John & Evelyn's Anniversary Cruise to South America

Feb. 11-23, 2010

We leave San Diego on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2010 at 7:30 a.m. and arrive in Buenos Aires the following day at 7:35 a.m. The all night flight from Atlanta to Buenos Aires is a killer for guys with long legs. But we can survive one night without sleep! We are on deck 5--the first row of port holes below the life boats.
First stop on the cruise is Montevideo, Uruguay.


Mont-teh-vih-DAY-oh (in case you were wondering)

Evelyn is a tornado unpacking in our stateroom.
This town is very tourist friendly. Many "Policia Touristias" everywhere. And they ride 200 cc YUMBO? bikes. Good thing there are no freeways or roads you can go over 30 mph!
Bikes everywhere here! Except for the police, I didn't see anything over 150 cc. Almost every street has special parking for motorcycles.
Before our guided tour, we wandered around town. Neither of us could get our bearings. Evelyn is checking her maps under this neat tree.
Where are we? We need help!
We're lost!

Is Evelyn's umbrella an optical illusion? Or is it just retarded?

Ah, Zorro to the rescue! Get your hands off my woman, you masked man!
Now we find a flea market and lots of vendors. Then the shops.....
Evelyn has this "thing" for statues. Don't tell her I deleted lots of statue photos! Every war hero has a statue. OK, here is some trivia: Anywhere in the world....if the horse has his leg lifted....rider died in battle. Legs on ground.....died of natural or other causes.
Evelyn scolded me for this photo. She says I took photo from wrong side and got the horses butts!

OK, now to tour the "art and architecture" of old Montevideo. Our tour guide described the buildings as "eclectic" no less than 30 times. She said there was influence from Italy, Spain, Portugal. Eclectic? You be the judge:

This theatre was quite impressive. We toured inside. Very ornate with maybe 6 or more levels of box seats. Been there since 1856. They have plays, opera and other performances most nights. Real high ceiling with huge chandelier.
After walking 3 hours on our own and then 3 hours with the tour guide, we are beat. the dining room and then a show in the on board theater.

Now we have two days at sea on our way to the Falkland Islands.......

Saturday night is the first formal dress night.
Lamb for Evelyn, quail for John.
Ship was really rockin' and rollin' due to very high swells and high winds. No sleep for us last night. Everyone staggering around like a bunch of drunks! Front desk has "Sea Calm" pills for those with queasy stomachs. Evelyn may go see the ship Doc to get sleeping pills for tonight if sea is still rough.
Sunrise over the South Atlantic.
At his daily 1 p.m. update, the Captain says we are on full power, but the 20+ knot speed is reduced to 12 knots due to 10-14 meter swells and 45-70 knot headwinds. We are still on schedule, though, to get to Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands Monday morning. Weather permitting we will go ashore on a day tour.

I went outside and it was all I could do to hang on to the railing to keep from being blown down! Hey, it is supposed to be summer here! Capt. says temp in Falkland 40 degrees.

Update: The Captain has informed us that we are getting into the Falklands too late to take shore excursions. Slow cruising conditions. But we went into the harbor to drop off an ill traveler. I heard an elderly woman had a fall. May need placing??


Photo is leaving the remote harbor of Port Stanley. I believe only about 2500 fools, I mean, people live her.

The Wine Sommelier hosts a South America wine tasting.
Here we pass the Southern most point, Cape Horn. We just changed from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. Evelyn has her "Arctic weather" suit on. It is cold, but not THAT cold.
Sunset over Cape Horn. We are heading into the Straits of Magellan on the way to Ushuaia.


The Captain informs us we have had the worst sea conditions he has seen in years, and now the best conditions he has seen in years! All within a few days. It is nice now not to be practically bounced out of bed by the rocking ship.

Ok, today we are at the end of the world in Tierra Del Fuego in the National Park. We do a bus/walking tour through the park and then a catamaran ride through Beagle Bay.
Perfect weather and gorgeous surroundings.
Our Argentinean guide, Andria, was excellent. She knew all the tree and plant names and could answer all questions.


Somebody on the tour thought is was below zero outside. Actually probably about 50 or so.

The end of Hiway 3 which goes to Buenos Aires.
Now it is time to board the catamaran for a guided cruise around Beagle Bay.


Rambo? No, Rumbo, his tipsy brother.

WHOA! Hang on!
Beautiful town of Ushuaia. Pop. 80, 000
Getting back to our ship. One couple was missing and the captain left them. But, the couple was saved by a port authority tugboat that hurried them out to our ship for an at-sea boarding. Some passengers where happy for the couple, others were mad we had to wait for them awhile in the harbor.

Below are some additional photo thumbnails you can see if you want by clicking on them.........Use back button to return to site after viewing photos.


