Day #269 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Ushuaia, the most southerly city in the world…

The sign reads, “fin del Mundo,” the end of the world.

Today’s photos are from this date in 2017 when our ship was sailing the coast of South America and docked in Ushuaia, Argentina, for the day. For more photos, please click here.

It was quite a day when our ship docked in Ushuaia, Argentina, when only a little more than a month later, we flew back to this fantastic city to board our cruise to Antarctica for an incredible expedition to see the wonders of our seventh continent we’d yet to see.

We were bundled up in Ushuaia. It was cold!

We decided to stay in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where the cruise ended on December 23, 2018, for a month while awaiting the Antarctica cruise, staying in a boutique hotel in the lovely Palermo district where we were able to go sightseeing and dine out daily. As we continue here through the holiday season, most likely, we’ll repost photos from that month while spending Tom’s birthday (December 23rd), Christmas eve and day, and New Year’s eve and day in Buenos Aires.

We stayed in that hotel from December 23, 2017, until January 24, 2018, to then fly back to Ushuaia, the most southerly city globally, to board Ponant Le Boreal (a luxury French ship/cruise line) to sail deep into Antarctica. It’s funny how we recall how challenging it was to be stuck in that hotel for a month, especially during the holidays.

An expedition ship was preparing to set sail for Antarctica. Soon, we’d be on such a ship.

It’s ironic that now, after nine months in this hotel, we appreciated going out for walks, dining, and seeing the sights in the fantastic area. Wow! Little did we know at the time, we’d be in a hotel with no freedom of movement, ten times longer.

While walking, I encountered a man coming out of his room, asking him to pull his mask over his face. He was very kind, and we began chatting. He is an executive on a two-month stint in Mumbai, opening a new location for his worldwide company, and he, too, was appalled by how few Indian people wear masks.

It was almost summer in Ushuaia, but it was cold, and the mountains were still snow-capped.

After all these months, it was nice chatting with someone, and it made me realize how hungry we’ve been for companionship and conversation with others. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed our daily interactions with the two of us. No offense intended for each other. But, it will be nice to chat with others.

Many of our friends in Marloth Park mention on Facebook about getting together once we arrive. It will be an entirely new experience for us. Of course, we’ll exercise the utmost of the usual precautions, wearing face masks, no hugging, social distancing, and most likely not dining together, as we’d done in the past.

An exquisite albatross sculpture. We especially enjoyed seeing many albatrosses in the port.

Customarily, in South Africa, when people get together, they each bring their beverages in a “chill box,” whether it’s a happy hour gathering or a dinner party. In these cases, it’s helpful that no one touches one another’s beverages and glasses, further reducing the risk of infection. I am sure we’ll figure it all out, especially by ensuring we gather in small groups only.

On the agenda today? We are going to book two more months for the rental car, so by the time we arrive at the Nelspruit/Mpumalanga/Kruger airport, we’ll sign all three contracts, paying in advance,  providing us with insurance on the rental cars included in our credit cards (in increments of one month). If this works, we’ll avoid the two-hour (round trip) driving time every 30 days to return the car and get a new contract. We’ll see if this works and report back later.

Most of the town is centered around seaport enterprises.

As for the remainder of today? It will be the “usual.” We’re enjoying watching the series “The Crown” on Netflix after dinner each night. One of our thoughtful readers sent us a message suggesting we watch, “Call the Midwife.” We’ll give that series a try this afternoon when we wind down for the day and, of course, wind down to the 26 days until we depart India!

May your day be safe and pleasant.

Photo from one year ago today, December 17, 2019:

Tom and I and Jerry and Vicki in Arizona last year. We met them in January 2015 in Kauai, Hawaii. It was amazing to see them so many years later. For more, please click here.

Day #268 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Another day in the life…

This rock formation connotes where the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans meet at Cape Horn.

Today’s photos are from this date in 2017 while on a cruise along the coast of South America, where we sailed around Cape Horn on our way to the most southerly city in the world, Ushuaia. For the story, please click here.

In the post, as mentioned above, we wrote: “It was only 6:00 am when we were situated in Cafe al Bacio drinking our favorite coffee. The ship is humming with announcements over the loudspeaker with the enthusiasm of the passengers palpable as we sail from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean via Cape Horn, South America.”

