Going up to New York City for a wedding in St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Then my dad and mom have business in Europe so we are off to Brussels, Antwerp and Paris. Will check in later to show how that turns out.
We left Punta Arenas at 9:30pm (2130hrs) ship’s time or 7:30pm EST. This was our longest day in any one port since it was were the one-day excursion to Antarctica left from. Unfortunately, those who were scheduled to fly there were unable to since the weather in Antarctica was not acceptable to the flight crew. The people who were going were sent to a National Park instead.
When we awoke on the 12th of February, we were well within the Chilean Fjords, somewhere inside the Canal Smith near Isla Manuel Rodriguez on our portside and Peninsula Munoz Gomero on our starboard side. We continued to sail on a northerly heading correcting from time to time for the many little islets and islands that dot the fjords. Up past Isla Vancouver and Isla Esperanza toward our destination of Glaciar Amalia in its namesake fjord. Amalia is part of the Gran Campo de Hielo Patagonia, the mountains, peaks and ice fields that span the fjords. We passed sunken ships who met with unexpected disaster and came to a final rest against some nameless, yet deadly island.
Finally, we headed to the southeast into a very narrow, restricted fjord. Ice packs were visible through the dense, cold fog and then we saw the floe of ice as it seemed to blanket the lower level of the rocks in a wide sheet. Dolphins played in the wake of the ship’s side thrusters as the ship made many pivots so each side of the ship could see and photograph the glacier even though it was almost impossible to see due the limited visibility.
I hope my Mom’s photos do it justice for the incredible raw and undisturbed beauty of this part of the world. My Dad has a very detailed map of the fjords and there are no settlements other than Puerto Eden and Puerto Natales. It is barren, vacant desolate land and it is hard to imagine how anyone less they be hermits could live in such a place.
When I came back to my room from Club HAL, I found a serpent waiting for me. That Imam is a van Gogh of towels.
This is Frederick and I believe more and more in a Supreme Being, as God, since I have seen the fjords of Chile.
Next, we will await our little excursion in Puerto Montt to the Petrohue Falls, Lake Llanquihue and Puerto Varas. My Dad wanted to go to Chiloe but he didn’t like the way the excursion was planned. He said next time we come we do an independent trip to Chiloe and visit its independent culture and society.
Early this morning, while I was sleeping, we pulled into Ushuaia. Thanks to my Mom, you have the pleasure of seeing the approach to the harbor and our pier in Ushuaia. It is the further most southernmost city in the world. The Chileans claim Puerto Williams, south across the Beagle Channel is but it is more a town than a city.
After breakfast in our cabin, we decided to go directly into the city. It was very warm, over 66F with a chance of showers later. As we walked down the pier we passed an icebreaker turned into an Antarctic cruise ship, a custom sail yacht like none other ever seen, a research ship for the Argentine navy and a commercial fishing vessel that my Dad says is a big-time seine netter. We walked past little shops on the pier selling everything from duty free liquor to jewelry to leathers. Then we passed out onto Avenida Maipu, which is the main street along the harbor.
From there we found a taxi to take us up to the Glaciar Martial where we can catch a chairlift up another 1.8kms and then hike some more up toward the glacier itself.
It was not open when we got there so we joined some people from Chile who are on our ship and went to a little Cabana de Te next to the lift and had coffee, tea, hot chocolate and scones. By the time we were done the lift had opened and we got in line to buy tickets (boletas) for the chairlift. My Dad and I took the first one and my Mom the next one so she could take her pictures. Along the way, we saw people hiking back down from the upper platform (platforma superior) and a flowing creek that sounding like a rushing train as the water flowed quickly over the rocks. My Dad said that would be the purest water you ever tasted since it came from the snowmelt on the glacier and was filtered by the stones and air all the way down to the reservoir in Ushuaia.
We hiked up the mountain (montana) some and took lots of pictures, then came back to the upper platform to take the lift back to the lower platform (inferior platforma). From there we took a taxi back to town and found a few shops for souvenirs. I bought a compass to help me understand were we were and were we are going. My Dad bought a photo book about Ushuaia. We ate lunch in a little restaurant named Tante Sara.
My Dad and I had vanilla milkshakes and burgers while my Mom had a glass of wine from Chile.
We then walked back to the ship because we had to be on board by 2:30pm. A very short stop.
This is Frederick and I just saw the most beautiful mountains and glaciers I have ever seen. Later today, when we cruise the Beagle Channel, past the Cordillera Darwin, I hear we will be in breathtaking country. I can’t wait.
Tomorrow I will post the Beagle Channel but only after we leave Punta Arenas. Then, it may be that we have to suspend the blog due to lack of reception in the Chilean fjords.
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.
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]
Back in June, last summer, while we were in Belgium, my mom got an invitation to a baptism, here in BA, in March of 2011. There was all the relevant information except the last name of the parents – Patrick and Alejandera. She didn’t know which Patrick since she has several relatives and friends named Patrick. She knew that the baptism would be held at Bascilica Spiritu Sancto in the Parriquia Nuestra de Senora Guadulupe in the Palermo district of Buesno Aires.
So, last night, instead of going right to La Biela, in the Recoleta, we decided to go to the rectory of the church and find out who Patrick is. It turns out that he is the friend she suspected but was not sure. We were told he and his wife live in Belgium and are only coming back to baptise their son. Alejandera is from Palermo and her Mother still lives there.
We were disappointed but soon felt much better by taking a taxi to Bar 6, on Armenia in the Hollywood section of Palermo. The staff was funny, friendly and called me Frederico. We had great food and terrific Coca-Cola. Then we went to La Biela and had lemon sorbet and dad and mom a glass of champaign.
Today at 11am (Argentine time) we leave for the port to board our ship, the S. S. Veendam. More on that later.
By now my Dad has posted his description of our little walk to lunch today in Buenos Aires. It was a lot of fun to walk in such an interesting city. There is a lot of European architecture. My Dad calls it a mix of “Belle Epoque” and “Fin de Seicle”. There are wide streets and lots of parks. We walked past my Dad’s old apartment hotel building where he lived back in the mid 90’s in Buenos Aires. He calls the city BA and the people who are born and live here are called portenos. We had pizza at El Cuartito but I didn’t like it as well as Mrs. deCroce’s pizza because the cheesse (queso) was different. I saw Avenida Florida a long pedestrian mall with shops, vendors and restaurants. Then we crossed Avenida Nueve de Julio (9th of July, Independence Day for Argentina) the widest street in the world. So far, we are enjoying the city. It is very hot (95F today) and very crowded since it is summer here and people are on vactions and schools are out.
Tonight we are going to the Recoleta (a wealthy district where there is a cemetary where Eva Peron is buried). We are going to have cold drinks and maybe lemon pie under the 200 year old gum tree at La Biela. More after that.
Frederick (the call me Frederico here in Argentina).