Toward Cape Horn and The Beagle Channel, February 9th 2011

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Cape Horn As We Approached it Around 8:30PM Ship's Time

Today we arrived in Ushuaia, after sailing up the Beagle Channel over-night. So, we won’t have any pictures of the Channel but will have some after we leave Ushuaia this afternoon.

When we left Port Stanley we set out on a Southwesterly direction passing closely to the Isla De Los Estados, which at one time was a penal colony. My Dad says if it was a penal colony, then the guys at Gitmo have it easy. It was the most desolate Islands I have ever seen. They are the tip of the Peninsula Mitre, of Chile. Then we continued on West Southwesterly heading toward Cape Horn. Our passage was filled with random shapes of rocks and islands that only the bird life and water life like seals could love. Very dark, cold and lonely.

It was after dinner and before dark when we came up on Cape Horn and turned right for the Beagle Channel. It started to rain and the wind picked up.

When we got back to the cabin, Imam had made a Bunny Rabbit out of the towels for me. He is so creative. Tomorrow he has promised a monkey.

My Mom got lots of great pictures, too many to post now. So, what I have posted are just a selection of what I saw. There were lots of birds and they flew close to us, as if they were welcoming us to their place. They are very brave to live in such a desolate but still beautiful place such as Cape Horn.

This is Frederick and I am learning about the Southernmost inhabited place on earth.

Imam's Latest Creation - The Bunny Rabbit

Next post is about our approach to Ushuaia and our trip up to the Glaciar Marital.

These Rocks are Just Southwest of Isla De Los Estados and Look So Lonely

As We Approached Cape Horn This Storm Petrel Appeared For Us.

About 10 Miles out of Cape Horn This Rainbow Showed Up over Some Rocks

More From Port Stanley, February 8th

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Charles and I and the Bullhorned Defender that Took on The Moraine

Gintoos on The Way Back from The Beach, Over the Rocks, to the Rookery

Me, On The Beach with A Gintoo, Who Had Been Surfing

The Few King Penguins Left At Blue Cove either Hatching or Caring for New Chicks

Atop Stone Ridge You Can See Bluff Cove Lagoon Below

Somi of The 150 Belted Galloway Cattle on the Bluff Cove Ranch

It looks like we are getting better reception and speed.  Let’s see.

After we stopped from our little “walkaround” we had a pub lunch in The Globe near the meeting point on the pier for the Bluff Cove Penguin Rookery tour.  After lunch we met up with the tour people and got on our buses for the first leg of the journey to Bluff Cove.  Our driver was Trudi and she was funny.  She was also a pretty tough lady who didn’t mind reminding people to put on their seat belt.

After about a 10 mile trip down the highway SW of Stanley we arrived at a small turn-off and parking area where there were 5 Land Rover/Defender series 4X4 wating for us.  Each one took 4 people, so, mom, dad and I got in the one that had a set of bullhorns mounted on the roof.  A man from New Zealand named John got in with us.  The driver’s name was Charles and he was Trudi’s husband. Their son drove on of the other Defenders.

Charles drove down the highway another mile and then turned left into what looked like a giant pasture but was a rock-strewn moraine that ran down to a small valley and then up again.  I was able to follow on a little map they gave us of the Bluff Cove Rookery.  It was very bumpy and difficult but Charles knew what he was doing.  He was a sheep and cattle rancher and a farmer.  The drive was very interesting as we were literally in an ocean of rocks tumbled and folded over and over – it was like a scene out of some space movie.  After crossing Gator Bridge and Stone Ridge we were able to see the cove and lagoon in front of us about another 500 feet down the moraine.

Bluff Cove is actually a 36,000 acre ranch with 150 head of Belted Galloway cattle (my dad said they are all named George?) and 3,000 Perendele sheep as well as the penguin rookery and miles of beaches on the lagoons.

After we arrived in Bluff Cove, we were dropped off at the main rookery up from the beach.  There were a number of King penguins there either in the process of hatching or covering and feeding new chicks.  My Mom got some great pictures that I hope to post soon as the reception improves and the speed is better.

