Marg and Leigh's travels around the world

We are two retired women from New Zealand, busy travelling the world. Our quest is to experience other cultures before they are changed beyond recognition, and see endangered animals and environments before they disappear. We hope you like our blog and enjoy our exploits. We sure have had fun getting here.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018


Colonia Express ferry from Buenos Aires
The time came to leave Argentina, and our next stop was to be Uruguay, a country with a population of about 3.5 mil, a high quality of life, and one of the safest countries in South America.

Catching the Colonia Express ferry from Buenos Aires took us across the very wide Río de la Plata (Silver River), to Colonia del Sacramento (Colonia). We then had to bus from Colonia to Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay and our destination for the next 12 nights.

Sunset from Montevideo apartment
The ferry left on time, despite the chaos of loading a huge number of Xmas/New Year holiday travellers. However, the queue for the bus in Colonia was massive, and we arrived at our accommodation an hour later than planned.  

We had rented an Airbnb apartment in Punta Carretas, a suburb of Montevideo. The apartment was lovely, on the ninth floor with river and sunset views, and the owner had left us lots of goodies.

Montevideo-Feria de Villa Biarritz market
The location proved a good choice as the apartment was near two beautiful sandy beaches, close to restaurants, and right opposite Parque Rodó, a large leafy park.

Parque Rodó is the scene of the famous Feria de Villa Biarritz market which we visited by just crossing the road. It is also used for practicing candombe, the Uruguayan music and dance that comes from African slaves, and that has been recognised by UNESCO as a world heritage cultural activity.

We were also only one block from the Rambla, the longest continuous sidewalk in the world. Starting in Montevideo centre, the Rambla follows the Rio de la Plata eastwards for over 22 kilometres.

We arrived on the 30th Dec so we had time to shop before New Year’s Eve, as almost everything then was to be closed until the 2nd of January. So we walked the Rambla for 7 km into Ciudad Vieja, the old city.

Montevideo-Ciudad Vieja
The old town was charming, with baroque and colonial style architecture reflecting its southern-European roots, and built on narrow streets that lead down to the old market and port area.

Outside the old centre, we noticed quite a lot of art deco style architecture, and there were many plazas and greenspaces.

It was extremely hot, and we walked for hours before stopping at a small bar for a cooling beer.

Montevideo-New Year's Eve fireworks
Walking home later, we enjoyed the shade of the mature trees planted along every street.

On New Year’s Eve, Montevideo, unlike many capital cities, does not celebrate with a huge central fireworks display. Instead, people let off their own fireworks all over the city.

From our apartment, we had a fabulous view of the many firework displays. Some started early, but at midnight we were surrounded by lights and bangs everywhere. Come on in 2018!

Montevideo-Punta Carretas Lighthouse
Initially we thought Montevideo was dirty with rubbish everywhere, but very soon after the short holiday period, the municipal cleaners got to work, and it totally changed our view. The only thing we didn't like was the huge amount of disfiguring tagging, which did not seem to get cleaned off. It was a real blot on the landscape.

We walked into the old city several times, to a cute little lighthouse on the point, and to neighbouring suburbs seeing different housing styles.

Colonia del Sacramento (UNESCO)
The Rambla was always busy with people walking, running, cycling, out with their dogs, or on one of the many beaches. So vibrant.

After a few days, we hired a very small car to do some touring further out from the city.

Firstly, we drove west past lots of agricultural land, to Colonia where we originally arrived in Uruguay. It is a UNESCO town and gorgeous, with narrow cobbled streets, and lovely buildings right on the river front.

Colonia lunch in heritage building
It was full of tourists but everyone seemed to move around easily and we had a good time exploring.

We had lunch at a cute cafe in a heritage building by the plaza, and it was very pleasant sitting in the shade watching people go by.

Later, we drove further west to Carmelo, another old town on the river but being a Saturday, not much was moving there. We drove home by a different route to see more of the Uruguayan gaucho landscape.

