Buenos Aires, Argentina

February 4, 2018 (written February 14)

This will be the last blog from our cruise to Antarctica.

Disembarkation from the “Infinity” took place early this morning. Given the distance from the port in Buenos Aires to the International airport and the departure time of our flight, we opted to do a bus tour that ended at the airport.

This tour was somewhat of a disappointment. It began with our guide scarring the crap out many of the tour participants. Talking of pick pockets and other criminal activities. She strongly recommended that we leave our wallets and passports on the bus where the driver was trained to not only drive the bus but to watch out for things left on the bus while we toured. We saw very little of Buenos Aires and the tour consisted of what follows.

DSC00206Our first stop was a boat cruise on the River Tigre in Tigre Municipio. We exited the bus, with the doors left open and the driver promptly walking off to chat with other drivers (!@#$%^&*). Thankfully, all of our stuff was where we left it when we came back. We followed our guide into an outdoor reception area where our guide told us we would have about a 15 minute wait for our boat and we could explore the various shops. She pointed to an area where we were to meet. When the 15 minutes were up and most of us returned to the indicated spot she was no where to be seen. Eventually we saw some of our group over by the dock and low and behold, there she was.

The river cruise was quite interesting. We passed by a large theme park, saw many abandoned, derelict boats on the shore line, and numerous houses / cottages. Most of these were on stilts as DSC00213the river tends to flood regularly. We also passed numerous marinas, rowing and paddling clubs along the way. There was significant river traffic ranging from touring boats, cabin cruisers, outboard motorboats, kayaks and rowboats.

From here we traveled to the San Isidro Cathedral which we explored, along with a park with local craft stands. This is a rather new cathedral in the Gothic style consecrated in 1963. There was a restaurant across the road where we were able to get DSC00383some lunch.

We were dropped off at the airport with some 3 1/2 hours prior to our scheduled flight at 5:30 pm. The flight was delayed close to 3 hours. Waiting around an airport for the better part 7 hours is not a fun. Hannah was great during this time and we all made the best of it. We were schedule to arrive home at 5:30 am on the 5th, but actually arrived at 10:30 am.

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Overall this trip was very good, however we did have the Falkland Islands canceled and that is where we planned to see penguins up close. On a positive note, what we really came to see was Antarctica and the weather was near perfect for this. Cold, but sunny weather, without too much wind. Celebrity did do their best to make this a memorable cruise.

Dubai, next March with Jack our grandson, all being well.

Jill, Hannah & Kerry

More Pics from the River Cruise

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More Pics from San Isidro Cathedral

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Montevideo, Uruguay

February 3, 2018 (written February 12)

We are now on the second last day of our cruise which featured a day in port! Hurray! We disembarked from the ship for our bus tour of Montevideo, Uruguay.

We learned from tour guide, that Uruguay is a very safe country in which to live. This country provides free health care and free schooling including university. However it is somewhat of a poor country, with wages being low and almost every need being quite expensive.

DSC00040We were also told that this is a country of immigrants. There are no native Uruguayans as there was a genocide that wiped out all of the native Uruguayans. Mass genocide took place on the indigenous, (Charrua Indians) population that also suffered dwindling numbers from exposure to diseases and intermarriage with Europeans. The genocide continued until the population became extinct in the 1830’s. The bus did not stop but merely slowed down for a quick look and an attempt at a pic through the window across the aisle.

Our first stop on the tour was “Plaza Independencia”. A statue of José Gervasio Artigas dominates the quite large plaza with his remains contained in a mausoleum under the statue. Artigas was a staunch democrat and federalist, opposed to monarchism and is considered a National Uruguayan Hero.

This plaza also features “Puerta de la Ciudadelal” which is all that remains of the city gates. The Canadian Embassy is but one of a number of impressive building that surround the plaza. Palacio Salvo is another building to be seen here and is occupied by a mixture of offices and private residences. Just off of the plaza and down the road a bit is the Montevideo Opera House.

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Puerta de la Ciudadelaler

From here, we had a beautiful drive along the ocean front that featured many sandy and some pebble beaches with many many condominiums. After about a ten minute drive we arrived at a very nice little park, “Plaza del la Armada” that featured a monument dedicated to seafarers. Plaza del la Armada

We also stopped to photograph a bronze and granite state featuring oxen, ox-cart and out rider. The “Monumento la Carreta” was created in 1934 in honour of the ox-cart drivers of the 19th century. Also near here is the site of the very first World Cup of Football in 1938.

From here it was about a twenty minute drive where we received a glass of wine and watched some very talented dancers perform the Tango for us. They were very passionate in their dance moves and some of ou group were invited to dances with the various performers.

