Regent Mariner
Circumnavigation of South America
January - March 2013
Jan 22nd                After 3 days in Lima we departed at 5PM for Pisco.

Jan 23rd & 24th    Our next two ports were in the southern most part of Peru about 50 miles from
Pisco and 100 miles from Arequipa respectively.  At the first we took a boat tour to the
Ballestas
Islands which is a wildlife refuge teaming with birds, sea lions and a few penguins. Every seven years
the
guano is harvested and loaded onto ships.

The following day we visited another wildlife preserve.

All of coast of Peru is barren sand with the Andes rising majestically in the distance.

PHOTOS

Jan 25th to 28th        After a sea day our ports were in Northern Chile.  Antofagasta on the 26th,
Coquimbo/La Serena on the 27th, and Valparaiso on the 28th. We participated in a tour of Coquimbo
and La Serena, but for the  most part stayed enjoyed the scenery from shipboard.

PHOTOS

Jan 29th                Tuesday was another relaxing day at sea.  We listened to an interesting lecture on
the Chilean Fjords which we will be cruising through for the next few days.             

Jan 30th                Our port on Wednesday was Puerto Montt which we had been to on several
previous occasions.  We were particularly interested in a visit to Puerto Varas where we spent
Christmas about 10 years ago prior to a trip from Petrohue to Bariloche, Argentina via a series of
lakes.  It was hard to believe the growth in this quaint village during the ensuing years and we all the
more appreciated our earlier visit.  Our tour took us to Petohue Falls and we were disappointed that
we didn't continue on to the village of Petrohue which we remembered as a small undeveloped
settlement.

Jan 31st                Thursday we anchored in the port of Chacabuco, Chile which we had also visited
some years ago when we enjoyed Christmas at the
Puyuhuapi Lodge and Spa.  Chacabuco was about
the same as we remembered it, primarily a major fishing port for farm raised Chilean salmon.  We
enjoyed a trip to a National Park and the city of Coyhaique.

PHOTOS

Feb 1st                The Mariner was at anchor and we were taken in groups to the face of the San
Raphael glacier via a catamaran throughout the day.  This is one of the largest tidewater glaciers in
Patagonia and is very spectacular.  This was another repeat experience for us.  We had previously
visited the glacier in conjunction with our stay at the Puyuhuapi Lodge.  A very relaxing and enjoyable
day.

Feb 2nd and 3rd        We enjoyed two days of cruising through the Chilean Fjords stopping at
numerous glaciers along the way and passing a couple of famous ship wrecks.

Feb 4th                We were in Punta Arenas, Chile for the day, and once again were amazed at the
growth of the city since we had last visited here in conjunction with a
trip to the Falkland Islands.  Our
itinerary on this cruise originally included the Falkland Islands, but had to be altered because of the
hostilities between Argentina and the Falklands.  Argentina lost control of the Falklands to the UK
some years ago and has periodically attempted to regain them.  At the time of this cruise Argentina
was turning away cruise ships that had stopped in the Falklands, so Regent made a last minute
change to our itinerary.  The last time we were in Punta Arenas we bought a piece of jewelry for
Eleanor from a vendor at the Market Square in the center of the city.  He was still there.  We also
stopped by the hotel we had stayed at during our previous visit which brought back pleasant
memories.

Feb 5th                We began the day early cruising through the Beagle Channel on our way to a  trip
around the Cape of Horn.  For two plus hours we passed by numerous glaciers, most of which were in
the mountains and do not reach the sea.  It is an very scenic section of coast line.

We were extremely fortunate in our trip around Cape Horn.  It was a bit blustery and overcast as we
started out, but it cleared off and we got a magnificent view of the Light House and Albatross
Monument to the "estimated 10,000 souls who perished rounding the Horn".  The Light House is
currently  manned by a Chilean Naval Officer, his wife and their two daughters who are 7 and 9 years
old.  The sea was quite calm.  40 foot waves are the norm and they can get to 100 feet high!  The
Captain of the Mariner even did a "360 degree turn" for us in memory of those that have lost their
lives in this treacherous area where the Pacific, Atlantic and Southern Oceans meet and the currents
are very difficult, especially for the old sailing vessels. We started out in Punta Arenas and continued  
past Ushuaia, Argentina to circle the Island of Horn which is in Chilean Waters before proceeding to
Ushuaia where we had to pick up an Argentine Pilot for our time in Argentinean Patagonia. Cape Horn
is actually an island and not a part of the mainland and is approximately 600 miles from Antarctica.

PHOTOS

Feb 6th                Ushuaia was our first stop in Argentina.  When we were here previously the city was
pretty much a stopover for ships traveling to Antarctica. It has since become a popular port for cruise
ships traveling around the South American continent and as a result has lost much of its previous
charm.  The hotel we had stayed at was closed and the main street was lined with upscale stores
selling North Face and other high end clothing and jewelry, etc.  It was only in the 50's and the wind
was blowing at about 40 mph.


Feb 7th and 8th             These were sea days on our way to Puerto Madryn, Argentina.

Feb 9th                Puerto Madryn is a resort town that has grown rapidly over the past few years,
primarily because of its beautiful beaches and proximity to prime areas for observing penguins,
whales and other wildlife.  It was settled by the Welsh in the late 1880's.  It is about 50 miles from the
larger city of Trelow, but this is an isolated area of the Patagonia area of South America.  We skipped
the all day trip to view penguins which involved a bus ride of 3 hours in each direction, and instead
visited the town of
Gaiman which was were the Welsh first settled this part of Patagonia.  The tour
involved a rather long bus ride with a stop for tea and pasteries in the town.  This part of Argentina is
a large area of the  
Pampas with very little rainfall - about 12 inches per year.  Agriculture is
supported by irrigation from the Chubut River.

Feb 11th and 12th        After a day at sea we were in Montevideo, Ushuaia for two days,  Ushuaia was
a new destination for us.  This stop was not originally in the itinerary but due to the tension between
Argentina and the Falkland Islands that part of our cruise was cancelled and we came to Montevideo.  
We walked about the Old City for a couple of hours on the first day and were a bit disappointed.  We
will return to Montevideo after spending three days in Buenos Aires.  I have included a link to my
photos of Uruguay along with additional comments about the city in the next section of this blog.

Feb 13th to 15th        Buenos Aires marked the conclusion of the second leg of our cruise around
South America.  Approximately 500 passengers disembarked and a similar number of passengers
embarked for the next 12 day cruise to Rio De Janeiro.

We had been in Buenos Aires on three previous occasions including New Year's Eve marking the end
of the Millennium.  Unfortunately the city has been experiencing economic decline over the years
which was apparent to us.  The
La Boca area of the city was a major disappointment.  We were warned
by our guide to remain within a two block area which was crowded with tourist shops and people
dressed as Tango Dancers posing with tourists for photographs.  We remembered the area as being
low key and a joy to wander through.

The Recoleta area of the city was still very clean and modern.  It appeared to be a safe area to stay in
and is relatively free of pick pockets, etc. however it is unfortunately still common for tourists to be
accosted in the evening when leaving their hotels. The
cemetery where Eva Perón  is buried was
noticeably cleaner and better maintained than during our previous visits.  We attended a show at one
of the Tango houses which was enjoyable, but after 90 minutes we were glad it ended.

If you look beyond the poorer neighborhoods of Buenos Aires where the poverty is rampant and
visable, it is a beautiful city which in many area could easily be mistaken for Paris.

ARGENTINA PHOTOS
                 

GENERAL PHOTOS

BIRD PHOTOS


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