Cruising the Wilhelm Archipelago
Northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula
December 29, 2010
Sunset 12:03 am tonight – Sunrise: 2:28 am tonight (2 hrs & 25 min later)

The seas kept a nice easy rocking motion all night; perfect for good sleep.  And thankfully the “drugs” are beginning to work, less coughing.  Yea!!!

I could see on the TV map that we were cruising past the South Shetland Islands at 9:30; & I had to step outside to see.  Wasn’t much to be seen; just a lot of fog.  The winds aren’t strong; so it doesn’t feel bitterly cold (39 degrees).  The C.D. came on to tell us that “due to the snowstorms in the northeast”, we were experiencing satellite interruptions.  We did have internet part of the day yesterday.  We had CNN & Fox News last night; but no internet.  Today we’ve got none of the above.  I’m no techie; but is it the ship’s position; or is the weather REALLY influencing the satellite?  Early on, I had questioned internet reception this far south; & was told that it wouldn’t be a factor.  I’m sure one of my C.C. friends will chime in on the message boards after they read this, & answer this all important question.

The Mariner Society Brunch was held at 11:30 in the main D.R.; & I thought I’d take at least one meal in there.  I sat with three couples; small chit chat.  Didn’t pick up any important HAL scoop.  But the menu was quite good.  They were offering free champagne.  I started with a mixed green salad with chickpeas, tomato, a nice size grilled salmon filet, drizzled with orange olive oil dressing (outstanding).  The alternative choice of appetizer was apple gazpacho with lemon sorbet???

My main course was braised beef short ribs with garlic cloves.  This came with mashed potatoes & julienne carrots.  Some at my table had the broccoli/cheddar quiche with orzo pasta, savoy cabbage & grilled tomato.  The third choice of entrée was butter basted filet of trout with yellow rice & roasted basil flavored diced tomatoes.

For dessert we had a key lime & vanilla chocolate tart.  Actually the tart was key lime; & they used the white chocolate to mold into a spoon with the HAL logo airbrushed on it.  During the presentation the Capt. said he had been expecting to see icebergs by 10 am; but that the wind blowing from behind the ship was pushing any ice further ahead of us.  The dense fog was a result of the sea water being so much warmer than the air temp.  He promised that they’d keep searching every nook & cranny until they found ice, whales & penguins.

About 1 pm, I ventured up to the Crow’s Nest (forward observation lounge); & it was packed.  The 2nd officer had set up a chart desk & was showing us where we had been; & where we were planning to go.  There was a plan A, plan B, etc., etc. until they could get out of the fog & find some scenic cruising.  He also told us that very late tonight we would be picking up about a dozen scientists from Palmer Research Station , who will be onboard to answer questions about the area & enjoy a little R&R (for about 18 hrs).  They will tender out to the ship in zodiaks & climb up a rope ladder & come onboard.  It got quite noisy in the Crow’s Nest; & decided I liked the view from deck 6 promenade even better.  The plan being that I could run into my cabin & warm up in between islands.

Around 3 pm, the party really got started.  I’m sorry I can’t tell you the exact locations when things started to get interesting.  The info coming over the loudspeaker was a little garbled; & I had nothing to write on at that time.  The icebergs started small; & kept getting bigger & bigger.  Every once in a while, we’d spot a whale.  Every few minutes they’d announce something to see on the port side; & then the starboard side.  But it’s so easy to move from one side to the other when you’re at the stern.  There are a few benches back there; & you’re protected from the wind.  IMO, that’s why a deck 6 aft cabin was a prime location.

As if all this wasn’t exhilarating enough, then it started to snow.  Blowing sideways, some flakes looked like small cotton balls.  For the next 4 hrs, it went from blowing snow to just fine misty rain.  Even though it was still grey, the fog had lifted; we were sailing so close to these massive snow covered islands & ice floes that you could almost reach out & touch them.  I’m glad I had my head & face under 2 layers (ski mask & scarf/muffler); because I was walking around with this goofy grim on my face.  I was just giddy to see snow.

