Today – Puerto Madryn, Argentina.. I woke around 0730 watch time, which is probably 0930 local. Because of my weight, I decided not to call room service, but walked down to deck 7 and got first coffee and then coffee and juice from the Yacht Club, which is, so far, the only place aboard that I have eaten.
Weather in a word is windy. It was so windy that another gentleman ( I was going to call him old, but he is probably about my age or so) couldn’t open the door, and watching some poor woman on deck trying to light a cigarette almost evoked sympathy in me. Parts of the deck are soaked as if by rain, but it is 7 story spray. I did half a turn on the deck in shorts and Bali t shirt and returned inside. I am going to the gym next and then go get some sit down breakfast, since food is not supposed to be brought ashore and I don’t know what if anything will be available to eat along the way.
Went to deck 11, got gps fix showing we are going due WEST for some reason, with shore to our south. Next to gym where I weighed in at 157 and did a mile on the middle ex bike which binds at the same spot each time pedals turn. Followed this with trip to the internet café where I got shown a different way to get onto the net, and spent a few minutes surfing favorite sites.. Logged off and am going to stroll by the lido lounge Then see about breakfast.
Time-ten AM. Almost entirely good news. Good breakfast of one sausage, one small pancake, two pcs of bacon, pineapple juice and bowl of cheerios. The ship docked an hr and a half early, so extra time to take GPS on board. Home is 5,775 miles away, bearing nearly straight north – 354 degrees. Lat S 42 45.7 Long W 65 01. Distance traveled is a bit off for some reason, but it is showing 784 miles.
I think it is more, and will work it out later, prolly when I finish the distance figures for the Sea trip. Nearest airport is SAVY, 4 miles due west of the dock.
The port does not look very third world, with nice condos and office buildings in view. Perhaps a dozen small boats to sea of us. Small military ship alongside. Looks very benign. Weather is windy but not cold. Overcast sky.
Time is now 11am. One thing about being on a boat with primarily people my age is that we all tend to think alike, so the gym, restaurants etc are more apt to be in use during those off times when I tend to use them. On the other hand, we are a quiet lot, polite and – get this people – good situational awareness.
I went ashore solo and rode the shuttle bus to the end of the pier, which reminded me of Puntarenas, Costa Rica somewhat. It is much hotter down out of the wind, and I rapidly had to strip my hoodie, and even the lightweight long sleeved turtleneck may be a bit much…but that depends if they air condition the bus to frigidity.
Evening. Another long, happy, full day of good times and good memories and another batch of pictures to sort and another full page of writing to try to decipher. Bus ride was several hours each way, with window starboard, empty seat beside, my first view of elephant seals (which normally island) sea lions, and back to the ship, to the shore excursion, purser, dinner, the lovely trio and all that before going back to the room.
So – met up at the icy Lounge, and again they got going way before the scheduled time, but this time I had learnt and was third onto the bus and set two rows back, starboard by a window without a curtain. With candy, water, writing pad, binocs and D**’s camera, I felt ready for anything, including having to redon the hoody due to the a/c.
Our guide was a school teacher (English, Grade 12) named Analea Laura Garcia, and the driver/mechanic was Jorge. Jorge got to change a gas filter enroute as the bus came to a shuddering stop in the middle of nowhere, and I mean that literally – the preserve is about 55 miles per side (3,000 sq km) and basically empty except for cattle (which we did not see) horses, sheep (which we did) and the guide managed to get excited over seeing several herds of leaping guanacos and several rheas which are small ostriches.
Area was started by the Welsh. 65,000 people live in Puerto Madryn. Main industry is an aluminum factory which employs thousands of people. Stopped at Interpretation center, with tower for a view and a little museum with animals, birds etc – no English. Following this including a pitstop, my seat was secure and I totally relaxed, and was taken by surprise by a bottle of water (not for three dollars) and a huge box lunch with turkey sandwich and a ham and cheese sandwich, desert and some grapes, most of which I finished. So we were declared lucky on the animals we saw and a recent rain which kept down most of the dust.
The first stop after the interpretation center was the elephant seals. I was disappointed that they said all the big males were gone and only little ones there, but there seemed to be a few big ones that I saw. Frankly, I felt better physically on that part of the trip than I have in awhile.
I walked fast, up and down 65 steps, kept up and passed people, and found my own way to the trail which parallels the shoreline and was about a hundred feet above the actual beach. There were perhaps at most a dozen animals to be seen, but one large one was way down at the right side, and I got some time alone with it with the wind blowing and the warm scent of the wild great outdoors, and it was good. No bugs, no snakes and only an armadillo which literally ran over my feet to both our surprise. It was a magic moment alone with the big beast watching him flip sand onto his back. Then I got two postcards in as many minutes for a buck and was back on the bus 2 min before the hour was up.
Next stop was a more active sea lion rookery. There were over a hundred of them, all ages and sizes and to me they sounded like sheep or goats. It was not very very windy and dust was blowing, but the place reminded me at times of PEI, Tenerife, Capetown, Aruba, and parts of Utah except for the ocean being right there, or parts of east Wyoming. While Jorge changed the gas filter, I changed the batteries in D**’s camera. We drive by the lowest point in South America, but I got no picture to prove it.
One good thing about a smaller boat is there is not a 15 minute wait to get on or off. I made it up the gangway, went straight to the excursion desk to see about what to do in Ushaia, then to the purser where I was assured that the fifty bucks credit was given to me, and then to the dining room where I had hot and cold pork, including pork parmagiana and apple pie ala mode. Then I went and listened to the trio in the Lido lounge, all the while before going to the cabin after reboarding. When I did, there was a [towel] skate on the bed from my little stewardess.. I saw the internet café dude but did not feel up to asking the question about sending pix to W** just now…he is a prickly dude.
It is 2200 and I am now really in my cabin for the first real time in twelve hours. To be honest, I just found out that we are not going to be at Port Stanley tomorrow, and it is a bit of a relief to have a sea day to sort of recollect.
I spent an hour or so with the Lido Trio again, and she is quite delightful and was very interested in looking at pictures of Aruba, Belize and Roatan, as she is going to be going there. She has been thru the Panama Canal. Another package of goodies was delivered to the stateroom, this one from the cruise director.
She seemed genuinely sad when I left, but I told her, we have ten more nights, and I’ll be there for most or all of them. Now I am watching the descriptions of upcoming tours and working on trying to get my pictures better arranged. I have stuck Uruguay into the Argentina folder and will put today’s in as well in a separate folder Puerto Madryn.
Actual Dictionary of the day includes
House where owner of ranch lives –estancia
Lama-like creatures about size of deer – guanaco
Small ostrich-like bird – Patagonian Rhea