passing a few young ladies holding infants with 1 arm while having a basket of candies they would try to sell at traffic stops – basically begging but the candy makes it a legal vendor sale.

 

Most passengers today did tours but some did the shuttle mentioned yesterday.  By around 9:30 this morning there was no longer a wait for the shuttles.

 

I didn’t have anything on my must-see list so stayed on the ship with Freda.  Like other ports offering a shuttle there was no access for anyone that can not climb a few steps,

 

An expensive side trip some people did today was to leave the ship for a few days going to visit Machu Picchu.  This tour could be done independently or via Princess.  They will be back on Thursday. 

 

Tonight’s show in the theatre was a local folkloric show – very nice.

 

Today’s thought of the day - I like animals. I like natural history. The travel bit is not the important bit. The travel bit is what you have to do in order to go and look at animals.” – David Attenborough

 

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Day 14 Wednesday Lima (Callao), Peru dep 10:30pm

For the third time during this cruise, essential maintenance was done today on the water supply system making no water available in our stateroom between 9 and 5pm.  Our cabin washroom is the only washroom on the ship Freda can use – we will just have to remember not to flush until after 5pm.

 

I took the ship shuttle to the mall.  There was nothing special to see along the way or right around the mall.  There were quite a few stores that a familiar to malls in the US/Canada.  At the drop off point there were quite a few drivers’ offerings taxi or tour rides.  I believe quite a few people took advantage of those options to get to the tourist sites.  US credit cards (not so much AMEX) and clean bills were accepted at most stores but change would be local currency.

 

I managed to get some medicine for my congestion.  The clerks did not speak English so I spoke into their cell phone and the phone translated what I wanted.  I bought something, hope it helps.

 

We were given warnings about pick pockets going after vulnerable purses, wallets, and back packs.  It was suggested not to wear flashy jewelry, and watch for distraction scenarios.  There is caution needed also to check any US$ change given back, because fake bills are in circulation.  These tips do apply to many places but it helps to be reminded.

 

I spoke to a couple that did the tour to Galapagos Island – they felt it was very tiring but definitely worth it.

 

Tonight’s show in the theater was the movie ‘Downton Abbey’.  Hopefully somebody new has joined the ship.

 

The last few days have been bad for internet access so some post are not being made when expected.

 

Today’s thought of the day - "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust

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Jan 23 Pisco (General San Martin), Peru intro

Pisco originally prospered because of its nearby vineyards and became noted for its grape brandy or pisco.

 

Pisco is a Quechau word that means "bird".  The area is often visited because of the concentration of marine animals and birds at the Paracas National Reserve, or the Peruvian Galápagos.  At the reserve there are the Islas Ballestas, a collection of islands which are off limits to people, but boat tours can get close to.  The Chincha Islands are also near its coast.  Many bird species can be seen on the islands including pelicans, penguins, cormorants, Peruvian boobies and Inca terns, as well as sea lions.  Turtles, dolphins, and whales are common in the waters.

 

The city was very near the epicenter of the devastating 8.0 magnitude earthquake which struck on August 15, 2007.  Reports are that 80% of the city was destroyed and several hundred were killed.

 

In the nearby Nazca desert, there are ancient man-made lines forming a range of characters covering an area of 170 sq mi.  Due to the size of the characters (some over 100m/330ft long) they are best viewed from planes.

 

Pisco is very arid - rainfall is incredulously low; the average annual rainfall total amounts to a mere 1.5mm (0.1in).  The average high temperature in January is 26C (79F).

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Day 15 Thursday Pisco (General San Martin), Peru 7am – 5pm

Today was a mostly overcast day with temps around 22c (72F).

 

When we were here in 2009 on Princess the port was called San Martin (gateway to Pisco).  It was the same port as today.  There is nothing there except the dock and some area for container shipments.  I paid something like $10 for a round trip shuttle with a few other passengers to Paracas, where the boat tours to Islas Ballestas started and after a half-hour, we were able to get on one of the boats doing a tour that was only partly full – great tour for a couple hours for those that love wildlife.  On the way out to the islands you can see the 1,500 year old “The Candelabra Of Paracas” on a slope facing the sea.  It is a huge candelabra design made centuries ago on one of the waterfront hills just like one would see on a flight to the Nazca Lines. 

