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


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Day 29 Thursday, Feb 6, at sea

Typo in last post – we were about 42 hours late, not 47 leaving San Antonio.   I noticed as post was loading but internet went down as soon as post was registered.

 

As we hit the cruise half way point.  Plan was to have a nice seaday to sit back, work on my photos and reflect on the good times so far.  Unfortunately spent 6 hours at docs office – Freda is not feeling well but they have her on a bucket load of drugs so hopefully all will be good soon.

 

At 7pm things got worse as we got a phone call that her sister passed away last Sunday- been in poor health but still unexpected.  We only left our ship contact with 1 person so took time for others to figure out where we are.

 

The outdoor pool is still open but it has seen very sparse use recently and I doubt it will see much use over the next few weeks.  Today was the coolest weather so far but some people still felt it was still nice enough to sit outside. 

 

Today’s thought of the day - “The use of traveling is to regulate imagination by reality, and instead of thinking how things may be, to see them as they are.” – Samuel Johnson

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I was thrilled to find your 'travel log'.  We have reserved a cruise from Santiago, Chile to Buenos Aires, Argentina (14 days).  We  have travelled extensively; but lately I've been having some doubts about our abilities to do this type of cruise.  We are in our mid to late 70's & as much as I hate to admit it...travelling to far away places becomes more daunting as we age (in particular the getting there part:-).  So thank you for sharing your experiences.  The doubt I felt has been replaced by excitement.  Thanks to you and Freda.  I'm following along with you both...Cheers, Sandy

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On 1/9/2020 at 5:50 PM, Waynetor said:

Thanks for the comments.

 

Day 1 Thursday Jan 9 Boarding and sail-away

It is a verily quiet day in port today – the only other ship was the Celebrity Equinox.  By the time we are just getting comfortably settled in, it will be back in Ft. Lauderdale.  A little Celebrity trivia - The letter “X” on Celebrity Cruises ships funnels is the Greek letter “Chi” and stands for Chandris, the group who founded Celebrity Cruises in 1988.

 

Just like yesterday, getting a wheelchair taxi in Ft. Lauderdale is hard.  We reserved one for 10am.  At 10:15 called and was told it would be at hotel 10 minutes tops.   It showed up at 10:55.  I wanted to make a stop on the way and the driver refused.  Yesterday at home we asked for a 6:30 am pickup and the driver was there exactly at 6:30 which is the usually response at home.

 

Boarding –   We arrived at port a bit after 11 and like everyone arriving then had a quick check-in and onto the ship. Cabins were not ready until 12:30.  When we were greeted as we boarded the ship, one of the crew asked us “how we were doing?”, I replied we were living the dream” which sums up how fortunate I feel to be here for this voyage.

 

Cabin – For an accessible cabin, the washroom is quite good but the space between the bed and wall is very tight on one side and impossible on the other side.  I turned my dresser sideways and moved the bed a couple inches and now my wife’s chair just fits between the bed and wall.

 

We got our luggage by 1:30 just as we returned from lunch in the dinning room.  We were supposed to sail at 4 but then the captain announced that due to the length of the cruise that any passengers are doing, there is a lot more luggage than normal it was taking longer to load all the luggage on to the ship.  It was about 5pm by the time we left port.  One of our dinner mates had not received their luggage by dinner time.  The prior captain message said everyone would get luggage by 7:30.  I wonder what it will be like when we return to Florida. 

 

I will end each days post with a thought or quote of the day -

Today’s thought of the day - One of the gladdest moments of human life, methinks, is the departure upon a distant journey into unknown lands. Shaking off with one mighty effort the fetters of habit, the leaden weight of routine, the cloak of many cares and the slavery of home, man feels once more happy - Richard Burton 1821-1890

 

Sad that your wife must use the chair, Weyneter.  I applaud you for continuing your travels and making the most of your situation.  My wife loved cruising, one day she needed a wheelchair, and we kept going.  The cruises ended for the two of us when she could not travel another sea mile.  I stayed home as caregiver and saw her off one evening a year ago.  The passing tore my heart out and I still cry when I see her empty chair.  Nearly a year went by - - - my kids told me I MUST get back into cruising.  I did and I loved it.  Did the Grand from SF, Hawaii, SF 15 day gig last November.  Going again this time on Island from UK, Iceland, Greenland, NY and expect to love it also.  I also manage to make dinner dates with  beautiful ladies while the days pass whose husbands have gone ahead.  Jack Morris

 

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Day 30 Friday Feb 7 Amalia Glacier, Chile (Scenic Cruising) 7am – 8am ea    Sea Day

Today was to start with some glacier scenic cruising but in order to make up time lost earlier, we will be skipping that area.  I will make a few comments on what we should have seen before continuing with the actual day.

 

It would have been an early start to the day but the scenery should have it worth it.  I love days when we stay on the ship and the scenery comes to us.

 

Amalia Glacier, also known as Skua Glacier, is a tidewater glacier located in Bernardo O’Higgins National Park on the edge of the Sarmiento Channel.  The glacier originates in the Southern Patagonian Ice Field.  The glacier has retreated significantly since WWII.

 

Glaciers here don’t “calve” as the glaciers in Alaska do.  There are no tours available here and there are no roads into this area.

 

The plan would be to have the Island Princess come into the channel and near the glacier proceeded to rotate on the spot using its thrusters doing a slow 360 so that everyone could get a good view.  Would have made for more great photo ops.

 

In looking on the internet at photos taken by others on cruise ships, it seems that ideal weather there is rare.  