Evening photo. The sun didn’t fully set until almost 11:00 pm.

It was another of those great adventures that some may dismiss as interesting and moderately eventful. Still, for us, it was another of those profound, memorable milestones as a part of our world travels. Many such experiences befell us when we had never even considered such possibilities.

Alas, our travels at any time could bestow upon us yet another experience that we carry into the future. Each day, as we search for the repeat photos from past travels to share in the newest post, we continually encounter many such events that make us smile and feel grateful for what we’ve experienced during the past eight years.

Tom said he was nearly blown away by high winds when he took this photo in the early morning as we approached Cape Horn.

We wonder, what will we remember of these ten months in this hotel room by the time we leave in January? What did we discover? About life? About ourselves? About confinement such as this?

Ideally, we’ll walk away from here with many new perspectives, emotions, and insights. At the moment, it’s difficult for us to embrace such thoughts when the majority of our daily lives center around telling other guests to wear a face mask. It’s outrageous!

Rock formations at Cape Horn.

Our frustration is palpable. I walk every half hour, occasionally longer to accomplish my 5 miles, 8 km, throughout the day. Tom does most of his exercises in one fell swoop, so he deals with it during that 40-minute segment. I realize this issue might be less annoying if I finished all my walking at one time. But, I’ve found getting up and moving around at least once an hour has a better health benefit for me, helping to reduce pain and stiffness from sitting too long.

When our room was being cleaned this morning, we both took off some exercise in the corridors. Immediately, we both encountered a group of three guests blocking the corridor. None of them was wearing a face mask. From about 15 feet, 5 meters, I kindly said, “Please put on a face mask!”. They didn’t move. Tom was ahead of me. They didn’t respond, move, or put on face masks.

Map of the most southerly tip of South America, Cape Horn, where we sailed.

Behind us were several cleaning carts blocking the corridor, making turning around nearly impossible. When they didn’t respond, Tom, in dire frustration, faked a massive sneeze, accidentally knocking his glasses off his face. He was hoping they’d learn to want to protect themselves from others. He managed to get past them. Next, it was my turn. But as I passed, one yelled out to me, “Hey, this is yours!” The man handed me Tom’s eyeglasses which had flown off his head during the fake sneeze. Tom hadn’t noticed this.

My first concern was holding Tom’s glasses in my left hand, my phone with earbuds in my right hand. Yuck! I had touched something from the hand of a person who didn’t and wouldn’t wear a face mask, possibly the most likely COVID-19 carrier. I chased Tom down. He wasn’t even aware that his glasses were gone! I suppose the face mask on his face prevented him from feeling that his glasses had flown off.

Many rock formations are named, but with the slow Wi-Fi right now, we cannot do much research.

As I caught up with him, I handed him his glasses and immediately turned on my heels to head back to our room to wash my hands. I encouraged Tom to do the same, but the cleaner was on his hands and knees washing the bathroom floor when we reached the room. I didn’t care. I kindly asked him to leave so we could wash our hands. He complied.

Ah, we’re only 27 days from leaving this hotel room to head to the Mumbai International Airport for South Africa. The days can’t come soon enough. In Marloth Park right now, daily power outages are resulting in WiFi outages (load shedding from the electric company), horribly high temperatures, zillions of insects, including malaria-carrying mosquitos, snakes (commonly seen in the summer months, often entering houses), and from the comments we’ve seen on Facebook, occasional water outages. Bring it on, baby! We’re ready to take it on!

Cape Horn is not one single spot. It’s a series of islands and rock formations.

Stay safe, please.

Photo from one year ago today, December 16, 2019:

Even those residents with RVs in the park in Apache Junction, Arizona, may have fruit trees such as this orange tree in their front yards. For more, please click here.

Day 25…Cruise to South America…Ushuaia…”End of the world, beginning of everything”…

Ushuaia is a seaport and resort town.
We were bundled up in Ushuaia in the cold air. 
The sign reads, “fin del mundo,” the end of the world.

Sightings from the Veranda while Cruising”

In Ushuaia, this was the first loon we’d seen since our old lives in Minnesota.

