A Travellerspoint blog

North Along the Chilean Coast

Monday, 2 March 2015

An overcast sky prevented a visible sunrise and the temperature on the open decks was struggling to reach 10 °C. A simple breakfast in the Horizon Court and then back to the cabin to shower and dress for the day. There are not a lot of activities to attend to today. Jenny is feeling a bit off colour so she's reported to the Medical Centre. It appears there are a large number of passengers with symptoms of flu. Jenny's complaint is not infectious but she has been prescribed are variety of medication to prevent a bronchial attack.

I attended the Destination Presentation, our next port is Valparaiso for the city of Santiago. We have a Shore Excursion booked for the first day and will most likely walk ashore independently on the second day. These talks in the Theatre inevitably lead to massive overcrowding but this time they have arranged a simulcast on the stateroom TVs. There were lots of empty seats but I hope they keep up the simulcast idea.

There's a seafood buffet in Café Caribe from 1200 to 1330. Based on reports from previous 'theme' buffets we ensured seating well ahead of time. It appears that many fellow passengers had the same idea. By the time the buffet opened there was a queue of at least 100 people. The seafood on offer was short of fantastic and seemed hardly worth the effort. We finished our meal and noticed that the queue was still growing.
I spent some time taking some photos of the public spaces on Deck 7 the Promenade Deck. This deck is totally devoted to passenger space from the Theatre at the bow to Club Fusion at the stern. Other significant spaces include the Wheelhouse Bar, Crooner's, the Explorers Lounge and the Crown Grill.

After a refreshing siesta it was time to start the preparation for another formal dinner. Numbers were down in the dining room, possibly due to the number of people who are unwell. There is a Captain's Farewell Party this evening, primarily for the 600+ people who are leaving the ship in Valparaiso. We decided not to stay around and had no intention to mingle or have photos taken.

Back in the cabin we found a 'Transit Passenger' instruction sheet which contained some misinformation, casually dismissed by the Customer Services staff but incorrect and confusing nevertheless. I'm becoming less and less impressed with the administration. This is partly due to the fact that what we booked as a 49 day cruise is being treated and administered as three back-to-back cruises. This is illustrated by the fact that the on-board account is closed off after each segment and it appears that we will be required to attend another muster drill. Menus have also been repeated and look like being repeated again, not something we've noticed previously. I'm most surprised and disappointed that we've not had any menu items that reflect the cuisine of the countries we've visited. Throughout it is been predominately North American with some 'specials' to celebrate the 50th anniversary.

We continue to sail Northward along the Chilean coast towards Valparaiso. Another sea day tomorrow.

If you want to look at what I've been up to you can view my latest photo by following this link to the image for Today

Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 22:10 Archived in Chile Comments (1)

Chile Coast- Sea Day 1

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Woke up early, 0230, this morning and went down to the Internet Café to try my luck with the Internet connection. It was a worthwhile exercise and I managed to upload images and texts held over for the last three days. Hopefully I don't have to resort to such drastic actions again. Sunrise was scheduled for 0733 but the overcast, strong winds and choppy sea prevented any photography.

Most mornings a six member group of men meet for coffee at about 0545 and review the events of yesterday. Most days we resolve most of the issues effecting the world. This morning, Dennis asked me with a very straight face and a serious voice if it was possible to determine if a photo was of a sunrise or a sunset. I had to admit I wouldn't be able to distinguish one from the other. He claimed that he could !! When asked how his answer was "If my wife is in the photo it MUST be a SUNSET, she doesn't get up early enough to see the sunrise !!"

After breakfast I attended an "Advanced Photography Seminar", no doubt it was advanced for some but did nothing to advance my knowledge. As the seminar finished the ship received a sudden wind blast on the port side causing it to tip over to starboard by almost 30°. From a person who was in the buffet area she reported that the lunch-time food trays slipped off the counters and dumped the food over the deck. One can only imagine the chaos in the galley. There was an announcement from the bridge that ballast was being transferred to level the ship as the strong wind was forecast to continue. All access to the open deck was closed for the day and the main swimming pool emptied.

Joined Jenny in the Wheelhouse bar for a future cruises presentation by the delightful Angela who spoke with her usual enthusiasm about the European itineraries for later in 2015 and 2016. Seven of Princess's ships will operate in Europe this Northern Hemisphere Summer season. Certainly plenty of choices but such a long way from home.

