Punta del Este, Uruguay

February 24, 2023

Here’s a picture of 2 Normans. The “other Norman” is one of our favorite sommeliers on board.

This is a new port for us. The entrance to the port is the widest estuary in the world. The city has been referred to as “the Monaco of the South”, “the Pearl of the Atlantic”, “the Hamptons of South America”, “the Miami Beach of South America” and “the St. Tropez of South America”. And, yes, it is that pretty and has lots of beautiful hotels, beaches and open air restaurants. We heard that there are many Americans living here. The city has a year round population of about 12,400 but during the summer season the number of visitors and residents average 450,000!

Our sunrise at sail in.

Our tour today was a boat trip to Sea Wolves Island where there is a colony of sea lions and fur seals. The scientists confirm that there are over 200,000 animals here, the second largest colony in the world. First is in Namibia.

This is a port that we needed to be taken to by tender, then we boarded a bus for the short trip to the boat that would take us to the island. Our guide was Marcello and he gave the same information both on the top deck and downstairs on the bottom deck. I happened to sit in the area with the very young and opinionated captain who thought he knew everything about the war in Ukraine, US and world politics, etc and he was very polarizing. Some passengers tried to give some other opinions but he would have none of it. His comment was “it is my boat, I can say anything I want, get out of here if you don’t like it”. I guess he never heard of customer service.

Our guide, Marcello

Otherwise it was a pretty calm trip and we sailed around the island for about 45 minutes. It was hard to get photos because we couldn’t get close enough, but I did get a few. There were hundreds of young seals playing in the water – they were fun to watch.

There is a lighthouse on the island, one of the brightest in the world according to Marcello.

The island is called Sea Wolves Island because early explorers hears the sounds of the sea lions and thought they weere wolves, so they didn’t go onto the island. Now the sea lions are referrred to as “sea wolves”.

After the boat trip, we wanted to visit La Mano, which is a sculpture of fingers emerging from the ground near the beach. It was originally part of an open air sculpture exhibition in 1982. At that time it was meant as a warning that the beach was rocky and could be dangerous. Now it is a big tourist attraction!

I wonder where the rest of this big guy is?
Dog spotted on the left!

We got back after 2 so we had lunch in Waves Grill. They make a delicious veggie burger. Tonight will be an Indian Buffet in the Terrace Cafe and it will be nice enough to finally sit outside.

Posted in Excursions, February, South America, World Cruise #4 | 1 Comment

Port Stanley, Falkland Islands

February 23, 2023

We had a very calm crossing of the Drake Passage and still weren’t sure that the conditions would allow us to visit the Falklands, a place we have never been and really want to experience.

Before I get to the day, I got another 4 of a kind in the casino last night. Who says lightning doesn’t strike twice!


We were scheduled to be at anchor at 8 am and in fact, we were right on time.  Our tour was also scheduled at that time, but by the time we traveled to the port in the tender, it was about 8:20.  Our tour today was to Bluff Cove Lagoon to see the penguins.

We were in a small bus which held only 20 people and our guide was Len.  He is a 5th generation Falkland inhabitant and was very knowledgeable. 

The Falkland Islands are a self governing British country.  The population of the entire country is only about 3000 people. There is free medical care and free education here.  The top three industries are squid and Chilean sea bass fishing, tourism (over 43,000 visitors a year in the season between October and March) and farming. 

To my surprise, there are no trees on the Falklands, it is mostly rocky with white grass plains.  They are very much into sustainable energy and have 6 wind turbines which produce 35-45% of the electricity consumed in Stanley and they have reduced their diesel fuel use by 1 million liters.  They also have a solar farm under construction.

We passed by an area that had 30,000 land mines left after the 1982 war, but the area  has now been totally cleaned – it took 5 1/2 years to do so.

The place we visited is the Bluff Cove Lagoon which is part of a 30,000 acre farm.  They raise sheep and cows and of course there are the penguin colonies along the water.  The two types we saw today are the king penguin, the second largest after the emperor and the Gentoo which is the third largest.

