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About RachelG

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    5,000+ Club

About Me

  • Location
    Tulsa OK
  • Interests
    cruising, cooking, travel, exercise
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  1. We made it home at 10 pm. I was exhausted so unpacked today. The return trip was brutal to say the least, worse for Stumblefoot . At least we got home last night. as far as things that I brought that I didn’t need— you don’t need hiking boots or shoes, just the waterproof boots. They got our parka sizes wrong as well, even though I had ordered the correct sizes online. I ordered a small and an XL. They gave us 2 mediums. Go figure. We got it sorted, but it took a while. i brought thermal tights. I wear these in surgery and they are great. I get them from uniclo. I brought 4 pairs.
  2. We are sitting in the flagship lounge at DFW now waiting for our 35 min flight to Tulsa. We missed our connection and were rebooked on the later flight, which we also missed as after boarding in Santiago, they held the plane for over an hour as they were still checking people in. So stumblefoot and his family have missed their connection to Denver and are again spending the night in a hotel now at DFW. That is one good thing about living in Tulsa. There are lots of flights on AA. So we will get home tonight. But the return to civilization has been brutal.
  3. January 19, 2020— disembarkation in Ushuaia We had received notification that everyone would need to be ready to be off the ship by 8:30 am. Our disembarkation group time was 8:15. In the information, it said we would go on a tour of the national park, then to the airport. We were on the first bus. So— the nightmare begins. we board the bus, and the guide says we are going to a restaurant in town for breakfast then to the airport. Now, everyone who wanted breakfast had already eaten. And we weren’t wanting to just sit for an hour. Very disappointing. So George and I walked around the town. Of course, everything was closed what with it being Sunday morning. I understand why they needed to get us off the ship, but really feel we should have been given accurate information. After an hour, we got back on the bus and went to the airport. Check in was quick, so we were at the gate by 10:15 for a flight that was to board at 12:15. And no shops in the holding pin where we were placed. The flight is delayed. We don’t board till 1 pm. Then we sit there for about an hour on the plane. Finally we take off. The flight seemed to last forever and was very bumpy. We land, and have to go down stairs to a bus, which is the world’s slowest bus. I could have walked in half the time. Then through customs and security again after getting our luggage. We go up to the AA check in desk. And our flight has been cancelled. No flight till tomorrow. So we take the transfer to the Sheraton. Room is ok. Included meal was pretty lacking, so we went to the bar. Still getting conflicting information regarding our flight tomorrow, with 3 possible departure times, depending on which text or email you pick. Haha, you are so funny
  4. January 18, 2020–Drake Passage to Beagle Channel and Ushuaia Argentina It was a very rough and rocky night. Several things in the room went crashing, including a large plastic bottle of water and a couple of glasses. The tv is mounted so that it can be turned toward the bed or toward the couch, and it was swinging back and forth. But it actually was dark at night for the first time in 2 weeks. I skipped my early rising because there was just too much motion. When I did get up, I had to hold onto the grab bars in the shower to bathe and had to sit down to get dressed and put on my makeup. The panorama lounge was almost deserted. The announcement came on that things would get better in a few hours when we would enter the Beagle Channel. Chef Pia hosted a Q and A session covering all about food on board. As you might imagine, a long voyage in this part of the world carries unique challenges. Sometimes the fresh produce isn’t that fresh at all even when it is delivered, or it isn’t what was ordered. She has to figure out some unique recipes to use what is available and try to avoid food waste as well. On this cruise, we have ran out of chamomile tea and club soda. Almost out of lettuce and Diet Coke. No fresh berries for the past week. All very interesting. The dreaded suitcases were out in our cabin, so packing began. Last lunch in La Terraza. They had cute penguins made from sushi rice. I walked outside a bit as it had calmed down when we entered the channel. I could see land—with trees! Unfortunately it started raining so my walking was cut short. We were 3rd in trivia today with 23 points. There was a perfect score. The ones we missed I should have known and did know once I heard the correct answer. Point redemption afterward was with a very good deal on t shirts as he needed to get rid of some, so I was able to get 3. Outside it was much warmer, in the upper 40s and sunny, with tall tree covered mountains on each side. The presentation of the final video was tonight followed by auction of the chart of the voyage with proceeds going to the crew welfare fund. We pulled into Ushuaia a little after 7 pm. But no dock as Le Boreal was late in leaving. We finally got off the ship at 8:30. And to our favorite restaurant in this part of the world, Paso Garibaldi. It is so amazing. Our waitress brought us a bottle of reserve wine which outshines the Caymus that my husband loves for a fraction of the price. We had provoleta, which is like the best cheese ever, melted with pesto and olive oil. Then a ravioli stuffed with king crab and shrimp, so rich, but a special occasion. We walked back to the ship In a cold rain, but so worth it!
