A Travellerspoint blog

Argentina

Ushuaia and the Beagle Channel

Friday, 27 February 2015


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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)

At Sea - Still Heading South

Tuesday, 24 February 2015


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The clouds and colours of this morning's sunrise went through a lot of changes over 45 minutes. We're still at sea heading South towards the Falkland Islands. The outside temperature is about 10 °C and will get progressively colder over the next four days, it was only days ago that the temperature was close to 30 °C.

Sorry for the 'late' posting of yesterday's blog and picture. I had a devil of a time trying to maintain a connection and wasted 12 minutes while achieving nothing. I went down to the Internet Cafe at 0500 this morning and was able to upload everything without a problem.

The series of lectures continues with Amy Rubin presenting the music of Brazil's composer Heitor Villa-Labos. I'm not sure that I'm understanding it more but I still enjoy it. We also found out that fellow passenger Al plays the flute and we arranged a private concert for this afternoon. It isn't all that grand, he's agreed to play it for us in the limited confines of their cabin.

The Destination Presentation once again attracted overflowing crowds with people siting on the stairs and standing around the sides. He described the scenic cruising around Cape Horn, our viewing of the Chilean glaciers and our visit to Ushuala. His show was followed by another lecture by Peter LaSorsa during which he provided a number of practical measures we could take to reduce ourselves as target for criminal attack. Many of his tips were very innovative but somewhat impractical.

Had a quick bite of pizza before joining Al and Deb in their cabin. Al played some lovely tunes and deb sang along to one of them. There was a lot of feeling in their music.

Dressed up for another formal night and enjoyed a lovely meal again with Mary & Don. The photographers urged us to pose for a snap at the dinner table. Could be a nice one to buy if it turns out. We're not bothering with the "Production Show" tonight which leaves me with little else to report.

Tomorrow we arrive in Stanly in the Falkland Islands.

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 13:43 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Sea Day - Heading South

Monday, 23 February 2015


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Early morning temperatures are markedly cooler as we head ever further towards Antarctica. I captured the sunrise after a less than promising start. I'm still trying to work out why the biggest, blackest and ugliest cloud is always in line with the location where the sun is rising. The sunrise was late again 0723 by my clock. A light breakfast, shower and change and off to the Theatre for today's lecture series.

First up was a continuation of my musical education. I've come to realise that this is like another language and one that must be felt so that all feelings can be expressed in this language. Once again Amy Rubin took us through a journey of exploration with recordings, video clips and a wonderful live performance. I still don't understand but I'm learning to appreciate.

Next was the Destination Presentation for Port Stanley, from all accounts this will be one of the really noteworthy destinations on this voyage. Hard on the heels of his performance we sat through an interesting lecture on 'Identity Theft'. It was presented by Peter LaSorsa a lawyer from Boston, now living in Chicago. He covered all the sensible and simple steps to protect our personal details.

We stayed around for the afternoon movie "Argo" and quickly realise we'd seen it on a previous cruise. Went to the Horizon Court for a bite to eat and then back to the cabin to take care of the daily house-keeping tasks such as writing this blog, selecting the photo of the day and making a quick study of the internals of my eyelids.

Lovely dinner in the dining room with Mary and Donald. The food is so much better than the Horizon, I wonder why we don't make the effort every night.

Tonight's entertainment in the Theatre was Greg Schlotthaur who sang many famous songs and played some excellent music on the piano.
Tomorrow we continue South for another sea day to Stanly in the Falkland Islands.

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 00:15 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Saturday, 21 February 2015


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This morning the ship entered the Rio de la Plata under the guidance of the river pilot. The river is 100 miles wide but there are limited navigable channels. The sunrise was delayed due to an overcast sky. It did eventually break through and created some interesting displays. A busy breakfast as many of the passengers are eager to go ashore.

We assembled in the Wheelhouse Bar to be allocated our bus number for the four hour guided tour ashore. Because our berth is in a working port we are required to use a Port Authority shuttle to travel to the terminal building. There we disembarked, walked through the very elegant facility and found our way to the tour coach.

The coach was very comfortable and our guide both informative and entertaining. The tour took us along the many wide boulevards and down narrow lanes as our guide pointed out the significant, the unusual and the bizarre structures along the way. The city has many parks and tree-lined streets. The visit to the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Cathedral coincided with the changing of the guard. We had time to wander through this magnificent church and admire the many works of art.

Next stop was in the district of La Boca with the hundreds of brightly painted buildings, the murals and the colourful good for sale at every turn. Almost every stall sells hats and leather goods also tend to dominate the stalls. Back on the coach to our final stop, the La Recoleta cemetery. An amazing city of 6400 mausoleums constructed of the finest materials in styles ranging from the neoclassical to the art deco. The primary attraction is the crypt where Eva Peron was buried. Back to the port through the up-market Puerto Madera district and the district of Palermo which is home to the zoo and a number of museums.

The city appears clean and safe and despite signs of neglect, due to the general economic downturn, was a pleasant experience in contrast to the cities in Brazil.

Back aboard I spent some time watching the operation of the port and the general activity amongst the thousands of containers being unloaded and stacked. Mary called in to tell us she and Donald would not be dining in the dining room. We decided to join them for dinner in the Horizon Court. We then made our way to the Theatre for this evening's show by Gaucho Del Plata and the vocalist Claude Eric.

Feeling quite weary, I'm struggling to write this tome. Sorry if it is a bit fractured.

For some reason the clocks go forward an hour and we'll be in Montevideo 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 16:10 Archived in Argentina Comments (1)

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