Quizzical Bob goes Round the Horn

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Re: Quizzical Bob goes Round the Horn

Post by Quizzical Bob » 07 Mar 2018, 17:41

11. Part 1 - Ushuaia - 23rd January - arr 12:00 all aboard 19:30

Newsletter here:

We have left Chile and are now at our first port in Argentina. Ushuaia ('ooss-why-uh' and not 'oosh-why-uh') is an important naval base and is regarded as the southernmost city in the world. It is actually on the island of Tierra del Fuego. It's good to be alongside for a change. Not knowing what to expect here we had booked a 'wildlife cruise along the Beagle Channel'. Once again this invovles collecting tour stickers in the Wheelhouse Bar and then waiting in the theatre. I was told by a ship's tour guide that they allow 15 minutes to get a tour ashore if alongside and 45 minues if it's a tender port.

We don't have to wait too long before we all form a crocodile and troop off the ship and along the pier. It's only a 100 yds or so but there was some muttering from behind about not being told that there was a walk involved. Also moored on the pier are some smaller cruise ships that specialise in Antarctic cruises.

The tour boat catamarans are moored on an adjacent pier and everybody rushes on to get a good seat. Some go up topside and I would have joined them but it was a bit windy with quite a bite to it. Besides, there was plenty of space inside and also out on the open deck which surrounded the cabin.

There are two tour boats for this trip and it takes about 45 minutes to get to the first point of interest which is an enormous colony of white-breasted cormorants. I spend the time enjoying the ride but wondering how I am going to pay for some coffees whenI don't have any Argentinian money. It's not possible to get it in the UK and of course had no time to get any on the walk to the tour boat.

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Re: Quizzical Bob goes Round the Horn

Post by Ray B » 07 Mar 2018, 19:38

We are all on tender hooks now, will Bob get his coffees,to be continued.

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Re: Quizzical Bob goes Round the Horn

Post by Jan Rosser » 07 Mar 2018, 21:13

I'm really enjoying QB's reports and the photos really bring it to life. This is such a fascinating part of the world - looking forward to the next episode :thumbup:
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Re: Quizzical Bob goes Round the Horn

Post by Quizzical Bob » 07 Mar 2018, 22:20

11. Part 2 - Ushuaia - 23rd January - arr 12:00 all aboard 19:30

There are seabirds everywhere on every isolated rock, sometimes so many that there seems to be more bird than rock. One of the rocks is covered with what the guide calls 'Kelp Gulls'. We had never heard of these but apparently they are common to the Southern hemisphere which probably explains why. From this point on it became a standing joke whenever we saw another bird. Kelp robin, kelp parrot, kelp albatross, you get the drift...

The wind is blowing quite strongly up the channel and there is quite sharp edge to it so it's a matter of popping outside for a quick look, taking some photos and then nipping back inside again. There is the odd seal about but the sea lions are more numerous. Some of them are several feet up on a rock with a sheer drop to the water and I cannot begin to imagine the struggle they had to get there.

It was a good trip. Not too long but one where you felt that you had seen a bit more than just the town centre. It's a short walk up the hill from the pier to the main street but not too much to maintain her interest so we go back to the first souvenir shop that we had passed earlier and buy the usual fridge magnets and enameled pins. I escort Mrs QB back to the ship and then go off on my customary hike of exploration. I know that there is a maritime museum at the eastern end of the town but it takes a bit of finding and it's further up the hill than the map would seem to indicate.

I find it next to the entrance to the naval base and it's not quite what I had expected. The maritime museum is a small section in one wing of what used to be a prison and consists mainly of photographs and some very good ships models, all made by the same man apparently. There is a central hall with five wings radiating away over 180 degrees from it like the spokes of half a wheel, a layout rather like a school protractor. I had promised Mrs QB that I would not be back too late so I only had limited time there. I buy another fridge magnet and pin, both with the same image of a mariner in a sou'wester at the wheel of a ship passing Cape Horn.

No matter how many shops I try I cannot find any more souvenirs to buy. I'd like some precious stones but I'm conscious of the airline weight allowances. I still had about £40 worth of Chilean Pesos with me and I had intended changing these at the first bank I found in Argentina but the bank had shut at three but at least they had a cash machine! My NatWest card works ok and now I don't feel so vulnerable.
The speciality here is king crab and for a moment I'm tempted but that seems a bit selfish and anyway, I don't have much time, not even enough time for a beer as the bars all seem to be shut.

So back to the ship and warmth. We are suppose to leave at 19:30 but the Captain comes over the PA at about 20:00 and says that we are still waiting for a small group of passengers who had all been off on the same private tour and that he can allow them another 15 minutes but after that we would have to leave. We do meet one flustered lady going up in the lifts at about 20:15 and assume that she was one of the tardigrades because we cast off and leave for Cape Horn shortly after.

A female sea lion seems pleased with herself. Or perhaps she's just playing hard to get.
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It's at times like this when you're glad you've brought your hat
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This is the lighthouse that you find on all the postcards. I can't see why. I've seen bigger fenceposts.
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The road outside the maritime museum. There are mountains all around us.
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The main street in Ushuaia. The semi-precious stone shop is interesting for those of us who are interested in geology.
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Oh yes, the coffees. The young gentleman at the counter was not too interested in my Chilean Pesos, however he was quite keen on American Dollars and he also had a credit card machine. I was intrigued as to how this would work whilst we were out at sea but it appeared to me to have a GSM modem link to the banks. So, two coffees and croissants later we were the envy of the boat when he brought these over to our seats. I should have asked for commission.

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Re: Quizzical Bob goes Round the Horn

Post by Dancing Queen » 08 Mar 2018, 16:49

Loving all these fantastic photographs.
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Re: Quizzical Bob goes Round the Horn

Post by Quizzical Bob » 08 Mar 2018, 23:56

12. Part 1 - Cape Horn - 24th January

News paper here:

Wednesday and we reach Cape Horn. For any sailor this is a magical, mystical place, the place of legends and fables. We sail out of the eastern end of the Beagle Channel and then south to approach it from the east. We are due to get there at about 08:00 so it's another early morning alarm because I really don't want to miss this. We first catch sight of the Cape from our balcony and can start to feel the wind which is coming straight at us from the west. As I mentioned earlier, Cape Horn itself is a small island at the southern end of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago, about 9km long and 6km wide.

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There is a Chilean naval station on the south-east of the island and this is our first point of interest. We find some shelter here in the lee to the east of the island. The wind here gets very strong, much stronger than the sea state would seem to indicate and the ship heels over a lot. The ship does one pirouette so everybody can get a view of the station with its lighthouse. There is normally one volunteer family that stays on the island for a year. Apparently they have over 6000 applicants each year for this assignment. Through binoculars you can just make out the monument to the thousands of sailors who have lost their lives in attempting to round The horn. It is a sculpture with a cut out silhouette of an albatross.

View from the east. You can just make out the naval station on the headland
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The naval station
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I had gone up to the top deck by now to get a good view and whilst the ship is making its 360 degree turn the wind gusts enough to cause us to roll rather alarmingly to port. The Captain comes on the PA to reassure us that they are transferring ballast and that the ship is not in any danger and that there is no cause for alarm. Somehow we feel less reassured than before. Mrs QB who had remained in the cabin said that at one stage she had been climbing uphill and when she turned round she was looking out the window down at the sea.