In 37 days, we’ll be returning to Ushuaia to board Ponant’s Le Soleil to begin our 17-day journey to Antarctica.  As we perused the colorful and unusual city known as the “end of the world” we found ourselves particularly interested in the seaport community.

An expedition ship preparing to set sail to Antarctica.  Soon, we’ll be on such a ship.

We couldn’t stop smiling as we wandered through the town, entranced by its unique beauty and charm. At times, I found myself squealing with delight while Tom reveled along with me in a more sedate manner. Guys don’t usually squeal. But, I found doing so irresistible.

It’s almost summer in Ushuaia but it was cold and the mountains are still snow-capped.

We didn’t need a specific ship’s tour to get the flavor of the port city as we walked the level and hilly streets of the town, stopping to peer inside unique shops, restaurants, and businesses.

“Construction of the national penitentiary in Ushuaia began in 1902 when there were already a dozen prisoners living in wood and tin huts. The convicts sentenced to the penitentiary in Ushuaia were dangerous repeat offenders and political prisoners sent down from jails in Buenos Aires province.”

The local people are friendly, never failing to nod and smile when passing us on the street. The workers at the port were equally friendly and accommodating while passengers walked past, often interrupting their work in loading and unloading food and supplies for various seafaring ships preparing to set sail.

Mountains surround the town.

With both of us possessing an affinity for the sea, this outing was of the utmost interest. For a moment, I fantasized about staying in this town for a period of time but the winters are bitterly cold and snowy.  Even now, with their summer looming in a few days, it was outrageously cold. I guess this type of weather isn’t for us for the long haul.

Most of the town is centered around seaport enterprises.

Here is information about Ushuaia from this site:

“Ushuaia (/ˈʃw.ə/Spanish pronunciation: [uˈswaʝa]) is the capital of Tierra del Fuego, Antártida e Islas del Atlántico Sur Province, Argentina. It is commonly regarded as the southernmost city in the world. Ushuaia is located in a wide bay on the southern coast of Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego, bounded on the north by the Martial mountain range, and on the south by the Beagle Channel. It is the only municipality in the Department of Ushuaia, which has an area of 9,390 km2 (3,625 sq mi). It was founded October 12 of 1884 by Augusto Lasserre and is located on the shores of the Beagle Channel surrounded by the mountain range of the Martial Glacier, in the Bay of Ushuaia. Besides being an administrative center, it is a light industrial port and tourist hub.

Country  Argentina
Province  Tierra del Fuego
Department Ushuaia
Founded 12 October 1884
Founded by Commodore Lasserre ARA
 • Type Municipality
 • Mayor Federico Sciurano
 • Total 23 km2 (9 sq mi)
Elevation 23 m (75 ft)
Population (2010 Census[1])
 • Total 56,956
 • Density 2,500/km2 (6,400/sq mi)
Time zone ART (UTC−3)
CPA Base V 9410
Area code(s) +54 2901
Climate ET

The word Ushuaia comes from the Yaghan language: ush and waia (“bay” or “cove”) and means “deep bay” or “bay to background”. The act creating the subprefecture in 1884 cites the name “Oshovia”, one of the many orthographic variations of the word.[4] Its demonym is “Ushuaiense”.

Another ship, preparing to head to Antarctica.

The name is often pronounced “u-sua-ia” (Spanish pronunciation: [uˈswaʝa]), an exception to the orthographic rules of Spanish, since the ‘s’ forms a syllable with the following ‘u’ despite the intervening ‘h’.The pronunciation”Usuaía” (accented on the ‘i’) is erroneous: the prosodic accent is on the first ‘a’, which is why the word is written without an accent mark.”

Ushuaia’s motto reads: “Ushuaia, end of the world, beginning of everything.”

An exquisite albatross sculpture.  We especially enjoyed seeing many albatrosses in the port.

The above-listed website has considerably more information should you desire to learn more than we’ve listed here.

A totem pole depicting distances to various cities in the world.

What’s on the agenda for today? With only six days remaining until the end of the cruise, today, we’ll continue to socialize with people we’ve already met and others we’re yet to meet. As always, the cruise has been an ideal venue for us to make new friends.

