Port Stanley, Falkland islands,Ushuaia,Argentina,Punta Arenas,ChilePuerto Chacabuco, Chile, Puerto Montt, Chile,San Antonio Chile,Coquimbo, Chile,Panama Canal, Miami Florida
Saturday Falkland Islands
Tender again, they started leaving early. Windy but able to dock sometimes they have to miss this port. We were doing the Estancia tour to Volunteer Point. Got in a jeep landrover for 4 and driver. Martha and Craig from Minnesota we had already met on bike tour were in our jeep. Very rough and off-road adventure for two hours. We stopped for a bathroom break and our guide said now we go off-road Oh boy we sure did.
These remote windswept islands are home to 3000people, they support a half million sheep and about a million penguins during the summer nesting season. We would see Magellanic, King Gentoo and Macaroni, Observing their antics is a most pleasurable pursuit.
When we arrived at Volunteer Point we got out of jeeps and our eyes feasted to the large gathering of King Pinguins. King Penguins are the largest ones. Adult birds are noticeable because of distinctive orange-yellow coloration on side of the head. The chicks are covered in thick brown down. King penguin has a breeding cycle longer than one year. The diet is small lanternfish.
Magellanic is probably the most widespread around the coast of Falkland Islands, It is extremely difficult to count them due to their burrowing habit and the vast coastline. Two black bands run across their bellies.
It was a two-hour ride back. This was one of my favorite things we did all trip. I could have watched the penguins for hours.
Sunday was a sea day. I had my second cooking class. Marylin was my partner The class was on discover Patagonia. We made salmon en coute , lamb, steak, potatoes, and a dessert crepe.
Today we sailed around Cape Horn. Sometimes seas can be very rough here. we were very lucky It was pretty smooth. Cape Horn is a rocky headland on Hornos Island in southern Chile's Tierra del Fuego archipelago. It is surrounded by wild seas of the southern tip of South America where the Pacific and Atlantic oceans meet. The albatross shaped Cape Horn Monument commemorates the lives of thousands of seafarers who perished attempting to sail around the cape. A secluded lighthouse and tiny Stella-Maris Chapel are nearby.
It was cold out on the deck. Jim weathered the cold and took pictures. I enjoyed the view from the comfort of the warm room.
We ate supper again with Joyce and Roy from South Carolina
Monday March 2nd Ushuaia, Argenina
Met Jim and Helen, Eric and Carol from the UK. We had a private tour with tour by locals and Gaston was our guide. Met him at the end of the gangplank. Gaston was an exceptional guide. He said it rains here almost every day and that we were fortunate to get a sunny day!
Ushuaia is surrounded on three sides by towering peaks, this former penal colony on the banks of the Beagle Channel is spectacularly sited amidst waterfalls. glaciers and beech forest. This is the southern extreme of Tierra del Fuego. Ushuaia is known as the end of Pan American highway that starts in Alaska, Our guide Gaston said End of world or Beginning of world depending on how you look at it.
We started out with a hike in the park with the water on one side and the beautiful Andes Mountains in the background. We ended up at the post office at the end of the world. King crab is the specialty here. We walked on t Martin street and then back to ship. Ate a late lunch at the wave and split a burger and splurged on homemade Malt. They ask us if we wanted to eat in Polo dining tonight at 730 for a shared table. Met a great couple from Arizona,
We should have eaten later because going through Chilian fiords and there were some gorgeous glaciers. We could see from the dining room.
Tuesday, March 3rd Sea day
Pete Buttigieg our past mayor from South Bend had been running for President he was running 3rd in the poles. He stepped down and gave his support to Vice President Biden. It would be the turning point for Biden and he placed first in many states.
It was cool but sunny it was beautiful scenery going through the glaciers.
Tonight we ate in French restaurant Jacques enjoyed and had lobster Thermador good but very rich.
We had a shared table with some seasoned travelers and learned several tips.