The sea conditions here are notorious. It's 500 miles from here to Antarctica across the Drake Passage yet this is narrow enough to concentrate the prevailing westerlies between the Andes and the Antarctica peninsula. On top of this big waves can build up with nothing to stop them as they spin right round the world at these latitudes. When they meet the area of shallow water south of the Horn they get shorter and steeper.

Most ships keep well clear.

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Re: Quizzical Bob goes Round the Horn

Post by Quizzical Bob » 09 Mar 2018, 00:44

12. Part 2 - Cape Horn - 24th January

I was a bit concerned that we might not actually sail past the Horn but it is announced over the PA that we shall sail past it to the west and then turn round and sail back the other way so that both sides of the ship can get a good view. The timing now gets a bit complicated. Mrs QB has seen the Horn and for her that is enough. It's 08:45 and she prefers a sit-down breakfast in the MDR which they stop serving at 09:30 and she doesn't want to go on her own. She hates the bun fight in the Horizon buffet and with good reason. I would quite happily spend the next couple of hours up on the top deck to savour the memories. At this stage the starboard side is getting the views of the Cape and I am expecting to get more views from our cabin on the reverse pass. Suddenly it is announced at 09:00 that because of the strong winds the captain decided that it would be safer just to sail clockwise around the Cape Horn Island and head back out east. This means of course that the port side won't see anything.

I end up rushing backwards and forwards between upper deck and cabin trying to keep everybody happy. In the end I got to spend a few minutes staring at the Horn and we were then going to have a quick bite in the buffet because she was 'starving' but we ended up having breakfast there. It was manic with no seats to be had an those that were empty were jealously guarded. One table has a couple spare but the woman sitting there lunges forward with a 'No these seats are taken!'. They obviously weren't taken and they were still not taken forty minutes later

I must mention the albatrosses. As we had sailed further south the sightings had grown more numerous but around the Cape they were all around us everywhere no matter where you looked. I could watch them all day long. Endlessly circling and never flapping their wings they skim the waters teasing the waves, daring each one in turn to come closer and get more intimate but then at the very last moment spurning its attentions and moving on in search of another wave to tempt. It was the sort of sight that you can only get from a ship on the open oceans. Truly magnificent and I think they have now become my favourite birds of the wet and feathered variety.

Those few minutes that I spent sailing past Cape Horn were magical for me. The significance of the place, the stories that I had read, the thoughts of all those who had gone before, all these made for an emotional experience. I can now legitimately say that I have sailed around Cape Horn and according to sailing tradition I am now entitled to wear a gold ring in my left ear and to dine with one foot on the table. Some sources go further and say that I am also permitted to urinate over the windward side. One thing at a time.

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Panoramic view
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Next stop is Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands, weather permitting.

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Re: Quizzical Bob goes Round the Horn

Post by GillD46 » 09 Mar 2018, 05:57

Amazing, and very, very tempting. Your photos make us feel we are travelling with you.
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Re: Quizzical Bob goes Round the Horn

Post by cruisin_duo » 09 Mar 2018, 12:49

Thank you for this report. Enjoying reading it and seeing your photographs.

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Re: Quizzical Bob goes Round the Horn

Post by Gill W » 09 Mar 2018, 15:56

Really enjoying your reports, Bob, and loving the photos
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Re: Quizzical Bob goes Round the Horn

Post by oldbluefox » 09 Mar 2018, 22:10

Let's say I have been 'out of circulation' for the past few weeks but have just been catching up with your exploits. Many thanks for posting. No chance I will ever get there but have found it fascinating to read your accounts and see your photos. Looking forward to the Falklands.


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Re: Quizzical Bob goes Round the Horn

Post by Quizzical Bob » 09 Mar 2018, 22:21

oldbluefox wrote:
09 Mar 2018, 22:10
Let's say I have been 'out of circulation' for the past few weeks but have just been catching up with your exploits. Many thanks for posting. No chance I will ever get there but have found it fascinating to read your accounts and see your photos. Looking forward to the Falklands.
Good to hear from you again OBF. Let’s hope we can tender ashore in Stanley when we get there ;)


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Re: Quizzical Bob goes Round the Horn

Post by Quizzical Bob » 12 Mar 2018, 22:21

12. Leaving Cape Horn - Wednesday 24th January

As we leave Cape Horn behind we settle into a normal sea day. There are many trivia throughout the day which keep me happy especially when it's too cold to slob around outside. Our usual daily routine is to go downstairs for the sit down breakfast and then I collect the sudoku and crossword from the library ready for the morning trivias. Lunch is usually a sit down affair too although the upstairs Prego Pizzeria is very good. Afternoons have a reasonable choice with sometimes a film or an interesting talk.

One different aspect of this cruise is that the Spanish speakers have their own specialised entertainment in the later evening in the Club Fusion at the after end of the ship. On most evenings Arnando from Mexico hosts a music trivia at 8:15 in the Explorers' Lounge midships. Arnando has a great sense of humour and makes it great fun. Mrs QB and I even won it one evening when it was on hits from the 50s and 60s and won a bottle of surprisingly drinkable sparkling wine. It lasts us a few evenings.

Today is a formal evening for what it's worth. There are three in total in these fourteen nights. I won't go into another controversy over these but let's just say that those for whom dressing up is an important part of their cruise will probably be disappointed by what takes place on a Princess cruise. Not that anybody is sloppily dressed DJs are the exception rather than the rule. To be honest this suits me down to the ground. This is our third Princess cruise and for our first through the Panama Canal I took the full works but even though I received plenty of compliments I felt overdressed. For the next two I took a smart jacket with my special shirts and some bow ties and this was more than adequate. The problem is that almost all Princess offerings are fly cruises and a full DJ with shiny black shoes takes up a lot of space and weight allowance.

Tomorrow is Port Stanley and the Falklands all being well. We had heard tales from other cruisers about how tendering ashore there was a hit or miss affair and we hadn't dared to get our hopes up too high in case we were disappointed but this was, for us, one of our eagerly anticipated highlights.

I had left booking our tours until very late, until the beginning of January in some cases. We had been away in November and December and then Christmas got in the way. We wanted to see some penguins somewhere but the Punta Arenas tour looked unattractive which only left Stanley and Puerto Madryn and if we couldn't get ashore in Stanley then we would at least have a second opportunity there. The Princess tours in Stanley were nearly all taken but I booked the last two places on the Sparrow Cove trip and made some further investigations. The tour to see the penguins at Punta Lomo penguin reserve near Puerto Madryn was a 2.5 hour drive each way which was a bit unappetising so Stanley it would have to be. When I looked into it further the Sparrow Cove trip involved a tender ride straight from the ship across the harbour and then a Landrover trip off road to the Cove and then the same in reverse. Of course we wanted to gave a look around Port Stanley and I thought that four tender rides in a day would probably be too much.