Casapueblo and the art of Carlos Paez Vilaro
The next day we drove east alongside, then beyond the Rambla, past heaps of very busy beaches.

On the way, we went through the pretty beach city of Piriápolis then on to the rocky cliffs of Punta Ballena. We were there to see Casapueblo, an amazing piece of architecture, built over a 40 year period by Carlos Páez Vilaró, a famous Uruguayan artist.  

This unusual building is now a museum and hotel, and as we wandered through it, we enjoyed the art of its creator.

Punta del Este
Driving on, we passed through many beach towns, heading for Punta del Este. We found the place full of high rise buildings and teeming with people, with overflowing cafes, and beaches swarming with basking bodies.

This city has sandy beaches of the river on one side, and rocky beaches of the Atlantic Ocean on the other. Driving around the very attractive harbour, we reached the river delta to see the Atlantic Ocean, the world’s 2nd largest after the Pacific.

We have followed the Atlantic on several of our journeys, with the northernmost point being when we were in Norway in 2013, and the southernmost being in Antarctica two weeks ago.

Jose Ignacio houses
Because Punta del Este was extremely hot and crowded, we didn't stop for long and headed further up the coast to the small attractive but touristy village of José Ignacio.  

It had narrow streets and quaint houses. Very nice, except if trying to drive down to the beach.

It was so busy that we found it hard to get through all the parked cars on either side of the road even our very small car.
Laguna Garzon circular bridge
After that, we drove to an interesting bridge over protected wetlands at Laguna Garzón. 

The bridge forms a complete circle and was designed to slow down the traffic from the highway to the quiet environmentally protected area of the lagoon.

It was definitely different and we had a chance to see it properly due to the very low speed limit.

Good use of  Uruguay's roading reserve on hot days
After a full-on day, we headed back to Montevideo via an inland route to try to avoid the homeward beach traffic.

En-route we saw people stopped at the side of the highway, sitting in their fold-up chairs. 

We have seen a lot of this in both Argentina and Uruguay where people stop anywhere there is shade, seemingly oblivious to the traffic noise, but grateful for a tree and a bit of green space. 

Bodega Bouza-nice wine and antique cars
The next day we headed north, on one of Uruguay’s wine routes.

We started at Bodega Bouza which was a large commercial enterprise set in lovely grounds. 

The wine tasting and food area was in a building displaying some beautiful antique cars. 

After sampling some wine and food, we headed to our next destination.

Bodega Pizzorno
The next bodega was booked out so we drove on through several attractive villages, reaching Canalones in the pampas and gaucho area. But again, we could not get into our desired bodega.

Feeling a little despondent and getting hungry we found our way to Bodega Pizzorno where we had a lovely welcome by the winemaker, Lucio.

He fed us, then told us about his boutique bodega’s history and wines. We went down into the cellar where they make, bottle and store their wines and had several tastings. 

Their specialty of course being tannat, the wine of Uruguay. But they also had a wonderful merlot.

It was a great visit with a New Zealand connection as their sauvignon blanc advisor is a Kiwi wine maker! After a couple of happy hours there, we headed back to the city.

We really enjoyed our stay in Montevideo and exploring other parts of Uruguay. We were able to have a combination of relaxation and sightseeing, which was great as it was very hot.

Rainbow on last night in Montevideo
Uruguay is the only place we found a real supermarket with a great range of goods.

All other food shopping on our trip had been in towns or villages where there was a limited range of stock. Even in Buenos Aires, the shops were small and local.

Interestingly, the people of Uruguay seem to be addicted to drinking mate as in Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. They carry their mate cup everywhere along with a thermos of hot water tucked under their arm. Such a common sight wherever we went. We know it’s a cultural thing but the taste is so bitter!

Too soon, it was time to leave for our long trip home. We caught a taxi to the bus station for a bus back to Colonia, for the ferry to Buenos Aires, where we took a taxi to catch our plane to Santiago, for our flight to Auckland.