There were lots of guides around the area to answer our questions.

I got many pictures and will post some with explanations.


The king penguin is later into the breeding season than the Gentoo.  We got some great pictures, including the ones here that show one of them feeding the chick.  The chicks and the eggs (which are all hatched now) are well hidden under the feathers and on the feet of the adults. The chicks are hard to spot so I was lucky.


The colony of king penguins was much smaller than the Gentoo colonies. Here, the chicks are already about 6 – 8 weeks old and are molting.  They lose their feathers and the new ones grow in during this time. You can see the feathers all around them on the ground. They basically just stand around since they can’t swim in the molting state.  They don’t eat much either unless an adult brings them some fish, but they have stored fat from when they were fed by the parents. If they even try to swim, they would quickly become a snack for the seals. The adult Gentoos do swim and many of them were moving along the shoreline as well.  Hopefully I will be able to upload a video for you to see. I will try it in a separate posting.

IMG_3398~photo - CopyIMG_3399~photo - CopyIMG_3402~photo - CopyIMG_3404~photo - CopyIMG_3405~photo - CopyIMG_3408~photo - CopyIMG_3411~photo - CopyIMG_3413~photo - CopyIMG_3415~photo - CopyIMG_3417~photo - CopyIMG_3437~photo - CopyIMG_3440~photo - CopyIMG_3442~photo - CopyIMG_3445~photo - CopyIMG_3448~photo - Copy

We were scheduled for 2 hours here and it was warmer temperature wise but VERY windy.  At times, I couldn’t hold the camera still.

We walked all around the area and were simply delighted by these beautiful birds.

After our walk, we went to the Sea Cabbage café where we were treated to hot drinks and our choice of two of the many homemade treats offered to us.  There were a lot of posters with information about the area and the country.  And the treats were delicious. They have it set up like a mini museum.  The most current picture was the one of Zelensky!


The above picture is the wallpaper in the rest room!

Next to the café, there was a charming gift shop where I made some purchases.  And we got to meet the owner of the farm – Hattie –  who also baked all of the goodies. She held up her paper sign “Hattie the baker”.  Norm dropped a photo bomb from the window! The lovely woolen goods here are made from the wool from their own sheep which is sent to Scotland and then back here.


Due to the winds, the tenders were delayed so we were there an hour longer than scheduled.  Near the café it wasn’t quite as windy.  I did take another walk for some pictures.  I also learned what Sea Cabbage is and it is nothing to eat – it is a plant that gets yellow flowers in season.  Here is a picture.

IMG_3435~photo - Copy

The cows are mostly the Belted Galloway which they call Oreo cows since they have the black and white areas. There are still some sod and stone walls standing. These were constructed to keep livestock in specific areas.

IMG_3410~photo - Copy

We didn’t see any whales although the southern right whale is here this time of year.  Whales were endangered here for years, but they do a census every 2 years and there has been a 51% increase since the previous census, good news indeed.

We returned to Port Stanley and had some time to walk around the town.  They have a huge display of photos depicting “The Essence of Our Community.”  Here are some of them and some others of the two churches, interesting historical buildings, the whale bone arch and yes, the red phone booths!


Posted in Excursions, February, South America, World Cruise #4 | 2 Comments

Leaving Antarctica and crossing the Drake Passage

February 20, 2023

We sailed past the Shetland Islands on our way out of Antarctica yesterday. The scenery was still quite beautiful although not as impressive as the icebergs. The areas we saw were Admiralty Bay, King George Island and Half Moon Island. There were some whales and penguin colonies but it was too cold to be outside taking too many pictures and they are quick! Here are some shots taken during my walk and also from inside the ship. Every time someone opened a door in the public areas to go outside, we all shivered. This has been spectacular but I am so done with cold weather!