About 4:30, we sailed slowly toward Cuverville Island, where they promised we’d see lots of Gentoo penguins nesting.  This is the largest of the penguin species.  I didn’t have my binoculars on me (although I did bring them this time); so all I could see was with the zoom lens on the camera.  I will hope that I can zoom & crop in the editing process to see what it was I actually saw.  There were probably a hundred various sized icebergs in this channel; some you could tell sat extremely deep in the water.  It was fun watching the crewmembers coming out on deck in their shirt sleeves with their cameras; everyone taking pictures of each other with their cameras.  They were just as excited to see this display as the Pax were. 

Then the Capt. sailed the ship over to Anvers Island a little before 7 pm.  The temp is down to 34; & it started snowing again.   The winds have picked up to 32 mph; so it’s VERY COLD outside.  This was about the time I decided to move indoors up to the Lido restaurant.  I could have dinner; & be ready to run outside if I needed to shoot something.  As soon as I sat down, someone sited a humpback whale.  By the time I turned my camera on, all I could catch was his fluke (tail).  The Capt. thought there might be more of them feeding; so he cut the engines & idled for a while.  The whales were not in the mood to put on a show for us tonight.  The beauty of this itinerary is that we have 4 days in which to fiddle-f@#t around the northwest side of the peninsula.  We can stop & wait for something to happen; or we can go to where the action is.

I set up my ‘office’ next to a window (& the plug) on the starboard side; & had some lovely people to chat with.  Dinner was pretty good.  For my appetizer I had prosciutto, salami, melon & figs.  I made a mixed salad at the salad bar; & got a taste of this divine spicy Thai beef salad with angel hair pasta.

I wasn’t that excited about having prime rib again; but it was the lesser of all evils, if you will.  Of the 6 veggies they were supposed to have, they only had 3.  Of those 3, the most exciting was French fries (again).

None of the desserts appealed to me; so I went back to the appetizer bar; & got the citrus compote with honey & raisins.  Don’t know why; but the last 2 nights they haven’t even had the entrées on display.  They usually assemble sample plates to show off the main courses; & it is beneficial in helping you make up your mind.  Now you have to look in the steam table & figure what is what; & what goes with it!  No labels, no nothing?

After dinner we spotted a cruise ship on the horizon.  None of us could recognize the funnel or any markings.  But when we got side by side, I could see it was the ‘The World of Residensea’ (the cruise ship where you can buy your apartment for prices starting at I believe it was $1.5M).  Must be nice!

The internet was up & down for hours.  I was still sitting in the Lido at 11 pm when the late night buffet opened up.  A lot of the staff come in & eat their dinner then.  Don’t know what they had; but it sure smelled good.  I was contemplating going up to take a look; but Dr. Vance came over with his plate & asked if he could sit down.  He ate; & we talked for half an hour.  He’s just the sweetest man.  I continued to edit photos after he left.  I took over 175 today; & it’ll be a long while before I get them culled down & edited.

I lingered in the Lido until nearly 1 am.  By this time we are headed back out into the Pacific (not sure why); but the ship is pitching mightily.  Gonna be some good sleeping in my room tonight.  When I came downstairs there was still enough light outside to read a book by. There were quite a few people lounging around at the tables, drinking coffee & hot chocolate; not wanting to go to their cabins for fear they’d miss something.  That’s the way I feel.  You must stay dressed at all times; boots on; gloves & coat by the door ready to hit the deck on a second’s notice

It’s so surreal to be surrounded by such beauty.  Neither Alaska, nor the Norwegian Fjords, looks this pristine.  I’m so glad they have the new restrictions in place so that no large ships carrying heavy fuel oil can contaminate these waters in the future.  The tranquility of this day, with a little help from Dr. Vance’s drugs, has started to heal my mind, body & soul.  I thank God for giving me this beautiful day & a chance to get in touch with nature.  I feel at peace……it’s been a while.


Cape Horn & Crossing Drake’s Passage
December 28, 2010
Sunrise: 4:01 am – Sunset: 10:38 pm

I was sleeping pretty soundly when I felt the ship shimmying a little after 7.  Instinct tells you turn on channel 40 to check the bridge camera.  Turning up the volume, I learned that we were pausing at the tip of Cape Horn.  I thought I’d best run out & document this momentous occasion.  I threw on some jeans & my coat over my gown.