We returned to ship and enjoyed a couple of hours of free time where we took it easy. Lastly, we left Montevideo, at about 4:40 pm, delayed by about a half hour due to late returning passengers.

All for now.

Jill, Hannah & Kerry

The Streets of Montevideo

Departure from Montevideo

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Celebrity Infinity & Snapshot Rally

February 2, 2018

Today is Lindsay’s birthday! Happy Birthday Lindsay!

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Table Mates, Al & Cindy and Kazuo & Chiyoko

I guess by now you have summarized that we had our Falkland Island, port of call (Port Stanley) cancelled due to bad weather. Our ship cannot enter this small port because of its size, which means you have to be tendered in to the dock. This just could not be done. This is unfortunate as we had expected to see many penguins up close. However, safety first!

One of the interesting things that Mikey Live did was to have “Snapshot Rally”. The idea being that photographers on the

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Salt Crusted Trees In Terra del Fuego

ship would select six photos from specific places and they would be shared by all those who participated. Mickey is creating a CD of all photos which he provides free of charge. At today’s session, he made a selection of various photos (by no means all of them) and showed them on the big screen in the Infinity Theatre. Three of my six submitted photos made the show. He indicated that there were over 500 photos originally submitted. Pretty good, eh? The following are the three photos that made the cut!

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Penguins Penguins everywhere

As this is another sea day, I decided to cruise the ship in hopes of giving some idea of what the “Infinity” is like. Hope you like them. Montevideo tomorrow, Buenos Aires on Sunday and then homeward bound.

See you soon!

Jill, Hannah & Kerry

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Elephant Island, Antarctica

January 29, 2018

Today has been another very good and interesting day. I spent most of the morning on deck 4 which is covered but open on the seaward side. We likely waited an hour DSC09738or more at Elephant Island waiting for the fog to dissipate.

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Penguins Everywhere

Once the fog lifted we were presented with some superb vistas featuring some tall mountains and numerous glaziers. We are now in transit to Port Stanley and we have been told to be ready to “Rock & Roll” In other words we are going to pickup severe winds and large wave activity.

We saw many whales today and also some penguins and bird life.

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We will have to speak to the Flight Team Leader about this formation

Penguin, swimming just below the surface.

As I gaze out the Constellation Lounge on the 11th deck we have fog rolling in and it is beginning to rain. Also the ship is beginning to roll a bit.

Enjoy the pics of Elephants Island.

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Wildlife

 

 

Glaciers Icebergs & More

Schollart Channel, Paradise Bay & Gerlache Strait

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Today has been outstanding! It is Hannah’s Birthday. Hard to believe but she iDSC09672DSC09664s now 12 years of age and intends on challenging for the shotgun seat when we are driving the car. Celebrity did it up well with a “Happy Birthday” sign on the door, 3 Birthday cards from the various crew groups, and two chocolate cakes. She also received a beautiful Japanese Fan from two of our dinner companions and a pandora cruise ship charm from Grandma & Grandpa.

Unfortunately, i missed the “FaceTime” call with Bill and Beth Kinchlea when we were in Paradise Bay, our southern most point we visited in Antarctica. The wonders of communication today! Hannah has talked almost daily with her Mom and Aunt has had some calls using Google Hangout with her Dad.

Today we traversed the Schollart Channel, spent a couple of hours in Paradise Bay and then exited Gerlache Strait on our way to Elephant Island. Alaska is truly a wonderful place to visit, but Antarctica is simply spectacular. Simply breathtaking. We saw numerous whales, some penguins on ice flows and many different types of birdlife.DSC09602

An interesting fact is you will not find Paradise Bay on any map as it is a name “made up” by the various cruise lines that visit Antartica. Apparently, the original name, (which escapes me now) was not sexy or romantic enough for marketing purposes, so most cruise lines refer to Paradise Bay which is, I guess a “Fake Name” for a very real and beautiful bay.
Tomorrow is another sea day as we only cruise around Elephant Island and from there we head to Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands and hopefully lots of penguins.

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Yesterday we took in an historic lecture by Mickey Live about Sir Ernest Shackleton one of the explorers of Antarctica. He is particularly famous for his failure to reach the South Pole first, beaten by the Norwegian Explorer, Roald Amundsen. This exploration happened between 1910 and 1912.

 

DSC09600Shackleton, did make another attempt, with his main ship becoming icebound and eventually breaking up. Quite miraculously, he and some of his men used their life boats and eventually made it to Elephant Island where there was a whaling station. Unfortunately on his last attempt he died of a heart attack on the voyage and apparently died penniless.

All for now,

Jill, Hannah and Kerry

 

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