A couple of emails and phone calls to Stanley and I found a few tours that were still available. Justin East of East Falkland Tours said that he could offer us something if he could find another driver and next day he emailed to say that he had found somebody and that we could go to Bertha's Beach near Bluff Cove to see the Gentoo penguins and then do a quick trip around 'Town' and then go up to Gypsy Cove to see the Magellanic penguins from a walkway all for £100 each including a snack lunch. This was more what we wanted so I confirmed with him and then swapped the Princess tour for some more expensive ones to the Peninsula Valdez in Puerto Madryn.

And so we went to bed early full of anticipation and excitement wondering if we were going to get ashore the next morning.

Spoiler Alert!

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'Patter' and port guide here:

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Re: Quizzical Bob goes Round the Horn

Post by GillD46 » 13 Mar 2018, 06:49

Ah-ha! :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:
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Re: Quizzical Bob goes Round the Horn

Post by emjay45 » 13 Mar 2018, 18:23

I've just caught up with your review. Your photos certainly add another dimension to a cruise review. My son and I did a P&O excursion to the German colonial museum in 2015. Thanks to an unnecessary stop for a shopping opportunity (IMO) and a passenger going awol, we had only a short time to look around. I would have liked much longer.


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Re: Quizzical Bob goes Round the Horn

Post by Quizzical Bob » 16 Mar 2018, 17:11

13.1 - Port Stanley and the Falkland Isles - Thursday 25th January - 08:00 to 18:00 - last tender leaves shoreside at 18:00

(Don't miss the video link at the bottom)

Gentoo penguins on Bertha's Beach
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I couldn't sleep with all the excitement and as soon as it gets light we see the islands off to port and I'm outside for a look. They are much larger than you might imagine with some big hills. It takes a couple of hours or so to sail up to the point where we turn left and into Port William which is a large bay to the north of Stanley. Stanley Harbour itself is on the south side and is reached though a gap between two headlands called The Narrows.

On entering the sound the most striking features are the beaches on the left with their stark white sand. This is a result of erosion of the Falkland Islands quartzite sandstone which forms the highest points of the islands. I have never seen anything like them. The town of Stanley slowly comes into view in the distance with lots of red roofs. We know it's Stanley because there are no other towns on the islands. We drop anchor ok ready for an 08:00 start and all the time I am concerned that the visit might be called off at the last moment. We had arranged our own private tour and I'm told that our guide will be waiting by the jetty with all the others.

The tender trip is expected to be about 45 minutes because we have to moor out in Port William. I have to remind the young girl in charge of the tender tickets exactly what priority embarkation means and eventually she relents and lets us through. Ship to shore takes nearly an hour all told on account of the strong wind which funnels down Stanley Harbour from the west and reduces our progress to a crawl with a short chop rhythmically crashing against the bows of the tender. Had it been me I would have taken the longer route through calmer waters to the west, but I'm on holiday.

Finally we reach the dock and we can both breath a sigh of relief. We are ashore and even if we can't get back on board we have achieved one of our lifetime ambitions and visited the Falkland Islands. We soon pick out Kristy holding up our names amongst the scrum of guides and we try to take in the overwhelming sights and sounds of the place. The names in English, the big red double-decker bus, the visitors centre and looming over them all the town stretching back behind them up to the crest of the hill three or four streets later. After a quick comfort break we board our transport for the day. Like most vehicles here this is a big four by four with fat tyres as there are very few proper roads outside of 'town'.

Outside the pier later the same day. Enterprising schoolchildren are busking to earn some pennies.
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As we drive up the hill and out into 'Camp' Kristy tells us about herself. She is an 11th generation Falklander, born on the Islands but raised in the north east of Scotland from the age of four for sixteen years. She is a single mother with three children and like many others supplements her income by driving as a tour guide. The road to Bertha's Beach heads first towards the new Mount Pleasant Airport before turning left past the small military port at Mare Harbour and through Fitzroy Farm to the beach itself. The road starts off as tarmaced but that soon runs out and the remainder is a hard-packed surface with loose top surface. It is being upgraded piecemeal and I ask why it was so poor. Kristy tells us that the Army had been willing to fully tarmac the road but that the Townspeople didn't want anything to encourage the soldiers up at the airport to come into Town at weekends and disturb their way of life. When I ask why the airport is so far away she gives us the same reason. There is a 40mph speed limit along the road because sudden gust of wind can cause a tailspin and vehicles often end up in the roadside ditch which, we are told, is much deeper than it need have been because the consultant engineer misread the rainfall figures.

The landscape is stunningly beautiful. Outcrops of rock at the tops of the hills with rough peaty grass lower down. Suddenly we come upon some astonishing geological feature know as the 'Falkland Island Stone Runs'. On the lower edges of the slopes rectangular areas of rocks and small boulders lie regulary between pathways of grass which separate them. They look artificial for all the world except that there are far too many of them and there would be no purpose in going top all that work for no good reason. There are theories as to how they were caused but no answers

After about an hour we reach the entrance to Mount Pleasant Airport with its military facilities and 'barracks'. We can just make out one of the grey RAF transport/tanker aircraft that operate the Airbridge twice a week from Brize Norton in England. For £2200 a person you too can buy a return ticket. They used to refuel at Ascension Island but until the potholed runway there is repaired they call at Cape Verde instead. I believe there are also a couple of Typhoons based there as well and in the afternoon we can hear one showing off what it can do.

Just after the airport is a road junction (indeed!) and we turn to the left passing the Royal Navy port at Mare Harbour. There is a small coastal defence vessel in port, probably HMS Clyde. The oil storage tanks are painted in bright camouflage and stand out for miles. Reaching Fitzroy Farm we have to open and close a gate before a stretch of cross-country driving for about fifteen minutes. until we near the beach. There are still baulks of timber lying around which are left over from the cargo of the ship 'Bertha' which ran aground on the beach with her cargo of cedar wood. After another open and close gate we arrive at a car park and there we see what we had been eagerly anticipating.

Penguins!

There are wardens there and we are instructed to keep at least 6 metres from the penguins and that should they approach us we should slowly back away to maintain our separation.

First sight of the colonies.
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This next link is a new venture for me and is quite experimental. I have pasted together a few short video sequences and some still photos and stuck them up on Youtube. I wasn't trying to make a documentary so these are just the 'raw' video clips, some from my phone and some from a compact camera. It sounds very windy but that is just a feature of the microphones. It was actually quite a mild day so far and all the heavy clothing that we had taken was not needed. Please try the link to the videos and let me know how you get on.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qvq3qHoAOls&t=195s#t=0


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Re: Quizzical Bob goes Round the Horn

Post by Quizzical Bob » 16 Mar 2018, 17:21

13.2 - Port Stanley and the Falkland Isles

More photos of Bertha's beach. The colonies are on higher ground some three hundred yards from the low dunes at the back of the beach. There are several separate colonies with about 800 birds in total.

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Building up courage for the long waddle back to the colony.
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Don't worry, they're not dead. They're just restin' :)

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Re: Quizzical Bob goes Round the Horn

Post by Dancing Queen » 16 Mar 2018, 17:48

So pleased for you that you made it to Port Stanley, fabulous photos and a superb video, thank you so much for this really interesting review.

