Jeff and I are about to embark on a cruise that will visit all 7 continents. Right now we are mainly interested in escaping winter!
  • Day39

    The Silver Whisper, Tahiti

    March 2, 2020, South Pacific Ocean ⋅ 🌧 84 °F

    Okay, so it has been raining hard in Tahiti for the past 36 hours. There is always a consolation prize from Silversea. Tonight it was a “galley dinner” with some of the most amazing food art (and food!) we’ve ever seen!Read more

    Roland Zimmerman

    Very interesting!

    3/2/20Reply

    My, what big teeth you have! D&M

    3/18/20Reply
     
  • Day39

    Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia

    March 2, 2020, South Pacific Ocean ⋅ 🌧 84 °F

    Happy March! Our trip seems to be going very fast!
    We are in Papeete, Tahiti after having been canceled into Fakarava yesterday among swirling rumors of Coronavirus, even though our ship is clean. The Polynesian islands are asking all ships to check into Papeete for health screening. We’re not sure what this all means for our upcoming ports of call-I’ve noticed that several of the island ports we’re to stop at are closed so it will be interesting. Right now, we are a bit of a “floating safe space” since we have traveled just ahead of the virus. Oh well, travel is always an adventure!

    Okay, on to something different. When I say Tahiti, what images are conjured up in your mind?
    Warm, sultry air, sunshine, turquoise water, grass skirts. No, no, no and no. It has been absolutely pouring for the past 24 hours. All the tours today have been cancelled due to bad weather. Since it is a Sunday morning and we were up at 6am (darn time changes) we decided to brave the rain and go to the local market. There was so much fog and such heavy rain, it was difficult to even see where we were headed. Jeff mentioned, with a questioning look, that the rain was now going sideways, but we decided we were already wet enough that we would just forge ahead.

    The market is a blast of colors, smells and people shopping for their fresh items for the week. Flowers, vegetables, fresh fish and meats abounded. Many vendors were chopping up various cooked meats that smelled mouth-wateringly good. The people waiting in line attested to the fact that it all tasted as good as the story the aromas that surrounded us told.

    Once done there, we waded back to the ship (why are we so hungry at 7am?-oh yeah, darn time changes) and the fruit that was served at breakfast was overwhelmingly delicious and obviously came fresh from the market here. The mangoes and pineapples were some of the best we’ve ever had.

    The ship has planned an outdoor dinner and show for this evening. The weather is going to have to make a pretty big change for that to happen-I’ll let you know how that goes.

    We are on to Moorea tomorrow, hopefully to do some snorkeling. Our fingers are crossed for good weather!
    Read more

  • Day34

    Pitcairn Islands

    February 26, 2020 on the Pitcairn Islands ⋅ ⛅ 81 °F

    After spending the first month of our trip in the same time zone, we are now racing at breakneck speed across a new time zone every day. This has resulted in Jeff and I being on the jogging track before 6am (that is NOT our favored time of day) walking as the sun rises.
    This morning found us in Pitcairn Island in the South Pacific. We’ve been warned for weeks that a landing in Pitcairn Island is highly unlikely due to
    typically rough seas and lack of a protected harbor. In fact, more people summit Mt. Everest in a year than people who are able to make a call into Pitcairn Island. Hmmmmm.... Our chances don’t look good, but we are being good sports in hopes of a little time on land after a number of days at sea.
    Pitcairn Island probably sounds familiar primarily because of it’s location. Over 1000 miles from Tahiti, over 3000 miles from New Zealand and over 4000 miles from South America. I mean to tell you, we are a long way from everywhere!
    This isolated volcanic island was sighted by early explorers in 1767 (these guys went everywhere with little idea of what they would encounter!) but was incorrectly charted. Thus, this island appeared on maps 200 miles away from where it actually was.
    Now this brings me to the really exciting part of the story!
    This miscalculation on the maps of the day made it a perfect hiding place. So comes the story of the Mutiny on the Bounty. After Fletcher Christian and a group of mutineers threw Captain Bligh and some of his loyal sailors off the Bounty to fend for themselves in a small boat, they sailed to Pitcairn Island to hide. If they were caught as mutineers, they would be hung. So they took up residence here along with several women they brought with them from Tahiti, married and started families.
    They retrieved everything they deemed usable from the HMS Bounty, then set her afire and sunk her just off shore.
    Although boarding the zodiacs from the ship was a bit of a challenge (I recognized that as I was getting ready to board the zodiac with the help of the extremely capable crew, and one second I was 3’ above the water and the next I was up to my knees in water still standing on the same step), we were deposited safely on land and got to explore this breathtakingly beautiful island-population 50. Yes, 50-most descendants of the mutineers. We walked up the “hill of difficulties” which was incredibly steep. The tiny town was welcoming and people were friendly. They get 2-5 cruise ships per year and a supply ship every 3-4 months. There is no air access here. You can imagine they are very happy to see some new faces.
    It’s difficult to imagine what life here is like and we didn’t get too much chance to ask. Do they have game night? Covered dish dinners? Do they all get along? Or do they want privacy from people they know so well?
    In any case, it was a great visit that was thought-provoking in many ways. The rugged beauty of this island will always stay with us.
    Read more

