Seabourn’s Antarctica Revisited – Part II (Desolation, Getting the Party Started and Perspective – Chilean Patagonia)
|Seabourn Quest – Owner’s Suite 601|
|When dining at The Grill by Thomas Keller:|
Order the Chicken!!
|…and the Ice Cream Sundae!|
|Nothing like starting your day with a perfectly poached egg.|
|My Office for the next three weeks|
|It was a 2 hour drive to my Desolation Pass hike,|
but the view certainly passed the time!
|And we just missed the rain!|
|Pisco Sours at Mercadito in Castro Chile.|
Nice view too!
|Delicious fresh, local, oysters|
As we were discussing leaving Srigley went inside and then came out and said a couple from the ship bought our lunch…and another round of pisco sours! Obviously it was an incredibly nice thing to do and I felt it was only proper to let them know that I was not actually part of the Expedition Team!
But the most important part of the day is to remember the saying in Mercadito surrounded by so many clocks: “El que anda apurado pierde el tiempo tómese el suyo“. Roughly translated it means: He who walks in a hurry loses his time.
And that is a theme that I will be repeating as I eventually reach Antarctica on the Seabourn Quest! Antarctica is not a place to rush through or tick of boxes of experiences. It is a place to take in, to sit back and absorb, to wonder at its beauty. But more on that in another article or two!
It was then back to the Seabourn Quest for a long soak in the forward hot tub…
…and then a Private Galley Tour for my clients with Chef Chris and the new Executive Chef Eric.
Our next two days were sea days cruising through the Chilean fjords…a place of incredible beauty.
|Not a bad view while having breakfast on the Seabourn Quest|
This gave me time for my Hamburger and Hot Dog Test. The hamburger and hot dog, including their buns, were excellent…consistent with what I have experienced elsewhere on the ship. I would have liked to see a bit more lettuce, however, and I have learned to always order up one temperature (I order medium to get medium rare). I also noticed that the Seabourn french fries (which some have said no longer are served) are alive and well. I did like the presentation in paper bags found on the Seabourn Encore, but that is a bit of a nit-pic.
|The Seabourn Fries are alive and well|
|Viewing El Brujo Glacier from Seabourn Quest Suite 601|
- Mini Quail Eggs Benedict
- Mini Lobster and Gruyere Eggs Cocotte
- Caramelized Onion Quiche
- Pigs in a Blanket
- Muffins and Danish
While my guests were able to enjoy viewing El Brujo from the comfort of my suite and its great protected veranda, the Seabourn guests on the bow were treated to a cold blowing wind…that literally picked up two trays of donuts and sent them flying by my forward windows! It was a pretty funny sight, though the loss of those delicious homemade donuts was tragic!
I used our time there to take photographs with my new 150-500 mm telephoto lens. I am “focused” on looking at things I have basically seen before from a different perspective; sometimes grander and others more close up.
That evening I thought I would give Earth & Ocean on the Pool Deck a try because that evening both Nigerian Prawns and Peking Duck were on the menu.
|Giant Nigerian Prawns|
I agreed to share a table and was seated with a Seabourn/Holland America/Princess Environmental Compliance official who was disembarking the next day. We had a very interesting, if not maritime nerdy, conversation about not only what he does, but the history of Seabourn, as he has been around even longer than me.
While a truly enjoyed the delicious prawns and duck, and the sushi was fantastic
The next day was our final stop in Chilean Patagonia was Punta Arenas. Last time I docked there on the Seabourn Quest we were at a pier right next to downtown (as it exists). This time we were docked at a more commercial pier about four miles outside of town. This was probably due to the huge load-in of supplies that was happening that day.
I had only two objectives that day: Buy some Chilean wine and eat some Chilean cuisine at the same restaurant I dined at last year. Suffice it to say I did neither!
I took the Seabourn shuttle into town and sat with Robert Egelstaff, one of the Seabourn Ventures kayak guides whom I have previously traveled with. Robert, who sea kayaked from Alaska to Siberia across the Bering Strait and also was part of the team that recreated Shackelton’s Antarctic sailing, suggested that we meet up in the early afternoon for a beer at, as one would expect, Shackelton’s Bar.
Upon arriving in town I headed to the shores of the Straits of Magellan to photograph the cormorants.
It was then off to what is supposed to be a fantastic wine shop. After a mile walk I arrived to a beautiful sign…and a closed shop. (Saturday in Punta Arenas is a half-open/half-closed affair.) So it was then about a 1.5 mile walk to the Municipal Market (Mercado) where last year I feasted on Chilean cuisine in one of the upstairs restaurants…and it was closed too!
But not to worry, the restaurant that was my second choice last year was open, El Mercadito, and on this day a waitress spoke English. Eventually she told me her life story from when she was an exchange student in Kansas City to her being engaged to a US Marine to her return home to Punta Arenas. I love chatting with the locals when possible. However interesting, and it was, I was on one mission: To eat!
I started with a King Crab and Cheese Empanada. No, well, to be honest I started with a Pisco Sour (shocking, but true!) and then the delicious empanada which was followed by a superfresh Salmon Ceviche.
|Pisco Sour, spicy salsa with local bread|
and King Crab and Cheese Empanada
El Mercadito, Punta Arenas, Chile
After ordering two more pisco sours, it was time for the main event: King Crab and Cheese Soup…though it is not called a soup. Yum!
After lunch I wandered over the Shackelton Bar and met up with Robert and then his friend of over thirty years, and fellow Seabourn Ventures kayaking expert and legend, Trevor Potts and kayaking guide, Brandon Payne. While I was waiting I had, well, another pisco sour and local beer.
|Pisco Sour and Local Beer|
Shackelton’s Bar, Punta Arenas, Chile
The most enjoyable part of my day was as a result of Robert’s and my decision to walk the four miles back to the ship. So there I was walking with these two expedition legends and buddies of over thirty years just feeling privileged to be able to share the time and the stories as they bantered back and forth. But what really struck me was their humility and focus on their lives not so much as expedition legends, but rather on educating youth and making sure safety when exploring comes first. It was the fasted four mile walk I have ever taken.
And it was a great end to my time in Chile’s Patagonia, because starting the next day is my return journey to the End of the World and Antarctica!