20181111 – Falkland Islands – Civilisation At Last


Sunday

Penguins and civilisation at last.

Falklands today – civilisation at last. Up early for breakfast and then we’re on the Bluff Cove Penguin tour at 08:00.

Mini bus to a car park then a land rover across the moor like, peaty landscape. By the end of the 20 minute drive we’re all shaking like a dog shitting hammer handles. Landscape reminds us very much of Belthorn, only really fit for sheep. Weather is sunny, not too cold but a tad windy. Better than at home.

More Gentoo penguins than Muslim at a blasphemy riot, but only a smaller colony of about 20 King penguins. There was a five hour tour took in more different varieties of penguins but involved 4 hours driving, a goodly portion of which would be in a Landrover, thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster we passed on that little escapade.

More British than Britain. I bet they’re not bothered about BREXIT.

Then get back to Port Stanley just in time for the two minute silence, which everyone observes apart from a German couple. Typical they start the bloody wars, then just because they had their arses well and truly kicked both times can’t even have the civility to observe a few moments silence. Sausage chomping scrots.

Have a stroll around. Can you believe it we visit a gift shop. Then a super market. Not just any old supermarket but a Waitrose. Place is a bit like 1960’s Britain. Photograph a few war memorials.

Then it’s back to the ship. One of the better day trips, Wendy got to see her penguins and everyone spoke English.

Monday

Cape Horn with 18 foot waves.

Day at sea. Sail around Cape Horn. We get our moneys worth going around the Horn with 18 foot waves to liven things up. Fortunately my pewk tablets do their job and I can even tolerate the gym. All quite exciting in a bizarre way.

Tuesday

Not sure what this is.

Ushuaia, Argentina today. The most Southerly “city” in the World. The city at the end of the World but no one drops off.

Get off the ship early and have a stroll around the city. Reminds us very much of France. There’s a cruise ship in town but not an open shop in sight – true French style entrepreneurs.

Being lazy souls we’ve signed up for a tour to the Tierra Del Feugo National Park. Quite a stark location. Our tour guide is obsessed with Beavers – thats the animal kind. By the end of the NP tour I’m at the point of being ready to throttle her if she mentions Beavers, and the problems they’ve caused, at least one more time. Im sure the whole coach would welcome her demise. Then when she’s done Beavers to death she starts on the parasites. No not the unemployed scrotal variety to be found in the UK, but the parasites that live on the trees.

Post box at the bottom of the World.

To be fair it was quite an interesting tour. The trip along the Trans American highway to the end at the bottom of the World just about sums up South America, not a square foot of blacktop, tarmac, concrete or any other substantial road surface. Just compacted and dusty gravel.

Then it’s back to the gin palace for an early departure to cruise Glacier Alley, Beagle Channel 
and Cockburn Channel. But not before a cocktail party with free whisky, champagne and you can borrow some real diamond bling for the formal evening. Cheeky bar steward asked was I getting dressed up for the formal. I replied “Yes, I already am”. That shut him up.

Wednesday

Town square.

Punta Arenas, Chile today. Sadly we booked a tour. This city was so much more civilised than Brazil, Uruguay or Argentina, but desperately struggles to justify a tour. Trip to an interesting little museum; up a hill to have an over view of the city; a Sarah Braun house tour; and the town plaza. Just love the marketing expertise of the locals. Get off a city tour bus and they try and sell us a city tour!

Next cruise we’ll stick to our guns and do our own thing. Much cheaper and we can avoid Museum and Cemetery fatigue.

Statue of Magellan – I think, i’d lost the will to listen by now.

Our guide is devastated when we say we’re staying in town. “But you’ll miss the most beautiful cemetery in South America”, my silent retort is “good”, we’re just about had enough cemeteries to last a life time. Good god we don’t even go to our parents grave this often.

We go to a local Tavern where we have lunch; a few local beers; and because Wendy doesn’t like her Daiquiri I even have to finish that off. Then it’s a stroll around town before getting the free bus back to the port.

Back to the ship / boat / gin palace for a cruise down the Strait of Magellan.

Thursday

More from the penguins.