Here were special dinners for the Around the World passengers in Polo and Toscana. It takes two nights with those restaurants closed to other guests to accommodate the almost 400 ATW guests. We were greeted by the ship’s entertainers and the senior staff on our way into the restaurant. There was a special menu just for these dinners.

Norm had the tuna and salmon appetizer and I had the beet one. We both had the soup then he had the lamb and I had the sea bass. All just wonderful with a welcome glass of champagne and the Chilean wines. Our culinary team came out to take a bow!

We had one of our favorite servers, Marina!

Today we are crossing the Drake Passage on our way to the Falkland Islands and we are again very lucky. It is pretty calm. Hoping the weather holds for tomorrow!

Posted in Antarctica, February, Food, World Cruise #4 | 4 Comments

Cruising in Antarctica

February 16-20, 2023

I decided to do one post which will cover our 3 days in Antarctica as well as the 2 days in the Drake Passage on the way to and from Antarctica.

The Drake Passage from Ushuaia was on February 16.  The saying goes that the Drake Passage will either be the “Drake Lake” or the “Drake Shake”.  We were lucky that it was mostly the Drake Lake.  A bit bumpy at times but really a very stable passage.  Our expedition team is on board and provides us with commentary and they are out on deck a lot with their blue penguin vests on so we can identify them quickly when we have questions.  And Stephanie, the leader, has made over 200 trips to Antarctica and she let us know at the show that we were already in Antarctica based on our location gps. 


On Friday, the 17th, we were surrounded by the Antarctic beauty – massive icebergs and lots of floating ice.  We saw seals, penguins and a couple of whales and Stephanie was on the bridge to keep us apprised of what is coming up.  I was out walking on the deck and taking pictures when it started snowing hard.  After a short while it was too slippery to be walking out there, so I came back to the room and Norm got the binoculars to be a spotter from our balcony.  Later I went back out to walk and I saw that someone had built a snowman!  I am guessing it was a crew member since the golf putters were used as the arms! When we came back out to the deck the crew was clearing the snow.

It is really hard to give a perspective of the size of the icebergs and glaciers, so I took a shot with a ship in it. 


We cruised Dallmann Bay most of the day and sailed through the Neumayer Channel.  Simply breathtaking.  What is really fun is to see some of the crew outside taking pictures and watching it all in awe.  Most of them are from warm weather countries and have never even seen snow much less the majesty of these glaciers and icebergs.

Speaking of icebergs, the “tip” that we see is only about 10% of the whole thing, – 89-90% is under water.

Here are some of the pictures from our first day here.  I have so many but even with that, they cannot really convey the beauty that we are seeing.  As I have mentioned, we took an expedition ship here in 2014, the Silver Explorer (Silversea) and were simply amazed by Antarctica.  We did get much closer in zodiacs and on land which our larger ship, not an expedition ship, cannot do. But the captain is doing an amazing job maneuvering the ship so we get the best views.


We got to see Port Lockroy where we visited in 2014.  We bought some items and sent postcards from there – it is a British outpost that is open in the summer months only.  I am wearing the vest I bought there every day.

It stays dark until after 10 PM here – and we were lucky to see whales from our balcony around 8 PM.  No pictures though, they were hard to capture with the camera.

Here is the map of the area we are sailing in.


In casino news, I was just about to leave for the night and said I would play one more hand at the poker table.  Well, I just about fell off my chair when I had three 8’s which is good by itself, 30 – 1 odds, but because I played the best of 5 with the dealers cards, when she turned up the first of her 3 cards, it was an 8!!!  I have been waiting forever for a 4 of a kind hand and that bet paid 50 – 1.  So glad I played that one extra hand.

On Saturday, the 18th, the plan was to cruise in Paradise Harbor.  As we learned on our previous trip, the weather dictates everything here and the captain tried both entrances to the bay and it was too windy to risk traveling through both of the narrow entrances. So we cruised the Errera Channel instead.  Majestic.  There were several ice formations with Gentoo penguins on them.  And many other beautiful blue ice formations. The penguins were hard to see but I did get some photos.