Crossing the Andes Mountains on our flight home
Although LATAM airlines (via Qantas codeshare) seemed not have Leigh booked on the Santiago to Auckland flight, we finally sorted it out in time for departure; although we were not seated together despite booking the flight and seats in May 2017!

Our luggage didn’t arrive in Auckland, but as with the same flight last year from Santiago, it arrived the next day. Our advice….don’t use LATAM Airlines.

Despite the tricky homeward flight, we loved this side of South America as much as we loved our tour of the other side last year.

We have had an amazing journey through five countries and the Antarctic continent. We’ve seen some fabulous scenery, spotted remarkable wildlife, been in stunning (and not so stunning) cities, towns and villages, and met some really lovely people. A fond farewell South America.

We are now planning to take a break from travel; but the next adventure is never far away.

Friday, 19 January 2018

Buenos Aires for Christmas

Disembarking the ship at the end of our Antarctica cruise, we headed for our hotel in Ushuaia. We had planned a couple of nights there before moving on.

Tierra del Fuego National Park-at the end of the world
Our main reason for staying in Ushuaia was to visit the Tierra del Fuego National Park with its 63,000 spectacular hectares of forest, lagoons, glaciers, and mountains.

The next morning we took a bus to the Park, and after picking up a useful map, we embarked upon several shortish walking routes.

We had a lovely day, walking through beautiful and haunting forests of Antarctic and lenga beech trees, crossing interesting peat bogs, and circling pretty lagoons.

Lapataia Bay sign and end of the PanAm Highway
The Park is located at the southernmost point of Argentina and is also known as the ‘park at the end of the world’. We even found a sign saying we had reached the end of the Pan-America Highway (the PanAm).

We have driven the PanAm in Vdos and been on it several times in a bus through Peru, Ecuador and Colombia. It begins in Alaska and runs right down through the Americas to Ushuaia making it the world’s longest road.

Lapataia Bay lagoon
The Park wildlife was interesting and we spotted steamer ducks, geese, petrels, condors and a woodpecker. We even saw a beaver dam; but no beavers.

Eventually we arrived at Lapataia Bay lagoon and sat for a while admiring the view, before catching a bus back into Ushuaia.

The next day we caught a flight to Buenos Aires. Being Christmas Eve, most shops and restaurants were closed. However, we managed to buy a few goodies to eat and drink before checking into the Lemon Apartments, our accommodation for the week.

Park Lezama, Buenos Aires-quiet on Christmas Day 2017
Then we celebrated sitting on our balcony with a good wine, while watching the city lights.

Christmas Eve is a big family time in Argentina with people rushing everywhere clutching parcels and food.

Christmas Day was quiet. We walked around the area and it wasn't until much later that families emerged with kids on new bikes etc – same as at home really – but it was so, so hot.

Rey Castro restaurant-Castro top left
This was our third time in Buenos Aires city, but the first time that we had stayed for more than a few days.

At first glance, Buenos Aires seemed like a distressed old girl.

Like Paris twenty years ago, she is full of interesting but crumbling buildings, wide boulevards, narrow side-streets, graffiti, broken pavements, and lots and lots of doggie doo.

San Telmo-our local pizza place. Lemon Apartments
on left of photo
But, as with Paris, there is a certain hard-to-put-your-finger-on vibrancy that hooks you in.

You get to know the area and its character, and some of the people who live and work there, and the nasty stuff is forgotten.

It’s a fabulous and diverse city and we loved our time there.

We relaxed and walked around Buenos Aires city at our leisure, pacing ourselves in the heat. 

San Telmo-our local mini-market
The Lemon Apartments where we stayed, are modern and clean, and in a small refurbished building. The building even had a pool. We enjoyed our stay there.

The Lemon is in San Telmo, the ‘old town’ of Buenos Aires city. San Telmo proved a great choice for us, as we could walk everywhere. We had a great pizza bar up on the corner and a mini-market on the other corner which always seem to be open.

The people working in those places were all very friendly, and waved to us whenever we went past. It made us almost feel like locals!

