Day 27…Cruise to South America…Another port of call…Puerto Madryn…Four days and counting…

Abandoned seafaring boat on the beach in Puerto Madryn.

Sightings from the Veranda while Cruising”

Scene of Ushuaia from our veranda.

In a mere four days, this 30-night cruise will end in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where we’ll stay for another 30 nights while we await the upcoming Antarctica cruise sailing on January 23rd from Ushuaia, Argentina.

Are we excited about the upcoming 30-nights in Buenos Aires?  Most certainly! If we were only traveling for a vacation/holiday for 30-nights and could spend a month in the vibrant city, we’d be thrilled.

This could have been a street in any beach town.

During this period, we’ll be able to accomplish a few objectives we have in mind to include:
1.  Visit a travel clinic to update our vaccinations and get a prescription for malaria pills (for Africa).
2.  Visit a dentist to have a problematic crown reseated, which is bothering me while eating.
3.  Purchase any last-minute supplies for the Antarctica cruise.
4.  Do laundry and dry cleaning for the cold weather Antarctica clothes we ended up wearing during the cold days of this cruise. (Thank goodness we had the warm clothes with us!)
5.  Purchase a second camera.

Statue at Puerto Madryn Beach.

In the interim, we have a challenge finding restaurants for both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in Buenos Aires. Either the restaurants are closed during the holiday season or charge as much as US $150 per person for either of the holiday night’s meals.

Our hotelier has been working on finding options available other than the US $300 per day required for each of these two meals. So far, he hasn’t been successful in locating some possibilities suitable for our needs.

Whale carving at the beach.

On top of it, Tom’s birthday is on the day the cruise ends on December 23rd, and we’ll have to find somewhere for dinner that night. Trying to find options online has been cumbersome and time-consuming with the slow Wi-Fi signal on this ship.

We’d recently given up trying to book dinner reservations for these three nights instead of taking our chances once we arrive in Buenos Aires.  In the worst case, we’ll have the included breakfasts at the hotel, which is available each day, and then find a market where we can buy something for the tiny refrigerator in our hotel room.

Typical apartment building in Puerto Madryn.

We aren’t particularly concerned. Somehow, it will all work out. If we have to have nuts and cheese for dinner, we’ll be fine. Although, it would be fun to spend all three evenings celebrating the three memorable occasions.
Yesterday, we toured the town of Puerto Madryn, Argentina. Here is some information about this coastal town from this site:

“Puerto Madryn (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈpweɾto ˈmaðɾin]Welsh: Porth Madryn) is a city in the province of Chubut in Argentina, Patagonia. It is the capital of the Biedma Department and has about 93,995 inhabitants, according to the last census in 2010.
Puerto Madryn is protected by the Golfo Nuevo, which is formed by the Península Valdés and the Punta Ninfas. It is an important center for tourists visiting the natural attractions of the Península Valdés and the coast.
A new shopping mall in the city center has significantly helped tourism, making Puerto Madryn a more attractive place for international and domestic tourists visiting Patagonia. It is twinned with Nefyn, a small town on the Llŷn Peninsula in North Wales, due to its enduring link with Welsh culture since the Welsh settlement in Argentina. The first of a two-Test tour to Argentina by the Wales national rugby union team was played in 2006 in Puerto Madryn, a 27–25 win over Argentina. Puerto Madryn is home to two football clubs; Club Social y Atlético Guillermo Brown, who plays in Nacional B and Deportivo Madryn that currently play in Torneo Argentino B.
A basketball team, Deportivo Puerto Madryn, plays in the Liga Nacional de Básquetbol (LNB). Their home arena is known as the Deportivo Puerto Madryn Arena.

El Tehuelche Airport is located 10 km northwest of the city center. Commercial flights from Buenos AiresUshuaia, and other Argentinian cities are available. Most tourists fly into Trelew Airport as flights into Puerto Madryn are restricted due to environmental concerns.

The town was founded on 28 July 1865, when 150 Welsh immigrants arriving aboard the clipper Mimosa named the natural port Porth Madryn in honor of Sir Love Jones-Parry, whose estate in Wales was named “Madryn.” Conditions were difficult, and the settlers had to dig irrigation ditches for their first crops.

The settlement grew due to the building of the Central Chubut Railway by WelshSpanish, and Italian immigrants. This line, opened in 1889, linked the town to Trelew via the lower Chubut River valley.”

Pair of shipwrecked boats in the bay.

By noon, after uploading the day’s post, we made our way to the awaiting shuttle buses for the 25-minute ride into the city. Along the way, we spotted several shipwrecks on the otherwise pristine beaches, which we’ll share as soon as we’re able to upload photos.

After being dropped off in the center of town, we walked for a while, checking out the sights and sounds of the busy village, which included a lengthy and noisy parade of protestors over the government, followed up by several police officers and military personnel.

