Playa Llolleo

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  • Day34

    San Antonio, Chile

    February 5, 2018 in Chile ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

    We spent last night docked up in San Antonio, and will be remaining here until 5pm this evening.

    We’re at a bit of a loss as to what to do today. For once, I’m not exaggerating—there is nothing to do in San Antonio. I’ve found out a little more about the place actually—it was hit by a massive earthquake in 1985, and 80% of the buildings and infrastructure were destroyed, and it was further damaged by another earthquake in 2010. So perhaps my one-horse town comments from yesterday were a little insensitive.

    Still, those facts notwithstanding, it does seem like an odd place to bring a large cruise ship. Sadly, we don’t have any trips further afield planned today either (bit of a cock-up there—we didn’t initially realise we were here for 2 days, and by the time we realised that we’d booked nothing for the second day, all the trips had sold out). Dad keeps trying to float out the idea of going back to yesterday’s winery for lunch, but that might not be all that practical—it‘d be an hour in a taxi from here, and then we’d have to hope we could get back again before the ship leaves.

    So, at least for now, I’m staying in the ship to make use of the fact that at least I have Internet access while we’re docked.

    Often, while we’re in port, the staff use the time to rehearse the emergency drills. We are usually none the wiser, because we’re generally off on a trip somewhere. So, it’s quite a sight to see what’s going on this morning. Today, they’re rehearsing a big one—a fire in the engine room. I was just leaving my room as the drill started, and next thing I know I’m looking at a swift yet sleek procession of the full ship’s company, bedecked in life jackets, sweeping down the stairs. There are 850 staff on board, so I quickly hurry to the lift to get out of their way. Entering the lift at the same time is the ship’s HR manager, who tells me that this is one of the worst scenarios they can plan for, and as such, this hour-long drill is rehearsed every two weeks.

    Just before 1pm, we decide to take a stroll ashore. There’s a mall of sorts a little way along the coastline, so more for some exercise than a great desire to shop, we head off. It’s a 20-minute walk along the dockside to reach the mall, and it’s a fragrant promenade, to say the least, with the day’s catch being gutted and descaled in small huts beneath the walkway. The mall is quite modern, and there’s even a bureau de change, so we can finally swap our seemingly useless US dollars for some Chilean pesos. We hot-foot it to the nearest café, as Dad is gagging for a glass of wine (it’s 1:30pm, after all...), and Mum is keen as mustard to try the local pisco sour.

    By 3:15pm we’ve had our fill of the mall, and so make our way back to the ship, passing little blanket stalls along the promenade, before catching the hopper bus to the ship, for a late lunch.

    At 7pm, we pull out of port, and put San Antonio to our rudder. Not before time. We now have an evening at sea, before arriving at our next port, Coquimbo, early tomorrow morning.
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