Lupine flowers are commonly seen in springtime in Ushuaia. Soon, on December 21st, summer will begin in this part of the world.

Of course, our new friends Lisa and Barry with whom we spent the first 15 days on the cruise are staying in touch as we’re all anticipating being together again in the near future.

The bust statue of Argentina’s beloved Evita.

Tonight, we’re dining in Qsine, an upscale specialty restaurant for which we’ll be writing a review and sharing photos tomorrow. After meeting with Chef Chantal a few days ago, I have no doubt the meal will exquisitely perfect for my way of eating.

The long walk from the ship to the town was highlighted by the many sights and sounds of the bustling port.

See you tomorrow, dear readers, and our heartfelt thanks for you continuing with us through yet another 30-night cruise.  

Photo from one year ago today, December 17, 2016:

Wildflowers blooming along a country road in Tasmania. For more details, please click here.

Day 24…Cruise to South America…Cape Horn…The End of the World…How exciting!…Ushuaia…

This rock formation connotes where the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans meet at Cape Horn.

Sightings from the Veranda while Cruising”

Evening photo last night. The sun didn’t fully set until almost 11:00 pm.

It was only around 6:00 am that we were situated in Cafe al Bacio. The ship is humming with announcements over the loudspeaker, with the passengers’ enthusiasm palpable as we sail from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean via Cape Horn, South America.

Tom said he was nearly blown away by high winds when he took this photo early this morning as we approached Cape Horn.

It’s hard to believe we are currently in Cape Horn that explorers discovered long ago, uninhabited weather-dominated acclaimed “end of the world,” known as the last visible landmass, before reaching Antarctica.

Rock formations at Cape Horn.

This is of particular interest to us based on the fact that we’ll be heading to Antarctica in a mere 38 days. Taking this specific cruise before the upcoming cruise has proven highly beneficial to our understanding and appreciation for this remote part of the world.

Here is a map of this area from this site:

Map of the most southerly tip of South America, Cape Horn, where we’re currently sailing.

 From this site, more on Cape Horn:

“Cape Horn (SpanishCabo de Hornos) is the southernmost headland of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago of southern Chile and is located on the small Hornos Island. Although not the most southerly point of South America (which are the Diego Ramírez Islands), Cape Horn marks the northern boundary of the Drake Passage and marks where the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans meet.

Cape Horn was discovered and first rounded by the Dutchman Willem Schouten, who named it Kaap Hoorn after the city of Hoorn in the Netherlands. For decades, Cape Horn was a significant milestone on the clipper route, by which sailing ships carried trade around the world. The waters around Cape Horn are particularly hazardous, owing to strong winds, large waves, strong currents, and icebergs; these dangers have made it notorious as a sailors’ graveyard.

Sailing around the Horn is widely regarded as one of the significant challenges in yachting. The need for ships to round Cape Horn was significantly reduced by the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914. Thus a few recreational sailors continue to sail this route, sometimes as part of a circumnavigation of the globe. Almost all of these choose routes through the channels to the north of the Cape. (Many take a detour through the islands and anchor to wait for fair weather to visit Horn Island or sail around it to replicate a rounding of this historic point). Several major ocean yacht races, notably the Volvo Ocean Race, the VELUX 5 Oceans, and the Vendée Globe, sail around the world via the Horn. Speed records for round-the-world sailing are recognized for following this route.

Many rock formations are named, but with the slow Wi-Fi right now, we’re unable to do much research.

Cape Horn is located on Isla Hornos in the Hermite Islands group, at the southern end of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago.  It marks the north edge of the Drake Passage, the strait between South America and Antarctica. It is located in Cabo de Hornos National Park.