We always try to imagine what may have happened to such a boat long ago…

Considering our lack of interest in shopping and dining in restaurants, after a few hours, we decided to head back to the shuttle to return to the ship. The afternoon was wearing on, and we both hoped for a short rest before showering again and dressing for the 5:00 pm Captain’s Club happy hour in the Constellation Lounge.

By 7:15 pm, we were seated at a shared table in the Trellis Restaurant, where a lively conversation ensued among the like-minded group of eight. The time flew quickly, and suddenly it was 10:30 pm. An early night was in order, and by midnight we were both asleep.
Protesters were marching on the beach boulevard.

On Friday, we’ll begin packing, leaving our sealed bags outside our cabin door by Friday at 10:00 pm, where they’ll be transported to the port area in Buenos Aires. We’ll collect the bags upon arrival at the port in the morning.  

Generally, this process is relatively easy when the bags are stored in the numbered areas for which we’ll have tickets. Each cabin is assigned a disembarking number, and we can depart the ship when our number is called.  Numbers are assigned based on a few factors; requests and priority status based on Captain’s Club membership.  

A shipwreck ship was lying on the beach in Puerto Madryn.

We’ve requested a low number in this particular case, hoping to disembark the ship by 7:30 am or so.  We’ll take a taxi to our hotel in Palermo, expecting to check-in no later than 10:00 am. Most likely, all of this will work out well, leaving us plenty of time to work on dinner reservations for the upcoming three nights while many venues will still be open for business.

That’s it for today, folks. We hope you’re enjoying holiday festivities as we rapidly wind down to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Photo from one year ago today, December 19, 2016:

We visited the General Penguin Cemetery overlooking the Bass Straits in Tasmania with thoughts of those we’ve lost. For more photos, please click here.

Day 29…Circumnavigating the Australian continent…Finally at a port of call in NZ…Did we forget something?

Boats at the port of Tauranga, New Zealand. We have so many fond memories of our three months in this beautiful country.

“Sighting on the Ship in Australia”

Glass sculpture in hallway.

The second leg of this 33 night cruise is our 16th cruise in four years, averaging at one cruise every three months.  That’s not to say we’ve booked cruises for such an arbitrary schedule as four per year. It’s just an average.

During our first year of world travel, we embarked on eight cruises in a little over five months. Then, we had a 14 month gap with no cruises at all.  From there, we slowed down a bit to the current total of 16 cruises. 

While taking this photo I thought, “Hmm…this looks familiar.” We’ve only taken about 10,000 photos since taking this shot. It would be easy to forget.

We book cruises when we find good deals with lots of perks in locations convenient to where we are at any given time. Different from many cruise enthusiasts, we don’t necessarily focus on new ports of call we’ll visit, although this is of interest to us.

Instead, we focus on our joy of cruising and using a ship as our temporary home for a few weeks and in this case, for over a month. Sure, the cost for cruising generally exceeds our preferred average daily cost of around US $200, AU 268, including vacation rental fees, transportation, visas, food, insurance, entertainment, Internet and miscellaneous.

Forest along the seaside in Tauranga.

In five days, we’ll be sharing our total expenses for this 33-night cruise, including average daily costs, our final cruise bill for both legs and any incidentals we may have purchased along the way. Please check back for these totals.

After our change in course, due to inclement weather, the last week’s cruise itinerary has changed dramatically. Today, we’re in Tauranga, New Zealand during which a funny thing happened to us. Well, it was funny to us anyway.

The town of Tauranga, New Zealand.

“Tauranga total population

  • 114,789 people usually live in Tauranga City. This is an increase of 10,905 people, or 10.5 percent, since the 2006 Census.
  • Its population ranks 6th in size out of the 67 districts in New Zealand.
  • Tauranga City has 2.7 percent of New Zealand’s population.”

After four days at sea, passengers were chomping at the bit to get on land. We never mind sea days.  The ship has been our home for this month and we’re happy whatever we’re doing, wherever we dock.  It’s not unlike our daily lives. 

Not only are we grateful and enjoying the exciting days, we’ve found the quiet and mundane days to be enjoyable in their own way, as is the case for many of you. Not every day has to be emblazoned in our minds as highly memorable.

Shipping yard in Tauranga.

With today’s port of call of Tauranga, we decided to get off the ship. I took a few photos from our balcony early this morning. Neither of us were hungry, so we decided to skip breakfast and eat later if we’re hungry.

As always, we set up our laptops in our usual Latte tudes Café on the fifth deck where we are often able to find comfortable seating with enough activity in the background to further entertain us while we work on the day’s post.

As we walked toward the port exit, everything started looking familiar.

This morning, we met with Kevin, the ship’s activity director, to discuss a possible Part 2 of yesterday’s successful seminar. He’d received lots of positive feedback from passengers wanting to hear more of our story.

Of course, we’re flattered to hear this including all the positive feedback we received all day yesterday and again this morning after yesterday’s “event.” We couldn’t be more pleased that our seminar was a success. 