 

Got word yesterday afternoon from friends that had just boarded the Coral P in San Antanio.  The port was open and sea looked calm so they expect no issues.

 

One other point from yesterday.  It was the first formal night for this segment.  We used to order chocolate covered strawberries as one of the treats that elite can order on formal nights.  Since that option has been dropped, we don’t order anything.  To our surprise yesterday we had a plate of 15 items delivered without asking, 3 each of 5 different - unfortunately nothing real special just before what would be dinner time.

 

Around 4pm we sailed past the area of the glacier.  I would guess we were around 16km (10mi) off the coast.  We had been seeing coastal mountains on and off for a few hours but that was the best view. 

 

Unfortunately, just after that things changed for me.  At 5pm Freda had her last temp test to get her out of flu quarantine but I had started to show signs of noro so while she is clear, I am on 24 hour lock down.

 

As the coast line moves in and out, we would have had more mountainous viewing during the evening but I was in bed.  At the noon announcement the temp was13C (55F) but there were a few people on the open deck making the most of the sunshine.  The seas were on the calm side.  We were due to enter the Strait of Magellan around 10:30pm so as the sun will set around then. 

 

A number of potential sailing routes may be followed around the tip of South America.  The Strait of Magellan, between the mainland and Tierra del Fuego, is a major—although narrow—passage.  The Beagle Channel (named for the ship of Charles Darwin's expedition), between Tierra del Fuego and Isla Navarino, offers a potential, though difficult route.  Other passages may be taken around the Wollaston and Hermite Islands to the north of Cape Horn.

 

All of these, however, are notorious for treacherous williwaw winds, which can strike a vessel with little or no warning; given the narrowness of these routes, vessels have a significant risk of being driven onto the rocks.  The open waters of the Drake Passage, south of Cape Horn, provide by far the widest route, at about 800km (500mi) wide; this passage offers ample sea room for maneuvering as winds change, and is the route used by most ships and sailboats, despite the possibility of extreme wave conditions.

 

For us to get to Punta Arenas tomorrow we will sail through the Strait of Magellan where Punta Arenas is located.  This is a very scenic voyage with tall, snow capped mountains on both sides of the ship.  Unfortunately, we will miss much of this due to our late arrival to the start of the Strait.  After leaving Punta Arenas we will be going through narrow channels and be briefly back out to the Pacific Ocean and eventually sailing into the scenic Beagle Channel which will lead us to Ushuaia.  After leaving Ushuaia we will take a mainly southerly route towards Cape Horn - much of this could be scenic with more glaciers but it will be overnight.  Once out into the open ocean heading to Cape Horn the seas could get very rough.  If too bad, there is a chance we could bypass going around the Cape and instead just start heading to the next port.  We hope this does not happen but going around the Cape is not necessary to get to our next ports - it is just a nice historical, bucket list type side trip. 

 

(**From Celebrity Cruise Line daily report on cruise in this area). When Ferdinand Magellan sailed through this body of water back in 1520 he had another name in mind for it (Strait of All Saints), rather than something so self-important.  The Spanish throne, Magellan’s employer during his voyage, felt otherwise and eventually renamed the waters in honour of the Portuguese discoverer.

 

Chile’s stark and spectacular southern coast is the product of the world’s last ice age when enormous glaciers, covering the southern end of the country and South America, cut deeply into the continent and created marked valleys between the mountains and oceans.  As the ice age came to an end, the glaciers retreated and their runoff formed a path to the sea.  Water levels rose and some of the formerly dry valleys flooded, with the end result being tens of thousands of new islands surrounded by strikingly deep and dramatic fjords.  While some native people have long inhabited the land, much of the region was inaccessible to outsiders who could arrive only by water, arduous routes over the Andes, or more recently by small planes.  Today the region is a favourite of ecotourists for its wildlife and rare plant specimens.

 

Most of the time there will be no sign of human life along the various passages.

 

A cruise that goes from the east coast of South America to the west coast will likely have the same ports, but due to the timing of being in the channels what you actually see will be different.  The closer you are to December 21, the more daylight you will have – the amount of daylight changes by a few minutes every day.

 

Today’s thought of the day - We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm, and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” – Jawaharal Nehru

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Feb 8, Punta Arenas, Chile intro

At 53° south, Punta Arenas is largest city south of 46th parallel.  It is roughly 1,418km (881mi) from the coast of Antarctica.

 

Located on the Brunswick Peninsula north of the Strait of Magellan, Punta Arenas was originally established by the Chilean government in 1848 as a tiny penal colony to assert sovereignty over the Strait.  During the remainder of the 1800s, Punta Arenas grew in size and importance due to the increasing maritime traffic and trade traveling to the west coasts of South and North America.  This period of growth also resulted from the waves of European immigrants, mainly from Croatia and Russia attracted to the gold rush and sheep farming boom in the 1880s and early 1900s.

 

The city is built around its main square "Plaza de Armas" where the imposing monument of Fernando de Magallanes is located looking towards the strait.

 

The average high in February is 14C (57F) with 31mm (1.2in) of rain.  The weather can change rapidly during the day.  Punta Arenas has a reputation as one of the world’s windiest cities – occasionally cruise ships are unable to dock.

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I’m in quarantine until 9pm tonight so plans for tour today are shot.  We were originally due to arrive around 6Am but did not arrive and start tendering until about 9:15am.  Instead of leaving at 7, the last tender was 8:30 with sail-away shortly after.   

