Falkland Islands, Volunteer Point.


Gentoo Penguin

That furry guy (girl?) above is the main drawing card for the stop at Falkland Islands. That, and the off road foray to get there more than made up for the dull day.

Must not forget this fellow, suiting up to welcome travelers to their adventure.

The vehicles we used to get to Volunteer Point, are all 4 wheel drive with high clearance and mud tires. The drive starts out on a paved road from town, drops down to gravel, and then the fun begins. The balance of the trip is off road, and over very rough (jostled so much that I wacked my head several times while in the back seat) and boggy terrain. The trip takes just over an hour, and our convoy is made up of about 6 vehicles, all driven by local villagers.

The 3 resident penguins at Volunteer Point are the Magellanic, the Gentoo and the King.

The King, although the most vocal, only comprise about 1500 breeding pair.

There was a few young king penguins, but very hard to get a clear shot of one, except this little one near the edge.

The King’s seem to congregate the most as you will notice in the picture below.

What a varied and interesting day. Two firsts. The off roading, and getting to mingle with the penguins. They must be very used to having people about. If a half dozen or so wandered towards your direction, they would just waddle by, relatively close, and pay no attention to your presence. What a rewarding experience. Speaking of people, it was a pleasure to be able to observe and share some time with the birds without having to navigate a crowd.

Our next stop was Punta Arenas, Chile, where our 31 day pleasure cruise died very quickly. Stay tuned.

Montevideo, Uruguay


The first stop on our voyage was Montevideo. Established in 1724, it is the capital of Uruguay with a population in 2017 of 1.381 million.

The first sight to greet us when walking out on our balcony, was this ship grave yard. Most unusual sight.

If I may go back to the harbour in Buenos Aries, this was a much more pleasant surprise that stayed with us on the balcony for several days. It is a moth called the Gaudy Sphinx. Did not move from this spot until we were ready to set sail.

As we quite often do, we just walked around the city on our own taking lots of pictures. One of the structures that did impress was the Theatre Teatro Solis. Opened in 1856, and capable of seating 1500, it was Europe’s answer to La Scala. Sadly it was not open that day for tours.

Another eye catcher was the Salvo Palace, a very unique structure.

The rest of the pictures were taken in and around the city, including the waterfront.

Our next stop was the Falkland Islands, which I consider the most fun and highlight of the cruise.

Iguazu Falls – Argentina and Brazil


After two full days in Buenos Aries, we got up in the middle of the night for a 2 hour flight to the Iguazu Falls. The falls lies at the junction of 3 countries; Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. We started our tour from the Argentina side, as that was where we were staying. Our accommodation was a small dwelling, a cabin if you like,split to handle 2 families, and connected to the main lodge by board walks. Did I mention that we were in the middle of the jungle?, the Iguazu National Park.

 

 

Later that day we got a cab into the town of Iguazu for to explore. The carved panels below are just 2 of about 7 all done by a local artist.

 

This scenic view is from an elevated lookout overlooking the Iguazu and Parana Rivers. The ferry you see here became our transportation the next day as we bribed our way into Paraguay.

What follows are just a few of the hundreds of shots of the falls. It would have been easy if there was only one or two to photo, but Iguazu Falls covers a vast area, 1.7 k long and 30% higher than Niagara Falls, and all just a little bit different.

The pictures below were all taken the next day from the Brazil side.

While in Brazil, the Parque des Aves, or bird sanctuary was located across the road from the entrance to the falls so we decided to spend some time there in the morning.

This is a privately owned and operated sanctuary, first established in 1994, and located in 16 hectares of forest. Their main interest is bird rehabilitation, but they also have some butterflies and various other animals.

While in the park, some of the wildlife kept seeking us out. The next couple of pictures are of just two very different dwellers of the forest who seemed quite intent on checking us out for food. The ones on the right are called coati’s. They look like a cross between a badger and a ring-tailed lemur. I am told that they are related to the racoon. I do know that you do not leave any food or drink unguarded. One snuck up behind me on the table and started to help himself to my can of beer. I quickly recovered my brew, and the coati took off to join the other partners in crime!

The picture on the left is of capuchin monkeys. A mother and youngster who had just grabbed some food from the road and scampered to the tree branch to enjoy, all the while keeping a watchful eye on us for more.

I can’t help it. Just one more Iguazu Falls pic.

Buenos Aries


Prior to our cruise, we wanted to spend some time exploring the sights of Buenos Aries and the Iguasu Falls. Our trip to the falls will be covered in my next blog. What follows are just a few of the pictures that were taken in Buenos Aries.

After about a 35 hour flight from Vancouver Island, we arrived at our hotel Saturday evening. Our plan was to spend Sunday and Monday exploring the city. A number of the streets were closed to traffic, while others were bustling with market goers.

The Obelisco De Buenos Aries is located in the Plaza De La Republica. Erected in 1936 to commemorate the Quadricentennial of the first foundation of the city. Its’ height of 68m is fully illuminated with coloured lights on special occasions.

One of the attractions within walking distance was the Ateno Grand Splendid bookstore. Opened in 1919, as a theatre, later turned into a movie house, and finally reopened at the start of the 2000’s as a bookstore. Now it entertains more than a million visitors a year.

The gentleman below appears to be in a hurry, actually he is not moving and his coat and scarf is rigged to look like it is a windy day.

The young man with the “alp” horn was doing a mean beat to the music. The sound was rather intriguing.

Our last stop of the day was at La Recoleta Cemetery. Established in 1822, it houses some 5000 vaults covering 14 acres. Just a few of the dignitaries resting there are Eva Peron, presidents of Argentina and various Nobel prize winners. A few of the vaults are newer, but most are showing the wear and tear of the years.

We finished our day by walking to a recommended restaurant to sample some Argentine beef. The tenderloin came in at just over a pound, so it was shared. It did not disappoint. A bottle of Malbec, a shared desert and we waddled back to our hotel!

Little did we know what was waiting for us down the road. Our 31 day cruise with Holland America around the Horn was still 5 days away. Our first week cruising went well and as planned. Then the plug was pulled. Stay tuned.