Tango in the park at Plaza Dorrego, San Telmo
In San Telmo, we found Plaza Dorrego, a small park surrounded by cafes whose tables spilled out onto the Plaza. Then as if by magic, at around 6 pm most nights, the Plaza would come alive to the music of the tango.

The cafes would fill up, and couples would appear in lovely costumes to dance the tango – the national music and dance of Argentina.

Tango originated in Buenos Aires and Montevideo (Uruguay). It has been awarded UNESCO status because it is deemed by the United Nations to be a part of the world’s intangible cultural heritage.

Beautiful old tango hall-our Tango night in Buenos Aires
We went to a professional tango show one night, that included dinner, a show, and a lesson (if one so desired). We didn't do the lesson but had a huge steak meal and a bottle of red wine - yum!

The show consisted of six dancers, a singer and a band with an amazing violin player. The programme alternated between the dancing, singing and music. The dancers were very agile and slick with some incredible moves. It was a lovely venue, great fun, and very Argentinean.

Marg at Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires
Over the week, we explored the plethora of antique shops, the many little green spaces, different mini-marts, cute cafes, and beautiful architecture that make up Buenos Aires.

Each suburb of Buenos Aires city is a little unique. We quite liked the newly developed area of Puerto Madero with its vibrant waterfront area and modern architecture, and the contrasting Monserrat with its grand, historic and beautiful architecture; and of course, the vibrant San Telmo.

The fabulous old market in San Telmo, Buenos Aires
We had a great time in Buenos Aires and it was good to relax after a full-on Antarctica cruise, and our campervan trip.

We have loved Argentina. We received several NZ Government warnings advising us of civil unrest there, and to be careful because of the economic situation, and high incidences of crime. But we thought it was ok.

We did see a small protest where people were marching down the street noisily but peacefully; much as we do when we march to our NZ parliament.

Parliament House Buenos Aires-the scene of many protests
The economy and currency is volatile. We considered using the ‘blue market’ of currency exchange to change our US dollars – but didn’t in the end – and we were not affected by any crime.

Argentineans are warm people, and they have a huge focus on family.

Children and pregnant women are prioritized and when it comes to standing in a queue, they are always encouraged to go first.

We even saw shops that were closed on Sundays, naming the closure as ‘children time’.

Typical mate cups
So many people consume the national drink called ‘mate’ – made from crushed and dried yerba mate root. They are so addicted to it that everywhere they go, they carry around a huge thermos flask of hot water in one arm, and their cup of mate in the other. There are even free hot water stations around towns so you can refill your thermos.

The cup is especially made for mate and the tea is sucked up through a special metal straw.

Making mate cups and straws has become an art form, and drinking mate is a national pastime! We tried one type of mate and found it very bitter.

All up, we had spent about two months in Argentina, including Buenos Aires, and it was time to move on, so we headed off to catch a ferry to take us to Montevideo in Uruguay.

Thursday, 11 January 2018


Ushuaia street
After returning our rented motorhome Vdos to her Buenos Aires owners, we flew to Ushuaia. We went there to embark upon our 10 day cruise to Antarctica.

Ushuaia is the southernmost city in Argentina and the world.

While there, we explored the town, enjoying the colourful houses and shops, steeps streets, and the vibrancy of the place.

Ushuaia-Prison at the End of the World now a museum
There were people everywhere - it was easy to spot the tourists as they were all wrapped up against the cold!

We visited the museum that used to be a jail for convicts and it had a lot of interesting exhibits.

We also had an asada, a traditional dish of Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. It is meat cooked on an open fire or a grill called a parilla. The locals favour a whole lamb on a spit, over a hot coal fire. It is so very yummy.

MS Expedition docked at Ushuaia
After a few days in Ushuaia, we boarded our ship, the MS Expedition owned by G-Adventures. She was to be our home in Antarctica for the next ten days.

While boarding, we had our photo taken for an identity card, and were put into a zodiac group for shore landings. Zodiac groups are named after Antarctic penguins. We were 'chinstraps'.

