Two days at sea (February 21-22)

First day
We enjoyed a perfect, lazy day bobbing around in the ocean. The skies were clear, the sun warm, and the seas as calm as a cucumber. Dan and I rolled out of bed around 10:00, hours after our cruise buddies, with just enough time to walk the deck, shower, and meet for lunch. I went out on a limb mid-afternoon and had a full body treatment in the spa. Head to toe massage and a mini-facial. Dan played some video poker and we both read and relaxed on the deck until time for (free) cocktails, dinner, and entertainment. Our entertainer was Salvatore Hasard, a singer and multi-instrumentalist who jammed on the piano, drums, harmonica, guitar, and a small horn that looked like a baby sax. He was high energy and very enjoyable. After our buddies headed to bed, Dan and I enjoyed a nightcap at the bar while listening to rousing ’50s and ’60s music, mostly sung in Portuguese. Lots of Elvis, lots of dancing.

Second day
We were told (forewarned) that the seas would most likely be rough and winds strong as we approached Cape Horn, the southern most tip of South America where the Atlantic meets the Pacific. As you history buffs remember, this was the primary Atlantic/Pacific shipping route for centuries until the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914 created an awesome shortcut with incalculable savings in money, time, and lives lost to the perilous journey ’round the Horn.’

As predicted, we woke up to hangers sliding back and forth in the closet, a couple of drawers sliding in and out involuntarily, wind, and rough seas. Enough activity to send us straight to our stash of sea sickness abatement meds. Dramamine for breakfast in other words. Our room is three floors from the top of the ship and in the way back, so we are in the prime location for lots of rockin and rollin, pitching and heaving.

We felt fine all morning thanks to our pharmaceuticals and went to lunch early having had nothing to eat but Dramamine. Around noon the captain came on to tell us that the Horn was experiencing 30 foot seas and winds up to 69 miles an hour. Not an oddity since the weather is less than ideal 80% of the time that far south. It was his decision, therefore, to change course and not continue to head into that kind of weather. We were disappointed to have come this far but very supportive of his safety-first strategy.

Our new course took us close to shore through fiords. Low lying, dark clouds, rain, and wind made the visibility poor for the most part, but when the sun made brief appearances, I could see low lying hills smothered in trees, presumably evergreens. Late in the afternoon, just as we were leaving for dinner, we spotted penguins clustered on small islands in the fiords and along the shore. Cute as a fricken button those little guys! We also passed Fort Williams, the southern most town in the whole wide world.

H&R had a lazy afternoon and we played Hand and Foot with W&C. Walter and I won by the skin of our teeth. The second formal night was tonight, so we all donned our fancy outfits and met for (free) cocktails, as usual. Red wine for me and gin and tonic for Dan. The entertainment was a lively country western review. All in English!

On a sad note: Dan found out that General Thompson, his boss in the early 80s and a longtime friend, died yesterday. He took a spill just before we left, but his passing was not anticipated.


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