The elephant in the room has finally spoken in the voice of Captain Jonathan Mercer. He gave his normal sail away announcement and then paid tribute to the medical staff who negotiated with the Tongan officials to let us land … Continue reading We hear from the Elephant
February 28, 2020, Kingdom of Tonga. February 28, 2020, Kingdom of Tonga. I set the alarm for 7. It went off when my phone thought it was 7 but the ship’s clock thought it was 6. Ship’s clock wins but … Continue reading The Friendly Islands
February 27, 2020, Sailing between the Cook Islands and Tonga. “There’s a sign over a bar saying ‘It’s 5 o’clock somewhere.’ Well it’s Wednesday somewhere.” That’s how Father Lew opened the service. Pastor Bruce added “Welcome to Ash Thursday.” The … Continue reading Velvet waves on Ash Thursday
Last night we celebrated Carnival, Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday; and then, with the tick of a second hand, Fat Tuesday flipped over to Thursday as we turn our clocks ahead 23 hours. Ash Wednesday is consumed by the International Date … Continue reading What, No Lent?
… not Roto-Rooter February 24, 2020, Rarotonga, Cook Islands. A shipmate was asking the confused woman behind the excursion desk about tours on Roto-Rooter. Finally, the light went on, “You mean Rarotonga.” Now I can’t unhear it. Avarua is … Continue reading That’s Rarotonga…
February 22, 2020, Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia As a kid the legend was that Tahiti was supposed to be paradise on earth, it was sung about, movies were made about it and lots of ‘50s doo wop era motels on … Continue reading Heaven or Hell?
…and a few Peus February 19, 2020, Off Pitcairn Island, South Pacific You can’t properly say we called on Pitcairn Island as much as Pitcairn Island called on us. With 1200 passengers it would be hard for Pitcairn, the last … Continue reading A Boatload of Christians
February 16, 2020, Sailing away form Rapa Nui (Easter Island) Chile Easter Island is not an easy place to visit on a ship. For the past 4 sea days most of the conversation was whether we would be able to … Continue reading Rapa Nui (Easter Island)
February 13, 2020, At Sea A few days ago, we got an email from a friend contemplating a cruise and asking us how we thought the 2020 Coronavirus would affect their leaving from Singapore. Suzi explained that we are the … Continue reading That BIG Elephant Over There*
February 11, 2020, Santiago, Chile. The shore lecturer said that there was not much to do in San Antonio, the container port for Chile’s capital Santiago, but there were a lot of tours that the cruise line offered to take … Continue reading Too Many Pisco Sours.
When we got to the Parque Nacional Vincente Perez after our taxi ride with Maurice we did what I love doing in Sitka National Park, we took a walk. Instead of along the coastline and through the spruce forest punctuated … Continue reading Parque Nacional Vincente Perez Rosales.
February 9. 2020, Puerto Montt, Chile Muerto Montt, Dead Montt, that is what Lonely Planet says the locals call Puerto Montt, our latest port of call. Lonely planet is not impressed. It claims there’s not much to see here. Generally, … Continue reading Muerto Montt
February 8, 2020, Northern Chilean Fjords off Melchior Island The taxi driver in Puerto Montt is using Google Translate to communicate. He is telling us what the people like to eat. “We like beef and dairy products, and with salmon … Continue reading With Salmon We Are Fed Up
February, 7, 2020, Innocence Island through Conception Canal to Trinidad Canal. Chile In the past 10 months I have had the fun of cruising fjords on 4 continents. At home in Alaska cruising the waters around Sitka and in Prince … Continue reading From Innocence to Conception
February 6, 2020 Punta Arenas, Chile Punta Arenas has seen better days. At least the Plaza Muñoz Gamero, has also seen better days. It’s the city’s main plaza with its statue of Ferdinand Magellan. In November a riot ran through … Continue reading The Joy of the Moment
I have often raved about long, lingering Northern Sunsets. Same latitude, different hemisphere. Straits of Magellan, February 6, 2020, around 10 PM. First two port side, the other 4, starboard. You can’t miss. Continue reading Southern Sunsets
February 6, 2020 Punta Arenas and the Straits of Magellan, Chile Sunset, Sunrise, Abandon Ship orBells and Whistles Redux. We didn’t get enough sleep last night. We stayed up to watch the sunset as we entered the Pacific from Beagle … Continue reading Sunset, Sunrise, Abandon Ship
February 5, 2020, Beagle Channel, Chile Beagle Channel is one of two shortcuts avoiding Cape Horn, the other is the Strait of Magellan further to the North. Beagle Channel was named after the British Survey ship HMS Beagle, commanded by … Continue reading Glacier Alley
February 5, 2020, Ushuaia, Argentina I feel right at home in Ushuaia. The town runs along the channel and streets rise quickly from the front street. Snow capped mountains tower above the town, boats are in the harbor, cruise ships … Continue reading Juneau on Steroids
February 4, 2020, Beagle Channel between Chile and Argentina I mean that literally. We actually sailed (motored, steamed) around Cape Horn Island allowing us to see the cape from every possible approach. I suspect that with the power of Amsterdam … Continue reading ‘Round the Horn.
We’re now steaming away from Antarctica. I use that term intentionally. We are in a motor ship and not a steamer but motoring sounds like we are in a car. Using the earlier term, sail, does not make sense to … Continue reading Antarctica on the Grayscale
February 2, 2020, Cruising Northward from Antarctica. “You can’t let nature run wild.” Wally Hickel “Oh yeah?” Mother Nature. This morning we got up early to catch the scenic cruising and commentary as we entered Antarctic Sound. There was nothing … Continue reading “You Can’t Let Nature Run Wild.” (Walter J. Hickel)
February 2, 2020, in a fog bank off of Antarctic Sound. Someone cried out. “A cruise ship! What’s cruise ship doing here?” Of course, we all laughed because we’re ON a cruise ship, it’s just that you don’t expect to … Continue reading A Wonderful Deception
February 1, 2020, Off the Antarctic Peninsula Actually, it’s called brack, it’s the slushy remains of sea ice melting with bits of glacier ice, growlers, thrown in. As the ship passes through it makes a sound like “slush”. Growlers are … Continue reading Driving Through Slush, Blocked by Ice