 

Today, I once again took the shuttle to Paracas but this time it was free.  Back in 2009 it was a small town with about 10 shops or restaurants and some homes.  There were only about 10 palm trees along a part of the beach.  There was only 1 dock and it was shared between the tour boast and fishing boats.  Today the little town has really expanded.  There is a huge area of shops and restaurants and the town has expanded in all directions as well as hotels.  Despite the dry weather, there are quite a few palm trees around giving the town some colour not seen anywhere else in the area. I took the same tour as I had done before.  It as the same cost - $25us as back in 2009.  The big difference was as our shuttle bus arrived, we were swarmed by those offering the same tour.  They get a payment for each person they deliver to the pier.  At the pier we were given a bracelet – they use that as a count on how many people and who will be on each boat.  I think the high-speed boat held 48 passengers and the talks were in Spanish and English.  Once again it was a great nature viewing tour.

 

A flight (about an hour and half total) over the Nazca Lines is a bucket-list item for many people.  Princess offered flights as an excursion and some people on the roll call organized their own flight tours.  One of our trivia team mates did that today and showed us some great pics.

 

The passengers that went to Machu Picchu returned to the ship here today.

 

As we went into the theatre tonight one of the cruise director staff was reminding those coming in - “Don’t forget it’s senior’s night at the casino!  Three prunes in a row, then it’s straight to the craps table!”

 

Today’s thought of the day - The world is a book and those who do not travel really only read one page – St. Augustine

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Day 16 Friday Ja 24 at sea

Today was mostly cloudy with seas at 2-3ft or close to a metre.  The high temp was 23 (73F).

 

We had lunch at today’s pub lunch with the craft lady on board.  We have not gone to any of her classes but she told us she averages 40 – 50 guest per class.  Today’s lunch was British themed.  The main courses were Fish and chips, Cottage pie, Chicken curry and Scotch Egg and salad with Sherry trifle for dessert.  I like the breaded shrimp and the plough-mans lunch offered at other British pub lunches’ on other Princes ships but none of these met my fancy except the desert.

 

The big excitement for the day happened on the way to dinner.  As we passed the bar in the La Ptisserie area, I looked out the window and all I could see was wall to wall dolphins.  Not sure how long they were already there, but for about a minute there was a pod tightly massed and I would guess close to a 100 metre across (300 ft).  There were very close to the ship jumping in and out of the water.  I quickly got a lot of guest attention and they also enjoyed the show.  Must have been a large school of fish in the area.  Unfortunately, the window on deck 5 are too dirty to get any good pics through

 

Today’s thought of the day - Keep things on your trip in perspective, and you'll be amazed at the perspective you gain on things back home while you're away...One's little world is put into perspective by the bigger world out there.  - Gail Rubin Bereny

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Be sure to wish Matt O. a happy birthday if you see him tonight.

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Your photos are amazing, and I am really enjoying your travelogue. Circle South America is going to be my big post-retirement cruise, but that is still a few years away. You are really giving me a lot to look forward to! Thanks for sharing.

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I went on the Princess 6 day/5 night Galapagos islands and Machu Picchu overland tour..FANTASTIC!!!  Machu Picchu was the most majestically beautiful place on earth that I've gone to...totally worth all the travel and cost. There were only 22 of us and Princess did it first class...in a beautiful boutique hotel in the Galapagos (came with seals and iguanas wandering around) and a 500 yr old former monastery in Cusco where we each had 2 room suites with 1.5 baths and a walk-in closet! Guides were excellent too. The traveling was pretty exhausting, though, as we took 5 flights in 6 days plus trains, buses and ferries!!

Edited by Go-Bucks!

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36 minutes ago, Go-Bucks! said:

I went on the Princess 6 day/5 night Galapagos islands and Machu Picchu overland tour..FANTASTIC!!!  Machu Picchu was the most majestically beautiful place on earth that I've gone to...totally worth all the travel and cost. There were only 22 of us and Princess did it first class...in a beautiful boutique hotel in the Galapagos (came with seals and iguanas wandering around) and a 500 yr old former monastery in Cusco where we each had 2 room suites with 1.5 baths and a walk-in closet! Guides were excellent too. The traveling was pretty exhausting, though, as we took 5 flights in 6 days plus trains, buses and ferries!!

Was that on a South American cruise and you had to miss some of it?  The Galapagos on Celebrity is on my bucket list but it is a seperate cruise.

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Day 17 Saturday Ja 25 at sea

Today is Chinese New Years – there was a brief note about it being the year of the rat and an explanation in the Patter but not much else on the ship.