                          Cape Horn (the southern most tip of South America)

The seas were dead calm; & I was surprised that it wasn’t colder than it was.  There was a small expedition ship (the Stella Australis) at anchor; & they were ferrying their Pax over in zodiacs for a closer look at a monument dedicated to all the sailors who had died in these treacherous waters.

The only other structures that appear to be there are a radio tower, lighthouse & a small Naval barrack.  We were told that once we got underway again, we would start to feel motion as we moved SSE of the Cape & into the spot where the Atlantic & Pacific Oceans converge. 

It appears that our timing couldn’t be more perfect; as we are making the passage in between 2 low pressure systems.  Sure enough, with the wind at our back, there is a very soothing pitching motion to the ship.  Enough to make me happy; but not freak out everybody else.

I jumped back in bed for another few hours; & woke up with a nasty coughing spell.  I put on some clothes & gasped when I took a look in the mirror.  I actually look unwell today; but I ventured out for breakfast anyway about 10:15.  Fortunately, it wasn’t crowded in the Lido; & I ate quickly.  I had a bowl of fruit; mushroom & cheese omelet & some bacon.  I fixed a double hot chocolate (using hot milk) in my (Oceania) mug; & downed 3 glasses of grape juice (upon doc’s advice).

I walked out the back of the Lido into the Retreat area for some fresh air.  I sat at a table protected from the wind; drank my hot chocolate & enjoyed watching the rise & fall of the ship’s stern on the horizon.  I contemplated grabbing one of the steamer blankets; & staying a while; but knew that wasn’t too wise.

Back in the cabin, I didn’t feel like reading or editing more penguin photos.  So, I got in bed & slept.  I knew I wouldn’t miss any important scenery outside, because there isn’t any (at least until tomorrow afternoon).  Another coughing spell got me up at 4.  A quick check of the bridge camera shows grey skies & some fog.  I can see the deck at the bow of the ship is wet; so it’s obviously been raining.

The ship’s nurse called to see how I was feeling.  I told her I had a nasty headache & felt more foggy headed.  She asked if I had a fever; & so far, I haven’t had.  When I got back on the computer, I read on the C.C. message boards that my friend, Lou (drtee), was ill.  She has a fever & the doc quarantined her in her cabin for 24 hrs.  I have heard a good bit of coughing around the ship the last few days.  But as far as I know, a sinus infection isn’t contagious.  And I’ve been extremely careful with coughing (inside the front of my blouse), handling Kleenex & washing of the hands.  Almost obsessive about it, in fact.

I was beginning to get hungry about 7:30; so I went up to the Lido restaurant.  Most nights I’m surprised at how many Pax are having their evening meals up there.  Maybe they don’t want to miss any scenery in the dining room (although there is nothing to see tonight out there).  Or maybe, like me, they just want a totally casual experience.  Another thing that seems funny to me…..I see people every day that I’ve never seen before (this ship is mid size at best).  And then there are a handful of “strangers” that I see all the time.

Anyway, back to dinner.  I started with the eggplant caponata appetizer, very good.  The “Dam” bacon & cabbage soup sounded really good; but there was a thick layer of grease floating at the top of the cup.  Now, I’m not one to shy away from bacon grease; but it was just too greasy, even though the flavor was robust & delicious.

For the main course, I had braised lamb shank & savoy cabbage (it had very little taste).  I also had smoked bacon & white cheddar mashed potatoes.  If there were bacon or cheese in there anywhere, I didn’t find it.  Tasted like plain ole mashed potatoes to me.

For dessert I tried to crème catalana (some type of flan).  Hmmm, I don’t know what to say about it; it didn’t have much flavor either.  It’s the first time I’ve left the table with a good amount of food on my plate.  That’s why I don’t think it warrants pretty photographs.

Just in case, I made a small bowl of mixed salad to bring back to the cabin in case I needed a midnight snack (if I make it that long).  It’s 9 pm; & I’m settled in for the night.  Looking forward to seeing the beginning of the Antarctic Peninsula around noon tomorrow.