    Richard and Joan Hagan

    That's an on the wall photo!

    2/26/20Reply
    Ali and Jeff Carithers

    😊

    2/27/20Reply

    Quite a visit there!

    2/28/20Reply
     
  • Day31

    Hanga Roa, Easter Island, Chile

    February 23, 2020, South Pacific Ocean ⋅ ⛅ 75 °F

    Rapa Nui. Easter Island. I have dreamed of going to Easter Island for decades. The fact that is one of the most remote islands in the world led me to think that I would probably not ever have a chance to visit here.
    But, here we are.... for 2 days......and sadly, it’s too rough to get off the ship.☹️
    One is challenged with seeing the positive in this situation. We are at Easter Island. We can see the moai from the ship. It has been gorgeous weather (except for the swells) and we saw 2 full, double rainbows yesterday.
    There are some passengers who got off last week to go to Machu Picchu and we are supposed to pick them up here. Right now, they are just trying to get them back on the ship. Apparently the opening where we board the tender fills with water from the big swells every time they open it-i’m glad I’m not in charge.
    Some of the locals came out to our ship last night and did an incredible show. It was even more appreciated since they had a bit of a harrowing ride over, then had to use the pilot’s ladder to get on board.
    Alexandra Edwards is on board with the expedition team and she has lived on Easter Island for 25 years. She is a wealth of knowledge and has provided us with science-based facts about the history here, what they are quite sure of and also what is still a bit of a mystery. We will circle the island today with her narrative as we go, but it sounds like that is as close as we’re going to get. Alexandra and her father have written a book about Easter Island so it is interesting to hear from someone who dispels many of the myths of the island. We were fortunate to have dinner with her one evening and we were intrigued to hear of her life here and her experiences studying the moai and thoughts as to what happened to the civilization that created them.
    It is named Easter Island because Dutch settlers arrived here on Easter Sunday 1722. There are 3 volcanoes here. The island is famous for it’s almost 1000 statues averaging 13 feet tall and weighing about 14 tons. Many are placed along the shoreline as seen in the photo below and were carved using stone from the quarry shown below. There are theories as to the reasoning for the statues and questions as to why this civilization collapsed.
    Read more

    Richard and Joan Hagan

    What a bummer. Our 2.5 days on the island was full of fun and adventure

    2/24/20Reply
     
  • Day29

    Cruising the Southern Pacific Ocean

    February 21, 2020, South Pacific Ocean ⋅ ☁️ 72 °F

    We are enjoying the third of four of our much-loved sea days while traveling to Easter Island.
    We have time to get our exercise in the morning, a couple of lectures (today’s was about Polynesian birds by the onboard ornithologist),
    and happy hour is always a welcome time of day.
    There is lots to do if you are so inclined, but is also a time to regroup.
    The biggest change we have seen in the ocean from the earlier part of our trip is that the water is now a gorgeous cerulean blue. And, finally, it is a bit calmer which helps with walking around. You do a lot of core exercise on those rough days just trying to stay upright!
    Our captain called a ship-wide meeting yesterday and we were fearful that the bad news was that we would not be able to make a landing on Easter Island, but it was just a change in our schedule from visiting one Polynesian Island to another. We had never heard of either one, so it made no difference to us.
    Also, many passengers had heard that several ships were turned away from Tonga this week (we’ll be stopping there in a week or so) and were concerned it was because of Coronsvirus. Turns out it was simply a scheduling mixup. We were assured that they are being diligent about any exposure the ship would have in any of our ports, and they will address them if necessary.
    Easter Island is a rugged, volcanic island that has no protected bay as most islands do, so making a landing there is tricky as there are often rough seas. We’re keeping our fingers crossed!!!
    Read more

    Franz Rosenboom

    Enjoy the Happy Hour, I love it too, Ali

    2/20/20Reply
    Ali and Jeff Carithers

    😊🥂

    2/21/20Reply
    Mark Zimmerman

    Love those sea days!!!!

