Tuesday, November 26, 2019

February 14 - 15, 2019 - At Sea - Chilean Fjords - Party Cloudy - 50s

Happy Valentine's Day.

Not a lot to do today but relax as Symphony makes her way through the Chilean Fjords

The ship is all decked out for the holiday with red and white balloons and hearts everywhere.  The Starlite Lounge is saturated with decorations.

It is also Formal Night tonight so we are decked out for the evening.

The chef has baked a special Valentine's Day cake for the occasion.  We did not get a chance to sample the delicacy.

February 15, 2018 - Another Sea Day in the fjords

Just nice pictures of the scenery and seas,

Sunday, November 24, 2019

February 13, 2019 - Punta Arenas, Chile - Partly Cloudy - 60s

The weather improved as we made our to our next stop, Punta Arenas, Chile. Punta Arenas, which means "Sandy Point" is considered to be the Southernmost City in the World (Ushuaia is not in the "city" category).  Today, this city has a population of about 128,000 people. I thought we had been here several times but after checking, we were only here during our first trip to South America before I started journaling the trips.

We are not quite there as I am having my breakfast.  The seas are a bit choppy but not an issue.

You can get a pretty good look at the city from Symphony's open deck.

We were not successful in getting excursions today but the ship is providing a shuttle to the city center.  From there, we can walk just about anywhere including the beach.

The bus ride was short and dropped us off at Plaza de Armas in the middle of the downtown area.  The plaza is a nice park with lush trees abundant vendors (situated on the perimeter of the park) and a very impressive statue of Ferdinand Magellan. 

We used the park as a reference point and started our walk.  The sidewalks are in good shape, which makes walking easy.  We passed a lot of restaurants and shops, which decreased in number as we moved away from the park. 

We crossed Avenida de Colon - a bit of a surprise here in Chile,

We were, as always, looking for a nice spa.  We actually found one right away and the woman at the desk said that their therapists were arriving shortly and would be able to see us both in just a few minute.  Well, the minutes went by and no one showed - after checking a few times with the desk, we gave us on this place and continued to explore. 

We actually came across several nice spas but they were either too pricey or had no openings.  

We were walking parallel to the beach so we turned toward the water.  The neighborhood adjacent to the beach was not as nice as the city center - the shops mostly thinned out and were replaced by bars.  We knew we were both at the beach and in the right city when we spotted the city sign.

From the beach area, I wasn't sure but I thought I spotted Symphony docked.

Not a great beach - not pristine sands or anything like that - but a nice malecon to walk on.  We went a few blocks along the beach. There were very few people walking the malecon but the water was nice and blue and the beach sported a few disintegrating wharves.

One of the more intact wharves was populated with cormorants.

From the beach, we found our way back to the Plaza de Armas.  We checked out the many vendors in search of a Punta Arenas magnet.  We didn't find one and went to the rendezvous point - we waited just a short time for our bus and a few minutes later, we were back on Symphony.

We grabbed another late lunch at the Trident Grill - pizza - and rested up the rest of the day.

I hopped out on Deck 7 to get a shot of the sail away.  The waves were choppy and the clouds dramatic. Good weather and a nice day in at the "bottom of the world".

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

February 12, 2019 - Cruising the Straits of Magellan - Cold, Rainy, Windy - 50s

A miserable day in the Straits of Magellan.

Visibility was poor and there was no narration as we passed through Glacier Alley.

Just a day to eat good food and read in the warmth of the public rooms.  

The pictures below tell the whole story on the conditions outside.

February 11, 2019 - Ushuaia, Argentina - Cloudy, Chilly, Windy - 50s

The first time we came to Ushuaia (years ago), we were lucky to run into warm (high 60s) weather.  Not so today - cloudy and chilly.  But nevertheless, it is very scenic.  Here's where we are.

Ushuaia is a tender port and I got a nice view of the city and the surrounding area at breakfast.

We are on an excursion today - "Beagle Channel by Catamaran" - which meets in the afternoon.  So in the morning, we are going to see a little bit of Ushuaia before rendezvousing with our guide and the guest.

Even though the water is a bit rough, the ride in was OK.  From the shore, we got some nice views of the Symphony in the harbor.

The town is about a 10 minute walk from the tender drop (and our pick up point for the catamaran).  There weren't a lot of folks walking around and we ducked into stores every so often to warm up.  The main street did have a lot of traffic, relatively speaking.

A sign told us exactly how far we have traveled since Buenos Aires.  I don't know where the other place on the sign is but it's a long way.  You can see how chilly it is.

We continued our walk in the town - many of the shops were closed - and ran across an interesting Historical Garden (according to the marker).

The garden wasn't much but I had to document it anyway.

Ellen wanted to check out some of the shops in the city center and dropped me at a coffee shop for something warm.  It took a little while to order the coffee - first of all there is no decaf in Ushuaia.  Secondly, I just wanted a simple coffee with milk.  With the help of a few of the folks behind the counter I finally got my coffee.  The coffee was 6 oz and cost me about $5 - the Starbucks of Ushuaia.  Even though this was a bonafide coffee shop, the seats were very uncomfortable.  I drank the coffee pretty quickly and went looking for Ellen.  We headed back to the pier area to meet our tour.

Years ago, we were on a catamaran, where we sat on the open bow hoping not to fall in the water.  This catamaran, the "Elizabette", is actually an enclosed ship with comfortable seating and tables.

The ride was smooth and comfortable and headed out into the Beagle Channel.

I stepped out on the deck to get some pictures of the Beagle Channel.

The boat approached an island that looked like it was populated by hundreds of penguins - actually, we were looking at cormorants.

There was bird poop everywhere - it made the rocks look like they were made of light colored granite.

We visited Despa Island where there were Rocker Cormorants.

Another island was home to several sea lions.

One of the more picturesque stops was a small island with a lighthouse - Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse.  

The name means "The Scouts" in French.  The lighthouse is about five nautical miles from Ushuaia.  The lighthouse, which is still operational, stands about 30 feet high.  As you might expect, it is the "lighthouse at the End of the World".

The final stop was Bridges Islands - home to indigenous people in the past and now an island with interesting vegetation and views.  Here is a picture of the Elizabette "docked" at the island.

We got off the boat - really - and followed our guide up a path.  The following are pictures of our visit.

We then departed the Channel for Ushuaia and the tender port.  The ride back to the ship was short and soon we were back in the warm confines of Symphony.

After cleaning up after our trip, we watched the sail away from the Palm Court.  Just too windy and cold out on the open deck.

A picturesque and exhilarating day in the city ar the Bottom of the World.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

February 10, 2019 - At Sea - Mostly Cloudy - 60s

A little more rough today - here's where the ship is right now and where it is heading.

It definitely looks like a Silk and/or Palm Court reading day - in between wonderful meals.

Clearly, the highlight of the day was watching the dancers rehearse in the Starlite Lounge.