(Sorry, no towel animal tonight……I didn’t even let the steward in here today.)


Ushuaia, Argentina
December 27, 2010

I was up & down a lot in the night; but I did manage to get caught up on some sleep.  Turned on the TV to see the start of our transit through the Beagle Channel.  The sun is shining; the temp is 43 degrees; & the winds are gusting up to 57 mph.  But on TV the seas don’t look or feel rough at all, which I find surprising.  I probably should have tried to see the doctor this morning; but I’m determined to go on today’s shore excursion (more wildlife).  And if I’m really lucky, find a pharmacy in town to buy some cold medicine.

The Capt made an announcement about 10:45 warning us that we would be making a hard left turn; & to expect the winds to cause us to list to port.  We obviously were arriving into Ushuaia early.  I ventured out of the cabin about 11; & planted myself near the electrical plug on the port side of the Lido.  There were snow capped mountains on both sides of us (I know I seem to say that a lot).  Due to the winds, the port has been closed to all small ship traffic.  There were a couple of freighters hanging outside the harbor waiting for a chance to get into this very busy shipping port.

The Lido restaurant was packed.  I kept waiting for the crowds to thin out before I got in the line.  By the time I started through the line about 12:30, they had run out of clean plates & silverware.  So, I went to the dessert station first; & got some bread pudding.  They had clam chowder & chili right next to the desserts.  So, I got a small bowl of chili too.  Let me tell ya; that was some spicy chili; made my nose run.  While I waited for clean dishes, I ate dessert next.  I wasn’t bowled over by the entrée choices; but I did have some spaghetti Bolognese, grilled Brussels sprouts & the roasted Mediterranean veggies (again).  Whatever seasoning they put on these veggies is to die for.

My afternoon tour was a catamaran sail of the little islands in the Beagle Channel.  With the wind chill it was frigid ass cold out there; & it was misting rain.  I didn’t realize that this tour required about ½ mile walk from our ship to the catamaran.  It wasn’t just me; but there were quite a few older people using canes that weren’t happy to find this out.  I was bundled up in coat, boots, gloves, etc; & was actually sweating by the time I got on the ‘Eduardo B’.  The guide spoke good English; but she had such a heavy accent, no one understood a word she was saying.

We spent about 1½ hrs. on the water.  When we came up to these little islands, the Capt. would idle the engine & just spin around in circles so that everyone could see the wildlife from all sides of the boat.  One island was covered wall to wall with birds; king/imperial cormorants. 

Another island had a lot of seagulls, cormorants & HUMONGOUS sea lions.  There were 2 bull sea lions up there that were as big as a VW Beatle!

Our turnaround point was the Les Eclaireurs lighthouse.  The winds made the water very choppy; & it was challenging to get up from your seat & go out on deck to shoot pictures without falling overboard.  I can’t tell you how elated we were to see HA had sent a bus to pick us up & take us back to the ship.  It was misting rain again; & it would have made an unpleasant walk.

We got an extremely short ride through “town”.  All the business are painted colorfully; & I think it would have been fun to wander around had I really felt like it.  But I didn’t spot a pharmacy close to the dock.  One building that caught my eye was the Museum at the End of the World.

When I came back onboard, it was already 5 pm; & I knew the doctor was in the medical center from 5-6.  So, I went up one deck to see about some kind of medicine for my affliction.  The nurse & doc were both American; & we had a jolly old time talking.  Good news is, my chest is clear; but I do have a sinus infection.  He offered me a choice of 2 scrips…..the $63 Z-pack or the $16 Amoxicillin.  Let’s say I’m just as happy taking pills for 10 days & saving the $47 (that can be spent on more internet time, you know).

The internet was finally back up, so I got a little ‘business’ done; & then went up to the Lido for dinner about 7:30.  I had a cold appetizer of marinated grilled veggies (red & green peppers, onions, mushrooms, zucchini) topped with shaved asiago cheese & an olive oil & balsamic vinegar reduction (fabulous).  I fixed a mixed salad from the salad bar.  For my entrée I had osso bucco w/ tomato sauce, lemon garlic rice pilaf & some French fries.  I noticed they kept the buffet open way past 8 pm; undoubtedly because there were some tours that would arrive late.

