Antarctic and Falklands – Day 6 – Danco Island (2)

Paul S. Bryers, January 1, 2020

Our zodiac landing was far easier today. However, the walk up/down the snow covered hill to see the Gentoo Penguins was quite challenging – worth it though for the magnificent views!

And at last we saw a Chinstrap Penguin.

We did our landing at 1.30 pm, it’s now 7.49 pm and there’s still folks on the hill.

What a way to spend the first day of 2020!

Antarctic and Falklands Cruise – Day 5 – Trinity Island

Paul S Bryers, December 31, 2019

Sailed overnight from Greenwich Island to D’Hainaut Island, located within Mikkelsen Harbour, Trinity Island. D’Hainaut was a whaling station many years ago. The surrounding scenery was amazing with mountains, glaciers and some bergs.

The one below was huge!

The zodiac trip to the island was interesting in that Gentoo Penguins were diving in/out of the water all over the place.

It was a more challenging landing than yesterday as zodiac had to do a rock dock (basically, you ram the zodiac up on the rock face and hold it there with the engine full on until people get off/on, and then you have to walk over a combo of Gentoo shit and ice/snow.

Once landed, Gentoo Penguins were everywhere.

The island also has a lot of whale bones and a fairly intact old whaling boat.

We saw the blows from a few live whales today – naturalist said Humpbacks – but no sightings of tails or breaches, as yet. BREAKING NEWS – Two Humpbacks just breached….no photo though…

Antarctic and Falklands Cruise – Day 4 – Drakes Passage and Yankee Harbor, Greenwich Island

Paul S. Bryers, December 30, 2019

We completed our crossing of Drakes Passage early this morning after an uneventful night. Then there were the first sightings of icebergs in the distance and at last the South Shetland Islands, Antartica!

And our first spotting of a penguin (gentoo) diving in and out of the water. Hard to get a photo as they move so fast.

Our zodiac landing today was Yankee Harbor, Greenwich Island to see the Gentoo Penguin colonies and elephant seals. Cute penguins, grumpy seals!

Antarctic and Falklands Cruise – Day 3 – Drakes Passage

Paul S Bryers, December 29, 2016

Although we are ahead of the storm, the Captain says we are still getting some 30 foot waves which are making us shake, rattle and roll (a bit). I don’t think it’s bad at all.

Chris was up birdwatching before me but then Dramamine was required and a consequent nap…

Plenty of Giant Southern Petrels around…

and the occasional Great Skua….

Apparently an Albatross was spotted but I didn’t get a photo – yet.

Antarctic and Falklands Cruise – Day 1 and 2 – Punta Arenas through Parque Nacional Alberto de Agostini

Paul S Bryers, December 28, 2019

So December 27 was the start of our 16 night Antarctic & Falklands cruise.

We flew from Santiago down to P Arenas – great views of Andes..

We were then bused around P Arenas for about 4 hours to see the highlights. This was more than enough time, believe me. Especially since 1 hour was at a graveyard. At least we saw our wee ship from a lookout hill. And when I say wee, I mean very wee….it’s the one docked in the middle in the photo below…

At last we boarded MS Roald Amundsen and after being shown how to put on our orange thermal live saving suits, we headed out into the unknown, or at least little known….accompanied by a nice sunset.

At the next morning’s briefing we sadly learnt that due an approaching front of 70 mph winds and major swells in Drakes Passage we would not be able to land at Cape Horn and instead we were going to try and stay ahead of the storm and head straight for South Shetland Islands – go news was this would give us an additional day for landings in Antartica. Bad news was the Captain made it clear we would still face some major winds and swells and to put everything in our cabins on the floor or in closets. Below, green is good and red/purple is bad…

We spent the rest of the day viewing lovely mountains, glaciers and waterfalls….

The evening was rainbows and cruise ships all going in the other direction…..mmmmhhhh…

Oops…

So, it’s now time to strap down for a bumpy night…….