A highlight was a humpback whale that was feeding just off the side of the ship.  Here are some pictures I was able to capture. 


More spectacular ice.


Our entertainer on Saturday night was an internationally known tenor, Shimi Goodman.  He was fantastic, if you ever get a chance to hear him – take it!  He has performed all over the world and got his start in shows in the West End, UK.  Great show, I can’t wait for his second one.  The guest entertainers always do two shows, a day or two apart and they are always different.

On Sunday, the 19th, we started our journey north in Antarctica, toward the Shetland Islands.  During my walk, it started to rain and the visibility wasn’t that good.  The commentary continued all day and there is really way too much to mention. The team is that knowledgeable!

We passed Deception Island which is named that because it has the outward appearance of a regular island.  In reality, when we went through the entrance, called Neptune’s Bellows, you can see that it is actually a ring around an active volcano! The lava rocks covered with snow are the clue. There are two research stations here, operated by Argentina and Spain during the summer season. There have been many shipwrecks here due to the deceptively shallow areas.


The largest colony of chinstrap penguins are here but they were really too far away to take pictures of. Some of the passengers have cameras with giant lenses and I am sure they got some good shots.

Around lunch time we came to Half Moon Island which is also part of the South Shetland Islands of Antarctica.  This island looks much like the others in the area, and it is notable for the breeding colony of about 100 pairs of South Polar skuas – they kind of look like sea gulls. Too quick to get any pictures though. Many chinstrap and Gentoo penguins also live here.


Later we will be back in the Drake Passage and will sail there through Monday, February 20, hopefully it will be as calm as it was on the way south.  On Tuesday, February 21, we will be at Port Stanley, Falkland Islands where we have a tour to the Bluff Cove Lagoon Penguin Safari.  We have never been to the Falklands before and are really hoping we can get in.  It is a 50-50 chance as it is a tender port and the winds can change fast and can impact a potential tender landing.

Posted in Antarctica, February, World Cruise #4 | 5 Comments

Ushuaia, Argentina

February 15, 2023

Here is our wonderful casino team on Valentine’s Day!

This morning, on our way to Ushuaia, I got some great shots of the snow covered Andes mountains as we sailed in the Beagle Channel. The Channel was named for the British ship, HMS Beagle under the command of Captain Robert FitzRoy during its maiden voyage surveying Tierra del Fuego. The weather changes frequently, and during my walk around the deck, it was cold and windy, then rainy, then the blue sky would once again reappear.

Our tour today was called “End of the World Train, Tierra Del Fuego National Park.” We arrived in Ushuaia at around 11 AM and our tour didn’t start until 1:15, so we had a nice lunch before setting out. We thought we would be taking a bus to the train and returning by catamaran, but it turned out to be just the opposite for our group. There were 8 ships in this port today, since it is the gateway city to Antarctica, and this is the prime time to visit there. Our guide said 8 ships on the same day has never happened before. And it did put a strain on all of the tours. Four of the ships were expedition ships like the one we sailed on when we went to Antarctica, and 4 were like ours, just doing a sailing without touching land or exploring by zodiac. Our sister ship, Marina, was also in port.

In any case, we boarded a large catamaran and sailed in the Beagle Channel for a LONG time! The guide had a microphone but between the noise of the passenger conversations, the low volume of the microphone and her Spanish accent, we didn’t get to hear too much of her comments. We saw many rocky islands with what resembled penguins but were actually Imperial Cormorants. There were also many sea lions just lying about on the rocky islands. The boat captain spent time circling the islands so we could all get pretty good views of the wildlife. You could go outside, but I was too cold to do so. Again, the weather changes minute by minute and it was rainy a lot of the time. so my pictures aren’t that great but you get the idea.

We also saw the Les Eclaireurs lighthouse. It is still in operation, is remote controlled, automated, uninhabited and not open to the public. It guards the sea entrance to Ushuaia. Electricity is supplied by solar panels. It was put into operation in 1920.