    2/20/20Reply

    You will love it.

    2/22/20Reply
     
  • Day25

    Robinson Crusoe Island

    February 17, 2020 in Chile ⋅ ☀️ 64 °F

    A rough night on the South Pacific Ocean brought us to Robinson Crusoe Island this morning. As we are headed in the direction of French Polynesia, I expected a lush, palm tree swaying, sandy beach island. What we saw was far from that description. The island is a bit of volcanic rock with jagged peaks, evergreen trees and a rocky coast. It is remote and formidable by description, but the 800 people who live here were warm and welcoming. There are only about 1500 people who visit here each year due to the remoteness of the island and lack of amenities for people on holiday.
    Alexander Selkirk was marooned here in the early 1700’s and his story inspired Defoes novel Robinson Crusoe. Selkirk was a troublesome Scot who got fed up with the ship he was sailing on. The captain had also had enough of Selkirk so they left him behind to fend for himself. He may have made a good decision since the ship he had been on sank soon after. About half the men died and the other half were rescued by a Spanish ship and imprisoned. Selkirk was rescued 4 years and 4 months after his arrival on the island.
    The German battleship “Dresden” sank in this bay in 1915 during WWI. It was hiding out when 3 English ships discovered it and attacked from
    all sides.
    An 8.8 earthquake occurred quite close by in 2010 and the resulting 10’ tsunami wiped out most of the town. A 12 year-old girl saw the ocean receding and warned people. Because of her awareness of what was happening and quick reaction, only 12 lives were lost in the disaster.
    We spent a nice day here, met lots of dogs and had a good conversation with Angelo, one of 15 police officers on the island. He is almost finished with a 5 year stint on the island and will head back home to Valparaíso next month. We also were able to observe the firecrown hummingbird-Robinson Crusoe Island is the only place it exists.
    132 plants are endemic to the island.
    We spent time stretching our legs as we will be at sea the next 4 days as we head toward Easter Island.
    Read more

    Mark Zimmerman

    Love this picture!

    2/17/20Reply

    The hummingbird is awesome!

    2/18/20Reply
    Richard and Joan Hagan

    How big is this bird?

    2/20/20Reply
    Ali and Jeff Carithers

    It is a bit larger than the hummingbird’s we are used to.

    2/20/20Reply
    Richard and Joan Hagan

    Dogs everywhere with no owners

    2/20/20Reply
     
  • Day23

    Valparaiso, Chile.

    February 15, 2020 in Chile ⋅ ☀️ 66 °F

    Valparaíso, Chile is a very dramatic city consisting of 45 hills overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It has streets and stairways that wind up and down throughout the city with an occasional funicular if you don’t feel like walking. It’s a bohemian culture and it’s been described as “a wonderful mess”.
    It was deemed a World Heritage Site in 2003 due in part to it’s role in early trade and globalization
    and the culture that developed from it. Until the Panama Canal was completed in 1914, every ship going from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean or opposite, stopped in the major seaport of Valparaíso before or after the sailed around Cape Horn at the tip of South America. Because of this exposure to many people from many different countries, Valparaíso was heavily influenced in the arts, architecture and poetry/writing.
    Today Valparaíso is known for it’s street art and dilapidatedly beautiful structures. ( I may have made that word up.) It is absolutely loaded with colors, textures, history, and smells (both good and horribly bad). Oh, and dogs. As I mentioned before in another part of Chile, there are dogs everywhere that seem to belong to everyone.
    You literally have to step over sleeping dogs to get around. Sometimes they join you as you walk, but mostly they are just asleep.
    Mostly recently, Valparaíso has been in the news for protests against oppression. The political system has deteriorated here and the lowest income people have been hit hard with high cost living and transportation against their low wages.
    This past October saw riots here along with a couple of other cities in Chile, but that’s a whole other story.
    Read more

    Que se vayan bien!!

    2/16/20Reply

    John and Cheryl Hassan of the freezing Great White North.

    2/16/20Reply
    Richard and Joan Hagan

    I remember that street!