Then we walked down to the beach and watched a whole bunch of Gintoo penguins walking on the beach or the stones or out in the waves.  It was like the penguin version of Southampton, Long Island, where I was born.  I will never look at Little Plains beach the same.  After watching these funny little creatures we walked over the rocks to Bluff Cove’s Sea Cabbage Café for coffee, tea and delicious cakes.  My dad loved the scones with clotted crème and local diddle-dee berry jam.  Mom had tea and scones also.  A lady played the accordion and did it by ear.  Her first song was “West Virginia, Mountain Momma” and my dad sang along but out of tune.

After that we looked into the museum and a young girl was playing local folk songs on guitar but we had to go back to our 4X4’s and return to the tender pier for the ship.

It was another tough drive back along the moraine and in fact, my dad says it is one of the most remarkable drives he has ever taken.  When we got back to the pier, I posed with Charles, who I think is the best off-road driver in the world.

This is Frederick and my adventure is just beginning.  Later today we are going to see Cape Horn and then sail up to the Beagle Channel on our way to Ushuaia.

Adios con dios!

Our Caravan of Defenders Take on The Bluff Cove Ranch Moraines

Port Stanley Walkaround, February 8th

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My Dad Calls it "narciso" but To Me it's A Harpoon.

Not Exactly a Tianamen Square Moment

The Mizzenmast from the ship Great Britan now on Display in Bristol

Today we pulled into a little cove outside of Port Stanley to anchor the ship.  The Stanley harbor is not dredged deep enough to take large cruise ships.  So, we had to use the ship’s tenders, for a 15-minute ride to the pier.  Once there I told my dad that I wanted a hot dog (it was only 9AM but I didn’t like my breakfast).  There is a little open snack stand at the pier with a nice lady who speaks like she is from England.  After the hot dog we went into the visitor’s center and picked up a more detailed map and booklet about Stanley and The Falklands.

We decided to walk down Ross Road, the main street along the sea front, and just take pictures, explore what was there and go to the museum down at the end.  We saw Christ Church Cathedral (the main Anglican church), that has 4 huge Blue Whale jaw bones outside, and we went inside to visit Then we said a small prayer.  We then came upon a small park area on the seafront with old cannons and the mizzenmast from the ship Great Britain, which was the first iron ship with steam boilers and is now restored and in Bristol, UK.   We then proceeded down the road to the bank where dad got some Falkland pounds even though they take US dollars everywhere but at a higher rate.  Next-door was the Post where we bought collector’s stamp at the special philatelic shop and got some postcards to send back to my school, godmother in France, my godfather in England and my Grandfather in Belgium.  I also sent a card to my class in Florida and one to our own home as a souvenir.  Falkland Island stamps are a real collectors item, so my dad says.

We then walked by the memorial to the brave British service members killed during the Falkland War in 1982.  It is in front of Government House and facing the sea.  Next, was the Governor’s House, built by the first governor of the Falklands, in 1845.  There are beautiful gardens in front and my mom took lots of pictures of the flowers.  We passed the victory memorial to the Falklands War and finally came to the museum, which was pretty neat.  It had a lot of guns, rockets and bazookas from the war as well as Argentine Air Force helmets and old uniforms.  It also had a replica of an old country store and a dentist’s office.  Outside there were an old red telephone box, some boats and a harpoon cannon that was used on the last whaling ships.

After that visit we grabbed the shuttle bus back to the pier to find a pub to grab some food before we had to meet up for our trip to the Blue Cover Penguin Rookery.  That pub turned out to be The Globe, just up the street from the pier.  My dad had fish and chips and mom and I shared a burger and chips.  I wasn’t that hungry since I was too excited about going to the rookery.

This is Frederick and next is the biggest adventure I have ever been on.

p.s. Very slow today on the Sat.  We may have to wait until tomorrow for more.

We  are currently passing The “Isla de Los Estados” to turn up into the Beagle Channel and toward Ushuaia.

Finally, Port Stanley and the Falkland Islands.

Approaching Port Stanley, The Falkland Islands

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This morning it is partly cloudy and chilly. We are approachging Port Stanley, The Falkland Islands on a heading of 220 degrees at a position of 51 37.39″ S and 57 38.13″ W. We are running at 18.1kts with a following wind of 11mph.

I will post more after our visit to town and the penguin rookery.

Last night I went to the movies with my friend Scott and his parents. He is from Canada and wears wheelies which are shoes with roller wheels on the heels. He can do all kinds of tricks on them. When I came back from the movies I found that Imam, our steward, had made me a Peacock by folding the towels in different shapes. Imam is from Indonesia and has three daughters waiting for him to return. His leave starts on the 16th of February when he flies out of Santiago back to Indonesia.