When we got to the place where the buses were to take us to the train, there were other groups there so we had to sail around the area for quite a while. We sat with friends Shari and Rob so we had our own conversations.

When we finally got to the train, we got headsets to listen to the commentary about the history of the train. Basically it was constructed to take prisoners from Ushuaia’s prison out to the open areas of Tierra Del Fuego to work. It was a pretty brutal existance for these prisoners. They also did most of the construction of the town’s public buildings, including building their own prison! Eventually the prison was shut down by Peron because of the cruelty.

Ushuaia is known as “the end of the world” and that is the name of the train journey. We made one stop at a station in the middle of the hour long trip. And it snowed part of the way.

After the train trip, we had a 20 minute bus ride back to the ship. We had a guide named Ana who gave us more information about the area. The temperature and weather conditions are pretty much the same here all year around due to the archipelago located between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Tierra Del Fuego means “land of “fire” due to the volcanic activity here years ago. It is an island and a protected National Park. It is too cold for snakes and other amphibians and mosquitos. The main animal here is the fox, but we didn’t see any of those.

We got back at 8 PM which was the time the ship was supposed to leave (a good reason to take ship sponsored tours), so they pulled out just minutes after we got back. We were very hungry so had a quick dinner, I had a shower and we went to the show which was “Broadway” by our entertainment team singers. It was very good.

Each night, one of the Antarctica expedition team gives a short overview of what to expect the next day. We will be in the Drake Passage on the way to Antarctica and it can be very rocky. By all reports, it seems it won’t be too bad on the way there. The trip to Antarcica will take a day, then we have three days sailing in Admiralty Bay, Paradise Bay and Half Moon Bay in Antarctica and one day back in the Drake passage en route to the Falkland Islands.

Posted in Excursions, February, South America, World Cruise #4 | 1 Comment

Punta Arenas, Chile

February 14, 2023

Today we arrived at our last port in Chile. The days are so much longer here, it is light until after 10 PM. Here is a picture of the sunrise, just beautiful as so many of them are.

Our destination today was to the Magdalena Island and Penguin Reserve. I have been so excited to see these birds so was really looking forward to the excursion. We had a short bus ride to a different pier than the one we were docked at. We heard there would be 6 ships here today. One was the Oceania Marina.

We boarded a large catamaran which, thank goodness, had a lot of inside seating. We all got a penguin backpack with a sandwich and lots of snacks in it. The trip to the island took about 90 minutes and was pretty smooth, although we were advised that weather might be rough. Some whales were spotted but not that close to the boat.

The weather was not bad when we left the port, sunny skies but pretty cool, in the 40s. According to the guides, this is what it is like every day. When we got to the island, the winds were fierce and it rained off and on.

I was not disappointed by the penguin colony. The chicks have left the island and the adults are molting, they were mostly just standing around and walking slowly. Of course, I got MANY pictures and Norm got some good ones too so I will share some of them. These penguins all leave the island in March – they go to north of Peru on the Pacific side and just north of Brazil on the Atlantic side. They return in September. We hiked up to the lighthouse and observed many sea birds along the way. Our guides seemed like very young people but they were well informed. During the trip to the island, they came around to every group with maps and explanations of what we were going to see as well as the rules of the island regarding the penguins. We had to stay on the path and not approach the penguins. None came up to us. When we were in Antarctica, they came right up to us and seemed curious.

We were also fortunate to see an upland goose.

When we had spent an hour on the island, we were ready to board the catamaran for the trip back. Good thing, we were very cold and wet but we enjoyed the trip so much. When we returned to the pier it was hailing, and I guess that is all in a day’s weather here in southern Chile.

We will see many types of penguins in the next few days. These were the Magellanic penguins. So you will see lots more penguin pictures. I love the little fellows.

Tomorrow we have our first port in Argentina, Ushuaia.

Posted in Excursions, February, South America, World Cruise #4 | 5 Comments

Sailing the Chilean Fjords

February 13, 2023

Happy birthday🎂♌🎉🎈to my sister Deb. She is joining the 70’s club today.