Finding our cabin was the next step, and it turned out to be on the port side.

Our cabin
To our great delight, we had been upgraded from a port-hole cabin to one with a large window. It was very spacious compared to Vdos.

The MS Expedition takes 132 passengers and we had about 110 for this trip. There were a lot of Americans and Aussies on board, quite a few Brits and Canadians, and a smattering of Europeans. There was also a couple of Chinese Kiwis.

Leaving Ushuaia-photo taken from MS Expedition
The engines soon started and we were off, out of the harbour and into the Beagle Channel. Shortly after, that, we entered the Drake Passage.

The Drake is the body of water that runs between South America and Antarctica. It is where the south-western part of the Atlantic Ocean meets the south-eastern part of the Pacific Ocean. We had heard that the weather and seas would normally be really rough for the two day crossing of the Drake Passage.

Marg-chilling out while crossing the Drake Passage
We were very lucky - apart from a bit of rocking and rolling on the first night, we had relatively calm conditions and sunny days.

Marg had prepared for seasickness with a patch and pills, so was very pleased to feel ok.

The weather was so good that we made speedy progress. The time gained, meant we we're able to make an unplanned zodiac landing in the Southern Shetlands.

Lovely warm red parka-MS Expedition, Drake Passage
During the Drake crossing, we were issued with a super warm red parka each (which we got to keep), and gumboots (which we didn’t).

It was cold out, so under our red parka we wore thermals with 2 or 3 layers of tops and pants, waterproof pants, a hat, scarf, and gloves. We looked like little rolly-pollys!

All wrapped up, we boarded a zodiac for our first landing. We were so excited – we were about to go for a walk on Antarctica.

Penguins seen: from top left-adelie, chinstrap, gentoos
After a choppy landing, we took our first steps on snow and ice. It was very white and very cold! We were glad to have all our layers of clothing on!

On that landing, we were really lucky to see three types of penguins all in one place. We saw adelie, gentoo and chinstrap penguins.

The chinstraps were very cute with a definite black line under their chins, and as our zodiac group was called 'The Chinstraps', we were very excited to see them. This first experience on the ice continent was exhilarating.

MS Expedition-Necko Harbour, Antarctica

After re-boarding the ship, we went through a wee snow storm. Being in falling snow is a bit of a novelty for us, so we went out on deck to enjoy it. We were definitely in a very cold place!

The morning after that, we sailed into Necko Harbour.

We were surrounded by icebergs, snow covered mountains, and glaciers, some of them calving with big bits of ice cracking off into the water - a truly beautiful sight.

Penguin highway, Antarctica
Then we had our first landing of the day, and walked past gentoo penguin breeding colonies. They are noisy little things and certainly have an interesting smell! They didn't seem to be too concerned that we were there, as long we stood quietly to let them pass on walkways in the snow that are called ‘penguin highways’.

Our second landing was in the early afternoon, on Danco Island. There were even more gentoos nesting on bare rocky patches.

Gentoo penguin nesting-Danco Isl, Antarctica
It was fabulous to be able to get so close to them and see how they built their nests out of stones.

They spent a great deal of time collecting stones to build a nest, creating plenty of action when they stole stones from other nests. There were also penguins constantly going up and down their highways to the  sea to get food.

Later that day, we cruised around some huge icebergs and managed to get up very close to them in the zodiac. It was amazing.

Iceberg, rolled over showing its dimpled bottom, Antarctica
We saw one that had recently rolled over showing its dimpled bottom.

Another highlight of this day was seeing our first minke whale. They are a smallish by whale standards, surface only briefly, and are very hard to spot (let along photograph!).

The next day, the ship prepared to sail through the Lemaire Channel. We were told that it had been completely blocked with ice a week or so earlier.

Ice floes & reflections in  a calm Lemaire Channel, Antarctica
The Captain was prepared to see if he could get through the ice this time, to reach the other end of the Channel. 