This is Frederick and I am ready to meet the Penguins.

Imam, our Indonesian Steward Made a Peacock for Me out of Towels

Approaching Port Stanley with Volunteer Point in the Background

The West Falkland Headlands with Mt. Pleasant in Background

The Endless Deep Blue Sea

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We have a cabin on the starboard side of the ship (that is the right side for you landlubbers). All we can see is ocean, lots of ocean, huge amounts of water, nothing else except the sky, clouds and sun. Currently, we are on a heading of 184 degrees at 45 15.59″ S and 56 51.11″ W with a speed of 19.6kts and an apparent wind of 16mph out of the NW.  The outside temperature is 57F.

I told my dad what to post today because I am in Club HAL with other kids. There is a boy from Brazil who only speaks Portuguese, another boy from Mexico who speaks very good english and some girls but they are only 4 years old. One girl, Grace, is 11 and has become my friend. At Club HAL we do lots of different things like make oragami, and door knob hangers as well as play legos and art. Then I also have to keep up with my school work. Today I have a lot of reading, math and science.

Tomorrow we arrive in Port Stanley, The Falkland Islands. We are first going to walk around and visit the museum. Then at 12:30 ship’s time we are taking a 4X4 out to the Bluff Cove Penguin Rookery where we hope to see lots of these great looking animals. I will make sure to take lots of pictures for everyone to see.

Because of the tentative nature of the Marine Sat we have low speed and makes it hard to post videos but we will give a try tomorrow to see if it works.

This is Frederick and I am blogging from the South Atlantic aboard the S.S. Veendam.

View of the Bridge Extension and The Endless Sea from Our Verandah

That's Me in Club HAL.

More Photos From Montevideo (As Promised)

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Okay! Here are some photos that my Mom took in Vieja Ciudad (Old City) of Montevideo yesterday. We walked all over the cobblestone streets and saw some beautiful old buildings. My Dad says they are from the 18th and 19th century and a lot of them are in the Spanish Neo-Classical style. There is some renovation and restoration going on but most are in some form of disrepair.

This is Frederick and I am having fun learning about South America.

While we Walked Around Old City, The Boat Crew did Some Painting.

The Veendam and Prinsendam Both in Port at Same Time, Bow to Bow.

The Central Water Fountain in the Mercado Puerto Plaza.

A Church from The Early 19th Century Under Restoration

People in Montevideo Still Dry Their Laundry Outside in Fresh Air.

A Very Beautiful Export of Spanish Moorish Architecture

As You Can Tell, I Love Ice Cream, Especially from Freddo.

The Shady Side of Plaza Constituciones and Vendor Stalls

The Main Square in Montevideo, Plaza Independecia

The Central Hall of The Beautiful Cathedral Metropolitana Where We Stopped to Pray

He Has Old Beer Cans Strapped to His Feet to Beat Out The Rythmn While He Plays

One of The Finest Examples of Spanish Neo-Classic Architecture, Palacio Zabala

Two Movers Carry A Nice Carpet Up to An Apartment on Ave. de Mayo

Me, In Front of The Farmacia, Where the Pharmacist Bandaged my Knee.

In The South Atlantic

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We left Montevideo last evening at about 7:00pm ship’s time for 2 days at sea until we reach Port Stanley, Falkland Islands on Tuesday morning. We are currently on a heading of 206 degrees and off the coast of Mar de Plata, Argentina. We have 3 meter swells coming out of the SE and the lift and fall of the bow is about 16 feet. My dad says you need sea legs to walk the hallways or you’ll be a human pinball off the walls.

Today and yesterday, I spent a lot of time on my homework – reading, vocabulary, religion and math. Then I went to Club HAL which is where the other kids gather and we have lots of fun. Last night we camped out in a tent and told scary stories to each other. I also went swimming yesterday with my Mom and Dad. My new friend Grace was there. She is 11 but we get along fine. She thinks I am smart becaue I knew who Darwin was and what the Beagle Channel means.

The sun is up and the weather is nice, not as hot as BA and Montevideo but it is not cold.

I hope to publish some pictures from my Mom. She took a lot of pictures in Montevideo which has a lot of old architecture.

This is Frederick and I am celebrating Sunday with my Dad on his birthday. He told me that President Reagan, Babe Ruth and Superman were all born on February 6th. I have to look that up!

