Circumnavigating South America

January 2018 - May 2024
An open-ended adventure by Ali and Jeff Read more
Currently traveling
  • 38footprints
  • 12countries
  • 2,337days
  • 179photos
  • 0videos
  • 25.1kkilometers
  • 13.9kkilometers
  • Day 1

    South American Adventures

    January 4, 2018 ⋅ ⛅ 81 °F

    We have begun our South American circumnavigation!
    We departed Virginia on December 24th in search of warmer temperatures. That was not the case when we arrived in Beaufort, SC to spend some time on Jim and Nancy’s boat. I think it was the freezing rain one night that told us we hadn’t gone far enough south.
    We continued on to St. Augustine for New Years and had one beautiful day (that means I didn’t have to wear every shirt I’d packed all at once!). Then the wind started howling and the super moon flooded all the streets. Oh, and there was a wind chill warning!
    Surely it would be warmer in Fort Lauderdale! Nope.
    Even though this sounds like complaining, it really is just an observation-we are well aware that our weather is much better than what the rest of the country is suffering through.
    Today we are powering through some moderately rough seas on our way to Cozumel, Mexico tomorrow.
    Read more

  • Day 2


    January 5, 2018 in Mexico ⋅ ☀️ 73 °F

    We arrived in Cozumel today and took a trip to see Chichen Itza, the Mayan ruins that are one of the seven wonders of the world. It was especially interesting to see what it is today because I visited there when I was 15 with my high school
    Spanish class. The ruins are roped off and protected now, but it the early 70’s we climbed them!
    We also visited a cenote ( the 4th photo) which is a natural swimming hole that is formed by limestone breaking away into a large underground system of caves and rivers. It is a popular place to swim, but it was a little cool for us to partake.
    Read more

  • Day 3

    Belize City, Belize

    January 6, 2018 in Belize ⋅ ⛅ 73 °F

    A beautiful day in Belize for Jeff’s 63rd birthday!
    He is getting more attention on the ship than he likes, but hey, that’s the price you pay for having a birthday!
    We all took a fairly brief walk around Belize City and found it to be quite quiet and the locals very friendly.
    We had visited here 26 years ago and didn’t see too much change in our very brief encounter.
    The architecture is fascinating, although a bit tattered. There is definitely a British colonial influence from it’s former life as the British Honduras.
    Read more

  • Day 4

    Roatan, Honduras

    January 7, 2018 in Honduras ⋅ ⛅ 72 °F

    After an exciting birthday celebration for Jeff last night, we had a lovely morning snorkeling the second largest barrier reef in the world off Roatan. They are very aware that the coral is disappearing due to climate change and are trying to educate people about this which reflects the bleaching we saw while snorkeling.
    We then kayaked in the protected bay and we’re able to get close enough to the mangroves to see huge iguanas and hear parrots communicating with each other.
    Needless to say, we used some muscles today that had been dormant for awhile, so we were beat but stirred by the experience this afternoon upon our return to the ship.
    Read more

  • Day 7

    The Panama Canal

    January 10, 2018 in Panama ⋅ ⛅ 84 °F

    Today we are transiting the Panama Canal, and even though we have been through it before, it truly is an engineering marvel. We have a person making announcements about the various locks we are going through and citing some interesting facts.
    It takes a ship like ours all day to go from the Caribbean Sea to the Pacific Ocean and costs around $75,000 cash.
    A couple of observations:
    The people working the locks are very friendly, wave at all of us and sometimes take pictures of us, taking pictures of them, taking pictures of us.....
    You think they would be a bit jaded after doing this day in and day out, but they all seem to have a smile.
    The tugboats that we see along the way seem to have such personalities! They are almost territorial in how they act, sometimes seeming to chase another tugboat away so they can do the job. Sort of the Jack Russells of the boat kingdom.
    The lock we just passed through dropped us 31 feet-and quite quickly I might add. The water went out at 3,000,000,000 gallons a minute.
    The rest of the cruise until we arrive back in the Caribbean in March is new territory for all of us so stay tuned.
    Read more

  • Day 8

    Ahhhh.... Sea Days

    January 11, 2018, North Pacific Ocean ⋅ ⛅ 100 °F

    I think it’s a little hard to explain why we all love sea days on the ship so much. This is our 4th sea day in a row and we generally feel like it isn’t enough. (You mean we have to get off the ship tomorrow?) It’s a departure from all the obligations, both actual and self-imposed, that allow for days of reading, walking, computering and general relaxing. Not to even mention the lectures and other activities available on the ship.
    Lunch for me consists of one giant salad bar. Five kinds of greens-really? Evidence seems to be mounting that I may have been a rabbit in a former life.
    It all leads up to happy hour with Nancy and Jim (and sometimes another passenger on the ship if they dare) and a wonderful Silversea dinner followed by entertainment if one chooses.
    We have maintained our reputation on the ship as “those people who laugh all the time”. The ship crew keeps the Prosecco flowing and the Silver Spirit martinis mixed. What is not to like about a sea day?
    Read more