  5. January 17, 2020– Drake Passage heading toward Ushuaia Argentina There was some minor rocking and rolling during the night, nothing serious, just enough to make me sleep well. We now have two days at sea until we arrive in Ushuaia. George had a good sleep in while I went to yoga and got some work done. It was time to return boots and gear if they were rented, then a lecture about albatrosses that was pretty interesting. I tried walking out on deck but after 1 loop decided it was too windy and pretty dangerous as the deck was very wet. Since lunch in the MDR yesterday was so bad and it was too cold and wet to eat outside, we had lunch in La Terraza. They still have decent fresh items on the salad bar despite it being late in the cruise. We came in 2nd at trivia. Had no idea what Oliver Cromwell died of (guessed syphilis which was wrong) and did not know varieties of gooseberries. The captain’s farewell reception was tonight. And we were invited to dine with the captain, who is a very genuine and totally nice person as well as an awesome captain. We had a wonderful dinner with him and enjoyed stories of the old days of open bridges, skeet shooting of the back of the ship, and fishing off the balconies. by the end of dinner, the ship was really moving. We are in for a rough night. Everything is stowed away.
  6. January 16, 2020–Pleaneau and Petermann Island, Antarctica When I woke up at 5 am, it was bright outside. Pretty soon, I could hear the anchor going down. A peak outside revealed we were in what looked like a iceberg parking lot—the iceberg graveyard. Our morning schedule would start with a zodiac ride to explore among the icebergs, bergy bits, and growlers, the classifications of ice according to size from largest to small. It was really cold, the coldest I have been on this cruise. But so worth it. We started looking at some beautiful iceberg formations when up in front of us was a humpback whale. He was going down, but then decided to swim straight toward us. We got some very good photos as he swam really close. Eventually he decided to leave, so we moved on and found a very alert clam eater seal hauled out on an iceberg. Unlike those yesterday, he was very interested in us and kept raising his head and looking at us inquisitively. Then we went round another iceberg, and there were three clam eaters in the water. They too were very curious and swam right up to the zodiac. After an hour and a half, I was completely frozen. Back at the ship, we tried to thaw out with hot tea. George had planned to do the polar plunge but chickened out as he was still feeling hypothermic. JP did it though. He has done it twice previously and said this was by far the coldest. Since our room was on the same side as the plungers, I watched for a while. Lots of screams and shrieks. During lunch, we relocated to Petermann Island. We saw a couple of whales along the way. Lunch in the MDR was very disappointing. We had decided to eat there for a change of pace. My seafood starter was good as were George’s chicken wings. It went downhill from there with my pasta being cold and overcooked, and George’s pasta almost inedible due to a very strong fishy taste and cold as well. He went up to La Terraza and got some pizza and salad. Trivia was right after lunch, and we did not do well. Came in 4th with 19 out of 25. We did not know MOS in texting lingo, and that was 3 points. Petermann Island—they saved the best for last. The afternoon was brilliantly sunny. The island is covered with snow and home to gentoo and Adelie penguins, both with chicks. It was cold, but so spectacular. We climbed up a ridge to see over to the other side where a bunch of icebergs had gathered. The blue from the ice was indescribable. Lots of the penguins were tobogganing down the hill on their stomachs. A perfect final stop for this cruise. When we returned to the ship, a couple of crab eater seals were lazing on an iceberg right outside our balcony. An announcement was made that,since last night no one could see anything in Lemaire Channel, the Captain was taking us back through. Now, bright and sunny, it was spectacular. Tall rocky cliffs with snow, seals floating past on icebergs, like Milford Sound , but with ice and on steroids. I had already dressed for dinner, in a very lightweight dress, so watched from inside. George went out on our balcony and soaked it all in. Dinner with Stumblefoot and family was awesome, and we enjoyed continued great views in La Terraza, then up in panorama lunge. Sun still up and bright at 11 pm.
  7. Actually see my post to follow. The captain is taking us back through since last night was such a bust.
  8. The place we missed was Lemaire Passage. No idea if it was spectacular or not as we couldn’t see anything except fog.
  9. I have been to most of these ports, some on the Silver Cloud and the rest on Regent. Lots of good hiking opportunities on the Cloud trip. They do have naturalists and historians aboard and have a full schedule of lecturers, but they also use local guides. Excursions are all included. No wet landings. It is a great itinerary. trivia is a go but timings vary depending on the days schedule, so you have to pay attention and look at the chronicles every day.
  10. January 15, 2020—Neko Harbour and Paradise Bay, Antarctica We had an early morning as our excursion was at 7:00 am. It was pretty foggy, but i could see we were in a harbor with a very tall mountain and huge glacier in front of us. To the right was a rocky beach with a snow covered hill and gentoo penguins nesting on all the clear rocky patches. The sea was still very calm with no wind, so it was an easy zodiac ride over. Once there, we had been warned to get up off the beach ASAP as the glacier has been known to calve off large pieces which create mini tsunamis, and these have flipped zodiacs in the past. That didn’t happen today, but the thought motivated me to move quickly. I climbed up the rocky path until I got to where the ice started, and things became very slick. I was able to get really close to the penguins, much closer than yesterday, and saw lots of moms sitting on their stone nests with one or two chicks underneath. George hiked all the way around the circular path and up as far as they would let passengers go, but that was too slippery for me. So once back on the ship, I walked up on the top deck to get my exercise while surrounded by beautiful scenery. During lunch, the ship moved through icy water to Paradise Bay. Paradise Bay was named such by early whalers, and it really is beautiful with glaciers all round, lots of smallish icebergs with seals resting on top, and nesting blue-eyed shags with chicks up on the rocky cliffs. The water is very clear, so a good place for photos of the glaciers reflected in the water. Our zodiac tour was cold but smooth, with lots of wildlife viewing. We saw crab eater seals (they don’t eat crabs, just krill), Weddell seals, one fast moving leopard seal on a mission, lots of penguins both in the water and on shore. Dinner was in the main dining room and was Spanish themed. I decided to go all in. A ham and cheese sort of croquette was very nice. The garlic soup was delicious if a bit spicy, but the calamari tubes stuffed with shrimp was just really weird. Kind of bland and needed more tomato sauce. We were supposed to go through a very scenic area after dinner, but it was so foggy that I couldn’t see a thing.