We pulled away from the dock about 9:45.  I did a little more computer stuff; & then piled in the bed by 11:30.  I’m going to do some reading; take my medicine like a good girl & try to take it easy the next several days.

PS:  Sorry there weren't more food photos today; but not much of what I ate looked that photogenic.


Punta Arenas, Chile
December 26, 2010

I turned out the light at 2:15; but I think I was too excited to sleep.  I kept the TV on the bridge camera so I would be awakened when it got daylight.   By 5:30 I was already hearing ship noises that let me know we were docking just as it was starting to get light outside.  I tried to go back to sleep until breakfast was delivered at 6:30; but that wasn’t going to happen either.  I had scrambled eggs, hash browns, toast & a glass of milk.

It was mostly cloudy outside, 47 degrees when I left the ship.  At that time it wasn’t windy; & thank God, it wasn’t going to rain today.  My tour met at 7:30 in the showroom; & they sent me right down to bus #7 as soon as I checked in.  We had a lovely guide named Dominique, who spoke excellent English.  It was a short 5 min. bus ride from the ship’s pier to the ferry pier.  So basically, I saw nothing of the town Punta Arenas.  But what I did see today will stay with me forever.

We boarded a car carrying ferry for our nearly 2 hr. trip to Magdalena Island, home of the Magdalena Penguin Reserve.  There were several compartments with airline type seats & large picture windows.  We were handed a sack lunch to eat whenever we got hungry.  I sat next to the window, with a lovely lady from Gainesville, FL sitting across from me.  In a while an extended family came into our compartment; & the dad sat next to me.  He had on so much cologne, I started to sneeze.  I tried to turn my back to him & face the window; but I knew I was going to have to move.  Once we got underway, the dad took a walk outside on deck; & I took that opportunity to move to a different row.

The ferry arrived at Magdalena Island a little before 10 am.  I had flashes of landing on the beaches of Normandy when they lowered the (whatever it is you call it); & we all trooped off onto the dark sand beach.  There were penguins scattered about as far as the eye could see.  Some were around the water’s edge, feeding; some were burrowed in the sand guarding their chicks; some would walk right up to us & peck curiously at shoe laces.  It was very quiet except for a few “barking” penguins & the sounds of seagulls.  There is a sand covered walking path cordoned off that would wind it’s way up to the highest point where there was a lighthouse.  The guide advised walking straight to the lighthouse & take photos on your leisurely walk back to the boat.  Well, very few people followed that advice.

I was mesmerized by these darling creatures; & I was snapping shots every step of the way.  As long as you walked slowly & didn’t make any sudden moves, they seemed just as curious of us as we were of them.  There seemed to be thousands of burrowed holes in the sand.  If you peeked inside, sometimes you could see the chicks with their fuzzy brownish coats.

They came in all sizes; but none seemed to be that newly born.  Occasionally, the mother would be in there with them; her head just peeking out of the hole.  I saw ‘couples’ preening each other; saw some (hopefully) play fighting with their beaks.  I even saw some that appeared to be “doing what couples do”, although it’s not that time of year for such amorous adventures.

You can tell they are quite used to people because they would march across our walking path right in front of us on their way to the water to feed.  It was eerily quiet at times; & then others, seagulls would be squawking & the occasional penguin would be ‘barking’.

The temps rose to near 60; & the only thing that could have made it more perfect, would be if the sun were shining.  The hour went by so quickly.  I felt the need to actually say goodbye & say a little prayer knowing that only about 1/3 of those precious chicks will survive to adulthood (illness, deformities caused by inbreeding, or destroyed by predators).

On the ride back to the docks, most of us ate our snack lunch.  There was a half ham & cheese sandwich & a half cheese, tomato & lettuce sandwich (interesting combination, I thought).  There was also a bottle of water, a pouch of peach nectar & a (faux) rice crispy treat type bar.  When we walked off the ferry towards our waiting buses, the wind was blowing so hard it was difficult to walk.  They say things can change like that very quickly down here.  When I got back to my cabin about 1:20, I saw on TV the winds had whipped up to 47  mph.