  • Day 11

    The Panama Hat

    January 14, 2018, South Pacific Ocean ⋅ ⛅ 81 °F

    Todays port was Manta, Ecuador which is a vibrant, smiling city that boasts the title of the tuna Capitol of the world. Some of the tuna fishing boats even have helicopters on their decks to go ahead of the boats to scout prime fishing areas.
    The “chivas” truck is a traditional way to get around here. It is a open-air jalopy with bench seating. The fun part is when a band, complete with saxophone, trumpet and drum, climb up to the roof of this truck and begin playing some incredibly lively tunes! Everyone on the side of the road waves, dances and smiles as you go by. What a great place!
    We also learned about the Panama hat, which I always assumed was made in Panama 🤔. Indeed, it was not made in Panama, but in Ecuador. When the Panama Canal was being built, the workers needed a lightweight, breathable hat to protect them from the sun. The people of Ecuador began weaving and providing hats for the workers. When Roosevelt visited during the construction of the Canal, he wore one of the hats, the picture was transmitted world-wide and the design was referred to as the Panama hat. A typical, medium-quality Panama hat takes about 1 month for someone to make and up to 8 months for a master weaver to make. See the photo below to see the unusual position the locals have adopted for the making of the hat.
    Read more

  • Day 12

    Lima, Peru

    January 15, 2018 in Peru ⋅ ⛅ 73 °F

    The ship sat outside the harbor for several hours this morning trying to get into a very fogged-in Lima. Once we arrive at a port, we often have a complimentary shuttle that takes us from the ship to the city center and it is typically some great sightseeing.
    Our impression of Lima was a very bright and vibrant community feeling. There are 11 million people here, but it certainly didn’t feel that way. One of our favorite things to do is to just walk around our destination and we especially like to find a residential area to get a feel for the flavor of the life.
    Read more

  • Day 13

    Paracas, Peru

    January 16, 2018 in Peru ⋅ 🌬 79 °F

    A huge change from yesterday’s visit to Lima! Paracas is a small fishing village that has capitalized on the nearby islands that have a great deal of bird life.
    It is basically a desert with some small populated areas within it. We are just a short distance away from Pisco (Pisco sours are one of our favorite drinks!), which is best remembered for the magnitude 8 earthquake that struck here in 2007 and damaged 80% of the buildings there. The tectonic plates here move 3.1” a year. In fact, there was a magnitude 7.1 earthquake just south of here 2 days ago that was centered 22 miles off shore. There was a brief tsunami alert that was quickly cancelled. There was also an earthquake in the Honduras the day after we were there. Hhmmmm...... We are definitely in the ring of fire!
    It is an interesting juxtaposition of a body of water within a desert setting here. This is our last stop in Peru before we head to Chile tomorrow!
    Read more

  • Day 15

    Chilean highlands

    January 18, 2018 in Chile ⋅ ☁️ 73 °F

    It took a little convincing from Jeff, but we took an excursion into the Chilean Highlands yesterday. My hesitation came from the fact that it was a 3 hour ride each way to an elevation of 12,000 feet. Now come on, we’ve all seen those pictures of buses dropping off roads in South America, but I must admit that it was a pretty decent road. That certainly did not take away from the drama of the incredible landscape.
    This area of Chile is just south of the border from Peru and the Bolivian border is just to the east - Chile is skinny like a chili pepper! This region has a population density of 1 person per 30 square kilometers and that includes the city of Arica which is 160,000. In other words, it is pretty desolate. By the way, the second largest town is population 1,000. It is also the second driest populated place on earth at 1/2 millimeter of rain per year-that isn’t even what we would call a trace!
    In 1868, a magnitude 9 earthquake struck the area killing 70,000 people. Between the earthquake and the ensuing 2 tsunami waves (the second one was 90’ high), the city was literally reduced to rubble, the waves then washing everything away, including any remaining foundations.
    We saw some fabulous geoglyths that are about 170’ tall and we’re done between 100BC and 1500AD. There is very little know about why they were done, but they have found around 17,000 of them throughout this region.
    As we were driving into the Andes mountains on a 2 lane road, passing other vehicles in our bus, our guide mentioned that they experience earthquakes here about once per week! It took everything I had not to ask if the last one was yesterday or a week ago.
    We drove through an incredibly dry valley that was followed by a more lush area that looked up at 2 snow-capped dormant Taapaca volcanoes. The town of Putre, founded in 1580, lies in a shallow valley at about here at 12,000’ of elevation. There’s not too much air to breathe here!
    We had a wonderful lunch at the Canta Verde which served Pebre which is the Chilean version of what we would call Pico de Gallo. Jeff enjoyed it more than everyone else and they brought him an additional plate of it! They use it as a condiment for soups, meat and bread. Also, I was searching for a bathroom and was excited to recall my high school Spanish class to say “Donde esta el bano?” What a thrill - I was speaking fluent Spanish!
    We have 2 sea days before arriving in Valparaiso, Chile for some Chilean wine-tasting. Our captain has informed us that the waves are building and there will be some “pitching and groaning” tomorrow. Never a dull moment!
    Read more