    2/17/20Reply
     
  • Day23

    The Pacific ocean off the coast of Chile

    February 15, 2020, South Pacific Ocean ⋅ ☀️ 61 °F

    It’s amazing who you find in the middle of the ocean!
    Somehow, it’s quite exciting when you see another ship when you are out at sea. The ship that we met off the coast of Chile today happened to be our sister ship, the Silver Shadow.
    There was much horn-tooting, shouting and waving as we passed each other going opposite directions.
    Read more

  • Day21

    Puerto Montt, Chile

    February 13, 2020 in Chile ⋅ ⛅ 52 °F

    After our exhilarating day yesterday, we had a more tame experience of visiting a local ranch out in the country. We had an interesting demonstration on a Chilean rodeo (not quite as traumatizing for me seeing cattle lassoed, etc.).
    This was more competitive horse training.
    We were treated to some local dancing and music and were served a traditional breakfast.
    We had the best coffee cake we have ever eaten-I need to try to figure out how to recreate it.

    Something we’ve learned in Chile is that some people own dogs, but most dogs seem to belong to everyone. They lounge about everywhere-sidewalks, parks and yards- rarely fenced in or on a leash. I think many are strays, but everyone recognizes this and feeds and gives them attention. They also seem to be relatively oblivious to most everyone. This seems more prevalent the further north we go in Chile.

    Crossing the street here is interesting. We are told that a Chilean driver will stop for someone in a crosswalk, but “those crazy Argentinian” drivers won’t so you have to be careful! There seems to be some real animosity between the Chileans and the Argentinians. Hhmmmm.... I will have to investigate that further and try to sort out what we’ve seen and heard thus far.

    A short walk around town and we are back on the ship catching up on some computer work and reading. We have a sea day coming up tomorrow so we will have a chance to regroup.
    Read more

  • Day20

    Puerto Chacabuco, Chile

    February 12, 2020 in Chile ⋅ 🌧 52 °F

    Puerto Chacabuco is a small town tucked deep in the fjords of Chile with majestic mountain formations, rivers and waterfalls everywhere you look. Much of the scenery here is untouched by humans, making it a beautifully pristine environment. Sounds pretty perfect, huh? Well, I left out the part that it rains 10’ a year. That plus the grocery store I saw makes it a not so good choice for me.
    Since we visited here 2 years ago, we felt we had pretty much walked every street in the town and thought it might be a good idea to join one of the excursions that was offered. This would give us a better idea of what lay beyond the port.
    It’s very easy to read and sign up for excursions in the comfort of our home in Virginia, months before the trip. That must have been when I thought that a kayaking trip sounded like “fun”
    (sometimes we refer to that as the “f” word).
    Indeed, it was a great time. When we left this morning it was 45 degrees and pouring rain.
    I considered the wisdom of continuing on this adventure merely from a comfort standpoint. We’re tougher than that! We headed out on about a 1 hour bus ride to a gorgeous, peaceful lake.
    After suiting up with the appropriate gear, about 10 of us, plus 3 guides took off in our kayaks (Jeff and I were in a 2-person kayak). The spectacular, jagged mountains surrounded us, birds unlike any we had ever seen or heard flew and swam around us and the water was so still and clear it seemed unreal. We learned much about the area while we gently paddled and there was “just a little bit of rains” about every 10 minutes.
    This was all good for about an hour until the guide told us that the lake turns into a river and there were 3 sets of rapids ahead.
    I scanned my memory to remember if I read anything in the trip description about paddling through rapids and thought if I had seen that I wouldn’t have signed us up! Well, at this point the guide asked if anyone was uncomfortable and before I could yell “YES”, everyone in our group said they were fine with it. Talk about peer pressure. So I asked Jeff if he was fine and he assured me it would be alright. The main guide said to just follow him and paddle hard. We hit a branch on the first rapid and ran aground in the third one, but regained our momentum.
    It really was fine, but my adrenaline was going and my knees were wobbly.
    Afterward, there was a break before heading back that featured one of our favorite Chilean specialities-sopaipillas with pebre. Pebre is a traditional Chilean condiment much like a salsa or pisco de Gallo, but the ingredients are chopped up into very tiny bits. A sopaipilla is a piece of fried dough ( yeah, I know, real healthy), that puffs up to form a pocket. You then load the pebre into the pocket and eat it while it drips down your arm. It is so good, I can barely describe it. Yum.
    Soon after, we were dancing with our river guides to a couple of traditional Chilean songs-the dance was very similar to a polka.
    We’re exhausted.
    Read more

    Rapids always scare me!!

    2/14/20Reply
    Mark Zimmerman

    O M G...that moment when Rapids are ahead.

    2/18/20Reply