Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Somewhere near the bottom of the world!

Passing Cape Horn, the souther most bit of land before antartica.
Dear Family and Friends,
I know I am somewhere south of the Equator but I am starting to lose track of where and what day it is …. a nice feeling.
I know the other day we spent the day at port in the city of Punta Arenas, Chili..
The city is relatively new so the “Old Part” of the city is rather small. I was a bit disappointed as we took a cab from the docks to downtown. Most of the city looks like a typical California town like Grover Beach or Santa Maria..
Once we arrived at the city center it was a bit better. We did some souvenir shopping and started to explore the city. We toured the local museum and after an hour there I have added more to my “do not see anymore of” which includes crosses and churches, museums (unless they have cars or motorcycles) and definitely penguins, I have seen enough penguins to last a life time…
After the museum we went to lunch at the best Chinese restaurant I have ever been to in Chili… (a small list of one). The best part of the restaurant was great WI-FI service…
After a bit more exploring we went to the other side of town to an old ship display we were told to see. That did not disappoint. They had exact replicas of Magellan's ship and the HMS Beagle which chartered this area and brought Charles Darwin here. Seeing these ships showed how incredibly tough people were to set sail into unknown waters in these cramped and fragile ships. they didn't even have an on board buffet!!
What was amazing too was that both these ships were hand built by two local men who just decided it would be a good thing to do. The wood working skills were amazing and they built the Magellan ship in just two years. When you go to my blog and see the photos you too will be amazed
After the ship yard we headed back to our ship and set sail for Ushuaia, Chile, the southern most city in the world! That was pretty exciting..
That evening we sailed down the Straights of Magellan experiencing exactly what Magellan must have experienced, except we had pina coladas and a sofa chair in a warm lounge.
The next morning we arrived in Ushuaia and had an all day tour of the area. First we went few hours by bus visiting various sites in the country side, and then a three hour tour by sea on a catamaran back to our cruise ship. At one point we stopped in a small bay with a small pier with a tiny building on it… This was the southern most post office in the world… I guess everything here is the southern most.. One thing that was cool is the building was covered with stickers from all the motorcycle tours and clubs that passed by. We actually saw a group of motorcyclists ride by on tour from the USA… Bonnie could feel my pangs of jealousy watching them ride by and then of course as the amazing wife she is she told me “You must do this ride someday if you really want to”.. Is she amazing or what!?!?!?!
At one stop we had 30 minutes to look around. Bonnie and I had fun collecting sea glass from the beach for her to use in her mosaics.. By they way did I mention Bonnie  is a world class mosaic artist? She just got invited to Venice, Italy to study with one of the great masters of mosaic art in February. She hesitated and then I insisted she must go! What an opportunity!!
After that we boarded the catamaran and spent a few hours cruising Beagle Island and  the straights of Magellan and as an added bonus we went to several small islands featuring sea birds and seals… Did I mention I don’t need to see anymore sea birds or seals also???
By they end of the day we were all exhausted and ready to return to our ship. For the next three days we cruise north to Val Paraiaso, Chile. That night we sailed past Cape Horn, the absolute most southern bit of land before Antartica..
On any long trip there are always “Special Moments”. The other night we decided to dine in the fancy dining room. Now as a bit of a back story as I enter the old man stage of my life I have a few hairs that have decided to do their own thing. I have one very long grey chest hair that has started to come out over my collar and it really bugs Bonnie. So at dinner without any warning Bonnie came in from the side with a scissors and cut it off right at dinner! Now I think of this grey hair as my senior sexy hair but evidently Bonnie doesn’t. I was so surprised I yelled out in this fancy dining room, “Stop it! Your cutting off my Manhood!!”. Well the room erupted in laughter. I thought the two old ladies behind us would fall off their chairs from laughter, there was an elderly stoic looking Chinese woman sitting at the next table. She had been expressionless all evening but when she heard that even she burst out laughing! And my brother in law turned six shades of red and started uncontrollably laughing… Never let it be said I am dull….
That’s it for a few days. Next report is from Chile..

Sailing the Magellan channel

The view from breakfast..

The most southern postoffice in the world!  Near Beagle Island

Motorcyclist here before me!! :(

Taking an excursion around Beagle Island and Ushuaia

This is the look I usually get when talking to my brother in law... :(

WOW!! Sea birds!

Southern most lighthouse.. I guess everything down here is southern most?

Seals,,,, Argentine seals look exactly like California seals.

Here is a map showing the thousands of small islands we are sailing in and out of.

The city of Ushuaia the southern most city in the world..

Our ship.. :)

An evening sail down to the Straights of Magellan and over to Chille.

We have had amazing weather.. Two weeks ago it was snowing and the seas so stormy they could not dock in several ports!

Entering Val ParaĆ­so, Chille. Not very exciting.

Downtown Val Paraiaso was much better with some old Spanish influence.

The GANG in front of ANOTHER church.

I really enjoy traveling with my wife... I am a lucky man.

Rubbing the "Lucky Toe". It is said that if you rub this toe you will return..

Oh boy, shopping!! ;)

No South American city is complete without a few statues..

The local Palace.

We stopped into this local cafe and it was very warm and inviting.

I tried to order a Chilli Dog but they never heard of one, go figure?? They did have Guacamole Dogs...

Off to another museum.. ;(

This was the local Crab museum.. These were the first crabs I have found totally unappetizing... :(

Some local shrunken heads.

Our view in the morning while have breakfast..

Bonnie was so excited to have 60,000 Chilean Pesos until figured out that was about $50... :(

This was the hand built replica of Magellan's ship. Built by two men in two years!

Dread Pirate Bonnie...

Not quite the accommodations we have on our ship..

Bonnie finds the Magellan Buffet!! :)

Dread Pirate Jason

The latest project, The Beagle. The ship of Charles Darwin.

20 minutes on the ship and Bonnie falls for a local Pirate.. :(

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Sailing down the Mullen Pass to Ushuaia

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