We boarded the cruise ship in San Antonio Chile to start our 14 day cruise around the South American continent.
After our flight from Lima, Peru to Chile,we spent the evening at a hotel in Santiago, then did a morning bus tour around the Santiago area including some of the wine region. Our tour guide starts by telling us there was not much to talk about in Chile lately because Chile did not make the World Cup (Yikes) and the elections were over and the conservative won (Surprise). We were told that the importance of the election was that the Chiiian people voted against becoming the next Venzualia and to stay a democracy. After the tour we joined 3,500 of our new and dearest friends and loaded on to the cruise ship for the trip south and around Cape Horn ending in Argentina.
The Princess ship was very nice and our room was an upgrade to a wonderful mini suite with lots of room to hang out in and have folks over to see the sights as we cruised past the glaciers and countryside. We were on the port side thanks to our cruise travel agent giving us views of the scenic coast line throughout the cruise.
The first stop was Puerto Monte Chile. A group on the ship had organized a tour and had sent an email looking for 2 additional people to complete the tour group. The tour took us out to the Osorno Volcano, Petrohue Falls, and Puerto Varas in a small tour bus. The country side was beautiful, pictures say it all, it was a lovely day.
Bernardo O’HIggins National Park and the Amalia Glacier
The Southern Patagonian Ice Field covered the entirety of southern Chile just 10,000 years ago. Today, this region gives way to the awe-inspiring channels and islands that comprise the fjords of southern Chile’s Pacific Coast, which extend as far south as Tierra del Fuego and the Strait of Magellan. Amalia Glacier is a tidewater glacier located in The Bernardo O’HIggins National Park.. on the edge of the Sarmiento Channel. We did a scenic cruise through the straight past the Amalia Glacier . From our balcony we had perfect views. Like Alaska the glaciers are huge and extend way back into the countryside. Awesome…
Port Arenas and the Magellanic Penguin Colony
Next stop was in Port Arenas and an excursion to the Megellan Penguins Natural Reserve at Magdalena Island which is Chile’s most important Magellanic penguin colony and also one of the best rookeries in Patagonia. There are an estimated 120,000 nesting Magellanic penguins residing on the island, Isla Magdalena located at the heart of the Strait of Magellan. Each year, the penguins return to their burrows on Isla Magdalena, where the females will lay two eggs in October. The males and females take it in turns to incubate and care for the chicks when they hatch in December and they also share the responsibility for hunting for fishin the waters surrounding the island.The colony is only based here between September and March. In January, it is at its largest, while in early February you’ll see the spectacle of now fully-grown, very fluffy chicks waiting for their adult feathers to appear. You can see from our pictures many young adults, it was quite amazing.
The cruise ship made its way around Cape Horn in relative calm waters with some wonderful views. We had perfect weather with small waves, although you could see the possibilities having read the stories of ship wrecks around Cape Horn.
Our next stop was the Falkland Islands. Such a small set of islands with a big history. Large ships were parked in the harbor area and it was difficult to tell what they were, mostly Chinese. It turned out they were mostly squid boats. Squid provide about 40% of the GDP to the Falklands, about 13 million English Pounds in revenue. We all remember the Falkland war when England sent their military to protect their land from an Argentina Invasion. Will many of you remember, it was back when Ronald Regan and Margaret Thatcher managed the world scene. Not much to protect but the people there are British First and supper happy that Argentina did not take them over. There are many sightings of downed plane and war torn military vehicles around the island, the remains of the Argentine military. They keep them there as a remembrance.
One of the most exciting tours of the trip was a 4 wheel tour out to the King Penguin colony at Volunteer Point. . It is a huge colony of thousands located after a 2 hour cross country with no roads, a rough ride to the location. Unfortunately Janice was on the tour alone, John was not feeling well.
On the way cross country we entered a gate, private property where the guides pay a fee for entering, This is a large ranch and passed by as local cowboys were rounding up the sheep on horse with the help of their dogs.
As many have seen on TV or read, the male and female takes turns sitting on the egg. It must stay on their feet off the ground under their belly skin. Even when the male and female transfer the egg while the other heads to the ocean to feed, they must be very careful to not let the egg hit the ground.
f If the egg hits the ground apparently the egg is no longer viable. There were only a few eggs sitting on the ground in the area, it was unbelievable! Here are many pictures from the visit.
John and I got off the boat and walked around the city. We made a stop at a small wine store and had samplings of wine with some snacks. Life doesn’t get much better while sitting and watching the people walk by. It is a lovely city with much history in a country with many problems.
Final Days of Cruise
After returning to the ship Janice was not feeling great so it was a short night and by the morning she was running a high fever so off to the medical department. We were convinced the cruise should have been called “The Flu Cruise” so many people were sick. Not a great outcome, Janice was told she was quarantined in the room, not allowed off the ship for tours in Buenos Aires. The doctor was concerned that she may not be allowed off the ship at the end of the cruise (oh..oh). We were disappointed about not being able to visit Buenos Aires. The next morning was departure day. The medical department said Janice could disembark since she had no fever, still very ill, but we wanted off the ship.
We had made plans to go to Iguazu Falls after the cruise and decided to keep those plans. Off we headed to the regional airport for our flight.
Iguazú falls, on the border of Argentina and Brazil is one of the top 5 waterfalls in the world. It has about 245 falls and many islands. The views and adventure on the Argentine and Brazilian side of the falls are very different. When we arrived at the local airport near Iguazu Falls and were immediately taken to see the Brazilian side of the falls. To see the Brazil side required a visa that was rather expensive for a day tour but, it was well worth the expense. We wondered on the paths around and next to the falls each view another amazing experience. While walking through the forest and falls we caught a glimpse of the Capuchin Monkies up in the trees.
Amazing views as far as you can see
We toured all around that side of the falls for the rest of the day, beautiful!
Argentine side of Iguazu falls
The next morning we headed to the Argentinian side of the falls for more adventure included a boat ride under the falls. The day was amazing. They have a surplus of these animals everywhere. They are like our raccoons and are called Coati.We saw entire families where people were eating food. They are looking for handouts but forage in the woods for food much like raccoons. As you can see the people don’t bother them at all!
The paths around the falls and then getting on the boat up the river under the falls was a huge adventure. Here are many pictures to tell the story.
The next morning we would catch a plane back to Buenos Aires and then a flight home. In the middle of the night Janice was so sick all she could say was “I am going to die in Argentina” John told her it reminded him of a song, “Don’t Cry for me Argentina”, the good news, she didn’t! Well we made it home, we are sure the person next to Janice wished he was anywhere excepot next to Janice on the plane …BACK IN THE U.S.A.