I love penguins ( not that I've ever seen them ) such fascinating creatures.
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Re: Quizzical Bob goes Round the Horn

Post by Mervyn and Trish » 16 Mar 2018, 18:36

Great review thank you

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Re: Quizzical Bob goes Round the Horn

Post by Jan Rosser » 16 Mar 2018, 18:46

Loving your review QB especially the video of the penguins - so amusing :lol:
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Re: Quizzical Bob goes Round the Horn

Post by oldbluefox » 16 Mar 2018, 19:07

Great report of your visit to the Falklands. Made for a jolly good read, old chap!!! :wave:


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Re: Quizzical Bob goes Round the Horn

Post by Quizzical Bob » 16 Mar 2018, 22:19

Thanks for the compliments. Let's see if we can post some more :)


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Re: Quizzical Bob goes Round the Horn

Post by Quizzical Bob » 16 Mar 2018, 23:15

13.3 - Port Stanley and the Falkland Isles

These Gentoo (Jen-too) penguins are adorable little creatures. We have seen other types all over the world but these have those big baggy bottoms and a comical way of walking. They are the sort of penguin that can out-dance Díck Van Dyke in a Disney cartoon. Other penguins are available there - if only we had more time. More than a million penguins nest in The Falklands every summer and there are five out of the world's seventeen species: Gentoo, King, Rockhopper, Magellanic and Macaroni. For the Gentoo the Falklands are home to the largest population on Earth.

But the rest of the island is calling us back. It took us 1h45 to get there but the trip back is a bit quicker at just over an hour. Kristy tells us about the war with the Argentines even though she wasn't born until after it happened. Her grandmother got a medal from Britain (OBE/CBE/MBE?) for continually passing information to the British fleet during the conflict. She had even found two young starving Argentine conscripts hiding in her barn and gave them shelter and food for the duration but insisted that they hand over their weapons first. Even today any veteran who returns is treated like royalty and doesn't have to pay for anything. There is always a driver willing to take them anywhere they wish to go.

She had very strong opinions about the way that the islands were controlled by the Falkland Islands Company (FIC) and how the fixed mindset of the locals was preventing any meaningful outlook for their economic future. She referred to the FIC as ‘The Mafia’. They control the shops and operate the only petrol station on the Islands. They also own a lot of rental property. I asked why the local politicians didn’t take more control and she blamed vested interests and historical voting ties. I asked why there wasn’t an all-weather deep water terminal and again, local dithering was blamed. There have been plans but nothing concrete yet (Do you see what I did there?) They have started to receive cruise ship visits over the last few years but whether anybody can tender ashore is usually only 50/50. This season they have been lucky with only three ships unable to get ashore so far. The FIC does not operate with the best interests of the locals in mind. It is an offshore-controlled business after all, from Bishop's Stortford of all places, and bizarrely also owns the Portsmouth to Gosport ferry..

Communications are poor with slow internet and a mobile phone system that is a long way behind the times. Roaming charges are as expensive as the dearest in the world and there is no roaming data service. If they are serious about getting more tourism then they need a lot more infrastructure. I’m just not sure that they are that serious. I suspect there is a form of Stockholm Syndrome at work here where the local population has been taken hostage by The FIC and now identifies with its aims and operations. I suspect that Kristy's upbringing gave her a wider outlook than most other locals.

Back in Stanley we take a small detour through the town and then continue on past the original airport to Gypsy Cove and Yorke Bay. There are shuttle buses that run here from the pier and almost every tour on the island includes this as a stop. Once again the scenery is stunning with long stretches of white sands. We are not allowed onto the actual beaches because there may still be mines from the 1982 war in the dunes and we have to watch from a gravel footpath and walkway on the hills overlooking them. Some 30,000 mines were laid by the Argentines. They were carefully mapped and marked and a large number have been cleared at considerable cost to the Foreign Office but unfortunately the peat and the sand dunes move over time and have to be considered unsafe. Under the Ottawa Convention we are committed to removing the mines and Britain and the Argentine government have been actively cooperating on future actions.

Gypsy Cove. Yorke Bay is behind the headland on the right. There is a group of Magellanic penguins on the beach and if you look carefully you might just see a solitary bird on the right trudging up the hill to its nest. This climb is quite an ordeal for the birds and even I wouldn't fancy trying it on a stomach full of fish.
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Yorke Bay. Kristy says her grandmother used to come here in the summers to spend the day on the beach. More Magellanics huddle together.
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The last resting place of the Lady Elizabeth in Whale Bone Cove on the way to Gypsy Cove. She had suffered damage in 1912 off Cape Horn whilst returning from Vancouver and on trying to reach Stanley hit a rock and still managed to reach harbour but unfortunately couldn't be repaired. Many other ships suffered the same fate and ended up in the Falklands including the SS Great Britain which for many years lay in Sparrow Cove until beinge recovered and returned to Bristol in 1970.
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Emerald Princess at anchor in Blanco Bay, Port William
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Re: Quizzical Bob goes Round the Horn

Post by Quizzical Bob » 16 Mar 2018, 23:41

13.4 - Port Stanley and the Falkland Isles

Emerald Princess looking very lonely and a long way from town.
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After a quick walk around the headland overlooking Port William it's back to town and we say our farewells to Kristy. She had been an excellent guide and is a very intelligent young woman. She was particularly taken by the new polymer £10 notes which she had never seen before. After a bite to eat in the Waterfront Hotel we had time to sample a few of the many souvenir shops where we bought some enamelled pins and fridge magnets and then walk up to the Cathedral. By this time Mrs QB is beginning to flag and we follow our usual routine whereby she returns to the ship and I continue to wander off in exploration.

The wind has dropped and the sun comes out at times and it's about twenty degrees. Stanley is as on the same latitude south as London is north. The town is full of tourists which is not surprising when you consider that there are more people on the ship than there are in the whole of the Falkland Isles.

The cathedral.
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This whalebone arch is made from the jawbones of two blue whales and was erected in 1933 to commemorate the centenary of British rule.
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The ubiquitous Falkland Island Company presence.
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The small pier for the tenders.
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Re: Quizzical Bob goes Round the Horn

Post by CaroleF » 17 Mar 2018, 10:08

Some lovely pictures Bob. We were there last month on Aurora and the day or so before there was a lot of, will we be able to anchor or not. Well we did although it was an extremely rough tender ride to the quayside. We had two Captains on board for this leg of our journey. Captain Alan Hawkins took us from Southampton when the usual Captain, David Pembridge, joined us in, I think, Rio when Captain Hawkins stepped down to be be Deputy Captain. When we got to the shore in Port Stanley in the tender both Captains were there helping people off the boat - I certainly needed a hand to get off. We had a great tour on a small bus with a woman who had gone out to the Falklands as a teacher in the 1990s. She then married someone who had been born on the island and after some time back in the UK they moved permanently back to the island. She gave us an excellent commentary and it was a fascinating tour. I thought it was an incredibly interesting island, certainly took me back in time, particularly with the London bus parked in the car park which you can see in one of Bob's pictures. When I got the tender back to the ship, and as Bob says it took over 30 minutes to get back, the sea was extremely rough by that point and the tender was bouncing up and down. They had the canvas sides of the tender pulled down but the sea still managed to get through. There weren't many of us on the boat and luckily no-one was sitting near the exits, if they had been they would have been soaked. When we got back to Aurora one of the crew had to wipe all the seats down to get rid of the water. Everyone I spoke to was so pleased that we'd been able to anchor and visit The Falklands. Those who went on the nature type trips thoroughly enjoyed themselves and pictures of penguins were being passed around. It was a great day.