 

On our 2009 cruise I did a tour to see the Punta Arenas Otway penguin colony.  This area only has Magellanic Penguins.  After a nice drive out of the city you enter the park.  You walk along a long boardwalk.  On both sides of the boardwalk borrows can be see where the penguins live.  They can be seen walking along trails to where many can be seen along the shore.  We also saw Rhea, llama, sheep, rabbit, condors, geese, and ducks.  That tour gave enough time at the end to explore the city area around the port a bit – A great tour. 

 

Tenders dropped passengers off at Arturo Prat, about a 10-15 minute walk from the center of town.  Punta Arenas isn't really all that interesting if just doing the city.  The terminal is a small building but bustling.  On the port-side there is a 'sculpture' of a whale and just outside on the street there is an interesting antique clock.

 

The main square is really the main place worth seeing in the town.  Around the square are very attractive buildings such as the Cathedral and Regional Museum.  Located near the statue of Magellan at the central park there is a quirky “Tourist Info” kiosk with helpful attendants that speak excellent English.  Some passengers said they enjoyed the little handicraft stalls all around the square and the buskers entertaining them.  Seafood and grilled meats such as lamb are popular in the local restaurants. 

 

Today I was to do a tour organized on our roll call – The descp:

Magdalena & Marta Islands Boat tour of the Penguins and other local species:

This tour is about 5 hours – A transfer to pier of embarkation. Board boat to Magdalena and Marta

Islands. Interaction with as much 150,000 Magellan penguins as we disembark on Magdalena Island.

As we cruise Marta Island (for eco reason disembarkation is not allowed here) we are likely to see more

than 1,000 Sea lions, Cormorants, Skuas, Austral seagull, Antarctic pigeons, Sea elephants and if we're

lucky we will be able to see Austral Dolphins and Toninas Overa. Back to ship by 4:30pm

The cost was $129.00 per person versus a similar Princess tour at $349.95

 

With the late sunset we managed to get some more scenic cruising before it became dark.

 

Today’s thought of the day - The sea is dangerous and its storms terrible, but these obstacles have never been sufficient reason to remain ashore …unlike the mediocre, intrepid spirits seek victory over those things that seem impossible…it is with an iron will that they embark on the most daring of all endeavors…to meet the shadowy future without fear and conquer the unknown. - Ferdinand Magellan

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Feb 9 Ushuaia (Tierra del Fuego), Argentina intro

Ushuaia is located on a wide bay on the southern coast of Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego, bounded on the north by the Martial mountain range, and on the south by the Beagle Channel (the opposite side of the channel is Chile).  In the past, the town has been a missionary base, penal colony and naval base for the Argentine navy.  Besides currently being an administrative center, it is a light industrial port and tourist hub. 

 

Although much smaller than Punta Arenas, it is given ‘city’ status by most.  Ushuaia has long been described as the southernmost city in the world.  There are other populated centres further south but most are quite small.  Puerto Williams, Chile with a population of around 2,000 is the largest such place but is not considered a ‘city’.

 

Ushuaia is located in a wide bay on the southern coast of Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego, bounded on the north by the Martial mountain range, and on the south by the Beagle Channel (the opposite side of the channel is Chile).  In the past, it has been a missionary base, penal colony and naval base for the Argentine navy.  In addition to being a vacation destination for local and international tourists, Ushuaia is also the key access point to the Southern Ocean, including subantartic islands such as South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands and Antarctic islands such as the South Orkney Islands and the South Shetland Islands.  At around 1,000km (600mi) it is the closest port to the Antarctic Peninsula.  Besides currently being an administrative center, it is a light industrial port and tourist hub. 

 

The average high temperature here in February is 14C (57F) with 45mm (1.8in) of rain in the month.  There will be close to 15 hours of daylight. 

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Day 32 Sunday Ushuaia (Tierra del Fuego), Argentina  Noon - 8pm

 

Today my mom would have been 100 years old - unfortunately not with us anymore but still a day to give her an extra special thought.  I caught the travel bug at an early age.  Much of my love of travel came from the experiences I had when I was young with my parents.

 

I was scheduled to be cleared by the docs office last evening, but they did not call, so I called this morning and they said I had been cleared- nice to let me know.

 

At 54°48'0"S this is our most southern port - Going around Cape Horn tomorrow will be the most southern point on the voyage. (Going around the southern tip of Africa is much further north at only 34°50'0"S.)

 

Our day started with the most magnificent weather we could ask for while scenic cruising through the Strait of Magellan.  The Patter had the high temp as14C (57F) but it was warmer and the skies were pure blue. 

 

The pristine scenery the last couple days has made this southern section of Patagonia one of the most famous spots in South America.  The Patagonian landscape captures passenger’s attention with its simple beauty that continues mile after mile. 

 

I kept my camera close by all morning hoping for special sightings of the remarkable wildlife and scenery highlights.  This morning as well as tomorrow we have a chance anytime for viewing of a rich array of seabirds and marine mammals including Magellanic Penguins, albatrosses, petrels as well as dolphins, sea lions and fur seals along with Humpback Whale and maybe even Blue Whales or Orca.  If fact, this morning as soon as we hit the open deck I saw a seal swimming very close to the ship – unfortunately that was the only one today.