 

We started the day with solid clouds and it became sunny in the afternoon.  The high temp was 22C (72F).  The seas have swells about a metre (2-3ft.) with mall waves on top and between the swells.  Can’t really feel it but it’s enough to splash around the water in the pools.

 

I was talking to another passenger about the dolphins I saw just after 5pm yesterday and she noted that she saw a similar very large pod earlier.  She could see lots of youngsters in the pod.  The only sign of life off the ship seen today was a few mid-size birds flying around.  Never saw them dive into the water.  I think they are some kind of ‘Tern’- mostly white with black on the wings.

 

There was a question earlier about Mat O’ being our cruise director and if he would be staying on.  Word around the decks is he was a very last minute replacement to be on just for the 58 days. When he joined the ship there was no master plan for the voyage’s entertainment (other than the main shows).

 

We have been doing a lot of the trivia games so far.  During the day there are general knowledge trivia and most eventing a topical subject trivia such as ‘logos’.  There has also been on sea days what is called ‘Progressive’ trivia where team scores are kept for the whole voyage (there was to be a segment end prize for those not on the whole time).  The questions were supposedly from Trivial Pursuit.  Each day a random subject from a list of around 300 subjects would be selected by the system.  Common subjects would be weighted higher so more likely to come up.  For the category selected, the system would randomly select 20 questions from the database for that subject. 

 

Things went sour after a few games when a team was accused of changing their score after having it marked but before they handed it in for the grand total tabulating.  The rule was then changed so that the team that scored the sheet would hand it in.  There had been a couple questions that had been reviewed on request and later disqualified due to system error.  Things went downhill bigtime yesterday when the category was ‘Dates’.  The dates were all supposed to be referring to the event in 2020.  Some were very easy such as date of April Fools day and others a bit more obscure, especially dates that change year to year.  As the answers were given it was clear that several were wrong such as date of Mothers day was given as Feb. 9.  So today the staff explained the system was not matching questions and answers correctly so tossed out the answers to 6 questions.  He also noted that comments made on some sheets handed in were very personal and negative.  While the sheets handed in have the team name that did the trivia, it does not say who scored the game and handed the sheet in.  As a result, the Progressive trivia will end with this segment and teams will once again hand in their sheets.  The 4pm Progressive trivia will go back to random trivia starting the next cruise segment.

 

Today we were down at the doctor’s office.  There was a gentleman there waiting for his wife.  After she had been several minutes in the examination room, she burst out screaming as she ran down the hall.
The husband stopped her and asked what the problem was, and she told him her story.
When the doctor came out to see us, the husband demanded "What the hell is the matter with you?!"  My wife is 71 years old, has 4 grown children and 7 grandchildren, and you told her she was pregnant?"
The younger doctor continued making some notes and without looking up said, "Does she still have the hiccups?"

 

Today’s thought of the day - There is no cure for birth or for death, save to enjoy the interval - George Santayana  

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49 minutes ago, Waynetor said:

Day 17 Saturday Ja 25 at sea

Today is Chinese New Years – there was a brief note about it being the year of the rat and an explanation in the Patter but not much else on the ship.

 

 

Today is also Burns night, so a good excuse to have some whisky (not sure if the cruise ship could rustle up some haggis) in honor of the great Scottish poet Rabbie Burns (think Auld Lang’s Syne)

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Day 18 Sunday Ja 26 at sea

Today is Australia Day celebrated annually on 26 January, it marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet of British ships in Australia.  Of course, just like in the Americas where some people don’t think Columbus Day is a worth celebratory day, Australia day is called “Invasion Day” by some.  For those that are celebrating, have a great day – we love visiting your country and are looking forward to being there again next year.  Of course, by the time I say “Have a great day”, the day is already over in Australia.

 

Again, we started the day with solid clouds and it became sunny in the afternoon with temps similar to yesterday.  The seas have swells were bit higher than yesterday - about a metre and a half (4-5ft.). 

 

We had a pretty quite activity day.  Princess provided a Sunday brunch in the main dinning room.  There was buffet style pastries, fruit, smoked salmon, shrimp, scallops and salad along with a special menu to order from.  This evening we did ABBA trivia and then the Yes/No game.  Normally with a trivia like this there will be teams getting very high scores and lots of people having fun and singing along with the tunes.  There were over 20 teams playing.  Out of 18 questions no team got 6 or 7 right, 2 teams, including us got 8 and 1 team managed to get 50%.  Even when the host played the major part of the song, in many cases everyone was sitting there saying where the *** did he dig up those songs.