I immediately transferred the approximately 160 penguin photos to the compt.  I know it’s going to take a long time for me to edit & narrow this batch down to a manageable few.  I really felt puny this afternoon; contemplating whether I should see the doctor since this has gone on far long enough.  But I though maybe I’d hit the shops once we set sail to see if I could buy some cold medicine (they don’t sell any…..they’d rather you pay to see the doctor instead).

So I curled up on the couch with the blanket (now that’s the first time that’s come out of the closet) & got on the internet.  With the cabin door open the signal is a little better.  I was able to upload 2 days worth of the blog & check mail before we set sail.  Since the winds had picked up & all Pax were back onboard early, the Capt. decided to sail around 6:30 instead of 7 due to the fact that the winds had picked up.  I thought this would give us a bumpy ride; but surprisingly it didn’t.

I went up to the Lido for some dinner about 7:30.  I don’t know what I was in the mood for; but I didn't really want anything that was on the menu.  I got a small mixed seafood ceviche appetizer & a plate with a couple of chorizo sausages, creamed peas with pearl onions & French fries.  I asked for a piece of the pina colada cake; but what they gave me was definitely not P.C. cake.  I don’t really know what it was cause it had no discernible taste to it.

I stuck my head in the shops looking for cold medicine & took a first look in the photo gallery.  Couldn’t find my embarkation picture; & didn’t like any of the others that they shot of me.  Back in the cabin about 8:45.  I tried to get back on the internet; no signal.  Didn’t really feel like doing much of anything; so I got in the bed.  I’ve lost a good bit of sleep the past few days; maybe I’ll feel better in the morning.

 So, there’ll be no interesting food pictures today.  Just penguins; that’s all I’ll remember about Punta Arenas anyway.


Christmas at sea sailing the Brujo & Amalia Glaciers
December 25, 2010

I had enough trouble getting up at 6 am; grateful that I made the decision to forego the late night Christmas festivities.  I piled on the heavy clothes & went on deck.  The Capt. was using the side thrusters to keep up spinning in a circle so everyone could see Brujo Glacier from all sides of the ship.  I went all the way forward on deck 6 & up a (normally off limits) stairway so I could take photos from the very bow of the ship.  It was 41 degrees; but felt much colder with the wind blowing off the ice.  The skies were grey & there was a mist of rain.  The narrator mentioned that glaciers, being such a massive presence, are known to create their own weather conditions.

There were big chucks of floating ice that had broken (“calved”) off the glacier.  Although the top had some dirty residue on it, you could see a bright neon blue in the crevices in the ice.  The Capt. would get no closer than 1 mile because no one is sure exactly how deep the water is closer in.  The glaciers can recede so quickly that depth charts would need to be updated (literally) monthly to keep an accurate reading.  Unfortunately I saw no sea life, although the narrator said he spotted the head of a seal peeking out of the water.  The Capt. decided to spend a little less time here so that we could swing over to the Amalia Glacier (which is just over the ridge, so to speak).

I took advantage of the break in the action to have breakfast at the Lido.  All the deck stewards are wearing Christmas hats this morning; & the buffet is draped with red cloth.  I had scrambled eggs, sausage links, some fruit & a big cup of hot chocolate (much better now that I’ve discovered they have hot milk to mix with the powder instead of hot water).

We were able to get a little closer to Amalia Glacier.  True the wall of the glacier isn’t as deep as the Brujo; but the ice floe is clearly visible sloping down between the gorges.  It looks like it stretches up the mountain for miles.  For that reason, I was more impressed with Amalia than with Brujo.

There was a small expedition vessel visiting this glacier as well.  Before we spun around to leave the glacier, the sun started to come out; and the fresh snow on top of the mountains glistened like diamonds.

Trying to get anywhere at the aft end of the ship is difficult today.  We’ve had one of the 4 aft elevators out of service for a few days.  Now, we’re down to just one.  Had to wait a good while to get back down to deck 6.  I wanted to shoot some more with the sun out; but I wanted to be close to my cabin so I could duck in & out of the cold.  At 9:30 the C.D. announced that Santa had just appeared on the radar & was headed for the ship.  He made an appearance in the showroom where there was caroling & hot chocolate for the kids.  They did a great job with the Christmas morning festivities.