We are currently cruising the Chilean fjords and were there yesterday too. The scenery is just beautiful. It is in the 40’s so it is cool and rainy. Today we sailed near the Amalia glacier and many people were on deck to take photos. Here are some of the scenery and the glacier.

The Amalia Glacier
Ice chunks in the sea

Of course, last night there was the big Super Bowl party. As in the past when we were on ships, we didn’t get the commercials. It was a fun party and although we didn’t get the Eagles win we hoped for, it was a good game.

It tasted good too!
Check out the face mask!
A wine before snacks! Dressed in green with Eagles hat.
Robbie is a Browns fan. What are he and Ray checking out?
Big screens add to the excitement.

We will sail the Magellan Strait on the way to our next port tomorrow- Punta Arenas, our last port in Chile.

Posted in At Sea, February, Food, South America, World Cruise #4 | Leave a comment

Puerto Chacabuco, Chile

February 11, 2023

I did not opt for the Tango lesson – I was too interested in doing my laps on the open deck and watching the mountains and changing weather conditions – simply spectacular. I am sure there will be more lesson opportunities when we are in Argentina, but this area won’t be repeated. And who was out taking pictures – our chef, Farid.


We are in Patagonia – the jumping off point for the Aysen fjords.  We will spend time in the next few days cruising the fjords and I am sure more beauty awaits us.

The ship arrived in port at noon –it was  a tender port, ship anchored off shore.We chose a really nice tour today, Full Day Patagonia in Depth.

Our guides were Martha and Sebastian and they were just terrific, very nice and also knowledgeable. Martha told us that the town of Chacabuco has a population of 2500 but it quadruples in the tourist season. 


We went to the Aiken del Sur Private Park and hiked the river trail for over 2 hours in the evergreen rain forest.  Our guides divided the group in half which made it easier to hear all of the commentary during our hike.  Our guide for that part was Sebastian.  The rain forest covers 250 acres and they get 3000 liters of rain per year, a real contrast to the northern deserts we visited earlier. And, today was no different from other days here, it was rainy, but the trees provided cover for us and it only felt drizzly.


During the hike, Sebastian told us about the great burnings of the Patagonian forests and the eruption of the Mount Hudson volcano in 1991. You can see the regrowth of trees that feed on the decomposing material of dead tree trunks. He described the trees, other vegetation and birds that are common here.  We spotted only one along the way. I couldn’t possibly name all of the things we saw but enjoyed every minute of the hike.

IMG_2938~photoIMG_2942~photoIMG_2944~photoIMG_2946~photoIMG_2948~photoIMG_2949~photoIMG_2950~photoIMG_2954~photopatagonia birdIMG_2959~photoIMG_2969~photoIMG_2998~photo

We hiked to the beautiful waterfall.


After the hike, we walked to the pavilion that is part of the park near the lake.  A typical Chilean lamb barbecue was prepared for us. Of course, I didn’t eat the lamb but the interesting way they barbecue was something to see.  There was music, dancing, lots of wine and pisco sours.  We returned to the ship at 7:30 PM and we were in the next to last tender to return.  A really wonderful day.

IMG_2999~photo - Copy (2)IMG_3001~photo - Copy (2)IMG_3007~photo - CopyIMG_3002~photo - Copy (2)IMG_3003~photo - Copy (2)IMG_3004~photo - Copy (2)IMG_3006~photo - CopyIMG_3010~photo - CopyIMG_3013~photo

And who did we sit across from – on the left of the picture, an ACC coach, ICF member, Julie Wong from Sonoma, California. She is also on the Around the World trip so I am sure we will connect again.  The world is indeed very small.IMG_3014~photo

No appetite for dinner, to say the least.  Too bad, Farid and his chefs were making Singaporean noodles in the terrace cafe.  A scoop of ice cream was all I wanted


Look at this dog made from cabbage!  The culinary department amazes me every day.