 

Coming into port we passed the Faro Les Eclaireurs, the landmark red-and-white lighthouse standing 11m (36ft) on one of the small Les Eclaireurs islands.  It is located 5 nautical miles east of Ushuaia.  Seals use it as a resting place.  Small tour boats go there for a close-up view.  Using my zoom-lens I could see them but they sort of blend in with the rocky landscape.  Side note – a nautical mile is the length of one-minute change in latitude (one sixtieth of a degree of latitude).  In more standard measurements it is 1.852km / 6,076.1ft / 1.1508mi.

 

At the top of the pier there are numerous shops and by the gate lots of people offering tours.  The dock is located directly in the heart of town so no shuttle or long walk required to get into town.  It was an easy, generally level walk (roll) along the dock and along the waterfront.  

 

We were joined in port by a Silversea ship and 3 Antarctic explorer ships including 1 from National Geographic.  We were last in and last out.

 

Free wifi is available at the visitor’s center and at the Customs building about 100m from the ship.

 

Tour buses are not wheelchair accessible.  Depending on your ability to transfer, some of the taxi could be used for those using a wheelchair.

 

I was told that there was a double decker bus that charges 75P and will show you the sights around Ushuaia and lasts around an hour and can be found right near the pier.

 

This is another port we visited in 2009 – at that time we did the Train to the end of the World Tierra del Fuego National Park tour.  The train was wheelchair accessible.  For the most part the old-style, slow moving train goes through a valley following a small river with a couple stops where you could get out and look around.  Nice but not great compared to other similar train tours done in other areas.

 

Next to the train station is the most southern golf course in the world – if interested in trying it remember that in the southern hemisphere your ball will break on the green different from what you are use to in the northern hemisphere.

 

While tours and vendors near the port will take US$ you will likely need Argentine Pesos for taxis or any entrance fees that need to be paid.

 

We set sail just after 8pm and by then it was solid cloud and the sun was wel behind the clounds so not good for any pics. 

 

The Oscars are on MUTS, Explorers lounge and in cabin TV.

 

Today I did a tour organized by a member of our roll call.  The $89 cost included National Park admission.  The description was “Full day Tierra Del Fuego” AKA the end of the world tour will include: Heading southwest through the valley, to the deviation that takes us to the Ensenada Bay, where we will be able to observe the Redonda and Estorbo Islands and on the other coast of the Beagle Channel.  Back again on the road and surrounded by the Fuegian Forest and its flora, we will go to Roca Lake to do walk by the lake coast and by the Lapataia River.  From this point we can see Condor Hill boarding Chile.  We head to the other end of the park where the route #3 ends at Lapataia Bay.  On our way we will observe the Green and Black Lagoon and large growing peat bog.

 

Review- As we crossed town and headed out to the countryside, new sights, both historical and natural beauty were everywhere.  Again, a wonderful day to enjoy exploring.  My camera continued to get a very good workout today.  I'm running out of adjectives - Breathtaking, majestic, stunning, none seem to do justice to the scenery.  Tierra Del Fuego is nature in all its glory, in all its dimensions.  Our first stop was an unscheduled stop at the train station so the group could see the antique train.  There and any place the river is near the road there were many local people out having a picnic.  Just past the train station we entered the park.  Throughout the park the road was just dirt which made for a dusty drive.  The weather remained warm and the wind was not bad but the sky slowly clouded over.  At Ensenada Bay I took off my shoes and pull up my pants legs and took a few steps into the water – cold but not bitter cold.  They have the most southern Post office the world there but it closed at 2:30pm, 3 minutes before I got there (Sunday hours). 

 

They do not have a lot of land-based wildlife here.  There are some foxes but we did not see any.  Beavers from Canada were introduced here hoping to create a fur business but it is not cold enough in the winter so the beavers do not have ideal fur pelts. In Canada they eat tress that regrow quickly, but here trees grow very slowly, but can live up to 700 years, so beavers are becoming a nuisance.  

 

It was wonderful getting a second chance to explore the south-western area of South America.  I believe everyone in our group really enjoyed our visit to Tierra del Fuego National Park.  It was beautiful and peaceful.

 

One of our fellow tour passengers asked the guide “what steps should we take if we were to encounter a dangerous animal”.  The guide calmly replied – “Very large ones”.

 

For tomorrow we are hoping King Neptune will be in a good mood and bless us with calm winds and seas.  That reminds me of a couple quotes: Seasickness – At first you fear you will die, then after it has a good hold on you, you fear you won’t die – Jack London, and A sure cure for seasickness is to sit under a tree – Spike Milligan

 

Todays thought of the day - "Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books." - Sir John Lubbock, Vice chancellor, University of London

 

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34 minutes ago, Waynetor said:

I’m in quarantine until 9pm tonight so plans for tour today are shot.  We were originally due to arrive around 6Am but did not arrive and start tendering until about 9:15am.  Instead of leaving at 7, the last tender was 8:30 with sail-away shortly after.   

 

On our 2009 cruise I did a tour to see the Punta Arenas Otway penguin colony.  This area only has Magellanic Penguins.  After a nice drive out of the city you enter the park.  You walk along a long boardwalk.  On both sides of the boardwalk borrows can be see where the penguins live.  They can be seen walking along trails to where many can be seen along the shore.  We also saw Rhea, llama, sheep, rabbit, condors, geese, and ducks.  That tour gave enough time at the end to explore the city area around the port a bit – A great tour. 

 

Tenders dropped passengers off at Arturo Prat, about a 10-15 minute walk from the center of town.  Punta Arenas isn't really all that interesting if just doing the city.  The terminal is a small building but bustling.  On the port-side there is a 'sculpture' of a whale and just outside on the street there is an interesting antique clock.

