Saturday, March 31, 2018

Eastertime. . . . . . . .

Coming back from such a long trip, and feeling under the weather, meant little time 
or much energy for decorating for the Easter holiday.
However, whilst in the attic stowing the duffels and back packs, we pulled out two
 boxes marked EASTER and, lo and behold, we have rabbits and eggs galore!

Easter blessings to you and your loved ones. 

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Sailing to Chile. . . . . . . . .

Cape Horn, Chile
March 9, 2018
51F Cloudy, rain possible

Our embarkation on the Noble Caledonia "Hebridean Sky" went very smoothly with luggage awaiting in a spacious cabin maintained by Ms. Andy, who kept us neat and tidy and replenished the tissue boxes often when I came down with the beastly cold! After the welcome briefing, usual lifeboat drill and Zodiac briefing, we set sail for Puerto Williams where we anchored for clearance into CHILE and took our two Chilean Pilots on-board---they stayed with us the entire voyage to keep us safe. After formalities were completed we continued towards Cape Horn.

"The evening was calm and bright, and we enjoyed a fine view of the surrounding isles. Cape Horn however demanded his tribute, and before night sent us a gale of wind directly in our teeth. We stood out to sea, and on the second day again made the land, when we saw on our weather-bow this notorious promontory in its proper form - veiled in mist, and its dim outline surrounded by a storm of wind and water."

Charles Darwin's journal description of Cape Horn

Charles Darwin, in The Voyage of the Beagle, a journal of the five-year expedition upon which he based The Origin of Species, described his 1832 encounter with the Horn.

Early morning arrival - thankfully a beautiful day with quite calm sea and sunshine - how lucky we were.

The cape lies within Chilean territorial waters, and the Chilean Navy maintains a station on Horn Island, consisting of a residence, utility building, chapel, and lighthouse. A short distance from the main station is a memorial, including a large sculpture by Chilean sculptor José Balcells featuring the silhouette of an albatross, in remembrance of the sailors who died while attempting to "round the Horn". It was erected in 1992 through the initiative of the Chilean Section of the Cape Horn Captains Brotherhood.The terrain is entirely treeless, although quite lush owing to frequent precipitation. 

On arrival off Cape Horn, our Captain, in cooperation with the Chilean Pilots and 

our expedition leader Jane, assessed weather and sea conditions for Zodiac landings.
Above shows expedition team members heading ashore to determine all is OK
 for a safe landing. . . . . . . the beautiful Albatross memorial visible on the hill. . . . . . 

. . . . . and preparing for the 167 stair climb up the cliff!

View as we climbed the stairs, the ship at anchor, water quite flat, and a beautiful sunny morning to explore.

More steps to the memorial. . . . . . . 

We met the Chilean lighthouse keeper and his wife - the children were studying.
When asked if the children liked living there he told us they have already requested he 
sign on for another 2 year posting when this one is completed!

- The Chapel -

This first stop on our expedition voyage to the Chilean fjords  was going to be
 hard to beat - such a pleasant day as the strong winds and 
big sea swells stayed away. . . . . . 

. . . . . and we sailed away to dress up a bit for the Captain's Welcome Cocktail Party
 followed by an excellent Welcome Dinner.
Next day we would be cruising through the majestic sea, ice and landscape of 
Garibaldi Fjord.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Scribble Picnic - Egg Hunt. . . . . . .

. . . . . . and a hunt it was, in the attic!

Returning from Patagonia - literally "the end of the world" - with the remains of the 
head/chest bug from hell, the last thing I on my mind had to be Easter eggs!
However, yesterday, stashing away our duffels and backpacks, I spied the two
 boxes marked EASTER and pulled them out. 
Paper-wrapped white china rabbits were tucked in with faux eggs awaiting their time 
in the sun yet again, so hacking and blowing took a back seat as I 'decorated' a wee
bit around the cottage. I took this photo, added a few watercolor smudges to 
make it legal, and here it is, my entry for today's SCRIBBLE PICNIC.

I missed you guys whilst journeying south, all the way south to within
 just 621 miles of Antarctica!  Circumventing Cape Horn, the spot where the
 Atlantic and Pacific oceans meetoften in a confrontation, there is no land
 to the east, none to the west—so winds sweep all the way around the world
 from the west.
I've just started posting my stories and photos from the expedition trip (take
 a look if interested) as there was only sporadic/costly Internet on the ship so
any and all blogging was put on hold.

More later. . . . . . . . .good to be back, and I am feeling much better at last.

Hello/Goodbye Ushuaia. . . . . . . . . .