Heading from Ushuaia to Punta Arenas Wednesday afternoon, Feb.17, we get a treat as we pass some Glaciers.
This is one of only 5 in the world that actually touch the sea. Some small icebergs floating around.
This reminds John of his only other cruise, through the Inside Passage in Alaska.
Here in Punta Arenas our tour guide is Rodney. He took us to a historical museum and a large, unusual cemetery.
But first, he took us to see the city from a hillside.
Now, at the cemetery. Large family or ethnic tombs. Hundreds of manicured cypress trees everywhere, planted 100 years ago.
There were hundreds of these "rental grave sites". For $250 US a year you rent a spot for a 10 year commitment. If you don't pay, well, after running an ad in the paper, your loved ones remains are pulled out and put in common grave area. Looks like spot 499 is available!
Our cruise ship director said that if you touch the statues toe (you can see it is well worn) you will come back to Puntas Arenas. He said he touched it and sure enough he came back! Yeah, every two weeks on the cruise!

This is in the center city square. After our tour, John took a cab back into town to go to a Cyber Cafe for photo uploading and a couple beers. Also, went to Post Office.

We have two days of cruising through the Magellan Straits to get to next stop..Puerto Montt. Should see more glaciers on the way.

Below are thumbnails of other photos in Punta Arenas: Cemetery, historic home of rich city founders, etc:  

Hmmm, cocktail ice floating by. Glacier near?
Anticipation mounts.
There it is!
The Amalia Glacier in all her glory. 22 stories high, 1-2 miles wide, 15 or so miles long.
Sunday, February 21, 2010 we arrive in Puerto Montt. Beautiful town of about 200K people. Originally populated by German immigrants in the 1800s. Within 57 miles there are many sights to see including Waterfalls, lakes, volcanoes, river rafting and quaint lakeside towns. We take a half day bus tour to Frutillar, Llanquihue lake, Puerto Varas and Puerto Montt.
After Evelyn takes the tender back to the ship, John walks to this large shopping mall to upload photos at a wi-fi cafe and buy Chilean wine for dinner tonight at our final (3rd) formal dinner. It was a long walk so he took a cab back to the terminal to catch the tender back to the mother ship.
In Frutillar we toured this interesting museum. It was a home site of original German immigrants. Beautiful grounds. The residence is up on the hill. The building in the foreground is the blacksmith's workshop and residence.
The day started out gloomy, but mostly cleared up and was nice later in the day. This is Lake Llanquilhue (500 square miles), third largest lake in Chile. This area is a vacation area for Chileans. Reminded me of Big Bear Lake.
Here is the oldest building in town, a copper roofed cathedral. Much of the town was destroyed in a 1960 9.4 earthquake. They get daily small earthquakes since they are on the Pacific rim of fire.


Below are thumbnails of photos from the gardens at Frutillar.

While on our bus tour, the volcano was covered by clouds. But, now, when we are back on the ship, it clears up.
Our 3rd and final formal night.
After a movie at the theatre we went up to the Lido deck for the late night Dessert Extravaganza.

Photos below.

Early morning at our final city, Valparaiso, Chile. From here we take a 80 mile bus ride to Santiago and a city tour since we have all day to kill before our all night flight back home.
Our tour guide Sylvia in Santiago, Chile.
The Presidential Palace. It was bombed in the 70s when Chile had a little scuffle with a neighboring country.
The oldest building in Santiago and a guard at the Palace.



A few other photos of Santiago below.


BTW Half of the 14 million people in Chile live in Santiago.

Notes and observations about our cruise to South America:

The Countries we visited: We were mostly impressed with the towns and cities we visited. Of course we had the language barrier, but since we were mostly on tours, no problem. In Southern Argentina and Chile there are many Canadian beavers. 500 were originally brought in for fur. But, the winters are not as harsh as Canada and the fur was not as good quality. Now there are 250,000 beavers (more beavers than people in those areas) and the people here try to kill them as fast as possible since they are threat to the environment (tree destruction etc.) Also, years ago they brought in rabbits for food. Then they found out sheep are better and provide more food. So.. they are overrun with rabbits! In Chile they have salmon farms, but there is a lot of controversy. Some say they are ruining the environment (bring in sea lice) and they are the wrong kind of salmon for the area. There is much more uninhabited remote area unspoiled by humans. Except for larger cities, no pollution. John learned a little about South American wines. Chile has only 8000 acres of vineyards, yet produces a lot of wine. Most vineyards are 20-60 miles inland from the coast. One popular wine is Carmenere. John picked up a couple bottles in Puerto Montt.


The ship: Excellent food with unending varieties. Excellent service. Stateroom very comfortable. They are very health conscious. Purell hand sanitizers everywhere, sometimes 10 feet apart and in front of every shop and restaurant and elevator. You are asked to open public bathroom doors with a towel! Entertainment was OK. Evelyn went to all the shows and liked them all except the comedian (always gets off into sexual jokes). The ship had satellite Internet, but the connection was slow and John preferred to go to Cyber Cafes in port of calls.


We spent a whole day in Santiago since our flight left at 10 p.m.  Just 3 days later, the big earthquake hit Chile! That was a close call!


What a great anniversary trip!


The End                   to Home Page