Jim enjoyed all the lectures by him. Hall of fame Broadcaster Verne Lundquist He has manned the announcer's booth at. He has manned ABC; NBC and Turner Sports. He was the radio voice for Dallas Cowboys for a decade. Although he hung up the microphone in 2116 he can be heard calling the Masters
March 4th Punta Arenas
Jim picked a Patagonian Forest half-day Hike with tour operator Borealis Adventures Patagonia through Viator
The Magallanes National Reserve is located just outside of downtown Punta Arenas. Our guide chose a circular hike encompassing 6 miles.
We met our tour guide off of the ship at 0930. Jamie was the tour owner and she was training Huyvart a local born. I was a little nervous because my left knee was bothering me now, Jamie had trekking poles and it sure helped my knee, It was just a moderate trail and we took our time there was just one other couple Chet and Gail from NJ. had an enjoyable day.
back at 230. what a delightful day. Jamie was a very knowledgeable guide who had her degree in biology. The driver brought us back to the gangplank. I made it, but the knee was sore so I went in and iced it. Jim went and did laundry they had three washers and dryers on each floor.
Thursday, March 5th Chillian Fiords
Sunny but cool perfect for viewing. There is nothing quite like being in such a far off location to remind us how small we are in this vast universe, Being surrounded by all this pure nature is a humbling experience. The cruise ship entered the Beagle Channel. the narrow fjords came into view with the granite walls and sometimes a waterfall. As we entered into Glacier Alley we could see chunks of ice floating past us.
Exquisite sunrise this am
As we approached the Marinelli Glacier the captain came on and said he would do a full circle so we all could see. It is a tidewater glacier located in Alberto de Agostini National Park, Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego. The glacier spills out of the Cordillera Darwin and calves int Ainsworth Bay.
Friday was a Sea day and much rougher seas and rainy. I went up to the gym to ride a bike and it was almost empty. Started watching a movie on a bike and went back to the room to finish, Tonight we had a shared table in an Italian restaurant,
Saturday tender port Chacabuco
Windy and rainy Got off early and met tour guide in terminal Mate Che
This was the only tour that we had a poor guide. She was young and did not speak much English, She would ask the driver questions and he would give her answers. She just was not prepared. There was another tour group that went to the same places and had a much better guide. We took the road to Coyhaique. This road is surrounded by a stunning landscape. We l observed the Simpson River and stopped at a waterfall.
We stopped at a small farm ASADO PATAGONIA. A meal serving typical food from Chile's Patagonian region including lamb cooked on a stick, salads, tortas, fritas a typical fried bread Prepared with, a mixture with tomatoes onion, chile, and cilantro potatoes and a glass of Chilean red wine.
Ron and Carol from Arizona and Coleen and Reed were the other two couples with us.
Jim called and arranged supper with Joyce and Roy from South Carolina, and John who was traveling alone from the Netherlands
Sunday tender Port Monte,
Today we had to walk all the way out to meet guides. We got the last place in the van about 10 people and we were off first stop to look at an overlook. We knew Craig and Marth and Ron and Carol.
This tour will go to Petrohue waterfalls excursion
Stopped for a snack, stopped in Puerto Varas,, Frutillar, Our guide brought baked beef Chilean empanada and glass of Chilean wine. The landscape with the volcano behind us was stunning. It was kinda awkward eating and having wine outside of the van.
Petrohue Falls inside Vincente Perez Rosales National Park. The waters flow over basaltic lava while the Osomo Volcano stands behind,
City of Varas city of roses on the lake Lianquihue which offers commanding views of snowcapped Osorno Volcano and Calbuco Volcano both still active traditional German-style architecture characterizes the town reflecting its colonial past
There was a peacful march for womans day
Fruitellar is a city on the western edge of vast Lianquihue lake. It has black sand beaches. German-style wooden buildings
Monday Sea Day I had my third and last cooking class called SWIM, We made scallops, shrimp, breaded fish, snapper and veg. My partner was Collette. from California this was a boot camp on fish cookery.
COVID-19 Coronavirus disease is becoming serious 22 people have died. Another cruise ship has finally ported in Oakland 21 onboard are infected, Schools are being canceled. Here on the ship, we depend on news forecasts for updates.
