Since retiring in 2012 traveling the world has been a source of immeasurable joy for us, and we are delighted to share our experiences with you.
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  • Day5

    Pour Quoi Pas Photo Landing

    February 14, 2020 in Antarctica ⋅ ☁️ 32 °F

    On our photo landing, ship's photographer Espin Mills led us to a place on the beach where we waited for a skua to take off, or fly, or eat, or do something. However, it seems that the skuas are as contented as the penguins in sitting on the rocks and doing very nearly nothing. So next he led up to the top of a high ridge, a mountain of glacial morraine, much higher than the regular tour groups had scaled. From there we saw the whole of Pour Quoi Pas Bay at our feet, gleaming in the polar sun. More beauty than we could contain, and far more than we could photograph, assaulted our eyes and our overcrowded lenses. Our hike left us exhausted as we returned to the beach a thousand feet below us. Though the midnight sun never sets below the arctic circle, it fell low enough in the sky to offer us some color behind some Adellie penguins just ending their day.

    I was so grateful to Glenda and to our room steward Jaru. I was delayed in getting back to the ship and I missed supper. Glenda had asked Jaru to save a sandwich for me, but he got lasagna, salad and the rest of a whole meal, put it on a warmer, and served me a hot meal in our stateroom when I returned cold and exhausted after 9:30 pm.
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  • Day5

    First Photo Cruise

    February 14, 2020 in Antarctica ⋅ ☁️ 32 °F

    The colony of blue-eyed shags didn't care that I was in the Zodiac for a two-hour photo cruise with ship's photographer Shayne McGuire. They were more concerned with the giant petrel trying to eat their chicks. Crowding together around their young ones, they eventually drove off the intruder. I felt sorry for him. The hungry bird had to go elsewhere for a meal, but at least the baby shags were safe. That's the thing about Antarctica. You never know whether you should pull for the penguins or the fish, for the seals or the penguins. Nature is raw here. Everyone eats. For a while. Then everyone is eaten. Eventually. I suppose that process goes on everywhere, but in Antarctica it is in your face. Dozens of icebergs showed their lovliest blue faces on this overcast day, and I heard a crack loud enough to announce the end of the world as a glacier a quarter mile away calved an iceberg as big as a city block.Read more

  • Day5

    Sixty-Eight, Sixty-Eight

    February 14, 2020 in Antarctica ⋅ ☁️ 32 °F

    Before dawn our ship was greeted by ominous mountains and glaciers. The expedition leaders finally announced that we would go ashore in Antarctica today. We landed at a place I call "Sixty-eight, Sixty-eight," a site whose latitude and longitude are the same. Its real name is Pour Quoi Pas Bay. The French name means "Why not?" and is the name of the first ship to land at this island. Today it is the place where we meet Antarctica, the Temptress, the Ice Queen, the Monster. Only once before has this passenger ship traveled so far south, and that trip occurred four years ago. Our group, "the Crab-Eater Seals," were scheduled to go ashore around mid-day. Adellie penguins, fur seals, and five spouting humpback whales welcomed us ashore as we stumbled along a rocky beach to a ridge overlooking an active glacier. The good news is that the penguins are still here. The bad news is that the snow and ice have gone, melted so that the beach appears as a rock-strewn strand without a trace of snow or ice. Some of the glaciers, which take millennia to build, have receded up to twenty miles in the last four years. Antarctica is having a heat wave. The week we left North Carolina a research station near here reported the highest temperature ever recorded in Antarctica--67 degrees Fahrenheit. Today the temperature is about 40 degrees, and we are sweating underneath three layers of UnderArmour. We need hiking poles to traverse the beach, covered with irregular rocks the size of cantaloupes. While most of the penguins have already left the beach for their four-month-long swim in search of food, a few Adellies still stand here like statues, moulting in stolid silence. Our ninety minutes here whetted our appetites for more adventures among the glaciers, icebergs and animals of this mysterious land.Read more

  • Day4

    Still Preparing to See the Beast

    February 13, 2020, South Pacific Ocean ⋅ ☁️ 34 °F

    We woke from a night of solid sleep and calmer seas to hear that strong storms are approaching our proposed landing site. We will have to stay on the ship another day as we head farther south. In days to come we will proceed north along the Antarctic Peninsula as the storm works its way east. We enjoyed an excellent breakfast that contained everything needed, including brown cheese, to make a traditional Norwegian waffle. The crew is trying hard to keep passengers occupied on this extra sea day. A very entertaining lecture by the ship's photographer, Espin Mills, suggested ways to make our photos more appealing. Glenda is eager to attend the next lecture: "Penguins: Your New Best Friend." If the title of this travel blog is "Find Penguins," she plans to be sure she does exactly that.Read more

  • Day3

    Preparing to See the Beast

    February 12, 2020, South Atlantic Ocean ⋅ ☁️ 39 °F

    This is no ordinary cruise. We just returned from a briefing on the International Antarctic Treaty and the regulations it imposes on our visits ashore. It’s a bit scary to think of all the things that can go wrong—wind, water, cravasses and angry animals were all presented as possible threats. On every other cruise ship we've seen, the safety drill includes: "In the event of an emergency, don't return to your stateroom, but go directly to your muster station." The drill here was different. They told us: "In an emergency, go to your stateroom first and put on layers of warm clothing. Then put on your arctic survival suit before donning your life vest. If we must board the lifeboats we will not be rescued for three or four days at the earliest."