Everyone was on deck to watch as the ship moved into an ever narrowing waterway, with lots and lots of ice. We moved very slowly as large chunks of ice were thumping against the hull.

Looking ahead, all you could see was more and more ice and icebergs, as the ship moved slowly but relentlessly toward a wee gap on the horizon. It was both daunting and fabulous!

No entry to the southern channel of Lemaire, Antarctica
Photos don't do justice to the beauty of the snow topped mountains reflected in the still waters of the Channel.

Arriving close to the southern end of the Channel, a zodiac was sent out to check the ice conditions ahead.

Eventually the Captain announced that the ship could not get through. So, we did a u-turn and went back the way we had come, marvelling at how much ice we had forced our way through.

Bored looking leopard seal, Antarctica
During the return journey, we spotted, a huge (3 metre) leopard seal snoozing on an iceberg, penguins, and another minke whale.

Later that day, we had a zodiac trip to see some really incredible icebergs that were all shapes, sizes and colours. Again, it was fantastic to be able to get so close to them.

While out in the zodiac, we were privileged to spot what is called a 'raft of penguins'.

Raft of penguins in the Lemaire Channel, Antarctica
This is a large group of penguins swimming together on the surface of the water, while chasing food. It was an incredible sight.

Our zodiac driver said she had been working in the Antarctic for years and it was only the second time she had seen this.

The ships expedition team were very knowledgeable about the Antarctic, and there was lots of information sharing during and after zodiac trips.

Leopard seal and penguin feet! Lemaire Channel, Antarctica
There were also lectures that you could attend, about the animals, history of the Antarctic, background to the ship, and photography in the Antarctic.
Meanwhile, back on the zodiac, we came across a huge leopard seal in the water.

Then we spotted two little pink feet sticking out of its mouth – it had caught a penguin. Not a pleasant sight as it threw it in the air and slapped it down in the water preparing to eat it.

Humpback whales bubble-net feeding, Port Charcot, Antarctica
It was a wee insight to the food chain in the Antarctic.

Back on the ship and moving again, we were treated to another amazing sight. It was a group of humpback whales right in front of the ship, bubble-net feeding.

They swam in front of us, diving then surfacing, and creating lots of bubbles. The bubbles apparently disorient fish so that the whales can corral them and feed on them.

Humpback whale diving, Port Charcot, Antarctica
We had an incredible view of their very large bodies.

They were swimming and diving in all directions as they fed right in front of us.

About 40 minutes later, they moved away and we continued on our way too, feeling very privileged to have witnessed such an event.

After breakfast the next morning, we set off in zodiacs for Port Lockroy and an Antarctic Treaty Historic Site.

British Base A post office-Port Lockroy, Antarctica
The site is called ‘British Base A’.

The base is an amazingly preserved old building containing all sorts of old stuff such as tinned food, clothing, communication equipment, and everything else that was needed to live there in the past.

It is now a Post Office. and is currently staffed by three women, accompanied by a colony of nesting gentoos.

Us with sea ice behind-Jougla Point, Antarctica
After a look around, we crossed the bay to Jougla Point, where we walked on sea ice. Apparently, a rare event at this time of the year.

It was incredible to think there was deep, freezing water right under our feet.

Later, we cruised up the Neumayer Channel to Paradise Bay.

Out on the zodiacs again, we had a very upfront view of some amazingly coloured and shaped glaciers and icebergs.

Paradise Bay glacier, Antarctica
We have seen several well-known glaciers in Patagonia and those in Paradise Bay were much bigger and in many cases, older.

Some of the iceberg shapes were incredible; all crafted by nature.

We also saw lots of blue eyed shags. Their eyes really are an amazing blue.

In the afternoon, we landed at Damoy Point Research Station.

Snow slide-Damoy Point, Antarctica 
Beside the Station, was a peak giving a great view out over the bay.

We both climbed up there, but it was very tough going, climbing upwards through the snow.

It was very thick, soft and deep - knee deep for most (but thigh deep for Leigh).