 

As we approach Chile, one thing I noticed is they use pesos as their currency but also use the ‘$’ symbol.  With the exchange rate it doesn’t takes too much to be a multi millionaire in Chile.  This cruise would have cost several million.  When I first checked the exchange rate in August, a million peso was around $1,400US.  The peso had dropped 3.37% in July – makes for a nice bonus for tours operators charging US dollar.   

 

Easter Island uses the same time zone as main time Chile but being at the very far west end of the zone the sun rises later and sets later.  Today sunrise was 6:56am and sunset 8:21pm.

 

At dinner tonight we were the first ones at our table, after a bit we were joined by a single man and a bit later by a single lady who sat next to him.  The gentleman trying to be a charmer asked her “Does Princess charge you extra for sitting next to a good looking man?” She was quick to reply, “Yes, but I was not willing to pay.”

 

Today’s quote of the day - The call to the sea has got neither a on/off switch nor a volume control.

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Day 19 Monday Ja 27 at sea

With the air temps dropping a bit, there are still lots of people out on the pool deck, but the pool itself is seeing fewer guest.  One thing I have noticed - ever since we started this voyage there has been a lack of ‘chair hog’ activity.  I have seen the odd lounge chairs with items that has been deserted for a few hours but they are a minority and there is always a place to relax.

 

For the last 4 days we’ve seen nothing but endless water, not a freighter, not a jet contrail, no land...not a thing.  Today we passed the Tropic of Capricorn.

 

Everybody has their fingers crossed for great weather tomorrow.  With 4 sea days to get to Easter Island and 4 days back to the mainland again, there will be a lot of unhappy passengers if the weather does not cooperate for tendering tomorrow.  So far the Captain seems optimistic.

 

For anyone doing a voyage that includes Easter Island – book a tour as soon as you can.  They can fill up very quickly.  Some tours are in 20 passenger vans.  For tomorrow I have a tour with Kava Kava Tours in an 8-passenger van.  The cost is $160us prepaid (half non refundable if we do not arrive).  There is also an additional $80 National Park fee payable on shore. 

The tour Itinerary:

Pass By: Hanga Piko, Hanga Roa, Easter Island (Pick up place for guests (Pier)

Rano Raraku: Rano Raraku houses the quarry where the moai were built and from where they were moved to the ahu (ceremonial platforms) in the island. Duration: 2 hours

Ahu Tongariki: Ahu Tongariki is the most imposing moai platform in the island. This altar has fifteen visible standing statues overlooking the island with their backs to the Pacific Ocean. Duration: 1 hour

Anakena Beach: It is the main beach of the island and used to be the ancestral residence of the Miru Araki royal family. The ahu Nau Nau is undoubtedly one of the most accomplished Ahu of the island because of the refinement of its moai. Duration: 1 hour

Ahu Akivi: One of the very few ceremonial platforms not located by the sea. Its seven moais have been restored to their standing position by the archaeologists William Mulloy and Gonzalo Figueroa along with the Rapa Nui community. These moai have the particularity of having astronomical positioning guidance and look towards the setting sun. Duration: 30 minutes

Rano Kau: Located in the southwest side of the island the crater of this volcano is one of the most beautiful natural landscapes of Rapa Nui. With 1.5 Km large this crater is the biggest reserve of endemic flora of Rapa Nui and its lake served as an important source of drinking water in ancient times. Duration: 30 minutes

Orongo: Orongo village is located on one side of the Rano Kau volcano crater. It's one of the two main sites on the island as in this place was celebrated the Birdman ceremony. It also has a visitor reception center with a permanent interpretive exhibition Duration: 1 hour

We will be at the pier even before the time the first tender arrives. We will be waiting for you at the docking area with a sign with your name on it. Once the group is gathered, we will start our tour. After we finish the tour, we will return you to the pier to take you back to the tender area before the ship leaves the dock.

What's included?

Private vehicle, Pier pickup and drop-off, Small-group tour (8 people max), Bilingual Live Guide (English & Spanish)

 

At the port lecture for Eastern Island it was noted that Princess has sold 950 excursions so looks like a lot of people plan to go independent.  With the exception of 1 5-hour tour, the rest of Princess tours are 3 hours – prices range from $304.95 to $539.95. 