Ushuaia, Argentina
March 8, 2018 
50F - Showers

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever expect to actually revisit Ushuaia, Argentina!

First time was in January 2013. Paula and I were heading to Antarctica and, as in 
most Polar expeditions going south, embarked our ship here in Ushuaia. 
With an overnight to gather the passengers and crew, we had time to wander
 the streets, eat in a local cafe where I enjoyed the best veggie quiche ever, and 
do a little jewelry shopping at the local craft market.

Flying in over the awesome Patagonian landscape, the return was like a homecoming,
and I was so excited to know Bob was going to share the experience of visiting the
 southernmost city in the world! 

A bus transported us into town. . . . . . . the only difference being the colorful swathes
 of lupins were missing this time as the autumn season was about to begin so, sadly, 
flowers were few.

A bustling port with steep streets and jumbled buildings, the jumping off point for
 Antarctic trips, capital of Tierra del Fuego province, nestled between the snow-capped
 Martial mountain range and the famed Beagle Channel.

We enjoyed the all too brief visit - but our ship was waiting. . . . . . . .

. . . . . . and we sailed away at sunset, through the Beagle Channel, catching the
 evening tide, ready for the promised adventure.

Next time: Welcome aboard and sailing to Chile.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

An anniversary. . . . . . . . . .

Fifty three years since the wedding bells rang. . . .
and lovely flowers are still coming!

Monday, March 26, 2018

To the ends of the earth . . . . . . . . . . .

Buenos Aires, Argentina: 
March 6-8, 2018

First stop when heading south to reach the embarkation point 
for most ships sailing to the end of the world.

After joining our friends form California, Paula, Kim, and Rob at the Dallas
airport, we met up with the majority of our soon to be 105 'new best friends/shipmates' 
here in the vibrant Argentinian capital - home of TANGO - and a city I
 visited back in 2013 HERE on the way to Antarctica.  
Paula and I were thrilled to see two familiar British couples among the crowd, we all
 met on another Noble Caledonia ship 5 years ago when we went to Japan and
 Kamchatka, Russia. 

In Buenos Aires nothing seemed to have changed. . . . . . a huge bustling city
 of contrasts, from screaming colors and tango music of barrio San Telmo, to
 the quiet neutrals in the Recoleta Cemetery.

~ Floralis Generica ~

Designed and paid for by Argentine architect Eduardo Catalano, the Floralis Generica
a giant silver flower, has been a striking city landmark since it opened in 2002. 
The enormous metal flower blooms anew each day in a pool of water next to the
 National Museum of Fine Arts, revealing four long stamens inside.

No one goes to Recoleta cemetery without a visit to Evita’s grave. By Recoleta
 standards, however, it is quite nondescript. Three years after former First Lady Perón
 died of cancer in 1952, her body was removed by the Argentine military in the wake
 of a coup that deposed her husband, President Juan Perón. 
The body then went on a transatlantic odyssey for nearly twenty years before
 finally being returned to the Duarte family mausoleum in Recoleta Cemetery.
 She now lies in a crypt five meters underground, heavily fortified to ensure that
 no one can disturb the remains of Argentina’s most beloved and
 controversial First Lady.

I have hundreds of pix from sunny, hot Buenos Aires but no way to share
 them all - so here's Bob checking the time and telling me it's time to get back on
 the bus, so that's it for now!

Next time I'll show you our quick stop in Ushuaia where the Hebridean Sky was 
awaiting to welcome us and sail away to the actual bottom of the world!

We arrived home on Friday after the 8 hour flight from Santiago, Chile
to Miami, then another 2 hours to Raleigh. Greeted by sunshine but very 
chilly temperatures - apparently March was quite fierce whilst we were gone - 
I was glad for my own bed. . . . . .and silly things such as my coffee mug, pillow,
and our tweeting pair of Carolina wrens on the front porch.
Early in the trip (and I'm still suffering) I did come down with the dreaded 'bug' 
which seems ever-present these days when flying and spending time in close
 quarters on ships etc.  No matter how hard one tries with hand sanitizer, germs
 are spread, and I still have to say those European colds/chest infections always
 hit me hard when I travel, seeming to be much more intense than our run 
of the mill American upper respiratory bugs!

Anyway, we did have a wonderful time on this latest expedition trip - and 
gradually I'll share all the amazing days at sea as we cruised the Chilean
fjords, met lovely people, saw places few have the privilege of visiting - for
 lack of that always fabulous rubber Zodiac boat - and were just thrilled by water, 
mountains, glaciers, wildlife, rainbows and stars.