 

The main square is really the main place worth seeing in the town.  Around the square are very attractive buildings such as the Cathedral and Regional Museum.  Located near the statue of Magellan at the central park there is a quirky “Tourist Info” kiosk with helpful attendants that speak excellent English.  Some passengers said they enjoyed the little handicraft stalls all around the square and the buskers entertaining them.  Seafood and grilled meats such as lamb are popular in the local restaurants. 

 

Today I was to do a tour organized on our roll call – The descp:

Magdalena & Marta Islands Boat tour of the Penguins and other local species:

This tour is about 5 hours – A transfer to pier of embarkation. Board boat to Magdalena and Marta

Islands. Interaction with as much 150,000 Magellan penguins as we disembark on Magdalena Island.

As we cruise Marta Island (for eco reason disembarkation is not allowed here) we are likely to see more

than 1,000 Sea lions, Cormorants, Skuas, Austral seagull, Antarctic pigeons, Sea elephants and if we're

lucky we will be able to see Austral Dolphins and Toninas Overa. Back to ship by 4:30pm

The cost was $129.00 per person versus a similar Princess tour at $349.95

 

With the late sunset we managed to get some more scenic cruising before it became dark.

 

Today’s thought of the day - The sea is dangerous and its storms terrible, but these obstacles have never been sufficient reason to remain ashore …unlike the mediocre, intrepid spirits seek victory over those things that seem impossible…it is with an iron will that they embark on the most daring of all endeavors…to meet the shadowy future without fear and conquer the unknown. - Ferdinand Magellan

Sorry to hear that you both got the bug and were quarantine for a couple of days, glad to hear you are both on the mend.  Regarding the missed tour for Punta Arenas do you remember who the tour operator was?  Do you know if people enjoyed the tour?

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Day 33 Monday Feb 10 Cape Horn (Scenic Cruising) 8 – 9am

Early today we cruised around Cape Horn and moved from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean.

 

The Patter forecast was for overcast sky with a high for the day of only 9C (48F) and a chance of rain.  The forecast was very accurate.  It was a most non-summer like, summer day. 

 

Cape Horn (Spanish: Cabo de Hornos) is the southernmost headland of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago of southern Chile and is located on the small Hornos Island (AKA Hoorn Is.).  The Chilean Navy maintains a station on Hornos Island, consisting of a residence, utility building, chapel, and lighthouse.  A short distance from the main station is an 8m (24ft) tall memorial erected in 1992 which includes a large sculpture featuring the silhouette of an albatross, in remembrance of sailors who died while attempting to "round the Horn".  The memorial was damaged by 320km (200mi) per hour winds in 2014 but has now been repaired.

 

From the ship we could see the buildings, memorial and lighthouse although from our distance, they look small.  Other than the lighthouse guardian and his family, the windswept land is virtually uninhabited and treeless.  Smaller ships doing short voyages from Ushuaia allow you to tour the island.

 

Although not the most southerly point of South America (which are the Diego Ramírez Islands), Cape Horn marks the northern boundary of the Drake Passage and marks where the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans meet.

 

Cape Horn was discovered and first rounded by the Dutchman Willem Schouten, who named it Kaap Hoorn after the city of Hoorn in the Netherlands.  For decades, Cape Horn was a major milestone on the clipper route, by which sailing ships carried trade around the world.  The waters around Cape Horn can be particularly hazardous, owing to strong winds, large waves, strong currents and icebergs; these dangers have made it notorious as a sailors' graveyard.  The western sides of the islands in this area have heavy erosion from the constant wave action that have built up over many thousands of kilometres of uninterrupted open water.  If you were to set sail from Hornos Island in either a pure easterly or westerly direction, the first land you would hit is Hornos Island.

 

Our previous time here the seas were actually on the calm side with heavy clouds and light rain which is quite common year-round.  Again, today we had quite calm seas, a very brief shower, cold wind and mostly cloudy trip around the Cape.  Conditions remained the same all day.  

 

Despite the early time, lots of people were out on deck as we sailed around Hornos Island with a cup of warm beverage.  Once back to the open water we entered the Atlantic Ocean on our way to Falkland Is. most people were indoors - definitely not a pool day.  I spent some extra time between deck 7, promenade deck and the pool deck trying to photograph birds – not a lot of success.   

 

Very exciting day coming up tomorrow – I’m heading to Volunteer Point in the Falkland Is. to see thousands of penguins.  Fingers crossed that we will have no problem with tendering.  The crew have already sent out a notice to expect delays in tendering.

 

It’s along trip there and back with plenty to see while there so likely a long post coming up tomorrow night.  So, with that in mind here is what I did penguin wise our previous time there:  I took an early tour to Bluff Cove.  This is part of a very large farm.  A van takes you to the entrance where you transfer to 4x4 for a very bumpy ride to the colony.  Most of the penguins there were Gentoo penguins but there were a few King Penguins as well.  During the day time many of the penguins were out to sea but there was around 200 in 2 groups near the water.  Very nice tour for about 3 hours.  Once back in Stanley there were vans that will take you to the nearby Gypsy Cove Magellanic Penguin colony.  You pay to enter at the entrance.  You walk along the top edge of a steep hill/cliff.  The penguins have burrows in the hill and they can also be seen on the beach below - no need to book a tour to just go there.  Interesting little trip to get there and nice to see some of a different penguin species.  Those tours still left me time to walk around Stanley.