After a quick lunch we adjourned to the Theatre to watch the afternoon movie, "The Dallas Buyers Club". The title was familiar and it didn't take long to confirm that we'd seen it before. Jenny left but I stayed and I think she made the better decision. When the movie finished I realised I hadn't yet taken any photos for the 365 Project. I decided to catch some images of the Da Vinci dinning room. As luck would have it the afternoon tea was just finishing. The crew were quite happy for me to poke around and even posed for the camera.

A lovely dinner with Mary and Donald after which I elected to return to the cabin to write this blog, I doubt I'd have stayed awake during tonight's show.

We continue to sail Northward along the Chilean coast with the ship making light of the winds and waves. Another sea day tomorrow.

If you want to look at what I've been up to you can view my latest photo by following this link to the image for Today

Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 23:28 Archived in Chile Comments (0)

Punta Arenas in Chile

Saturday, 28 February 2015


View 2015-02 South America on greynomadm's travel map.

I hope this isn't becoming boring but I was treated to a spectacular sunrise on a calm sea with little to no wind. Temperature was below 10 °C as we sailed into the harbour for Punta Arenas which is located on the Strait of Magellan and dropped anchor as the wharf is not capable od accommodating a ship of our size.

Breakfast completed we returned to the cabin and prepared to go ashore. The priority tender service ensured we had only a short wait in the Wheelhouse Bar before we boarded. A short ride on a calm sea brought us to the terminal building where our back-pack was scanned for prohibited imports. Different rules here in Chile.

A short walk brought us to the centre of the town and I was on a desperate search for a toilet. We were directed to an upmarket shopping mall but the toilets were still locked. Fortunately a café across the street was open for breakfast and fortunately there were facilities in a back corner. We ordered a Coke and a cappuccino. The Coke bottle was a peculiar shape and the coffee came in a glass with a straw and a mound of whipped cream. The cost came to the equivalent of US$6 which I thought to be quite reasonable.

We visited the local cathedral, a simple interior with some very lovely statues and a large mural on the ceiling above the altar. We walked over to the park where the market stalls were just coming to life. An awesome array of goods for sale with most knitted and woven items claiming to be genuine alpaca. There was no way of confirming their authenticity but they were very reasonably priced.

Found our way back to the terminal building and confirmed that the prices there were at least 10% more than identical items at the markets. By about noon we were ready to return to the ship. A nice feature of the tender embarkation area was an enclosed shelter, not that the weather was bad but it would be most welcome if there was a strong wind.

A leisurely lunch and we went to the Theatre to watch the movie "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1" which lived up to the bizarre title. Jenny left before the halfway mark, I stayed to the end. I think I know what the story's about but it seems like a cult thing. Took some time to capture some more pictures from Deck 19. The dominant feature was the thick clouds that developed in all directions.

Back to the dinning room for diner but without Donald and Mary. There were many empty or partly filled tables and the service was very slick. We were out of there within an hour even after staying for a second cup of coffee. Tonight's entertainment was provided by ventriloquist Don Bryan and his very clever partner "Noseworthy". The jokes were well practised and presented and the ventriloquism very believable.

We are sailing Southwesterly in the Strait of Magellan as we backtrack before heading Westerly into the Pacific Ocean. We have come to realise that this tip of South America is a maze of islands large and small with two significant passages from East to West.

The Internet problems continue so I will have to hold off until things get better. My apologies for this bulk upload.

If you want to look at what I've been up to you can view my latest photo by following this link to the image for Today

Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 22:13 Archived in Chile Comments (0)

Ushuaia and the Beagle Channel

Friday, 27 February 2015


View 2015-02 South America on greynomadm's travel map.

After yesterday's turbulent encounter with Cape Horn we sailed serenely into the port of Ushuaia. We had a booked tour this morning and our rendezvous was scheduled for 0730. Everything proceeded so smoothly we were aboard the coach by 0745. Our tour took us into the Tierra del Fuego National Park where we visited a number of coves and camping and hiking areas. With summer time maximums not exceeding 10 °C one wonders who would undertake such activities.

We found a Post Office at one of these remote places. Jenny spent $US 3.00 each to send post cards from the most Southern Post Office on earth. We also drove to the end of the highway that runs from Anchorage in Alaska to this remote part of Argentina. The landscape is dominated by many stark peaks with most of them sporting a covering of snow.