A Montevideo Walkaround

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My Mom, Dad and I decided to not take an expensive excursion offered by the cruise line but rather have lunch on board and then do a independent walkaround Montevideo. [By the way, as my Dad and I work on this post, we are watching Scotland V. France in 6 Nations Rugby on ESPNuk and France is dominating.]

We left the ship and walk along the pier to a small display of the anchor and the range finder device used by the Graf Spee which was sunk by the British navy when it tried to sneak out of its anchorage in the River Plate in 1943 during WW2. Then we walked to the esplanade which we crossed in the Mercado Puerto (Port Market) but it was quite since most of business were at siesta. Crossing the street, I tripped and cut my leg below my knee and it started to bleed. Luckily there was a farmacia up the street and we went in and the nice lady pharmacist took me into a back room, cleaned it up and put a dressing on it. The people in Montevideo are really nice and friendly. And I am fine now.

We walked up Perez Castellanos to 25 de Mayo past the Museum for Pre-Columbian Art then over past Plaza Zabala to Sarandi and then over to the Plaza Constitucion past some more cafes to Plaza Independenicia where we went into the Cathedral Metropolitano to offer a prayer for our men and women in uniform. It was a long walk but we saw lots of beautiful old colonial architecture which my mom took lots of pictures. We stopped at a corner Freddo for ice cream and I had a lemon sorbet, my dad had a bastido (sorbet mash) and mom a little water. Then we walked back to the ship.

Montevideo is old, but well kept and has very interesting views down the steets to the sea on two sides.

Now we are back on the ship and we are having dinner outside on our verandah tonight since it will still be nice and warm before we enter the weather of the south Atlantic.

This is Frederick and I hope Green Bay wins the Super Bowl.

Me, by The Range Finder off the Graf Spee, recovered from the Sea in 1993.

Pulling Cable Along Ave. Sarandi

Mom and I in Front of The S.S. Veendam, Our Ship

Montevideo Harbor

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Today, we came into Montevideo, Uruguay, which is just down the River Plate from Buenos Aires. Aound 7:30am, the harbor pilot came on board to handle the ship into the port. He comes by a boat that pulls alongside and he then climbs up a special ladder to the hatchway that lets him in. We took a picture of his boat as it came by. Then outside the harbor out in the deepest part of the river were many ships at anchor. They were empty, my dad said becasue they were high in the water.

When we came in the harbor, toward our pier, we saw a whole bunch of Uruguayan Navy vessels, gunboats, destroyers, oilers and LST’s. My dad says they are probably a reserve flotilla or the Uruguayan’s are not expecting someone to invade them soon.

We are going into the city to walk around the old town and go to the first church we see to pray for everyone, especially our men and women in uniform that are in harm’s way.

This is Frederick and I am learning a lot.

Ships At Anchor in Mouth of River Plate

The Harbor Pilot for Montevideo's Boat

The Uruguayan Navy in Port in Montevideo

Boarding The S. S. Veendam

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The Port of Buenos Aires from our Room

The Traffic of Lorries, Buses, Motor Bikes and People at The Port

My Dad woke me up around 7:30am and we all got ready for breakfast downstairs in the hotel.  Then he and I walked over to Posadas to find an apothecaria because he had forgotten his razor.  This was the same pharmacy he used when he lived here and it hadn’t changed much.

When we got back he went and checked our bags for the bus to the ship in the port.  We got on bus number 1 and it only took a few minutes to get to the port go through immigration and get our boarding credentials including having our picture taken for security.  Everytime you leave the ship they swipe this littel card and your picture comes up on the computer.  That way no one can steal it and then try to sneak on board.  They also took our passports.

We boarded the ship and found all kinds of champaigne and fruit that they had given us because we are members of the Mariner’s Society and use American Express.  When I grow up I want to use American Express too.

The suite we have is nice.  It has a large verandah and my dad and mom want to eat on there tomorrow night after we leave Montevideo.  Right now we are still in Buenos Aires and will not leave until 9pm.  At 5pm we have our life boat and safety drill.  You have to wear a life vest for it and I have don this before.

Here are some pictures of us on the bus, the traffic at the port and the view of the port from the ship.  More tomorrow.

 

I miss my friends at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic School. [Frederick]

Mom and I on The Bus to The Port