 

 

Just as I’m getting ready to post this, the Captain s just came on the PA system announcing he has received an adverse weather forecast for the afternoon tomorrow.  This could affect tendering operations and shorten our stay in the Falklands.  They will update in the morning what the plans will be.

 

 

This segment does not have a sea day that is a Sunday, so the traditional Sunday Brunch was held today.

 

Today's quote of the day - “Cape Horn, that tramples beauty into wreck and crumples steel and smites the strong man dumb. - John Masefield

 

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Love your insight on things to do and weather. We are going on the Coral on March 5th for 32 days and I have been keeping up with the weather you are experiencing and are going to pack accordingly. I know we will not have the same trip, but at least some of the places will be the same. Thank you so much for doing this.

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54 minutes ago, Shaver John said:

Love your insight on things to do and weather. We are going on the Coral on March 5th for 32 days and I have been keeping up with the weather you are experiencing and are going to pack accordingly. I know we will not have the same trip, but at least some of the places will be the same. Thank you so much for doing this.

If all goes well, we will be docked with you in Punta Arenas,  Mar 10 on the Eclipse.

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Feb 11, Port Stanley, Falkland Is intro

The Falkland Islands is an archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean on the Patagonian Shelf.  The principal islands are about 483 km (300mi) east of South America’s southern Patagonian coast, at a latitude of about 52°S.  The archipelago, with an area of 12,000sq km (4,700sq mi) comprises East Falkland and West Falkland and 776 smaller islands.  The islands are predominantly mountainous and hilly.

 

As a British overseas territory, the Falklands have internal self-governance, and the United Kingdom takes responsibility for their defence and foreign affairs.  Most Falklanders favour the archipelago remaining a UK overseas territory, but its sovereignty status is part of an ongoing dispute between Argentina and the UK.

 

The Falklands currency is a locally minted pound equivalent to British pounds; UK pounds are accepted here but Falklands pounds are not valid in the UK.

 

Stanley also known as Port Stanley, is the capital.  It is located on the island of East Falkland, on a north-facing slope in one of the wettest parts of the islands.  About 70% of the archipelago’s population (approx. 3,400) lives in Stanley.

 

Summer temperatures typically reach low 20s C (low 70s F) but variability of daily weather is typical throughout the archipelago.

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Day 34 Tuesday Port Stanley, Falkland Is    8am - 6pm

As noted yesterday, the Captain made an announcement this morning around the time we anchored. 

 

He was expecting poor weather this afternoon which would make tendering difficult.  Therefore, all ship excursions would be cancelled.  Passengers could go ashore but it was recommended that they stay no more than 2 hours.  The new ‘last tender’ time would be 3;30pm.  He mentioned that if the weather turned bad enough that the ship may have to go to sea before everyone could get back on if people are pass that time.  

 

Our group had just got its tender tickets and with no ship tours we were on the first tender.  Volunteer Point is north-northeast of Stanley at the end of a narrow peninsula.  Our trip to Volunteer Point would be over 6 hours so to be on the safe side the organizer and the company decided to switch destinations.  We would go to 2 other penguin sites and then, do a city tour which would get us back easily in time.

 

Today we were joined in Stanley by another cruise ship - Celebrity Eclipse with around 2,800 passengers so very hard to get on the popular tours.  Both ships were scheduled to arrive at the same time.  The Eclipse beat us into the area and had a much better spot that would reduce their tendering time.  Everybody on the island that possibly can, gets involved in tourism on a day like this.

 

The tenders docked right downtown, so it’s a hop, skip and a jump to all the highlights of Stanley (not that there are that many).  The ride took about 20 minutes.  My tour today was again a group through the roll call.  The group had been pre-divided into groups of 4 and the drivers were waiting for each group.

 

It was to be a long day and the weather at different places can be quite different than in Stanley so I wore waterproof pants just in case. 

 

The majority of tours that go of the Stanley area are in 4 passenger 4x4 jeeps.  Celebrity was still running their ship excursions and they were using vans that held around 16 passengers.

 

Our first stop was at Bertha’s Beach which was around a hour drive from Stanley over a mix of road conditions (much of the road is being upgraded and paved 3- 4 year project).  On the way there our guide noted that the landmine removal project should be completed around the end of 2021 – it had just started when we were here in Dec 2009.  We passed a couple very large sheep farms and many, many Upland Geese.  We also saw a British military base.  The airport there also serves for the few commercial flights to mainland South America.  We passed a docked cargo ship that the guide says provides supplies from GB every 6 weeks.  It would have been nice if we could have docked where it was but too far from town.

 

I asked the guide about having multiple ships in port and he said it is becoming more common and they had 4 ship 1 day recently.

 

At Bertha’s Beach There were hundreds of Gento Penguins (along with many more geese).  The young penguins were in the molting process.  Some were taking there first attempts at entering the sea.  It was weird seeing many sprawled out on the ground sleeping.  They showed no shyness of humans.  There were wardens there to make sure people did not interfere with their natural activities.  

 

After spending a good amount of time there we were off to Gypsy Cove which is not too far from Stanley.  There you walk along a cliff top and see Magellanic Penguins down on the beach.  There were also some on the hill were the penguins have their burrows dug into the sandy soil.  There were a lot of people there as it is included in many tours and is easily accessible from town.  It also offers great views of the cruise ships. 

 

After our time there we did a tour of Stanley and were dropped off at 1:40pm near the end of the shopping area which matched where the line for tender boats stretched to.

