Alas, departing Antarctica on the Seabourn Quest was with such sweet sorrow. But having a number of sea days ahead of me was a far better thing than I had imagined. For me the intensity of the Antarctic Experience required “down time” so that not only some of its richness could sink in, but so that the intensity of it all could dissipate.
Our second Drake Crossing was not a Drake Shake or a Drake Lake, but more of a Drake Shimmy; enough to delay the Evening with Sir Tim Rice show; a wonderfully charming man, but nothing else. This is the second time I have seen his show live and high recommend it.
|The whales gave us quite a send-off from Antarctica|
That evening was the Chef’s Dinner formal night and an almost surreal beginging of a transition from an expedition to a more traditional cruise. However, while I will be highlighting some of the Seabourn cuisine below, not to worry: There is more nature and adventure to come; just not necessarily as awe inspiring.
Chef Gerard has definitely brought a more old-school French twist to the cuisine and it was truly appreciated. (Contrary to what many think, Seabourn’s Executive Chefs do have a good bit of discretion when creating a number of menus.) The Chef included in the menu a bit of an homage to Chef Paul Bocuse, the creator and promoter extraordinaire of nouvelle cuisine, who passed away only days before. I am not sure how many guests picked up on that, but I most certainly did!
|Cake of Crab & Green Lentil “Du Puy”|
|Traditional “Paul Bocuse” Swan|
Up on the Bridge, Captain Bjarne Larsen picked up the speed of our crossing so that what was expected to be a two day sailing to Ushuaia became one and a half days; allowing for an overnight. After a day of relaxation…and catching up on work and writing…it was time for a Special Dinner prepared by Chef Gerard just for Goldring Travel’s guests. It was great having the chef show off a bit!
We started with an incredible amuse bouche that was too pretty to eat, but tasted even better!
Then it was an interesting, and surprising combination of Melted Beetroot with Gruyere and Caviar. Excellent and something I may well make at home!
Then Tail of Lobster on a Bed of Couscous Tabbouleh
followed by an incredibly deep Spring Consomme and then a delicious Dover Sole with Salmon Mousse
finishing (before dessert) with a delicious and surprisingly light Roquefort Souffle en Croute
Not being done, it was the a Poise au Vin (pear pouched in red wine and filled with ice cream)
And then, when I returned to my suite, Chef Gerard left me a copy of the menu he personalized for each of my guests along with a “Lil’ Sumptin'”
It was then time for An Evening with Tim Rice. Even for me it was worth delaying my venturing out into Ushuaia until after the show.
|Sir Tim Rice discussing his career as a lyrisist|
But venture out I did!
This rare overnight stay allowed the crew and the Seabourn Expedition Team to have a night on the town. In that Ushuaia is a small town located “at the end of the world” so evening out options are, to say the least, limited. As a result, I came upon what could only be called the nights Crew Bar: The Dublin Pub. I did not want to interfere with their night on the town, so wished them a good night. As I was about to leave a few of them grabbed me and one said, “Stay! You aren’t a guest. You are Eric.” I could not have received a higher or more touching compliment.
|Dublin Bar, Ushuaia, Argentina|
Well eventually I did leave the crew and team to their fun…passing up the two other options in town. One was the Hard Rock Cafe (never going to happen) and the other was a place with live music that I knew the crew would be heading to. So it was back to the ship so that I could be up early(ish) and take a long walk around Ushuaia before our 1:00 p.m. departure.
|Seabourn Quest, Lindblad National Geographic Explorer
and Quark Expedition ships at the dock in Usushaia
On the same pier was the Lindblad National Geographic Explorer and a Quark Expedition ship. I wanted to use this opportunity to visit both ships and the difference between the two products became readily apparent: Lindblad was far more polished and accommodating and Quark was more chaotic and scrambling to get the guests off and then supplies on. There were two things that were reinforced: The Lindblad National Geographic 10 day Antarctic cruise is far more active with acceptable, but more rustic, accommodations and Quark’s product is “quarky”. As such I cannot see – as it was when I came up with the idea of Seabourn going to Antarctica – many Seabourn guests wanting to be on Lindblad or Lindblad guests wanting to be on Seabourn.
I was then off for my around Ushuaia, including high up the hill where luxury houses are starting to replace the dilapidated shacks and houses that have stood for many years. Being the “end of the world” I have no doubt that there are various sorts that want such luxury and iron-gated estates!
We departed Ushuaia, Argentina at 1:00 p.m. and headed toward Glacier Alley offering some breathtaking views with a wonderful commentary by the Seabourn Expedition Team geologist, Jennifer Fought. It was, however, unfortunate that the glaciologist, Luqui, disembarked that morning.
What struck me looking at these glaciers (which are a different type of glacier from those we saw just last week) is that Antarctica is covered with glaciers and sheet ice on such a scale that it is, honestly, incomprehensible.
With three more ports to go, and a private hike yet to come, I am not yet in full depression…and, of course, having the Seabourn Experience to buff up my spirits and expand my waistline is making it just a bit easier!
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