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Re: Quizzical Bob goes Round the Horn

Post by Quizzical Bob » 17 Mar 2018, 10:32

CaroleF wrote:
17 Mar 2018, 10:08
Some lovely pictures Bob. We were there last month on Aurora and the day or so before there was a lot of, will we be able to anchor or not. Well we did although it was an extremely rough tender ride to the quayside. We had two Captains on board for this leg of our journey. Captain Alan Hawkins took us from Southampton when the usual Captain, David Pembridge, joined us in, I think, Rio when Captain Hawkins stepped down to be be Deputy Captain. When we got to the shore in Port Stanley in the tender both Captains were there helping people off the boat - I certainly needed a hand to get off. We had a great tour on a small bus with a woman who had gone out to the Falklands as a teacher in the 1990s. She then married someone who had been born on the island and after some time back in the UK they moved permanently back to the island. She gave us an excellent commentary and it was a fascinating tour. I thought it was an incredibly interesting island, certainly took me back in time, particularly with the London bus parked in the car park which you can see in one of Bob's pictures. When I got the tender back to the ship, and as Bob says it took over 30 minutes to get back, the sea was extremely rough by that point and the tender was bouncing up and down. They had the canvas sides of the tender pulled down but the sea still managed to get through. There weren't many of us on the boat and luckily no-one was sitting near the exits, if they had been they would have been soaked. When we got back to Aurora one of the crew had to wipe all the seats down to get rid of the water. Everyone I spoke to was so pleased that we'd been able to anchor and visit The Falklands. Those who went on the nature type trips thoroughly enjoyed themselves and pictures of penguins were being passed around. It was a great day.

Carole
Hi Carole,
It was whilst I was buying the obligatory T-shirt in the souvenir shop just to the right of the Waterfront Hotel (Harbour View Gift Shop?) that one of the ladies who was serving mentioned that they were expecting “another cruise ship in tomorrow. Aurora, I think” and I must admit to a twinge of nostalgia.

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Re: Quizzical Bob goes Round the Horn

Post by oldbluefox » 17 Mar 2018, 11:22

You're honoured Bob. You've even got a thumbs up from SWMBO!!!


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Re: Quizzical Bob goes Round the Horn

Post by Quizzical Bob » 17 Mar 2018, 11:31

oldbluefox wrote:
17 Mar 2018, 11:22
You're honoured Bob. You've even got a thumbs up from SWMBO!!!
Honour indeed!

None higher, I expect. :angel:


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Re: Quizzical Bob goes Round the Horn

Post by Quizzical Bob » 18 Mar 2018, 20:31

13.5 - Port Stanley and the Falkland Isles

After seeing Mrs QB onto the tender back to the ship I had about two hours to have a quick march around. There were a few things I wanted to see. The Governor's House, the Museum, the mizzen mast from SS Great Britain on Victory Green, a few more souvenirs and maybe the Post Office but before leaving for the ship I really wanted to have a quiet sup of a pint of local ale in the Globe Tavern near the pier. This would need careful timing.

The esplanade that always features in any shots of Stanley is actually called Ross Road and I start off marching along it to the west. I find a suitable T-shirt in the Harbour View Gift Shop and a few enamelled pins of various penguins and even one of an albatross. Then it's time to set off to try and find the Governor. I am having difficulty finding his house so halfway along I ask a local driver where it is and he directs me to a green-roofed building a few hundred yard further along. I soon find it and carry on a bit further to the next headland where there is some sort of monument. It's a mile from the pier but a pleasant walk and the wind has dropped and the sun is out. It turns out to be the 1914 Battle Memorial which commemorates the naval battle between the British and German forces on 8th December 1914. The British ships defeated the German squadron which was commanded by Admiral Graf Spee. The 8th December is still a public holiday in the Falklands.

The 1914 memorial.
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The view beyond the memorial further up the harbour. The wreck is the 'Jhelum' which was abandoned in 1870 after rounding Cape Horn.
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The memorial is just past the Governor's House and I stop outside on my return to town. I found out why I was getting the odd strange look when I had asked about it. Its name now is 'Government House'. Following the Argentine surrender in 1982 the power and influence of the Governor was much reduced in a new constitution in 1985 and even more so in 2009. I understand that these measures were part of an initiative from the United Nations for more self-determination, partly as a result of the war.




The ̶G̶o̶v̶e̶r̶n̶o̶r̶'̶s̶ Government House. Nice garden.
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The 1982 Memorial
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They are very fond of Margaret Thatcher. They have even named a road after her.
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Re: Quizzical Bob goes Round the Horn

Post by Quizzical Bob » 18 Mar 2018, 20:56

13.6 - Port Stanley and the Falkland Isles

Going back to turn. The building on the right with the blue roof is the hospital
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The King Edward VII Memorial Hospital. It was rebuilt in 1987 after a fire destroyed the previous wooden version and was funded by local fish licences and income tax. They are closely affiliated with the NHS. Our guide is a type 1 diabetic and for the birth of each of her three children was flown back to the UK for their births because they don't have the proper facilities locally. There is a modern school to the right (sorry, no photo)

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The mizzen mast from SS Great Britain on Victory Green. The ship at anchor in Stanley Harbour is the 'Hanseatic'. !85 passengers and 125 crew.
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Getting nearer to town.
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I call into the Post Office. There must be some other sorts of souvenirs that I can find inside. This is all very familiar and I buy some first day covers of Falklands and South Georgia stamps with images of penguins and albatrosses.

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Re: Quizzical Bob goes Round the Horn

Post by Quizzical Bob » 18 Mar 2018, 21:34

13.7 - Port Stanley and the Falkland Isles

The museum is very interesting but full of pesky tourists.

A model of the SS Discovery
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Another of my favourite birds. These are bigger than turkeys but probably too salty for Christmas dinner.
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I get back to the pier just after 5 o'clock and the last tender is at 6. Comfortably time enough for that pint of local brew that I had promised myself. I rush to the Globe Tavern and it takes time for my eyes to adjust to the darkness. There are two customers in front of me at the bar and service is taking an age. The second customer orders draft Heineken but I can see a pump next to it labelled 'Iron Lady'. This must be the golden nectar that I had promised myself. The Heinekens take an age to pour which is always the case when you're in a hurry. You can hear the ticking of every watch and clock in the place. Finally! The drinks are poured and it's time for the customer to pay. There's a further delay because he doesn't want any Falkalnd Island coins in his change. Oh purrlease. It's now nearly 17:40 but the beer is within tasting distance. "I'll have a pint of your finest Iron Lady please, barman"

"We've run out" he says. Imagine my disappointment at this devastating news.
"We've got Heineken" he says."
"I didn't come all this way braving the notorious treacherous seas of Cape Horn just to have a pint of some fizzy stuff I could get back home in Tescos" I say. And I trudge dejectedly away desperately looking for some cat to kick on the way out.

There must be another pub somewhere, surely, but the clock is ticking and after a desperate and frantic scout around I am forced to concede that my luck is out. I am later told that the Victory Bar still had some of this beer. Much too late.

