Antarctica and Patagonia: An Adventure on the Seabourn Quest – Part XI (Reflections + Puerto Montt and Heading Home)
It is hard to express the emotional and learning journeys I encountered over my 21 day Antarctica and Patagonia Adventure on the Seabourn Quest.
|Seabourn Quest in Neko Harbor, Antarctica|
What I do know is that after:
- The anticipation
- Gathering up my Seabourn parka and being briefed by the Seabourn Expedition Team
- Seeing that first penguin in the Falklands (and King Penguins)
- Crossing the Drake Passage
- Watching the fog lift and Antarctica instantly appearing
- Making the first landing and smell of a Gentoo penguin colony
- Seeing the ice
- Losing perspective of size and distance due to the magnitude of Antarctica and purity of the air
- Sitting on a rock and just taking it all in
- Seeing icebergs
- Taking a short hike on the snow actually in Antarctica
- Crossing the Southern Polar Circle
- Leaving Antarctica
- Being hit in the face with “civilization”
- Craving to see something “big” again
- Needing to again embrace pure nature
|Sunrise -Puerto Montt, Chile|
|A natural Japanese Garden on the Osorno Volcano, Chile|
and then into a river of volcanic boulders
Continuing on the hike went through a river bed carved out of a flow of hot mud and ash from a prior eruption. Where is Geologist Jennifer Fought, of the Seabourn Expedition Team, when I need her?!
Finishing off my day was a visit to the local market in Puerto Montt. It was kind of a full circle thing as I wandered. While the gigantic vegetables (grown in the volcanic soil) were impressive, and the fresh fish and blocks of kelp and seaweed interesting and colorful…
|Fresh Salmon…Look at its eyes!|
|Interesting display of salmon fillets|
|Blocks of dried kelp and seaweed|
|Huge barnacles. I so wanted to try them.|
|Smoked Mussels. Yum!|
running into Jennifer and Meredith, from Seabourn Expedition Team, and sharing some ceviche with abalone with them was even better. Over a three week cruise it does get a bit more personal; and that makes this Seabourn Antarctica and Patagonia cruise even more compelling.
|Ceviche with Abalone…and The Works!|
In a rather surprising and ironic end to the Patagonia portion of my journey, as we wandered out back behind the market…after scouring the seas for sea lions for days on end…an impressively huge bull sea lion with his harem were patiently waiting in the water to be fed salmon scraps.
|Bull sea lion with his harem|
|A seriously huge bull sea lion|
The last day at sea included what should not be a controversial lecture, but is one:
Without getting too far into it, the Seabourn Expedition Team does a Q&A after the lecture hosted by the true scientists (not “mere” naturalists) to answer questions. It was amazing and frustrating to me to listen to people who honestly believe climate change is not real or not a crisis based upon what politicians assert rather than what scientists know and present. I cannot understand the devoted and emotional need not to accept climate change is real and threatening; especially by people who just spent weeks traveling to some of the most fragile and affected areas of the world, were presented lectures not so subtlely discussing the effects of climate change.
I also cannot understand what interest they are so vested in that they reject science and what is happening around the world. If there are ways to do something without polluting the oceans and air that is even less expensive than the more polluting options, regardless of if there is climate change, why are they against it? I felt like I was back in the 1970’s with my long hair (or, should I just say “hair”) and love beads. The difference now is I more lean toward the, “I would rather have a good result than be right. Right only makes you feel good for a moment.”
Taking a breath…It was then time to pack and my last real challenge: Closing my suitcases! I did not buy much in the way of souvenirs, but did have the Seabourn parka, jacket, cap and backpack to take home. And, although I wore almost everything I brought, next time I would leave the tuxedo and accessories behind. But I did get it done!
After disembarking in San Antonio, rather than a boring two hour drive to Santiago, I took two of my clients on a wine tour, a Chilean beef lunch and a short tour of Santiago.
But it was then time to head to the airport and my 20 hours of travel back to Lake Tahoe. Normally when I drive up the eastern face of the Sierra Nevada mountains from Reno, Nevada to my home I take a moment and go “Wow!” This time: Not so much.
Seabourn, the Seabourn Quest as well as her officers, staff and crew, plus the Seabourn Expedition Team, put together an incredible experience. An uncompromised luxury cruise experience combined with an expedition cruise that guests well into the 80’s enjoyed without much compromise for those of us that are a bit more active and nimble. As you can tell from my eleven articles on this Antarctic and Patagonia Adventure, it was truly a life-changing experience for so many of Seabourn’s guests.
I shall end with this:
I will be back. And I will be able to appreciate it even more because I know so much more.
Interested in your own Antarctic Experience? Please call, email or message me!
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