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Around the Horn of South America - Feb 2009

 

Valparaiso to Punta Arenas

To be honest there wasn't that much to see on the first leg of our cruise.  The cities along the Chilean coast are pretty non-descript, although for the most part have scenic harbors.  Most are too small to accommodate ships the size of the Norwegian Sun, so tendering is required.  In Punta Arenas a storm came up while many passengers had not yet returned to the ship.  These folks were stranded on the dock in the rain for almost two hours while the Sun re-positioned to provide a windbreak for the returning tenders.

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Chile is becoming a major wine producer.  We visited a vineyard while motoring down from Santiago to Valparaiso.

Pablo Neruda, Pulitzer Prize winning poet, lived in this Valparaiso house. He was the subject of the movie Il Postino (The Postman).

Walking across a foot-bridge in a forest reserve near Puerto Chacabuco in the rain.

I developed a theory that Chacabuco was an indigenous word for dirty, brown water, but could get corroboration. 

The Norwegian Sun looked calm in Punta Arena harbor, but a storm was on the way.

A tug was called to assist in the tendering operation.  The wind was at 40-60 knots.

 

The Beagle Channel

The route from Punta Arenas, Chile, to Ushuaia, Argentina, goes through the Beagle Channel, named for the boat that carried Charles Darwin here.  We were lucky to pass through here on a clear day so the glaciers were all visible.  The characteristic blue color of glacial ice can be seen in many of the following photos.

 

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Ushuaia and the Falkland Islands

Ushuaia bills itself as the city at the end of the world.  We were there on a nice day so it was very pleasant just to walk around and wonder why people would choose to live in this remote place.  Our visit was shortened because of the delay at Punta Arenas but nobody complained.  The Falklands were a different story.  Being in Stanley is like being magically transported to Great Britain.  What were the Argentines thinking when they invaded in 1982?  Even the cars are driven on the left.  It was here we got to visit with the penguins, a real highlight.

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Here is downtown Ushuaia.  Note the English sign on the wall.

Ushuaia is surrounded by mountains which capture the light of the setting sun.

Another look at the mountains.

Rounding the horn Pat waits for her initiation by the master of the vessel.

He ignored her request for a light dousing.

 

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Note the phone booth in Port Stanley.

Our "guide" pointed out Boot Hill, but he had no idea of its significance. 

This is a long distance view of the penguin habitat which can only be reached by four-wheel drive.

No matter how hard they try these Flightless Ruddy Ducks never get off the ground because their wings are too small.

The male Upland Goose is quite attractive.  The females are kind of blah.

 

Falkland Island Gentoo and King Penguins

The penguin habitat is about an hour outside of Stanley but well worth the effort to get there.  Once on the scene, wandering naturalists are around to answer all questions.  These volunteers are very knowledgeable. The Sea Cabbage Cafe must be one of the most remotes eating spots in the world. Tea, scones with diddle dee jam, available only in the Falklands, and biscuits are part of the package.  The small penguins are mostly gentoos but the big guys with a splash of yellow are kings.

 

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Montevideo

 

We had one day in Montevideo and we felt like there was enough there to warrant a return trip.  We had an excellent guide who showed us a lot but all of the city's museums are closed on the weekends.

 

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The inside of Montevideo's largest cathedral is elegant.

Here is a monument to the founder of the city.

This super-modern structure is the home of the telephone company.  Business must be good.

The Plaza de la Armada houses this modern memorial to fallen sailors.

The most popular local beer is named Patricia.

Patricia samples a Patricia.