A seagull hoping for a morsel from tourists.

Now, we’re scheduled to conduct Part 2 in two days, another sea day, and we hope for yet another good turnout. What a great opportunity for us! This morning instead of preparing the post, we created the new agenda and we’re comfortable with the content.

Since this information is so readily available in our minds no rehearsal is required, only the agenda to refer to on my laptop during the presentation. No stress.  No worries. We’re totally at ease with the entire process.

Once we completed the agenda, we decided to postpone preparing the post and head out to see Tauranga. It’s cool here today, so we bundled up in jeans and parkas planning to spend a few hours visiting the town, a not too distant walk from the port.

Here’s another of New Zealand’s beautiful skies.

Once we entered the port exit gate, we looked at one another and laughed aloud. We walked this entire town in January when our then ship visited this same port of call. Somehow we’d both forgotten we’d already toured this charming town. 

Cold and windy, we turned around and returned to the ship, but not before we took today’s several photos.  There was no point in spending too much time in a port of call we’d already explored at length.  Here’s the link to our original visit in January, 2016.

Once back on board, we busied ourselves working on today’s post and photos and so on, when done, we may just make a stop at the Windjammer Café on deck 11 for a light bite to eat.

We hope all of our family, friends/readers in the US had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and warmest regards to all of your throughout the world. Thanks for hanging with us through this lengthy cruise

 Photo from one year ago today, November 28, 2015:

The beach along this area in Fiji was mostly rocky. For more details, please click here.

Arrived in Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii…Photos…

The city of Honolulu has grown into quite a metropolis.

It’s been 26 years since I’ve been to Hawaii. In my old life, BT (before Tom), I’d visited the islands on many occasions, each time enthralled by its beauty, reveling how each island offers its own unique environment and
charm.

Skyscrapers, office complexes, restaurants, hotels, and shopping line every major boulevard in Honolulu.

The Honolulu/Waikiki Beach area is a mass of people, vehicles, noise, and exorbitant prices, considerably more than I recall from many years ago. Nothing about this overcrowded area bespeaks the magic of Hawaii. The pace serves to remind us of why we prefer more remote locations.

The sky view is constantly changing when each of the islands has unique weather systems.

On October 5th, after visiting other islands by way of this cruise ship, as shown on this list below, we’ll return to Honolulu where we’ll disembark the cruise to stay for 11 nights: (See the list below for the dates we’ll stay in the islands)

Mon Sep 29 Honolulu, Oahu, HI 1:00 pm 

Tue Sep 30 Honolulu, Oahu, HI 8:00 pm 

Wed Oct 1 Kilauea Volcano, HI (Cruising) 

Wed Oct 1 Hilo, Hawaii, HI 11:00 am – 8:00 pm 

Thu Oct 2 Kona, Hawaii, HI 11:00 am – 8:00 pm 

Fri Oct 3 Lahaina, Maui, HI 8:00 am 

Sat Oct 4 Lahaina, Maui, HI 6:00 pm

Sun Oct 5 Honolulu, Oahu, HI 7:00 am  

Blue sky, blue sea, and vegetation depict Hawaii even in densely populated areas.

Here are our scheduled dates to remain in the Hawaiian Islands over the next
several months:

  • October 5 to October 16 – Waikiki Beach, Oahu
  • October 16 to December 1 – Maui
  • December 1 to January 15 – Big Island
  • January 15 to May 15 – Kauai
  • May 15 to May 24 – Honolulu, Oahu
Not unlike any other major city by the sea.

These extended dates on US soil will provide us with the opportunity to be with our family at Christmas on the Big Island, get medical checkups, have our teeth cleaned, do our taxes for 2014, renew our second
passports and any other necessary “paperwork” awaiting us. 


By the time we leave in May, we’ll be ready for the next exciting leg of our journey where we’ll spend over a year in Australia and the South Pacific.

They say driving and finding a parking spot in Honolulu is a nightmare. We’ll take taxis and buses while in Honolulu/Waikiki for twenty days, eleven on the front end, and nine on the back end of our almost eight months stay in the islands.

In all, we’ll be spending 20 days in the Honolulu/Waikiki area in the next almost eight-month resulting in a decision to avoid any tours during the ship’s short stays in the various ports of call. This island is the only one of four islands where we won’t have a rental car.

Several tourist boats were at the pier where the ship docked.

Surely, we’ll enjoy time on Oahu, seeing the sites and leisurely visiting points of interest with our condo in Waikiki as a base. Once we’re settled next week, we’ll be able to assess our location and means of public transportation which is readily available in the area.

Yesterday afternoon after the passengers disembarked for their tours, we found ourselves comfortably situated in chaise lounges by the pool. For once, it was easy finding a good spot for some fun in the sun.

Back at you tomorrow with more!

                                         Photo from one year ago today, September 30, 2013:

Flowers at the restaurant on this date one year ago. For details, please click here.