Viking Cruise: The End of Our Journey

Well, as this comes to a close, it has been a great experience. We got a pretty decent “sampler platter” of South America. From the French Guiana to the Amazon to Rio and Montevideo, to Buenos Aires and the Falklands/Malvinas, Tierra del Fuego, around Cape Horn, to Patagonia and then tomorrow to Santiago.  What a journey.

But not home yet. From Santiago, we’ll go to LA to see Derek, Jessie, and Ernie, and from there to Dallas to attend the annual Dallas LP Christmas Party and see the gang there. It’s been great (and will continue to be).

On a check off the goals note, I did pretty good:

Got most of the year end LP stuff done.

Kept in touch with the offices (sorry for the many “Whaddup?” Emails 🙂

Read 2.5 books.

Walked over half a million steps (>250 miles) in the 47 days on the ship.

Worked out in the gym ALMOST every day. I promise Megan and Sam 🙂

Ate PRETTY well. Actually, if the scale here is right, I lost a couple of pounds on the trip which was much needed 🙂

Hallie and I didn’t kill each other. Didn’t even come close. Was VERY enjoyable actually. Good to know we could do that.

And was not bored once. Not for one minute.

A great experience through and through.

One of the nice things about cruises is 1. You’re in a beautiful “hotel” where everything is pretty much taken care of for you, and 2. Every day you wake up in a cool place (3. And you don’t have to pack and unpack when you get there.)

If you haven’t tried one, I’d highly recommend it. Probably best to start with a 7-10 day cruise (quarters are tight and it’s easy to get on one another’s nerves—we witnessed more than a few cases of that on this trip). It’s not for everyone, but I find it very enjoyable.

And our trip was more of an “old folks” cruise. No kids. No casinos. No big parties. That was fine with us. But for those who want loud bashes all night, there are lines other than Viking that cater to those who do. I’m sure there is something for everyone out there.

In any event, I’ll report from Santiago.  Gonna see if I can find an American sports bar there so I can (finally) get to see the Bills play. Been missing the best football they’ve played in years.  Oh, well. Not the end of the world. And I know that because we just spent a few days there actually 🙂


Viking Cruise: Heading North to Santiago, Chile

Well, finally on the way to our last port of call. The capital of Chile, Santiago.  I heard there are big demonstrations going on there. Memories of my youth 😀 (though probably smart if I stay away)

Our stop today, Puerto Montt, seen below, had to be cancelled. The docks are not accessible for big ships so what they do is they drop anchor in the harbor and then use their life boats to tender us ashore. However, when we got there this morning, there were 35 mile and hour winds and waves that made getting on and off the tenders difficult. Plus the anchor would not hold the ship in place.  So the captain called an audible and we left. Like he always says about the weather, “it is what it is.”

Disappointing because there is a beautiful lake and volcanoes here. Teddy Roosevelt said it is the prettiest lake in the world.

Next time, I guess. 😀

Heading North!



Viking Cruise: Punta Arenas, Chile

Arrived in Punta Arenas, Chile last night (I think our captain may have gotten a little lost on the way, judging from the map, eh?) 🙂

Anyway, today we got to kayak the Strait of Magellan. As you probably know, this is the pathway that Portuguese explorer, Ferdinand Magellan, found that took him from the Atlantic to the Pacific and around the world 500 years ago. (next year is the 500th anniversary)

Very, very cool.

Punta Arenas is in Patagonia, and again, very far south. The city actually has almost the same population as Erie and tourism is a big part of their industry, especially as it has gotten warmer here over the years.

Allow me minor tangent from my travelogue please, if you don’t mind:

I am a big fan of technology. I know I’m not very good at it (I am still awed by the fact that connecting 2 tin cans with string rubbed with candle wax enables you to talk over that line, and have no clue how THAT works :), so I have ZERO clue how technology works, though I have used it all the time (I actually owned the first portable computer ever made—the Kaypro 2, back in the 1980’s before some of you were born!).  I love the brilliance and convenience of it.

But this REALLY amazes me:

Hallie’s Google phone can take this picture. (Actually you don’t even need the ship as background, JUST the numbers would work) and then Google spreads some magic sprinkle dust on the screen and it recognized those numbers as:

RRS Discovery (2013)

This article is about the 2013 vessel. For Scott’s 1901 ship, see RRS Discovery. For other ships of this name, see RRS Discovery (disambiguation).

RRS Discovery is a Royal Research Ship operated by the Natural Environment Research Council. The ship is the third such vessel to be built and named for the ship used by Robert Falcon Scott in his 1901-1904 expedition to the Antarctic.

Name: RRS Discovery
Owner: NERC Research Ship Unit
Builder: C.N.P. Freire, S.A
Cost: £68 million
Laid down: 16 February 2011
Launched: 6 April 2012
Completed: 3 June 2013
Identification: ·IMO number9588029

·MMSI number235091165

·Callsign: 2FGX5

Status: In service
General characteristics 
Class and type: Lloyd’s +100A1, Ice 1D, LMC, UMS, DP(AM), IWS, EP, Research Vessel
Displacement: 6260 tonnes
Length: 99.7 m
Beam: 18 m
Draught: 5.1 – 6.6 m
Installed power: Wärtsilä 8L20 – 4x 1770 Kw
Propulsion: ·2 × Azimuth Thrusters(5-bladed, fixed pitch)

·One retractable azimuth forward (1,350kW)

·One Tees Gill water-jet thruster (1,700 kW)

Speed: 12 knots
Crew: ·24 marine crew

·28 scientists

Notes: Endurance 50 days

Discovery was built as a replacement for the previous Discovery in the “blue ocean” research role.[1] The ship was ordered in 2010 from the C.N.P. Freire shipyard in Vigo, and was launched in April 2012. Discovery was delivered to the NERC in the summer of 2013 for a period of sea trials prior to her planned initial deployment.[2]

The ship is fitted with flexible laboratory spaces, allowing the laboratories to be tailored to the nature of the different scientific activities intended to take place on each cruise. Discovery is also fitted with an advanced hydroacoustic system in three major parts; a pair of major echosounders plus a hydrophone are installed in a special “blister” installation on the ship’s keel, while she also carries a pair of “drop keels” containing more echosounders, hydrophones and CCTV cameras.[3] Discovery is also capable of operating the National Oceanography Centre‘s ROUV Isis.

How on earth can the phone take a picture of 5 seemingly random letters/numbers and know that it this ship? I REALLY don’t get that.  Amazing! (And one of our biggest customers). Keep wowing ‘em, Google!

Heading north up the coast tonight.