Week 8/2016 in Review and Sailing North

Since the week wasn’t much different than the one before in terms of the workouts I did and foods I had, this post will just be a short review of our travels. The further South we sailed, the colder and stormier the weather got. On Tuesday, we were supposed to sail around Cape Horn, but weren’t able to because of adverse weather conditions. After enduring 6 meter high waves and over 120 km/h winds for the whole morning and part of the afternoon, the captain decided to turn around approximately 60km from the Cape. He’d received weather information from another ship that there was zero visibility, as well as 10 meter high waves and over 200 km/h winds near the Cape. I was extremely disappointed because being able to see the Cape was one of the main reasons for booking the cruise and I’d already had bad luck with the weather when I was at the Cape of Good Hope last year. It was so foggy that we weren’t even able to see it. I think it means that we have to do another cruise around the Cape, as well as travel to South Africa again. Haha.

On Wednesday, we were in Ushuaia, Argentina, which is commonly regarded to be the southernmost city in the world. We did a full-day tour sailing the Beagle Channel towards Puerto Williams, Chile, which also claims to be the world’s southernmost city, in a small catamaran. The latter certainly is located further south, but is smaller than Ushuaia, and not as old. On our tour, we were able to enjoy the breathtaking Patagonian landscape, as well as see imperial and Magellan cormorants, sea lions, as well as Magellanic penguins and two other species that I can’t remember the names of. On our way to the next port of call, we saw a number of glaciers along the Beagle Channel, the Italia, Alemania, Holanda and Francia Glaciers, for instance. 

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On Thursday, we were in Punta Arenas, Chile. Similar to Puerto Madryn, most tours were either really expensive or involved visiting a penguin rookery, so we decided to explore the city on our own. I really wanted to visit a sheep farm because I love sheep, but the tour included barbecued lamb for lunch, which I could not possibly support. Thankfully, the port was within walking distance of the main square, so we just walked around “downtown” for a while and then returned to the ship for lunch. We had to leave the port earlier than planned anyway because a storm was headed our way and the captain was hoping to reach the Chilean fjords before it would get near the coast. The night was a little rough, but I believe the worst could be avoided. Sadly, it was foggy and rainy so we weren’t really able to enjoy the beauty of the fjords the next day.

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Sadly, as soon as we entered the Pacific Ocean again, the weather got really rough. All outside decks were closed and we weren’t even allowed to open our balcony doors any more. The ship was rolling from side to side and the waves got higher and higher, up to 8 or 9 meters, I believe. Herbert actually got quite seasick and wasn’t even able to go to dinner. I felt ok for most of the day, but after several hours of “turbulence,” I started feeling quite dizzy as well and was only able to eat a few bites for dinner. At dinner, the dishes were flying off the tables and the waiters felt seasick as well, as did the cruise director, according to rumors. I even fell over in my chair when the ship was tilting sideways and hurt my right foot and toes. Not even the free alcohol at the lounge for frequent cruisers helped. Anyway, we lived to tell the tale. Haha.

On Sunday, we finally made it to our final port, Valparaiso, Chile, where we disembarked the ship in the morning. We’d booked a full day tour of the coastal cities of Valparaiso, Viña del Mar, the wine valleys, as well as Santiago, and were dropped off at the airport at shortly before 5pm. After driving along the coast, we headed in the direction of Santiago, stopping for lunch at a churrascaria, which is a sort of barbecue steakhouse. Of course, they didn’t have anything to eat for me except from salad, but the wine from the Casablanca Valley was good. Haha. I always bring vegan snacks with me so I didn’t leave the restaurant starving. After lunch, we continued our drive to Santiago and visited Plaza de Armas, the city’s main square, as well as a craft market. Once we were at the hotel at the airport, we had coffee, went to the gym for a short workout, had dinner (sadly, the staff was not as vegan savvy as their “colleagues” in São Paulo) and went to bed early because we had to get up before 5am the next morning for our flight home via São Paulo and Zurich, which was quite an adventure. 

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