Reluctantly it is time to join the queue for the tender.

The pub with no beer :(
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I think this seal was genuine but I was looking over my shoulder as the tender pulled away.
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Re: Quizzical Bob goes Round the Horn

Post by Quizzical Bob » 18 Mar 2018, 22:07

13.8 - Port Stanley and the Falkland Isles

So that was the Falklands. The following is how I see them and is my opinion only.

Beautiful, haunting, unique and well worth a much longer visit. I am already investigating the possibility of a return some day. The flights from Brize Norton are prohibitively expensive but there is another option. Once a week on Saturdays there is a flight from Punta Arenas to Mount Pleasant for not much over £500 return. The only problem is that you have to get to Chile first. Oh well, that would probably involve a longer stay there before and after the flights. If we ever get enough time and money and Mrs QB is up for it then I would like to give it a go.

Our guide was very intelligent and informative and was very critical of the local political system and the Falkland Islands Company in particular. Of course I was aware that this was just one opinion but it seemed to me to be valid. I didn’t have discussions to the same depth with others but it was obvious to me that it was to some extent a feudal society and this cannot be healthy for their long term future. They need to take control of their own supplies of food and fuel and housing. Their problem in my opinion is that they don't have enough personnel with experience of the wider world and all its ways. Those that liver there and have been brought up there are familiar with the way things are at present and are none too keen on change.

They need better communications in every sense of the word. The phone and internet system is flaky. They need to make good friends with their neighbours. They need regular shipping service to the mainland, possibly Chile.This would give them the fresh fruit and vegetables that they really need. (There are a lot of Chilean nationals on the islands.)Perhaps they should take over the RMS St Helena. They need a deep water port. If they want more tourism it could be done but at a cost to their established way of life. A five star resort or two, golf courses (I hate golf. Luckily I'm not old enough to play it)

Beautiful Islands, virtually empty but not much good for anything other than sheep farming as things stand. They produce sought-after lamb but have only one abattoir which operates under the usual EU standards. Incidentally, although technically a part of the EU Brexit will give them a lot of problems and they didn't even get a vote on the matter.

They have a good school and a NHS hospital but poor communications with the outside world. Their future may not be under their control.

https://www.falklands.gov.fk/
Last edited by Quizzical Bob on 18 Mar 2018, 22:09, edited 1 time in total.


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Re: Quizzical Bob goes Round the Horn

Post by Quizzical Bob » 19 Mar 2018, 23:52

14 - At sea - Friday 26th January
n
Patters for today and tomorrow and port guide here:


Today is a sea day and time to recover from the excitement of the Falklands. That was an unforgettable experience and wonderful people. They are more British than most of us are.

I now have a bit of a crisis. All the photos so far have been taken on either my Galaxy S8 phone or a Panasonic DMZ-TZ80 compact camera which can give some good results but is prone to getting stuck when you take it to the beach and sand gets in. That wasn't the problem with it this time however. It has its own proprietary charging lead and I am absolutely certain that I took one with me in my little box of 'essential bits of memory sticks and charger leads' but it was nowhere to be found. And I was down to one bar on the camera's battery. I now had a choice. I could try to conserve the battery by only taking essential pictures and using the phone for everything else, but the phone is not great on anything zoomed. I could try to buy a lead on the boat or I could try to find a camera store ashore that might have one, but that would be unlikely and use up valuable exploration time. I even contemplated ordering one on the Brazilian version of Ebay and having it sent direct to our first hotel but when I logged in and set my country to 'Brazil' all the web pages turned into Brazilian which is not one of my languages.

I slept on the problem and then it occurred to me. Buy a new camera! The photographers on board only had a limited stock left but what they did have was a new, boxed Panasonic DC-FZ80 at what seemed to me to be a reasonable price.I thought it would be even more reasonable with my 10% discount but later found that it didn't apply to the photographers. This has very similar controls to the other one so it shouldn't be too difficult to pick up the new features and it has a good zoom lens.

Then, after I had bought the camera, I realised that it needed a memory card. The one in the other camera was suitable but even though the photographer assured me that I wouldn't lose all the photographs on it I didn't want to take that risk. I backed them up anyway and went downstairs and bought another memory card. After we got home I checked the prices and they were actually quite good. I think the lack of VAT helped.

So, boys and girls, the photos from now on are either from the phone or from my new toy :)

Tomorrow (Saturday) we call at Puerto Madryn. Now I must admit that I had never heard of this place when I booked the cruise and I still didn't know anything about it 3 weeks before it began and let's be honest, who does? What everybody does know, however, is that there is a part of Patagonia that was settled by the Welsh many years ago around the time that rugby was invented. Maybe that's what they were getting away from. Patagonia is a very big and vague place and basically covers the bottom half of Argentina and across into Chile. Legend has it that the name was coined by Magellan when he met one of the original locals and found that they were very big and tall, up to 12 feet according to some accounts, and called them 'Patagoni' which meant 'Bigfeet', apparently. The truth is most probably more prosaic but the name and legend have stuck.

In 1865 about one hundred and fifty Welsh settlers found a good landing place and called it 'Porth Madryn' after Castle Madryn and its estate near Pwllheli in North Wales. They must have been sorely disappointed because instead of rolling green valleys what they found was a very dry and flat landscape with very little water and not much vegetation.Nevertheless, they stayed and gradually began to make a success of the area by building irrigation ditches to take water from the Chubut river. They then moved nearer the river and founded the town of Trelew some forty miles to the south.

When around Christmas time I eventually started to examine the ports of call more closely I found that there are three main attractions to this place. There is the Welsh heritage, but we've been to Wales many times and it's only two hours away if we ever want to go there again. There are the penguins at the Punta Tomba nature reserve a two hour drive to the south, and there is the Península Valdés to the north east which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Mrs QB had mentioned something about elephant seals on some travel programme and I found out that you can find them on this peninsula as well as lots of sea lions an yet more penguins but what really clinched it for me was when I found out that the north-east point of this place is the very spot where the Orca killer whales surge up the beach in order to try and catch a sea lion cub or two. This is where the famous footage was shot by Sir Davd Attenborough and his crew for the first Blue Planet. If there was any chance whatsoever of seeing this for real then we were going to take it.

Alarms set again for an early start and who knew what the morrow might bring.

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Re: Quizzical Bob goes Round the Horn

Post by Ray B » 20 Mar 2018, 10:51

Bob, you do leave us wanting more. What will he see ?


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Re: Quizzical Bob goes Round the Horn

Post by Quizzical Bob » 20 Mar 2018, 14:09

15 - Puerto Madryn - Saturday 27th January - arr 07:00 - all aboard 16:30

An early start for our all-day tour. I mentioned earlier that I had cancelled our ship's tour to Sparrow Cove in the Falklands and then spent the refund and a fair bit more on a tour to Punta Norte (North Point) on the Valdes Peninsula. Embarrassment forbids me from saying exactly how much it cost and if anybody ever finds out I shall be forced to eliminate the evidence and catch the next fast boat to deepest Patagonia. The tour consists of a two and a half hour drive to the north and east to the northern corner of the peninsula with visits to a sea lion colony, a penguin colony and a barbecue lunch in an estancia.