    I went and got a dry bag for my camera from the ship’s store just in case. We are required to vacuum our clothing to avoid carrying seeds, soil or spores to Antarctica. We are being fitted for boots that will be washed each time we go ashore. We are being warned to follow the trail established by the expedition team. Failure to do so could land one in a glacial cravasse. Much to consider.
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  • Day3

    The Drake Quake

    February 12, 2020, South Atlantic Ocean ⋅ 🌬 39 °F

    Rough seas throughout the night rattled the door of the little safe in our stateroom and a tray for our boots, waking me several times. We have sustained winds at 45 mph and waves 3-4 meters. The winds are about halfway up the Buford scale. I staggered my way to breakfast, and then returned to the stateroom to accompany Glenda. We went to a briefing about special programs. I chose photography. Next we were fitted for our arctic boots and our red polar Hurtigruten expedition coats. There are several more briefings planned for today, and we are snooping about discovering the MS Midnatsol.Read more

  • Day2

    The End of the World

    February 11, 2020 in Argentina ⋅ ☁️ 61 °F

    Ushuaia lies at the southern tip of South America and is the end of the world. Argentina put its version of Alcatraz here at the turn of the twentieth century because escapees could only die in the barren wasteland of Patagonia to the north or the turbulent ice of the Drake Passage to the south. It is the most southerly city in the world and now has little to do, other than funneling tourists into Antarctica. Two decades past, skiers who sought the most exotic downhill runs in the world came here after becoming bored with San Moritz, Lillehammer and girls named Ingrid. A T-shirt from Ushuaia was more valuable to downhill racers than a Lamborghini and just as rare. Now the glacier has melted and Ushuaia’s steep streets are crowded with overweight American and German wannabes wearing jackets suggesting they have spent a frozen night on the North Face. Still, the town has its charms. Guides will show you their public school and a sign declaring that Ushuaia really is the true capital of the Malvinas Islands despite the butt-wiping the British gave Argentina in the Falklands in 1982. A coffee shop right out of the rural 1920’s features hot chocolate made by dropping the Argentine version of a Hershey bar into scalding milk. It warmed the cockles of our heart on this 70-degree day in the Argentine summer at the end of the world.Read more

  • Day2

    On to Ushuaia

    February 11, 2020 in Argentina ⋅ ☀️ 91 °F

    We have boarded another airplane and are on our way to Ushuaia, where we will board the Hurtigrüten ship M/S Midnatsol (Midnight Sun). Mother Theresa, our Roads Scholar attendant, has been replaced by Maria Laura as our temporary den mother. We had a huge breakfast at our hotel, so I really didn’t want the ham and cheese sandwich the flight attendant offered us on the airplane. I’m told that WI-FI on the ship is very slow and spotty, so that one cannot count on it. So I will keep my travel notes on the notebook and when we have a connection I will upload them. It looks as though any photos will have to wait. Not even the hotel’s WI-FI would take them.Read more

  • Day1

    First Leg of the Journey

    February 10, 2020 in Argentina ⋅ ☀️ 73 °F

    LATAM Airlines landed us in Buenos Aires and Road Scholar brought us to the Sofitel Recoleta Hotel downtown. New friends suggested we join them to visit a nearby park adjacent to the Dominican Cathedral. Its cemetery filled with mausoleums was literally a city of the dead. Among the graves stands that of Eva Peron. We returned to have lunch at a food court across the street from the hotel in a large mall called Patio Bullrich. We walked as a group to dinner at a beautiful neoclassical building constructed as the social club for the Italian community in wealthy Buenos Aires at the turn of the 20th century. The building itself was magnificent, and the lovely paintings and sculptures enhanced its beauty. I had a wonderful lasagna covered with bechamel sauce, and Glenda enjoyed an eggplant dish she pronounced as one of the most delicious things she has ever eaten.Read more

  • Day20

    The Last Supper

    October 23, 2019 in China ⋅ 🌙 55 °F

    Some of our fellow travelers have already left for home, but a few of us got together tonight for dinner at Annie’s Italian Restaurant. Next door to Annie’s we happened upon the wait staff of a nearby restaurant standing on the sidewalk for a pre-dinner shift inspection. They were lined up, standing at attention, and barking responses to a supervisor. Had he been wearing a Smokey Bear hat, I would have sworn we were at Parris Island Marine Corps Recruit Depot. China is full of surprises, and Annie’s was certainly a big surprise. The four-cheese pizza Glenda and I ordered was as good as any Italian food we have enjoyed either in Italy or outside of it. A short walk in downtown Beijing exposed us to some young folks who are keeping Armani, Ferragamo and Michael Kors in business. They looked as though they just stepped out of the pages of Cosmopolitan or GQ. The upscale neighborhood of our hotel glistened with lights and the sounds of a city that never sleeps.

    Tomorrow we leave for home, and we’re ready. That is not to say, however, that we are tiring of China. The visit has been wonderful and we have only good things to say about the Chinese people. They are a remarkable nation intent on moving forward economically and politically. China wants not just to take its place in the family of nations; China wants to take the lead. From all we have seen, they stand a fair chance of attaining their goal, but the rest of the world must be watchful to insure that all nations behave with equity and fairness toward one another. This is a remarkable nation, a determined people and a special time in their national history. We thank them for their excellent hospitality to us foreigners and wish them all the best for the future.
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    Michael Caudle

    some fantastic Italian!!

    11/5/19Reply
     

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