We returned to Ushuaia and left the coach to explore the town on foot. The feature which attracted me most was the diversity of the architecture. Pieces of buildings appeared to be haphazardly attached and roof lines would have been a roofer's nightmare. The tourist shops were groaning under a mountain of goods ranging from sensible clothing to gaudy trinkets and even snow-domes.

We walked back to the ship and had a late lunch then tried to snatch some sleep in anticipation of tonight's encounter with the glaciers in the Beagle Channel. The ship was due to depart shortly after 1530 but at 1630 when we got up the ship was still in port. There had been a delay in evacuating a passenger to the local hospital. The ship had called for an ambulance but when it finally arrived it was found to be inappropriately kitted for the task. There was a further delay as a second ambulance was dispatched.

Meanwhile we prepared to attend the Captain's Circle Cocktail Party and event that we often ignore. Today we decided to attend and met up with Donald and Mary. Numbers were low and cocktails and canapés were plentiful and eagerly delivered. On entry to the venue our invitations are collected and placed in an ice-bucket. One of the features of the party is the drawing of three entries from the bucket for a bottle of champagne. First card out - Mr and Mrs de Bont of B241. The next one drawn was Donald's, two bottles on the one table and we don't even drink !!

After the party I rugged up to try and capture some of the scenery from deck 16. The light was starting to fade, the temperature was going down and the wind speed was going up. I managed to record some of the ice-field but the truly significant glacier was blocked from view by a heavy rain squall. Back to the cabin to dry the camera, download the foggy images and write this tale.

It is now almost 2200 and we are still sailing Westward through the Beagle Channel as we head for Punta Arenas in Chile.

There is a written warning of unstable Internet Connectivity so will have to hold off until things get better. My apologies for this bulk upload.

If you want to look at what I've been up to you can view my latest photo by following this link to the image for Today

Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 22:10 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Cape Horn, Meeting of Three Oceans

Thursday, 26 February 2015

We woke to find the ship fighting strong winds and currents under an overcast sky. No significant sunrise event and with temperatures around 7 °C I didn't spend much time on the open deck. As we had our breakfast we worked out our schedule for the day. The 'Rounding of the Horn' was scheduled for 1630 and should last just over an hour.

By the time we'd attended the Destination Presentation on Punta Arenas there was an announcement from the bridge that due to the severe weather our arrival at Cape Horn had been delayed to some time after 1700. I stayed for another 'security' lecture by Peter LaSorsa during which he reminded us of the type of 'electronic signature' we created whenever we used our smart phone for any of the many transactions the apps have enabled.

Just before attending the Future Cruises presentation the latest message from the bridge revised the expectation of our visit to Cape Horn. Worsening weather would delay our expected arrival to about 1800 and sailing around the island was now most unlikely.

Most of the exposed decks were closed due to the high wind across the deck. The ship was also rocking and pitching under the combined influences of the wind and the waves. We spent some time in the cabin and at 1600 I got up and covered in multiple layers made my way to deck 19 Aft. There were a number of other hardy individuals and we managed to retain our footing in the buffeting winds but only by hanging onto the rails.

Almost precisely on schedule we approached Horn Island and were able to snatch some reasonable images. At times the Westerly blasts almost knocked the camera out of my hands. After a while the ship made a 180° turn and we sat in the lee of the island while we soaked up the experience. It is an experience that few of us are likely to repeat and the issue of a 'Certificate' will be a life-long reminder of the day. The sea in this area is influenced by the Pacific Ocean to the West, the Atlantic Ocean from the East and the Great Southern Ocean from the South. The wind howls from the West having an uninterrupted passage around the world.

We returned to the cabin and stripped off many layers of clothes before proceeding to the Theatre to be entertained by Greg Schlotthauer again. After the show we had a quick meal in the Horizon Court. Many styles of german sausage and both red cabbage and sauerkraut, perfect for a cold night.

We are now sailing West in the Beagle Channel as we make our way to Ushuaia.

There is a written warning of unstable Internet Connectivity so will have to hold off until things get better.
If you want to look at what I've been up to you can view my latest photo by following this link to the image for Today

Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 22:08 Archived in Argentina Comments (2)

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