A boring sea day with bugger all on the entertainment front other than some inane talk on “Yachts of the Rich and famous”, another even more esoteric talk on “Concertinas” – just what everyone talks about all the time – and that’s the highlight of the day. We’re cruising down the Canal Sarmiento towards yet another glacier, the Brujo glacier. Hopefully this one is a bit more spectacular than the ones down Glacier Alley – not a patch on the Alaska Glaciers.

Lunch reveals yet another “there’s note so queer as folk” moment as a woman comes to sit down at ta dinner table, but there are 4 drops of water on the table. Wow she has a hissy fit with her husband, as if it was his fault. Then summons a waiter to swab them up. Heaven help her in the rain.

Glacier in Glacier Alley – I think.

Meanwhile it may be an opportune moment to comment on the infestation of Germans on this ship. Even on a freezing sea day they’re there with their towels on the deck chairs at the crack of sparrows; sprawled out on all the settees in the lounges and chairs; and even drown out what few Americans we have on board. Next cruise needs to have fewer friggin arrogant and rude Germans. Limit their numbers and don’t allow any onboard that voted for Angela Merkel. For a nation that is allegedly so efficient it amazed me how the ones on our fixed dinning table had major issues in telling the time.

Wendy with her penguins.

You may have noticed that very little has been said about evening entertainment. That’s because in the main it was dire. Tango dancing 3 nights; Saxophone player 2 nights; song and dancers 2 nights; 1 bongo player, juggler and feats of strength.


It can be a tad depressing on this floating gin palace full of geriatrics, with walking stick and zimmer frame hell. Average age must be about 65. Then depression sets in as you realise you’re one of them, but so much better than the alternative.

Friday

Chilean fjords.

Another sea day.

Have breakfast delivered to the room, only coffee, tea and a smoothie, but that way you get a couple of free Mimosas to help keep my alcohol levels topped up during the day.

Yet another glacier.

There’s a talk on the next port of call Puerta Montt. Have to say the port talks are pretty good. Pity the ports of call aren’t as good. In the main they’re mostly bereft of anything worth seeing, to put it in comparison, it’s like offering a Round Britain Cruise to have a day trip to Blackburn.

Wendy faffs about whether to buy a pack of lip gloss. Shall I, shan’t I – for gods sake just buy them. Then she goes to watch an auction, she finds the stupidity fascinating.

Exploit the 16:00 happy hour to buy a couple of glasses of wine at almost reasonable price and then take them up to dinner. Where there’s a will there’s a way and it gives me great delight to circumvent their rampant greed.

Dinner with our usual two American couples.

Wendy watches the show while I sit in the lounge, watching the sea go by and nurse a glass of wine. A much more stimulating experience than watching yet another mediocre song and dance performance. Mind you to be fair if they served up a top Broadway cast and musical I’d probably still go for watching the sea go by.

Saturday

Welcome to our little shithole.

Puerto Montt today. On the basis of the previous tours being mainly some Chicken Shit little dump, even worse than Blackburn, we decide to do a walking tour on our own.

Wow this place is a real shithole, the armpit of civilisation.

Thank god we’re leaving.

Manage a 6 mile walk. Stop for a beer. Really nice to see a Salvation Army collector, jingling his bell, outside one of the main stores. Most of the shopping centres seem half empty. Street traders are scratching a living everywhere. Selling everything from seaweed; trinkets; sink plugs; dubious looking fruit and vegetable; toothbrushes – probably second hand. The main activities seemed to be washing broad beens in filthy brown water, scooping them into a plastic bag ready for resale.

Back on board our opulent first world bubble by lunchtime.

Dinner with our usual two American couples again.

Sunday

The shitholes only claim to fame and it’s enough to give even adults nightmares.

The final sea day. For breakfast we venture to the Pinnacle restaurant, reserved for Neptune suite guests, where I can get kippers. Very formal waiter service rather than the bun fight in the Lido restaurant.

Interesting talk on El Nino, although I do keep drifting off to sleep.

Wendy gets packed.

Dinner with our usual two American couples, almost fixed dining.