Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Around the Horn...Thursday January 22 to Monday January 26, 2015

We had a great ride around the Horn Isle….very windy….we now have been to the convergence of the Pacific and the Atlantic oceans.  In 2013 we were at the meeting point of Indian and the Southern oceans and last June I  was in Iceland crossing a bridge over a fault line that separates North America from Europe.  It was very very windy and the seas were turbulent…..but a little sail boat passed us!!! I don’t know how big it was but if we were rocking and rolling and blowing you can imagine how he was being tossed around out there!   Crazy!

Windy Cape Horn

We are learning about the different terms for the area.  Before this trip, when I thought about the tip of South America, I thought terms for Cape Horn, the Magellan Straight, the Drake Passage and Terra Del Fuago were interchangeable,  I am now seeing the difference of the different areas, passages and channels.  The area is a maze of islands and you just wonder what the first explorers thought when trying to figure the best way to the East, and if there really was a way through or if they were going to fall off the end of the earth.  We are continuing to get commentary as we travel.  

Oh and if you SAIL around the Horn with out any kind of motor on your vessel....even if it is there for emergency and you don't use it....you get to put a gold earring in your right ear and get to put your right leg on the dinner table!!! I you do it around Cape of Good Hope (Africa) you can put one in your left ear and put your left leg on the dinner table!!! the things you learn!!!

Friday morning was anticipated by everyone on the ship….we finally stood on firm land.  I think everyone did decidedly well….no one toppled over!

Ushuia is a very pretty little town, it reminded us of the towns through the Rockies.  It is the jumping off point for all of the small expedition ships that head to the Antarctic, so it is a busy place for tourists. We were very lucky the day we got here (Friday the 21st) because it was sunny and warm.  The crew says that it is usually rainy and cool.  We found 2 caches and did a bit of shopping  here while we were walking and enjoying the sunshine and the fact that our feet were on firm land.

Although we did not land on the Falkland Islands, as the British call it or the Malvinas as the Argentineans call it, we have learned that although the war for the islands has been over for 30 years, each side claims the territory as theirs.  In fact Ushuia is the capital of the Malvinas and we have heard a few stories of how the Argentinians stop some of the cruise ships from landing in Ushuia, wanting the captains to sign papers to the effect that Argentina is the rightful “owners” of the island! 

Back on board by 1:00pm, a short stop, and then we cruised through the Beagle Channel and Glacier Alley all the time with commentary.  Lance, the on location guy , talking about the features of the channel and the different glaciers . Lori says it looks just like the Alaskan coast, but since I haven’t been on that cruise (yet) it was all very beautiful and new to me.  Again the sun was still shining and the officers and other crew kept coming out taking pictures and marvelling at the beautiful blue skies.

We had dinner that night on the Lido deck….usually a buffet style with western and some Asian foods……Friday it was a Heritage night where the Indonesian and Philippian catering staff cooked from their countries and wore their native clothing  and had decorated the dining area.  The food was yummy!

Saturday Jan. 24, we got up early for our day in Punta Arenas, Chile….a new country!  The water was nice and calm for the tender boats to shore.  Since we missed our trip to see the penguins up close and personal in the Falklands and we didn’t decide on an excursion here until it was took late everything was full, we decided to take our chances and get a tour at the dock in Punta Arenas.  We got a tour to Otway Sound and Penguin Reserve on a mini bus.  The drive was 1 hour there, an hour at the reserve and an hour back…..for $35 plus $13 for the entrance, oh and one $3 per person toll on the road.  It was the same trip that people on board paid $109!!!!  From where we parked it was about a kilometer walk out to the beach look out.  Here there was a wooden half shed about 20 meter off the shore, with windows that you could view  the penguins on the beach.  And right off the paths there was a nice group of penguins  were wandering around.

Our bus dropped us to the town square and park where there was a little  market and an statue of Magellan …..which conveniently was a cache.  Oh and if you rub Magellan’s big toe….superstition says you will return! We looked for somewhere to eat and ended up at a little place and had shrimp empanadas….delicious and very large!  Then back on to the ship but by this time the water between the shore and the ship was very rough and the little boat was tossed about a bit and had a hard time landing on the little dock attached to the boat….but we made it.

Now it is two days on board the ship again on our way to Puerto Chacabuco.  Reading, trivia (Australia Day today and we did well at Australia Day Trivia….it was Carol our 4:00 trivia friend from Tennesse, Lori and I and Jenny, an Aussie we met earlier in the cruise from Philips Island (south of Melbourne), Lori at the blackjack table doing well and me….well I made $300 on the poker machine after putting in and loosing about $35.….that should pay for some of the tab for the trip.  Also tonight is the last formal night…..we have brought formal clothes for the 3 formal nights, but this is the first and last we will attend with our 4:00 trivia team!

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