Cape Horn is the southern limit of the range of the Magellanic penguin. The cape lies within Chilean territorial waters, and the Chilean Navy maintains a station on Hoorn Island, consisting of a residence, utility building, chapel, and lighthouse.  A short distance from the central station is a memorial, including a large sculpture made by Chilean sculptor José Balcells featuring the silhouette of an albatross, in remembrance of the sailors who died while attempting to “round the Horn.” It was erected in 1992 through the initiative of the Chilean Section of the Cape Horn Captains Brotherhood.[ The terrain is entirely treeless, although quite lush owing to frequent precipitation.
Two lighthouses are located near or in Cape Horn. The one located in the Chilean Navy Station is the more accessible and visited and is commonly referred to as the Cape Horn lighthouse. However, the Chilean Navy station, including the lighthouse (ARLS CHI-030, 55°57′48.5″S 67°13′14.2″W) and the memorial, are not located on Cape Horn (which is difficult to access either by land or sea), but on another land point about one-mile east-northeast.
Views of Cape Horn from the ship’s bow.
On Cape Horn proper is a smaller 4-meter (13-foot) fiberglass light tower, with a focal plane of 40 meters (130 feet) and a range of about 21 kilometers (13 miles). This is the authentic Cape Horn lighthouse (ARLS CHI-006, 55°58′38.3″S 67°15′45.5″W), and as such the world’s southernmost traditional lighthouse.  A few minor aids to navigation are located farther south, including one in the Diego Ramírez Islands and several in Antarctica.
The climate in the region is generally cool, owing to the southern latitude. There are no weather stations in the islands, including Cape Horn, but a study in 1882–1883 found an annual rainfall of 1,357 millimeters (53.4 inches), with an average annual temperature of 5.2 °C (41.4 °F). Winds were reported to average 30 kilometers per hour (8.33 m/s; 18.64 mph), (5 Bf), with squalls of over 100 kilometers per hour (27.78 m/s; 62.14 mph), (10 Bf) occurring in all seasons. There are 278 days of rainfall (70 days snow) and 2,000 millimeters (79 inches) of annual rainfall.

Cloud coverage is generally extensive, with averages from 5.2 eighths in May and July to 6.4 eighths in December and January.  Precipitation is high throughout the year: the weather station on the nearby Diego Ramirez Islands, 109 kilometers (68 mi) south-west in the Drake Passage, shows the greatest rainfall in March, averaging 137.4 millimeters (5.41 in); while October, which has the least rainfall, still averages 93.7 millimeters (3.69 in). Wind conditions are generally severe, particularly in winter. In summer, the wind at Cape Horn is gale force up to 5% of the time, with generally good visibility; however, in winter, gale-force winds occur up to 30% of the time, often with poor visibility.

Ship in the area heading further south to Antarctica.

Many stories are told of hazardous journeys “around the Horn,” most describing fierce storms. Charles Darwin wrote: “One sight of such a coast is enough to make a landsman dream for a week about shipwrecks, peril, and death.”

We had planned to post the story of yesterday’s visit to Ushuaia but based on today’s sailing to Cape Horn. We decided to postpone it until tomorrow, which will be a sea day. We’re excited to share the photos from Ushuaia as well.

Cape Horn is not one single spot.  It’s a series of islands and rock formations.

Last night, at the Captain’s Club party from 5:00 to 7:00 pm, we thoroughly enjoyed the company of another new couple. We continue to enjoy meeting travelers from all over the world on this cruise, especially during the relaxed and easy environment of the Captain’s Club.

I took a break from the group at around 6:30. At the same time, management staff from the specialty restaurants stopped by to ask me to meet the chef from two of the specialty restaurants where we’ll be dining over the next few days, subsequently preparing stories here with photos of the memorable dining experiences.

Albatross statue at the top of a hill in Cape Horn by Jose Balcells as a memorial to sailors who lost their lives at Cabo de Homes, Cape Horn Chili.

At dinner, we sat at a round table for 10, again meeting more passengers we’d yet to meet. Later, several of us danced at the silent disco party in the area of the solarium pool.  It was cold in that area, and we both had to bundle up to stay warm, even with our rambunctious dancing to the music.

Today, we’ll need a nap. We’re both a bit sluggish after getting to bed at midnight and arising by 5:00 am. Tomorrow, we’ll be back with our fabulous photos of Ushuaia, one of the most exciting towns we’ve visited during this 30-night cruise, which ends one week from today.

Lighthouse in Cape Horn.  For this Cape Horn lighthouse fable, please click here.

May those of you who celebrate enjoy holiday festivities safely and with much merriment.