 

This is where things got real embarrassing for Princess.  Princess was running 2 tenders at the time (rumor has it that other boats had mechanical problems.  Celebrity was running 6 boats.  When I got close enough, I timed the tenders and for Princess they were 28 minutes apart.  Celebrity usually had 2 tenders at the dock and a 3rd waiting to replace a departing tender – their passengers who were greeted with hot chocolate had no wait.  While the Celebrity shorter rides were part of the reason, anyone thinking about cruise lines options would have wondered what the blankety blank was Princess up to.  I ended up waiting 2 hours, 20 minutes for a ride and there were about 3 boat loads behind me in line.

 

On the way back I had the first seat on the top deck (very cold spot).  As the boat approached the Island P, I could see a very large number of gulls in the water about a 100 meters/yards from the tender dock.  The tender boat was heading right at the group so I got my camera ready expecting them to take flight en-mass.  When we got right up to them it was clear that they were joined by an equally large number of penguins also feeding on fish.  At dinner I talked to a lady that said she stayed on the ship all day and had watched the display for much of the day.

 

The previous time here we were on a ship with around 3,000 passengers which exceeded the islands whole population.  That time we were on a cruise that started in Sydney.  I remember being told in New Zealand farmers average 7 sheep per acre and here we were told the average is 1 sheep per 7 acres - vastly different farming conditions.

 

End result is a mix blessing day.  For those of us that managed to get off early and still do a tour to see penguins it was a real positive, but not seeing the 1,300+ King Penguins at Volunteer Point was a real disappointment, especially since the tour we did was shorter with no reduced price.  At $219US this was not a cheap excursion but very worthwhile - the whole time there was amazing.  Princess was charging $409.95 for the same excursion using similar vehicles.  Our driver was very knowledgeable about the area including the history but he did not offer much info directly, we had to ask question to get anything out of him.

 

Another big day for taking photos.

 

The expected bad weather did not happen before we left and we hit fog as we left.  At 5pm the Captain apologized for the days issues and noted he is expecting 5m (16ft) swells tomorrow.

 

Today’s quote of the day - “Our happiest moments as tourists always seem to come when we stumble upon one thing while in pursuit of something else.” — Lawrence Block

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24 minutes ago, Waynetor said:

Day 34 Tuesday Port Stanley, Falkland Is    8am - 6pm

As noted yesterday, the Captain made an announcement this morning around the time we anchored. 

 

He was expecting poor weather this afternoon which would make tendering difficult.  Therefore, all ship excursions would be cancelled.  Passengers could go ashore but it was recommended that they stay no more than 2 hours.  The new ‘last tender’ time would be 3;30pm.  He mentioned that if the weather turned bad enough that the ship may have to go to sea before everyone could get back on if people are pass that time.  

 

Our group had just got its tender tickets and with no ship tours we were on the first tender.  Volunteer Point is north-northeast of Stanley at the end of a narrow peninsula.  Our trip to Volunteer Point would be over 6 hours so to be on the safe side the organizer and the company decided to switch destinations.  We would go to 2 other penguin sites and then, do a city tour which would get us back easily in time.

 

Today we were joined in Stanley by another cruise ship - Celebrity Eclipse with around 2,800 passengers so very hard to get on the popular tours.  Both ships were scheduled to arrive at the same time.  The Eclipse beat us into the area and had a much better spot that would reduce their tendering time.  Everybody on the island that possibly can, gets involved in tourism on a day like this.

 

The tenders docked right downtown, so it’s a hop, skip and a jump to all the highlights of Stanley (not that there are that many).  The ride took about 20 minutes.  My tour today was again a group through the roll call.  The group had been pre-divided into groups of 4 and the drivers were waiting for each group.

 

It was to be a long day and the weather at different places can be quite different than in Stanley so I wore waterproof pants just in case. 

 

The majority of tours that go of the Stanley area are in 4 passenger 4x4 jeeps.  Celebrity was still running their ship excursions and they were using vans that held around 16 passengers.

 

Our first stop was at Bertha’s Beach which was around a hour drive from Stanley over a mix of road conditions (much of the road is being upgraded and paved 3- 4 year project).  On the way there our guide noted that the landmine removal project should be completed around the end of 2021 – it had just started when we were here in Dec 2009.  We passed a couple very large sheep farms and many, many Upland Geese.  We also saw a British military base.  The airport there also serves for the few commercial flights to mainland South America.  We passed a docked cargo ship that the guide says provides supplies from GB every 6 weeks.  It would have been nice if we could have docked where it was but too far from town.

 

I asked the guide about having multiple ships in port and he said it is becoming more common and they had 4 ship 1 day recently.

 

At Bertha’s Beach There were hundreds of Gento Penguins (along with many more geese).  The young penguins were in the molting process.  Some were taking there first attempts at entering the sea.  It was weird seeing many sprawled out on the ground sleeping.  They showed no shyness of humans.  There were wardens there to make sure people did not interfere with their natural activities.  

 

After spending a good amount of time there we were off to Gypsy Cove which is not too far from Stanley.  There you walk along a cliff top and see Magellanic Penguins down on the beach.  There were also some on the hill were the penguins have their burrows dug into the sandy soil.  There were a lot of people there as it is included in many tours and is easily accessible from town.  It also offers great views of the cruise ships. 

 

After our time there we did a tour of Stanley and were dropped off at 1:40pm near the end of the shopping area which matched where the line for tender boats stretched to.