Posted in Excursions, February, Food, South America, World Cruise #4 | 2 Comments

Puerto Montt. Chile

February 10, 2023

Yesterday was a sea day, and I had a lovely spa morning. I had a full body hot stone massage, an eye treatment, a facial, foot and ankle massage and scalp massage. All I can say is “ahhhhh” wonderful. There will be more of those during the cruise for sure.

My sunflowers are on their last legs.  Time to look for a new flower market.IMG_2846~photo

Last night was the Captain’s cocktail celebration, there is one of these at the beginning of each segment of the world cruise. Drinks are free and we get introduced to the senior staff on board.  So happy to see that the new captain (our original one will be back in 2 months) is a man we have sailed with twice before when he was staff captain.  Now he has been promoted to full captain. 


We were invited to dinner with the general manager, Claudio Melli from Italy and Cella, the Oceania Club Ambassador.  Two other passengers were at our table as well.  What a nice evening!  The Chilean wines, both white and red, were flowing all evening. 


Then the show – it was a singer who does impressions of all of the current women singers.  Her name is Tricia Kelly and I look forward to her next show.  Very fun.  She sometimes makes up her own lyrics and they are hysterical.

Leah, one of the casino dealers, had a birthday today so we celebrated as the others surprised her with a cake and we sang to her.


The fog was very heavy overnight, whenever I woke up, I heard the fog horn. So we were about 2 hours late arriving to Puerto Montt.  We had a tour that was supposed to leave at 8:30 and it was 10:30 when we got off the ship.  It was a tender port, so the lifeboats take us to shore.

Here’s the view on our sail in.


We met our tour guide, Andrea, and set off for our first destination, the lakeside town of Puerto Varas.  She told us that  Puerto Montt is a city of 250,000 and is known for raising Atlantic Salmon. In fact, it is second only to Norway.  The industry created 50,000 jobs and almost everyone in the city has some connection to the salmon industry. The salmon spend 6 months in the lake and then 1 year in the ocean before they are harvested and sold.


We arrived in Puerto Varas and had about 45 minutes to wander through the town, visit the craft market and spend time by the beautiful lake. This part of Chile is green and lush and is actually called the lake district.  Many lakes, towns and sites are named in native language.  This lake is Llanquihue.  It is the 3rd largest lake in Chile. It covers 338 square miles and is 1000 feet deep. This woman on a unicycle was juggling in the middle of the street, for tips of course!  Brave or dumb?  Your call.


While walking through the town, we spotted an authentic Chile dog…  (a little Chilean humor here!)


All throughout Chile, including here, we heard about earthquakes.  The last big one was in 1960, but small earthquakes happen almost every day.

After our visit to the town, unfortunately there was  a traffic issue due to an accident which the guide had been informed had been cleared – but then another one happened so we were basically at a standstill for an hour and a half.  She said accidents are quite rare.

We did see this funky museum!


Andrea was very knowledgeable and filled the time with lots of information and stories.  One that surprised me is that the length of Chile is the width of the United States!

We could see the Osorno volcano and the Calbuco volcano as we resumed our trip to the Vincente Perez Rosales National Park. The Osorno last erupted in 1835.  It is 8700 feet high and resembles Mt.  Fuji in Japan.  Chile has 2000 volcanoes, 100 are considered active.  This one has not erupted since 1835.


The Calbuco is 6610 feet high and last erupted in 2015. There are ski centers on the volcanoes and you can still see snow although it is summer here.


The scenery was really beautiful and we got much closer to the volcanoes.  The Petrohue Falls are surrounded by huge volcanic rocks.  We had time to walk around the park trails and take pictures.


By now it was late in the afternoon.  Due to the delay, we didn’t have anything to eat since breakfast.  We really enjoyed the bag of local potato chips!

Before we left the park, Norm spotted a local man wearing an Eagles shirt – and Norm had on his Eagles hat. The man shouted “selfie” and he took one, so then I captured them both as well.