There are not many more than about 15 of us on the tour bus, I expect the cost put off a lot of people. First impressions of the town are favourable. A long beach of grey/brown sand stretches off on both sides and the town reminds me of a lot that we have seen in Spain and certainly no worse than any of those. Driving out of it towards the north we pass a small port and stockpiles of aluminium which is a major industry here. Aluminium smelting requies an electric arc furnace and uses a lot of electricity, typically from hydro-electric sources. The smelting factory here is the only one in Argentina.

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A major concern with any of these long trips is where the next comfort break is going to come from. This usually means no tea at breakfast and bottles of water in case of dehydration. Fortunately after just over the hour we call at the peninsula's visitors centre just inside the entrance to the national park. Of course our driver has done this trip many times before and is always looking for any wildlife. He spots a 'burrowing owl' sitting on its burrow next to the road. I expect that the owl keeps an eye out for the bus and pops out on cue when we drive past.

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Just inside the park we are lucky enough to spot a herd of guanacos. These are the Southern American version of the llama and are related to the camel.

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(these photos were taken through the window of the bus)

That was exciting! Now all we need are some rheas and an armadillo or two :)


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Re: Quizzical Bob goes Round the Horn

Post by Quizzical Bob » 20 Mar 2018, 20:52

15.2 - Puerto Madryn - Saturday 27th January - arr 07:00 - all aboard 16:30

Our first stop will be at the sea lion colony at Punta Norte. It's a long way from the visitors' centre, nearly 100 km, and takes an hour and three quarters. Initially it is over a tarmac road but this soon turns to a dirt road but it's quite a good surface and apart from the dust not a lot different.

Outside the visitors' centre. There's 60 miles of this in all directions.
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The landscape consists mainly of sheep farms and is divided up into large estancias by the occasional wire fence and ditch. We pass several more herds of guanacos but we have a lot more to see and don't stop for them. As we get within a few kilometres of the car park at Punta Norte our driver suddenly slows down and stops. He has spotted an armadillo amongst the bushes. This is a cute little creature, about the size of a big dachshund with a long pointy tail and a snout to match. I try to snatch a photo but these were the best that I could get.

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Eventually we arrive at the car park at Punta Norte and are relieved to see the toilets. There's a walkway up to the crest of the ridge and the first thing that hits us is the smell and the noise. I'm almost certain it came from the sea lions.

This is the view towards the south. This is the beach where the famous David Attenborough footage of the orcas surging up the beach and snatching a sea lion pup was taken. It's our bad luck that the tide is out or we might have seen something extraordinary. A few weeks later and the pups start to work their way down to the sea where the orcas are waiting for them. They started hunting the pups in 1976. Two male orcas learn the technique and then taught some others. Nowadays about a dozen of the resident pod of about 25 practice the technique.

You can see two attack channels in this photo. The main attacks take place just around the corner on the next beach and you need a special permit to be able to visit and take photographs there. You can find out more on patagonia.com and pnor.org

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The mail sea lions are enormous, much larger than the females. Each male has a harem of several females that he jealously protects.

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Re: Quizzical Bob goes Round the Horn

Post by Quizzical Bob » 20 Mar 2018, 21:42

15.3 - Puerto Madryn - Saturday 27th January - arr 07:00 - all aboard 16:30

Try these raw videos: https://youtu.be/q04rw158c0I

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The sun is quite fierce and it's a constant problem for the sea lions to keep cool. Some try covering themselves in sand and others wave their flippers.

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A couple of young elephant seals try to get to the water but give up. They are not as mobile as the sea lions because their hind flippers are not so well developed. Sea lions can walk on theirs which is why they used to be chosen for circus acts. These elephant seals will grow to be bigger than the male sea lions. If the orcas don't eat them first.

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Re: Quizzical Bob goes Round the Horn

Post by Quizzical Bob » 21 Mar 2018, 22:09

15.4 - Puerto Madryn - Saturday 27th January - arr 07:00 - all aboard 16:30

Leaving the sealions to get on with whatever it is that sealions do we backtrack up the road and turn tight towards our next stop which is the Magellanic penguin colony. This is located in a farm on the coast, San Lorenzo Estancia. We have to drive past the farmhouse where later we shall be having lunch and then on to the penguin reserve on a gravel road but good quality. There are a couple of thousand of these penguins here and they are different form the Gentoos that we saw in the Falklands. These are very similar to the African (formerly known as Jackass) penguins such as can be found on Boulder Beach near Cape Town.

The shore here is one big gravel beach and bank and the penguins nest just back from the crest of the bank. It's very hot in the exposed sun and many of the birds seek shelter under the low scrub bushes or even by digging small burrows in the gravelly ground. Unfortunately some of the younger chicks have not made it and have succumbed to heat exhaustion. Possibly their parents have not returned from sea for some reason.

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Re: Quizzical Bob goes Round the Horn

Post by Quizzical Bob » 21 Mar 2018, 23:47

15.5 - Puerto Madryn - Saturday 27th January - arr 07:00 - all aboard 16:30

Raw penguin videos here:
Penguins at San Lorenzo Estancia

This is a lovely spot. Miles from anywhere or anybody.

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We can't stay here all day. Lunch is calling. The drive back to the Estancia San Lorenzo is not very far and the penguin rangers join us on the trip. We catch sight of another armadillo scuttling through the low scrubs. These are cute little creatures, about the size of a fox but with a crusty grey jacket on their backs instead of fur.

Lunch is served in what was once a sheep-shearing shed. We have our own set of tables with six seats on each. I'm not a favour of this group method of eating. Everybody is terribly polite and only taking the minimum but secretly wanting more. The starter is a couple of large plates of mixed salami and olives and cheese. Very nice and plenty of it. There are a couple of bottles of Argentinian Malbec and I am pleasantly surprised.

The main meat course can only be described as 'interesting'. They called it lamb but it was very chewy and the ribs were at least eight inches long. The lady next to me said, "When have you ever seen lamb ribs that big?" We decided that it was really mutton.

We had just begun the drive back to the ship when suddenly on the right we saw a movement in the scrubs. It was a solitary rhea but it didn't hang around long enough to see it properly. Fortunately a few minutes later we saw a whole herd of them. Or should that be a flock?

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Re: Quizzical Bob goes Round the Horn

Post by Quizzical Bob » 22 Mar 2018, 00:03

15.6 - Puerto Madryn - Saturday 27th January - arr 07:00 - all aboard 16:30

The return journey didn't seem as long as the one on the way out. It never does.

We get back to the town just after 16:00 and there are more people about. It is Saturday after all. There are people in the sea but I am led to believe that it's extremely cold. There is a cold Falkland current that runs north along the coast from Antarctica whereas we have the warm Gulf Stream over here. I met a very nice young Argentinian couple at lunch one day who lived some way inland from Buenos Aires. I asked them where they went for there holidays and they said that they sometimes go to the seaside in Argentina but that was too cold so for their main holiday they drive to the coast of Brazil. That's over twenty hours of driving either through or around Uruguay.

Puerto Madryn looked a very pleasant town and I was disappointed not to be able to spend more time there but for some reason we all had to be back on board by 16:30. It had been a fabulous day. Very expensive but Mrs QB was totally delighted and still talks about it. If she's happy then I'm happy.