 

This is where things got real embarrassing for Princess.  Princess was running 2 tenders at the time (rumor has it that other boats had mechanical problems.  Celebrity was running 6 boats.  When I got close enough, I timed the tenders and for Princess they were 28 minutes apart.  Celebrity usually had 2 tenders at the dock and a 3rd waiting to replace a departing tender – their passengers who were greeted with hot chocolate had no wait.  While the Celebrity shorter rides were part of the reason, anyone thinking about cruise lines options would have wondered what the blankety blank was Princess up to.  I ended up waiting 2 hours, 20 minutes for a ride and there were about 3 boat loads behind me in line.

 

On the way back I had the first seat on the top deck (very cold spot).  As the boat approached the Island P, I could see a very large number of gulls in the water about a 100 meters/yards from the tender dock.  The tender boat was heading right at the group so I got my camera ready expecting them to take flight en-mass.  When we got right up to them it was clear that they were joined by an equally large number of penguins also feeding on fish.  At dinner I talked to a lady that said she stayed on the ship all day and had watched the display for much of the day.

 

The previous time here we were on a ship with around 3,000 passengers which exceeded the islands whole population.  That time we were on a cruise that started in Sydney.  I remember being told in New Zealand farmers average 7 sheep per acre and here we were told the average is 1 sheep per 7 acres - vastly different farming conditions.

 

End result is a mix blessing day.  For those of us that managed to get off early and still do a tour to see penguins it was a real positive, but not seeing the 1,300+ King Penguins at Volunteer Point was a real disappointment, especially since the tour we did was shorter with no reduced price.  At $219US this was not a cheap excursion but very worthwhile - the whole time there was amazing.  Princess was charging $409.95 for the same excursion using similar vehicles.  Our driver was very knowledgeable about the area including the history but he did not offer much info directly, we had to ask question to get anything out of him.

 

Another big day for taking photos.

 

The expected bad weather did not happen before we left and we hit fog as we left.  At 5pm the Captain apologized for the days issues and noted he is expecting 5m (16ft) swells tomorrow.

 

Today’s quote of the day - “Our happiest moments as tourists always seem to come when we stumble upon one thing while in pursuit of something else.” — Lawrence Block

 

Why no pictures?  You must have a camera packed with them.  Jack 

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Thanks for your outstanding and highly informative reports.

We will be boarding Coral next week so your port information is very helpful.

I’m glad to see the effort made to at least get some time in the Falklands rather than skip it entirely.

Also good to know that even if our ship tour is cancelled we can try to find a ride to Bertha’s Beach, and at the very least possibly see some penguins from the ship’s anchorage.

Thanks again, stay well and enjoy the rest of your cruise.

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Day 35 Wednesday, Feb 12, at sea

As I often do following a busy tour, I spent a chuck of time doing a preliminary go thorough on the photos I took yesterday.  Managed to delete some but still have tons.  I’m not very good at deciding which ones are real “keepers” so I keep a wide range.  I will have the pleasure of going thorough all the photos of this voyage at a more leisurely pace once home and then enjoy relieving each day.  I use my comments here and other notes I have kept to label what each photo is so that I can go back some time in the future when desired.

 

After each port I download that day’s photos.  I create a folder for each major vacation we go on and then within that folder, I create a subfolder for each port.  I also recharge my battery each night.  When recharging the battery, I leave the battery latch open so that when I next grab the camera, I’m more likely to notice and not take off without a battery.  On sea days I usually, not always will have a camera with me – I keep one of those Princess blue bags on the back of Freda’s wheelchair with whatever we think we may need for the day. 

 

The depth of water we sailed through today was in the 100 – 150 metre range – much shallower than the 3,000- 4,000m range off the west coast of Chile.  The swells at noon were around 3 – 3.5m (7-10ft) and decreased in the afternoon.  The morning cloud gave way to increasing sunshine in the afternoon so turned out not to be too bad a day.

 

The Captain noted that we left the Falklands a bit early which should get us into port tomorrow a bit early and ahead of the Celebrity Eclipse would should help with congestion in the port area with buses.

 

Princess offers various internet packages.  I am hoping that the 500 minutes we each got free as Elite members can last until day 44 and after that buy a 14-day package.  Once I do that, I will post lots of pics.

 

One difference between this segment and the 1st segment is that on the 1st, nearly every night a waiter would come around with a tray of glasses and a few liquors offering a $3 drink with the glass included.  Never saw anybody make a purchase.  Now on segment 2, that offering has disappeared.

 

We are suddenly on a hot streak – 2 bottles of champagne won in 2 nights – ‘fill in the blank’ and ‘spot the fake news story’ games.

 

Lots of discussion around the ship today about yesterdays tours.  One of tablemates tonight spent 10 minutes talking about the tour he had been on without hardly taking a breath.  At the end he apologised saying that when he thinks about the trip he just tends to ramble on.  A single lady at the table that had previously mentioned she was divorced, said “it’s OK, “I do” is the longest sentence.”

 

Today’s thought of the day - Tact is the art of making a point without making an enemy. - Isaac Newton

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Feb 13 Puerto Madryn, Argentina intro

The city of Puerto Madryn is on the shores of Gulfo Nuevo, a large, deep water bay of the Atlantic Ocean.

 

 Puerto Madryn was founded on 28 July 1865, when 150 Welsh immigrants arrived.  Puerto Madryn is now an important centre for tourists visiting the natural attractions of the Peninsula Valdés and the coast.  The city has several beautiful beaches but the water is too cold for all, except the hardiest souls.

 

The average high temperature in February is 28C (82F) and only 17mm (0.7in) of rain for the month.

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