Tuesday, We docked in San Antonio, Chili
Today we did not book a tour. There had been a lot of unrest and riots here in the fall Oct and Nov, San Antonio is a colorful hub for fishing. It was a sunny day so we took a walk into town, We walked through the market and fish market. Many other passengers took tours to Valparaiso and Santiago for the day,
We had a great supper with Roy and Joyce from South Carolina and John from the Netherlands. Closed down dining room with great conversation,
Wed Day 17 of cruise Coquimbo Chile
It was cloudy and 65 degrees when we started our tour with central Tour Serena. Our guide was Sebastion and he said do not worry about clouds he would promise us sunny days in the valley.
Ron and Carol were with us again from Arizona.
We stopped at Puclaro Dam in Elgui valley, The reservoir provides drinking and irrigation water The temp was 108 here
research station Eliqui valley is known for its rain-free climate and remarkable clear skies. Given its remote location high elevation and reliable cloud-free nights. It is home to four major astronomical research bases.
Went to Avendia Francisco de Aguirre to La Serena's main square
We then went to a restaurant where they cooked everything by solar. I had the soup and goat meal.
Pisco distillery Pisco is a colorless or yellowish to amber colored brandy produced in winemaking regions of Peru and Chile. It is made by distilling fermented grape juice into a high proof spirit. Aba distillery is a family-run, Handpicked grapes fermented at low temperatures then distill in copper receptacles to strike the perfect balance.
Thursday Sea Day
We went to the library to read.
We went to Helen and Jim's large suite for cocktails and snacks at 530. The four brits and four Australians they had met were there. loved listening to all the accents,
Shared a table in Red Ginger with 4 other people. The one lady talked all the time and was quite entertaining even though she monopolized the conversation.
Friday Sea day Gloomy day
Went to the main dining room for breakfast. To Libary to read and stopped at Barista for a cappuccino. Skipped lunch and went to the gym to ride a bike.
The Brits Carol and Jim and Helen invited us to tea and wanted to teach us how a proper tea is done. Had scone with clotted cream and jelly so good.
Jim would go to Barista every morning at 630 to get me my coffee Americana. What a special guy he does not even drink coffee. He then would go to the gym. He came back that morning at about 730 and said We were nowhere near Pisco. The rumor in the gym is they would not let us port. Sure enough, the Captain came on speaker in the room and said Pisco port was closed and we were turning around and heading to San Antonio Chili. You know it is something important when they break into a speaker in the room because they only use for very important announcements.
We did a load of laundry and went out on deck to enjoy the beautiful weather.
At 530 went up to the beautiful Horizen lounge to have a couple of Pisco Sours and dance to the Marina show band. We ate supper in the main dining room with Joyce and Roy and John. About 0930 the captain came on intercome and said we were turning around and heading to Panama Canal. We should get there Wed. We were done eating and just sitting at the table visiting. I felt punched in the gut feeling. Would we allow ed to port or just be floating and isolating??? We were so thankful for to our knowledge no one was sick with a virus.
Sunday Very sunny and hot
Today our cruise was supposed to end. Since ports were closed at sea and the temperature is getting hot! could only take a half-hour in the sun and went to find spots in the shade. The crew has been amazing. Offered us free drinks in lounges for 2 hours for 2 days. We already had free internet bu now offered to everyone. Freephone calls from the room. They never missed a beat. The ship was shining from all the cleaning they were doing to keep us healthy. We saw them fumigating rooms on a rotating basis to keep germs down. They had automatic hand sanitizers everywhere, We went up to dance to the house band.
It feels like groundhog day. Another day at sea. Thankful we are healthy and able to move around the ship.
Found a place in the shade Ate a Hawaiian Poke bowl salad for lunch that was incredible. Had free drinks again and had another Pisco sour
Reservations in the french restaurant and who would be seated with us but Craig and Martha who we had shared excursions. Another delightful couple. Had french onion soup to die for and best filet with foie gras.
Tuesday 23 day on the ship
Sat in shade to read. Met Carol and Erc in Horizon for drinks at 530 and dance to the ship band.