Still not feeling that perky, I laid down a while & watched the crew Christmas show on TV.  They did an outstanding job; breaking the nationalities down into separate chorus groups.  And then as the C.D. mentioned after the Indonesians sang, here goes “the rest of us” (meaning all non-Indonesians).  Even DJ John did a little Christmas rap session.

I got up about 1:15 & went for some lunch in the Lido.  The scenery outside is the same as it was the day before, fjords visible through misty rain & fog.  Ho-hum (just joking).  I had an appetizer of prosciutto, grilled Mediterranean veggies & some cheese.

My main course was a hodge podge of Yankee beef short ribs, eggs benedict, sausage links & home fried potatoes cooked with onion (yes, sounds like I had breakfast again).  It’s the first time in days that they haven’t run out of hollandaise sauce.  I was nearly through eating when Lou went dashing through the serving line before they closed at 2.  I think I’m becoming addicted to the bread pudding; had to have some for dessert.  We talked until the stewards were about ready to run us out of there so they could dress the tables for dinner service.

I went back “home” intending to read a while; but I dozed instead.  I just don’t feel well.  Maybe I’ve caught a cold on top of the sinus stuff.  Woke up about 5:30; it’s still raining outside; seas are calm.  I worked on the photos some more (I’m getting behind again).

I dressed in the most festive red clothing I could find (minus the reindeer antlers, I’ve had enough of them).  A group of us had reservations at Canaletto at 8 pm.  It was to be Bill & Lee Ann, Jean & Bruce, Lou & I.  When I arrived at the table, Lee Ann told me that Jean & Bruce wanted to eat in the main D.R. since it was a formal night; but that they had invited another couple to join us.  Well, they never showed either.  So, it was just the four of us; & we had a great evening.

Since the sun doesn’t set until after 10 pm, we still had some lovely scenery to look at from our table by the window.  I started with a selection from the antipasti tray:  grilled eggplant, peppers, onion, asparagus, prosciutto & garlic toast.  Yummy!

This was followed by the Canaletto salad (mixed greens).

I had a hard time deciding about my entrée.  I loved the penne a la vodka I had a few nights ago; but they have that on the menu every night.  For that reason, tonight’s special won out.  Lamb osso bucco, with goat cheese polenta & steamed veggies.

The Canaletto waiters were in a jovial, holiday mood.  Sale, who is obviously Indonesian, keeps telling us his Italian grandmother makes the food in Canaletto.  He’s a cutie!

They brought out a plate of cotton candy to each table.  Gosh, I hadn’t had any in years; & it was really good.  Not sure of any particular significance, except that it did resemble the snow capped mountain peaks we’ve been seeing the last few days.

I had a decaf cappuccino while the others all had dessert.  And their plates were so beautiful, I just had to take photos of them.  One was a trio of tiramisu in teeny glasses; one of each flavor, espresso, lemon & amaretto.  Lee Ann & Bill each had the dessert made of layers of walnut praline wafers with a filling in between.  It was topped with ice cream, chocolate sauce; & the plate was drizzled with strawberry & kiwi sauce.

They raised the lights in the restaurant & begin to remove table cloths around us.  So, I guess that was our signal to leave.  Lee Ann & Bill stopped by on their way ‘home’.  I coerced them into buying some of my Chilean pesos.  Tomorrow is the last day that we can use that currency; & I needed help getting rid of my stash of cash.  Lee Ann also gave me a pair of disposable “penguin poop shoe covers”.  Actually they’re painter’s booties that she brought along to protect her shoes from being ruined by penguin poop.  She had a dozen; & I was grateful that she was sharing them.  I had been making jokes about walking in penguin poop; but I didn’t even consider ruining my shoes or tracking it back on the tour bus.

The cabin stewards outdid themselves tonight.  We all got penguin towel animals on our beds.  How apropos!  Now it’s almost 2:30 am; & I have the alarm set for 6:30.  Yes, I had a few naps today; but that’s not going to make me any nicer when I wake up in a few hrs.  That is……if I’m able to go to sleep.