We had dinner outside on the deck and Farid was preparing chicken fajitas.  The sail out was so pretty! And at 8:30, the sun was still high in the sky.


Tonight the show is an Argentinian Tango Show starring the Pampas Devils.  And, we don’t arrive in port tomorrow until noon, so I see they will be giving tango lessons in the morning. We’ll see!

Posted in Excursions, February, World Cruise #4 | 1 Comment

San Antonio, Chile

February 8, 2023

In my post yesterday, I said we were going to be in port in San Antonio Chile and headed on a tour in Santiago.  I realized this morning that our tour was near San Antonio  and we were not going to Santiago after all. The tour was called “Wine and Poets” and our tour guide was Sebastian (the dog was just paying attention).  Thanks again to Erin Erkun for arranging the tour – It was a great day.


We drove through the town of San Antonio, and as always, our guide gave us some information about the area and the country. Some of it, we have heard before, but I always learn something new.  As I have mentioned, Chile is situated between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes mountain range which runs pretty much the whole length of the country.  This area does get rain between May and July, but much less than they used to get, so water is always a problem.

We were a small group of 11.  Our first stop was the amazing residence of Pablo Neruda who was one of the original and most prolific poets to write in Spanish in the 20th century.  I have to admit that I didn’t know much about him before this visit. He won the 1971 Nobel Prize in Literature.  He also occupied many diplomatic positions in various countries during his lifetime and served a term as a Senator for the Chilean Communist Party. When the Chilean President outlawed Communism in 1948, a warrant was issued for Neruda’s arrest.  He escaped and would not return to Chile for more than 3 years.

The house and surrounding sea and land are really a work of art.  The house is in sections designed to be sort of like a series of train cars.  He was a lover of trains.  We were not allowed to take pictures in the house itself.  We had audio guides for the tour in English and that was very helpful to understand his many collections – bottles, shells, ship mastheads and other nautical artifacts.  Too many to list but all very fascinating.

Here are some photos of the rocky beach, the outside of the home and some of the outdoor art.  He was also fond of fish and there are many representations to be seen here.


Here are some photos of us with friends who went on the tour with us.


After our visit, we went for the wine part of the tour.  What a surprise to see two of our talented entertainment team, Robbie and Casey,  there enjoying the wine.


We enjoyed a tour of the winery, Casa Marin, and learned a lot about how it came to be and what it produces.  It would be known as a boutique winery, producing only 140,000 bottles a year.  They do export to 20 countries around the world, and in the US their distributors are in Georgia and Pennsylvania. 


There was a lot of really interesting art around the winery.  IMG_2804~photoIMG_2805~photoIMG_2794~photoIMG_2795~photoIMG_2808~photoIMG_2815~photoIMG_2816~photoIMG_2792~photoIMG_2817~photoIMG_2818~photoIMG_2819~photoIMG_2820~photoIMG_2821~photoIMG_2828~photo

The founder of the winery is a woman (with vision and fortitude for sure), Maria Luz Marin.  Her idea of starting a winery close to the ocean with its cool climate was laughed at by many – she was called a crazy woman, and yet she persisted!  Her vineyard is the closest to the Pacific Ocean in South America and they produce Sauvignon Blanc (which won best Sauvignon Blanc in the world twice), Sauvignon Gris, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Noir, Syrah and Garnacha under three different labels.

They do not do their own bottling since they only do it about 20 days a year.  Who knew there were mobile bottling operations?  It comes to the winery for the day and bottles over 6000 bottles.


And yes, there is a vineyard dog.


After the tour we did a tasting of 5 wines – Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Noir,  Syrah and a Syrah blend.  Our favorite was surprisingly the Riesling. We bought 6 bottles of wine there.


On the way back to the ship, we stopped at a church specifically to see the painting on the outside done by Maria’s sister.


We are at sea tomorrow and Puerto Montt on Friday.  Lots more of Chile to see.

Posted in Excursions, February, South America, World Cruise #4 | 2 Comments