 

We received a notice today stating that although we should be anchored by 7am, local regulations do not allow authorities to lave the island before sunrise (7:47).  Once the authorities board the vessel the clearance procedures are expected to take approximately 1 hour and no water shuttles (tenders) will be allowed to be deployed until that process is complete.  There will be 4 shuttles running, each ride takes 35 minutes each way and if conditions are less than ideal then capacity will be reduced by up to 25%.  Delays to get on shuttles is expected.

 

Weather forecast for tomorrow is mostly cloudy with a high of 26C (80F).

 

Getting ready for dinner we had the news on the TV for a bit and there was a Breaking News story about ‘Passengers trapped on a cruise ship in the middle of the ocean for 4 days’.  Don’t worry about us - On the bright side, it’s kind of what we paid for.

 

After 4 days at sea todays’ quote of the day seems appropriate - One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time. - Andre' Gide

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Waynetor,  did you find yourself bored with four sea days;  or did you just like the relaxing time for those four days?  Thanks for your feedback

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Jan 28 Easter Island, Chile Intro

Easter Island (Rapa Nui – pronounced Rah-pah Nwe) is a Chilean island at the southeasternmost point of the Polynesian Triangle in Oceania.  Easter Island is most famous for its nearly 1,000 extant monumental statues, called moai, created by the early Rapa Nui people.  With about 40% of the island protected within Rapa Nui National Park in 1995, UNESCO named Easter Island a world Heritage Site.

 

Easter Island is a volcanic island, consisting mainly of 3 extinct coalesced volcanoes: Terevaka (altitude 507m (1,663ft)) forms the bulk of the island, while 2 other volcanoes, Poike and Rano Kau, form the eastern and southern headlands and give the island its roughly triangular shape.  Lesser cones and other volcanic features include the crater Rano Raraku, the cider cone Puna Pau and many volcanic caves including lava tubes.  Total land is around (63sq mi).

 

It is believed that Easter Island's Polynesian inhabitants (Rapanui) arrived on Easter Island sometime near 1200 AD, but possibly as early as 800AD.  They created a thriving and industrious culture, as evidenced by the island's numerous enormous stone moa and other artifacts.  However, land clearing for cultivation and the introduction of the Polynesian rat led to gradual deforestation.  In 1722 Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen encountered the island on Easter Sunday (5 April) hence, its name of Easter Island.  As was common with European explorers, there was no consideration to what the Rapanui had been calling it.  At the time of his arrival the island's population was estimated to be 2,000–3,000.  

 

Felipe Gonzalez de Haedo of Spain arrived on the island in 1770.  He had the Rapanui sign a contract claiming the island for Spain not that they had any idea of what it meant or of its significance.  He stayed for 6 days before leaving.  No Spanish ever returned to follow up on the claim.

 

In 1774 British Captain Cook arrived.  He and his crew were ill, and spent only 4 days on the island gathering supplies and fresh water.  He noted that the island was in considerably worse condition than had been reported in de Haedo's journals just 4 years earlier.  The Rapanui were dwindling in number and health, and many of the statues had been toppled.  The journals of these 3 explorers are the only existing written history of the island from that time.

 

The Rapanui were then left to their own devices for the next 60 years or so, but the islander’s way of life and belief system had clearly quickly changed.  Sometime between Roggeveen's visit and 1838, all of the moai were thrown from their platforms.  Those that are standing today have only been re-erected since 1955.  It has been proven that the moai were pulled from their platforms, not toppled by a natural disaster such as a tsunami.  What effect, if any, the arrival of the Europeans had on the islanders that may have led to this action will never be known but it represented a complete change of belief of the powers of the moai.

 

European diseases, Peruvian slave expeditions in the 1860s, and emigration to other islands, further depleted the population, reducing it to a low of 111 native inhabitants in 1877.

 

Chile annexed Easter Island in 1888.  In 1966, the Rapa Nui were granted Chilean citizenship.  In 2007 the island gained the constitutional status of "special territory."  The 2017 Chilean census registered 7,750 people on the island, of whom 3,512 (45%) considered themselves Rapa Nui.

 

Easter Island is one of the most remote inhabited islands in the world.  The nearest inhabited land (around 50 residents in 2013) is Pitcairn Island, 2,075km (1,289mi) away.  The nearest continental point lies in central Chile, 3,512km (2,182mi) away.  To help show just how much the Americas west coast slopes easterly is the point that despite being so far off the west coast, if we went directly north, we would land near the Cabo San Lucas area of Mexico – much of Mexico and the US and Canadian coast are even further west.