  Photo from one year ago today, December 16, 2016:

Fran and Terry hosted our evening ou at a local cafe. During our evening, we met other locals in Penguin Tasmania. For more details, please click here.

Day 23…Cruise to South America…Pantagonia…The Straits!!!…Today, we’re officially at the city known as the “End of the World,” Ushuaia, Argentina.

Map of where we’ve traveled over these past many days in the Chilean and Magellan Straits.

Sightings from the Veranda while Cruising”

Note the snow-covered pointed peak

Of course, we were disappointed to be unable to post the stunning photos we’ve taken in this remote part of the world. Since we’re far from satellites, the signal is so weak. We can barely write the post, let alone post photos.

Snow-covered mountains left us all in awe of the scenes before our eyes.

After considering several “workarounds,” we’re now able to post with photos and have since gone back to yesterday’s post, adding the images we’d earmarked for that post.

Now, at almost 1:00 pm Friday, December 15th, we’re back in business and able to post correctly. It’s a huge relief! We were both concerned and frustrated being unable to complete the posts, not only for the disappointment in being unable to stay in touch with all of our readers but also for the fact we’d get behind with backlogged photos and stories.

We imagined how exciting it would be to be on a small boat maneuvering through the fiords.

As of today, we’ll be caught up. Early this morning, we disembarked the ship to visit one of the most exciting ports of call during this cruise, Ushuaia, Argentina. Knowing we’ll be returning to Ushuaia in 39 days to board the Antarctica cruise made being here today all the more exciting.

The fiords create their own weather system, which was constantly changing.

Tomorrow, we’ll share the Ushuaia photos. Still, today, we feel it’s important to share the pictures and story of the great passage we made through the Chilean and Magellan Straits, one of the most memorable scenery experiences in our five years of world travel.

With the utmost awe and wonder, for days, our eyes were constantly peeled out the windows and decks (albeit in bitter cold), taking in every fantastic scene of the remote and untarnished area of the world, Patagonia, as shown in the above map.

A patch of blue sky at a distance.

There was no port of call stops. There were no shops, no restaurants, and no trinkets to buy. There was only the finite remoteness of a land we can only imagine, as neither of us had ever witnessed anywhere in the world.

Many of the rock formations have a grayish cast.

I feel breathless in attempting to describe this lonely place near the “end of the world” where one snow-covered mountain and glacier after another caught or attention, leaving us in a state of utter wonder over the magic of the world around us.

We sailed over hundreds of miles (KM) through the Chilean Fiords and The Strait(s) of Magellan.  The views are breathtaking!

Our photos cannot do it justice. How does one take a fascinating image of a glacier or mountain when “up close and personal” as we were hour after hour? We sailed through it all morning until dark which didn’t come until almost 11:00 pm each night.

Each snow-covered mountain is more beautiful than the next.  Photos don’t do it justice.

A few photos we previously posted of the two of us were indeed taken outdoors around 10:00 pm. The air is cold and fresh. We saw no evidence of human intervention, no trash, no debris, no remnants of human life in any form.  

Gorgeous glaciers.

We observed a variety of seabirds, but there was little visible wildlife. However, we anticipated hidden within the rugged terrain, therein may live a vast array of wildlife we may never see.

We’d heard snippets of the Chilean Fiords and the Strait of Magellan. Also, we’ve seen similar settings in other parts of the world, for example, the “sounds” in New Zealand. We’ve anticipated the Norwegian fiords and others. But, no way can we conceive of those being more shocked than that which our eye beheld over these past days at sea.

A glacier in the straits.

Thus, dear readers, with a bit of trepidation, we share today’s photos, knowing full well that there’s no way our amateur photos can depict what our eyes beheld. Know that…within our heartfelt words expressed here…it was astounding. We’ll never forget.

This photo was taken through the glass window in the dining room resulting in the blue tint.

In a mere eight days, we’ll disembark this ship, the Celebrity Infinity, for a month in Buenos Aires, a vast difference from our time aboard the ship, but surely we’ll enjoy it in an entirely different manner.

Be well.  Be happy.

Photo from one year ago today, December 15, 2016:

This pretty horse caught our attention as we drove through the countryside in Penguin, Tasmania. For more photos, please click here.