Days 22 to 25 – Buenos Aires, Argentina and Santiago, Chile

Paul S Bryers, December 26, 2019

We spent our final day in BA, December 23, just strolling around….

And then a bit of pool time….

On December 24, we flew over the Andes to Santiago, Chile – some great views (credit to Chris for the glacier photo).

On arrival at our hotel, we were surprised to see that our and other hotels, as well as all businesses, had metal shutters in place to protect from protesters. We knew about the ongoing protests against wealth inequality, of course, but had not realized the scale. While the protesters’ cause is very understandable it was sad to see the damage and graffiti everywhere..

Christmas Day was very quiet and we just walked around the city center a bit – big police presence but all seemed safe. Popped into a mass which had great singing…

Had our Christmas Day drinks and dinner at the W – terrific views.

Today, December 26, we transferred over to the Sheraton to meet the Hurtigruten staff – very organized! We had a bit of pool time this afternoon and are now excited about our flight to Punta Arenes tomorrow to start the Hurtigruten Antartica cruise.

Days 19 to 21 – Buenos Aires, Argentina

By Paul S. Bryers, December 22, 2019

After an early departure from the cruise ship at Buenos Aires, most of the rest of the day was spent recovering at the hotel from the fun time we had over the last 18 days cruising. Le Patios de San Telmo are very nice accommodations and well located – lovely out door spaces and there is a sculpture of a horse with its head coming out of its arse, which is unusual.

We had recovered enough by night time to go out and have a drink at The Oldest, a pub run by Joaquin in the Belgrano area.

We then went on to meet some friends from the cruise at Positano (https://positanolirica.com.ar), where you have dinner and are entertained by opera singers (very good), tango dancers and a comedian in drag. Great time had by all!

The following day we did a hop on/off bus tour (blue and red routes, 3.5 hours) which was interesting to get an overview of the city, but a bit tedious in places.

Following the bus tour we went for light bites and wine at San Telmo Market – delicious and noisy.

Finally, we had dinner at La Poesia Bar (http://www.losnotables.com.ar/cafe-la-poesia/) which did excellent trout and salmon.

Today we took a 5 hour tour which included a boat trip along the coastal waters of Buenos Aires’ Rio de la Plata and up the smaller rivers to Le Tigre – these smaller rivers have houses along the banks only accessible by boat.

Not sure yet where dinner will be tonight or what we will do with our final day in BA tomorrow.

Day 18 – Montevideo, Uruguay

By Paul S. Bryers, December 19, 2019

After the crowds of Salvador and Rio, Montevideo was a pleasant change. A very walkable city (indeed, the main city starts at the port) with some interesting architecture but overall a bit dilapidated. The gates to the old city looked a bit forlorn at Independence Plaza. Got the feeling that the renovation of the city was very much a slow work in progress..

Plenty of street art/graffiti and street performers, as well as stalls selling all sorts.

The main cathedral was, as usual, very beautiful. The floors were quite stunning.

Day 14 to 15 – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

By Paul S. Bryers, December 18, 2019

It has been 20 years since we were last in Rio – on that occasion for 2 weeks which included New Year’s Eve 1999 on Copacabana Beach, along with 2 million other folks. This was a far quicker trip but we still managed to see some new bits of Rio.

We opted for a Princess Cruises tour on our first day, which lasted for about 5 hours. We started by going straight up Sugarloaf on the cable car.

It was a prefect day for views.

We did a brief drive by of Copacabana and Ipanema Beaches – not stopping this time….Pity as we enjoyed last time…

We were then off to see the Cathedral – imposing modern concrete building. Inspired by Inca temples..

On the following day, we took a metro from right outside the dock to downtown Rio. The murals at the dock were excellent, and many of the buildings downtown had been very well renovated, especially the Municipal Theater and some of the larger churches.

 

Finally, it was time to say goodbye to Rio and head out for 2 days at sea and then Montevideo.