After admiring the view, we slid down the steep slope on our bums. Woo hoo – what an adrenaline rush, and lots of fun.

Old whale oil vats-Whalers Bay, Deception Isl, Antarctica
We would have had a second go except it was just too hard to struggle back up to the top again through the deep snow.

The last morning of expeditions saw us enter Whalers Bay on Deception Island. The Island is actually the crater of a submerged active volcano.

There we saw the remains of an old whaling station. It had been deserted when the whaling industry collapsed in the 1920s, and then damaged by eruptions in the 1960s and 70s.

Decrepit buildings-Whalers Bay, Deception Isl, Antarctica
It had an eerie feeling to it with the white snow, black and red scoria sand on the beach, and ramshackle rusty wrecked buildings.

The area was made more mystical by the steam rising from the thermal activity below the sand.

Some people went for a swim in the bay. However, the sane ones like us, stayed on shore. While the edge of the water was warm from the thermal activity, less than a meter out it was absolutely freezing.

Macaroni penguin-Half Moon Bay, Antarctica
In the afternoon we sailed to Half Moon Bay to see a large colony of nesting chinstrap penguins.

After a climb through very deep snow, we arrived at the colony and were surprised to see, right in the middle of the chinstraps, a cute, lonely looking macaroni penguin.

Macaroni’s are rarely spotted so we were very lucky. They don’t look like other penguins because of their different beak and crazy yellow haircut.

Who knew what our macaroni was thinking when he mucked in with the chinstraps, but they appeared to accept him. It seems nature deals well with diversity. It makes one wonder why humans struggle with it so much.

Catherine performing in the Polar Bear Bar, MS Expedition
Our ship had a range of entertainment for us every night such as Catherine, who with her great voice and talented guitar playing, entertained us into the wee hours in the Polar Bear Bar.

On the last night, they showed the movie Happy Feet. A very appropriate movie considering how many penguins we had seen.

So lots of things to do if you had the stamina after such busy and energy filled days!

Cruising mates-Top: Seattle four; Sandy & Chris (Seattle);
Bottom: Brenda & Julie (Seattle): Debbie & Gary (Aust) 
At meal times you sat at whatever table you liked, so it was a good way to meet new people. We met a great couple, Debbie and Gary from Mount Coolum, on Australia’s Sunshine Coast, and a group of women from Seattle in the USA, whose company we really enjoyed as the trip progressed.

The food was fantastic with lots of choice and we were a bit concerned about how much weight we might put on if we kept trying all the food, including desserts!

Force 10  gale on the Drake Passage
The time came to head back over the Drake Passage to Ushuaia, but this time, the Drake lived up to its turbulent reputation. Everyone was eating dinner when the wind and swell suddenly picked up, and everything started to roll.

Wine glasses fell over, plates started sliding off tables and it became hard to stay seated and eat at the same time.

Most people finished eating early, and with the evening entertainment cancelled, they headed to their cabins.

The weather grew increasingly rough and we held on for dear life in our beds hoping the captain knew what he was doing! Leigh swears that the ship listed to 45 degrees on more than one occasion.

Cape Horn
We learnt the next morning that the night’s storm had been a force 10 gale with winds between 89 - 102 km/hr, and a heavy rolling sea! Not pleasant, but we were happy to have survived with no sickness or damaged belongings.

The captain headed for the famous Cape Horn overnight to take shelter. We passed it only three kilometres out, giving us a great view of this notorious point of land.

Such a bonus as ships on our route often don't get to the Horn.

The storm we experienced was terrible, but not the worst that the Drake has to offer. It’s not hard to imagine how the ships and lives that have been lost there over the centuries, were caught out.

We cruised on into Ushuaia that evening for our last night on the ship, before disembarking the next morning.

We sadly said goodbye to the friends we had made on board, and headed to our hotel thinking of all the amazing sights we had seen on this beautiful continent. We won't ever forget this trip!

Next stop, Buenos Aires for Xmas.