Wed 24th. day
We have been gone for one month today. The dream that never ends. Sat in shade but really hot. Arrived in the Panama area at 0830. Captain came on and said we will transient through on Friday. That will take all day and we will arrive in Miami Monday afternoon, We have a plan Oceania will get our flight for us. We all could take a deep breath. There were at least a hundred freighters keeping us company waiting for their transient.
Thursday warm and sunny
Remain anchored outside of the canal. Panama City appears to be booming.
spent most of the day in the shade. Ate Red Ginger with a shared table , one couple had been on the ship for 64 days.
Friday Day 26 Panama Canal Transit
The Panama Canal stretches across the Isthmus of Panama in Central America. The waterway measures 50 miles. It handles a large volume of world shipping and enables vessels to avoid traveling around South America. Built by the United States in 1904 o 1914, It posed a major engineering challenge and cost $350 million. Disputes between the US and Panama led to the treaty and Panama took control in Dec 1999.
got up early for coffee and out on deck to watch the ship come into the locks
got up early for coffee and out on deck to watch the ship come into the locks
We enjoyed watching the MSC Ship ahead of us go through the new locks.
Double the capacity and added a new lane allowing larger ships to pass. The new ships called New Panamax, are about one and a half times and can carry twice as much cargo. It opened in 2016.
We decided to go to breakfast in the main dining room and they seated us in the back so we could see the locks.
spent the rest of the day in the shade enjoying the locks. We would see the MSC freighter every so often on upper locks above us.
Saturday day 27 days at sea. Nothing outstanding Ate with Joyce and Roy again in the dining room.
Sunday day 28 Last Sea day.
Time to pack, getting anxious to leave our bubble with how fast coronavirus has spread at home. Will we REALLY get to get off the ship and fly home? Would the ship pass the health department? Were they telling us the truth that no one had a virus on the ship? We have been to see the last 11 days without anyone getting on or off. Who knows? These are scary times. The one thing I know is all the crew on Oceania worked their butts off to keep us safe and clean. We were treated like five-star passengers. They still SMILED and treated us with professionalism.
Monday 29th day. Hallelujah! we see land and Miami port.
Jim brought me coffee and went to the gym. We went down for breakfast in the dining room. We were anxiously looking to see when the first passengers were allowed off the ship. IT HAPPENED. We both had tears in our eyes. We were going to get off. Oceania provided buses for us to get to the airport. Customs was a breeze at the terminal. We were dropped off around 11 at Miami.
The airport looked like a ghost town. Customs was quick. We were shocked that there were no health screenings or temperatures being taken.
There were very few restaurants open, They were using social distancing in the restaurants. They were wiping down tables, giving you to wipes to use also. I complimented the waitress on all the precautions they were using. The did not touch glass without a napkin.
Jim does not think there is going to be a plane, very few appear to be on our flight. 20 min before the flight the crew arrived. We have HOPE. When boarding they separated us and there was no one in front behind or on the side of you.
We arrived and our checked luggage was not there. Ok is the trip ever going to end? Jim and another man went to check and found out our luggage came in on an earlier flight. 10 minutes later we had our luggage and hotel where we left our car called a taxi for us. This is getting real the taxi driver has a mask over his mouth and nose. When we arrived at the hotel they did not charge us for the extra 9 days. UNREAL. We both held our breath as Jim went out to see if car would start after 35 days. He picked me up and we are on our way. Two more hours and we will be home to warm waterbed! Nothing ever feels as good as coming HOME.
As I finish writing this I know how incredibly lucky we were to be on a ship that did not have the virus. It is a terrible feeling to be denied entry to ports. Especially ports in the USA. We are so thankful to the cruise line and crew for their hospitality and for keeping us safe. Many of the crew can not go home because their ports are closed. As I watched yesterday as the two ships Zaandam and Rotterdam were finally let off I cried. That could of been us Even though it is almost 2 weeks later. I pray for the crew and for passengers on Coral Princess will be allowed to dock. The count today of death count in USA is 8.000.