 

The climate of Easter Island is classified as a tropical rainforest climate.  The average temperature in January is 27C (80F) with average rainfall for the month 90m (3.5in).

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Day 20 Tuesday Easter Island, Chile 7am – 6pm   

Today was the first tender port of this voyage.  The tenders dock in Hanga Roa, the island's main town.  This one of those destinations where just about every local becomes involved when a large cruise ship comes to the island – other than small ships, they do not get very many.  The Sea Princess was here last August, Aida Cruise Line had a ship here about 6 weeks ago, now us and the next ship will be the Sea Princes again in August.

 

Absolutely no food was allowed to be taken ashore.  Our bags were inspected as we got off the dock.  There were vendors set up near the tender dock and shops in town also had a range of souvenirs.  Taxis were also available there.

 

To give an idea of how the day went for Princess – when our group got back to the dock area around 4:30 there was a long line to catch tenders.  The next tender that came in had passengers getting off to start a tour (last tender back to the ship was advertised as 5pm).  The next tender coming in plus the 1 I caught at 5:40pm also had people ready to start tours (These tours were scheduled for around 1:30 start).  It was not until 9:30 that everyone was back on board.

 

The buses being used could not store wheelchairs/strollers so they were not allowed to be taken off the ship.

 

Problems started early with the Chilean authorities taking longer than expected to clear the ship.  Due to choppy conditions each tender took longer than usual to load and unload quickly backing up the process.  Our group was fortunate to be on the first non- Princess tour shuttle so we were able to get started just about a half hour late.  I have heard some independent travels took so log that their tours left without them – no refund.

 

We had a great driver/guide who taught us all quite a bit about the country and its history.  At Rano Raraku there are around 400 moa in various states of preparation for moving to final spot but were deserted as they were.  The eyes are not finished until moved.  The face of each moa is different.  The differences can be due to the time period created as well as the person is was created for.  We had some rain there, but after that it cleared up very nicely (I now have a sun-burnt face/neck).

 

After hearing of the problems caused by no tress on the island, I was surprised by the large areas now tree covered.

 

The other stops were as scheduled and each offered wonderful but different scenery.  Some people come here for vacations of 5 – 7 days.  In that time, you could explore a lot history but we certainly covered a lot in our 5.5 hours (excluding lunch break).

 

Most of the tours here were in 20 passenger buses.  Being in a smaller vehicle cost a bit more but had its advantages, especially having a guide that could easily talk to the whole group.  

 

We saw wild dogs in several places but they did not appear dangerous in any way.  Also saw lots of horses – the were once work horses but are no longer needed for that and are allowed to roam free (and multiply).  There are also some cattle – both the cattle and horses feel the roads belongs to them

 

You can do a lot of advanced reading, watch documentaries and go to all the lectures but to see this through your own eyes is so very special and is so very meaningful.  There are places and events in life that really don’t translate in words or sometimes even in photos, but “you just have to be there.”

 

Our guide was very knowledgeable and gave us a very good history of the island but having a basic knowledge before hand makes it easier to take all the info in without being overwhelmed.  It was clear that many of the moai are in a deteriorating condition as the rock used is susceptible to wear.

 

Our guide said the population has now passed 8,000 (most new people are from mainland Chile) but this is starting to be a concern with getting enough supplies here to meet demand.  As the guide pointed out, with earlier populations reaching 20,000 and no wood for fishing boats turmoil followed that period.

 

It seems everyone I talked to this evening had a wonderful day on the island but as to be expected there is a range of acceptance for the whole process – to me, being delayed is better than skipping Easter Island.  Princess tried to keep people updated as they waited but it was a long wait for many people.

 

We had dinner around 6 and the dinning room was like an echo chamber.

 

We did the 70’s music trivia tonight with Matt O’ – certainly a vastly different experience than the ABBA trivia before.

 

I will post some pics later.

 

Today’s thought of the day - "Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away." - George Carlin

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13 minutes ago, Waynetor said:

The Sea Princess was here last August, Aida Cruise Line had a ship here about 6 weeks ago, now us and the next ship will be the Sea Princes again in August.


HAL Amsterdam will be there on February 16 as part of their World Cruise. 
 

I am enjoying your travels!!

 

Cheers, Denise 

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This has been an incredible documentary of your travels.  Thanks so much for taking the time to share for us not able to go!

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