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Re: Quizzical Bob goes Round the Horn

Post by emjay45 » 23 Mar 2018, 12:07

I'm just loving your photos of the animals. My favourite excursions when I'm on a cruise are the one's to see the wildlife. Were the birds in the Falkland museum albatross? I saw some in Dunedin, New Zealand and they were huge.


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Re: Quizzical Bob goes Round the Horn

Post by Quizzical Bob » 23 Mar 2018, 14:08

emjay45 wrote:
23 Mar 2018, 12:07
I'm just loving your photos of the animals. My favourite excursions when I'm on a cruise are the one's to see the wildlife. Were the birds in the Falkland museum albatross? I saw some in Dunedin, New Zealand and they were huge.
Thanks Emjay, yes the stuffed one in Stanley was a Black-browed albatross, the downturned wingtips are characteristic of all these birds. The ones at Taiaroa Head near Dunedin are Royal Northern Albatrosses. We too were lucky to see them six years ago when we visited my accountant who lives near there at St Leonards (long story).

Before this cruise the only one that I had seen actually flying at sea was a solitary bird when we went on a whale-watching trip at Kaikoura. On this cruise we had seen dozens and were able to observe them more closely. That's one of the things that you can at sea when you're cruising.

Mrs QB loves seeing wildlife too. I'm interested too but I also like to see the local geology and tree life.

Next stop Montevideo :)

Here's another shot of the exhibit in Stanley for you:
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Re: Quizzical Bob goes Round the Horn

Post by emjay45 » 24 Mar 2018, 21:11

Thanks Qb my son and I did a boat trip out to the lighthouse in Dunedin where the albatross nest and I did my best to take some photos. They were flying in to feed the young and landing right next to the boat we were in.
I look forward to your review of Montevideo I have fond memories of our trip to a vineyard there, where I ended up having a little dance with a young man who had entertained us along with his lovely young partner doing the Argentine Tango. ;)

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Re: Quizzical Bob goes Round the Horn

Post by GillD46 » 25 Mar 2018, 05:50

Fabulous pictures and descriptions. Enjoy Montevideo, we thought it a real jewel.
Gill

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Re: Quizzical Bob goes Round the Horn

Post by Gill W » 25 Mar 2018, 16:31

I've just caught up on all your reports and fantastic photos. Going to the Falklands is one of my life dreams, and you described it all so well, makes me want to visit even more now.
Gill


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Re: Quizzical Bob goes Round the Horn

Post by Quizzical Bob » 25 Mar 2018, 21:30

16 - at sea - Sunday 27th January

Patters & port guide here:

Our last sea day before the end of the cruise which is now only a few days away. It's a chance to make the most of everything that the ship has to offer and to visit those places that you didn't even know existed. This has been a strange ship. Thinking about it afterwards I suppose that you could say that it has no soul. Physically it's the same as or very similar to the other ships in her class including Azura, Ventura,and even the Crown princess that were were on last September bu there is something lacking about the onboard atmosphere. Maybe it's the large number of different nationalities but we've had that on other Princess cruises. Maybe it's all the different nationalities in the crew. Maybe it's just got too many people on it. It doesn't spoil the cruise for us because we're here for the places that we visit and to look at the sea and not the ship.

The food in the MDR has been good on the whole with very large portions but the queues for anytime dining are unnecessary and the Horizon buffet has been overcrowded most of the time. On one day when everybody returned from tours ashore at 2:15 they decided to close the serving lines and switch to late afternoon snacks. There was a lot that they could have done better and I left a complaint with the Food and beverage manager but when he eventually phoned the cabin I wasn't there and he seemed to think that so long as he had spoken to Mrs QB he had done his job. Not in my book he hadn't.

We tried the Salty Dog Gastropub one evening and it was as you might expect. The food was a selection of little plates and we had a mixed starter too. The plates individually were very tasty but after three of them you felt rather full. The tables were those high things with stools that come up to your chin and that you needed crampons to climb on to. Why do the youngsters think that these things are trendy? As the evening wore on the room began to fill up with people who had come to see the singer and her accompanist. They were quite good, not too loud but not too loud that you couldn't talk to each other. Some people might not like that.

Arrangements for disembarkation are now becoming more pressing. We are due to stay in Buenos Aires overnight on the Tuesday and leave ship on the Wednesday morning. Those embarking on Wednesday also stay overnight and sail on Thursday. After a phone call to Princess UK last June I had booked our flight to Iguazu leaving at 12:00 which I thought would give us enough time to disembark and get to the airport comfortably but on the 1st January Aerolineas Argentinas changed all the schedules and our flight was brought forward to 11:10 in the morning. This meant that we would get to Iguazu earlier but also that the morning was going to be a bit of a rush. Fortunately the domestic flights from Buenos Aires use Aeroparque Jorge Newbery which is just a few kilometres along the river plate and only 20 minutes way by taxi and not Ezeiza International which is about an hour away.

After a brief discussion we decided that we would try the self-help disembarkation that day. We have never done this before but at least it avoids the scrum for your luggage in the baggage hall and you can leave your packing to the last minute.

We have no tour booked in Montevideo so no need for early morning alarms. The evening on the balcony was a spectacular sunset and it was an opportunity to try to use up the last of the gin and tonics in the fridge.

One of the cleanest and clearest sunsets that I have ever seen. Green Flash and everything.
Image


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Re: Quizzical Bob goes Round the Horn

Post by Quizzical Bob » 25 Mar 2018, 21:45

emjay45 wrote:
24 Mar 2018, 21:11
Thanks Qb my son and I did a boat trip out to the lighthouse in Dunedin where the albatross nest and I did my best to take some photos. They were flying in to feed the young and landing right next to the boat we were in.
I look forward to your review of Montevideo I have fond memories of our trip to a vineyard there, where I ended up having a little dance with a young man who had entertained us along with his lovely young partner doing the Argentine Tango. ;)
Hi Emjay,

Just for you here's a picture I took of an albatross and chick at the Royal Albatross Centre at Taiaroa Head (the Royal is the name of the species and does not denote regal patronage). This is on the headland looking down on where you would have been in your boat.

Nothing to do wit this cruise but always worth seeing in my view.

Image

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Re: Quizzical Bob goes Round the Horn

Post by emjay45 » 26 Mar 2018, 22:20

Hi QB unfortunately (and it's probably me) but I couldn't see the photo. I clicked on the image but didn't know how to open it. :?


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Re: Quizzical Bob goes Round the Horn

Post by Quizzical Bob » 27 Mar 2018, 09:03

emjay45 wrote:
26 Mar 2018, 22:20
Hi QB unfortunately (and it's probably me) but I couldn't see the photo. I clicked on the image but didn't know how to open it. :?
Are you using an iPad? I have trouble on mine when there are too many photos on a web page. The iPad doesn’t have enough RAM for the Safari browser to be able to open all the images. If you use a PC browser they should load ok. I’ll see if I can post some links instead of embedding the images.


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Re: Quizzical Bob goes Round the Horn

Post by Quizzical Bob » 27 Mar 2018, 10:17

Good morning Emjay,

I am now at my office desk and the images show on my desltop browser (Chrome)

Here is a link to the photo:

Royal Northern Albatros & chick in New Zealand

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