  11. January 14, 2020—Spert Island and Mikkelsen Harbour, Antarctica Looked outside—and could see absolutely nothing. We were completely socked in with dense fog. I couldn’t even see the water. The expedition leader came on overhead with the announcement that the morning activity, a zodiac cruise to see the icebergs, glaciers, and caves around Spert Island would be delayed but 30 minutes to hopefully allow time for the fog to clear some. Gradually, we could see more—some large icebergs, sharp cliffs of a island topped with snow, and a couple of really large glaciers. The temperature was 35F, and the sea was completely calm. We boarded the zodiacs and set off in a steady rain and still quite a bit of fog. It gave everything an eerie appearance. We set off through a maze of icebergs, some which were being used as rest stops by chinstrap penguins. There was a leopard seal patrolling the periphery, hoping for a tasty penguin snack. There were lots of interesting rock formations, with arches and sea caves as well. We heard a glacier calving, though we didn’t see it. After 2 hours, which passed very quickly, we headed back to the ship. In our absence,they had laid out a huge South American themed buffet in the main dining room. There were all sorts of cold seafoods, a salad bar, roast lamb, beef and salmon, a whole selection of Argentinean cheeses. While we ate, some humpback whales came really close to the ship. In early afternoon, the ship moved to Mikkelsen Harbour. George went kayaking while I went to an island where there a bunch of gentoo penguins as well as a couple of Weddell seals (big and lazy) and lots of whale bones. There were mom penguins with tiny chicks sitting on their feet, and every so often, the chick would poke its head up, and mom would feed it. The harbor is surrounded on 3 sides by a huge glacier, and George and the kayakers got really close to it. Back onboard, during dinner, several fin whales passed by really close to the ship, and we could easily see them. As JP pointed out, we were scheduled for a very early morning excursion, so we did not stay up late.
  12. Totally agree with JP about the inability to upload photos to this site. I upload to Facebook with no problems, but here, it takes forever, and that is even with resizing.
  13. January 13, 2020–Elephant Island We were up early as the ship was to arrive at Elephant Island, just north of Antarctica at 7:00 am. When I looked outside, there was a barren mountainous island with glaciers coming down to the sea visible ahead. There were a few icebergs floating in the water. The sun was peaking through the hazy clouds that are so common in this part of the world. The expedition leader came on the overhead speakers, announcing that things were looking good for zodiac cruising around the island. Temperature was 34F with a moderate wind. We would need lots of layers. We can’t actually land on the island as there is no real beach or other landing site. A bit of history. This is where Shackleton and his men set up camp after their ship got stuck in the ice. The men stayed camped here in winter, living on raw seal and penguin meat, while Shackleton and a few others sailed a tiny little boat, really a rowboat, to South Georgia Island to get help. Having traversed the same course in a modern ship, it is hard to believe they made it. We loaded into zodiacs and set off. A glacier with 1/2 mile face into the ocean was straight ahead. Chinstrap penguins were swimming all around, and many more were up on the cliffs on either side of the glacier. The glacier was calving every so often. We saw the site where Shackleton’s men camped, a tiny spit of land to the left of the glacier. After an hour and a half, we were frozen, but happy. Back onboard, we thawed out a little then went to the top deck for more views. The sun had come out bright, and I actually felt warm walking around. The ship sailed around the south coast of the island, where we could see more and more glaciers. 95% of the island is covered by glaciers according to our zodiac driver. Since it was sunny, we had lunch outside by the pool. Comfortable with our parkas and the scenery was great. They were serving the mushroom soup from La Dame which really hit the spot. We had just finished eating when the announcement that there was a huge pod of fin whales right in front of the ship. We could see lots of spouting and the backs of a few whales. They are really fast, faster than the ship, so difficult to photograph, but I did get a good video of a bunch of penguins swimming in front of the ship. Then the fog rolled in. The weather changes so quickly here. Then the sun came out, then more fog. We did terrible at trivia, but the questions were very difficult. The winning score was 19 out of 25. We just missed 3rd with a score of 15. The Venetian party and dinner were tonight. We had a table with Petros, the hotel manager, who we have sailed with previously. It was a very fun evening with good food and wine. Afterward the crew had a performance in the panorama lounge which was well attended. There are some really talented people onboard.
  14. We had a friend, an experienced cruiser, who had sea belts. But I don’t know where he got them, and he is now deceased.
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