Day 10 - Cape Horn
|Tuesday, January 6: Today, our boat group was scheduled to visit the bridge. All interested passengers were given 15 minutes to visit, grouped as usual by our boat groups. The captain gave us an overview of the navigation equipment used, ...
|... but as many an astute passenger noticed, the ship is run mainly by auto-pilot and joysticks, so there were many volunteers to take over should the ship need a pilot.
|Wait -- it turns out that there's a lot more going on up here than just steering the ship.
|Apparently, you have to keep track of electrical systems and a bunch of other stuff. Here's Tom's giant hand pointing out our suite on the ship -- approximately 5 feet from where we were currently standing.
|Cool! Ship cams! These showed the front, back, and both sides of the ship.
|Here's more important looking stuff. The built-in computer displays had DOS prompts on some of them.
|Finally, it was Tom's turn to sit in the captain's chair. Tour's over, dude, it's time to get out of the chair.
|Next, we took a photographic tour of the ship for you, dear reader. Here's Deck Six's floor plan. We liked the no-nonsense approach to deck names -- numbers only, no silly names.
|These fantastic light sculptures were at the landing on each deck. There were two per deck. Similar sculptures served as subtle privacy barriers in the middle of the tables for eight in the dining room.
|Here is another one on a different floor. We need these in our house.
|This is the view looking down five flights of stairs. Each deck has a different color illuminating the glass sculptures.
|We always enjoy seeing the plaques given by different port cities for a ship's maiden voyage. First sailed in 2007, these plaques were all very new. Imagine -- it is someone's job to design these and get them engraved when a new ship comes to town. Seriously.
|Down on deck three was our favorite room -- the laundry. A load cost about $1.50 USD, and there were four washers and eight dryers. We did laundry several times during our cruise and were grateful that it was so easy.
|This was the initial check-in area when we first boarded the ship. We didn't see it used for anything else after that.
|Each landing between decks had these cool panels. The artwork throughout the ship is of Arctic and Antarctic scenes, and some of it was cool and some of it looked like it was done by three-year-olds, but it was all interesting.
|On deck four, here's the tiny shop selling souvenirs and clothing.
|Also on deck four is the dining room with a long hallway featuring comfy leather chairs ...
|... and a small museum of photos and items from historic Arctic and Antarctic expeditions of the past.
|By the reception area, there are many chairs and couches with great views ...
|... and on the other side of the ship is the café area, which was a popular place to bring a laptop and check the Internet. The access prices were very reasonable compared to other ships we've been on -- about $30/6 hours.
|Around the corner is the tiny shop for candy, batteries, and such, ...
|... and then the small café/bakery, with free coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and many tempting desserts available at all hours.
|In the center of all of this is the area outside of the lecture halls, ...
|... next to a tiny area with picture books, indexes of library books to check out, lost and found, and general information, ...
|... and finally, a peek into one of the lecture halls. Half of the ship's passengers could fit into one of the rooms, and there was a similar room for German-language lectures.
|Opening the door to the Hurtigruten Suite never got old.
|The details throughout the ship are all designed to emulate water, ice, and snow, with warm Scandinavian wood tones throughout. This is the beautiful ceiling above the dance floor in the observation lounge on deck seven ...
|... and here is the dance floor itself.
|The staff held a charity auction to benefit a group that tries to change fishing habits in the region to ones that are safer for albatrosses. Here's Steffen telling us about the charity with Petra standing by to assist. Steffen, by the way, is Debbie's new boyfriend. Who knew geologists could be hot?
|Only a handful of items were auctioned, including a bottle of cognac, a staff member's expedition jacket, and this highly coveted item: the official captain's log of the journey, with all legs of the journey written in by hand. It went for many hundred dollars more than we were willing to spend, unfortunately.
|And now, to the true highlight of our day: seeing Cape Horn.
|We gathered on deck for our first glimpse of it. We had to stay at least 12 nautical miles away from it because it is in Chilean territory.
|Here's Tom staying at least 12 nautical miles away from Cape Horn.
|Until we could get closer, we got some shots of the current conditions of the Drake Passage. Yes, still a little bumpy.
|Correction: it was quite bumpy.
|So, anyway, back to Cape Horn. It is just one island in a group of islands at the southern tip of South America. In this photo, Cape Horn is the island to the left with the pointed peak on the left end. Other islands, each with names we could look up if we felt like it, are shown on the right side.
|Here are one or more of those anonymous islands in one of the very last photos Debbie took before the persistent black-dot-on-the-lens problem got on her last nerve and we switched to a backup camera.
|Here's Cape Horn.
|Here it is again from farther away. Spooky storms were all around, but the Cape was strangely untouched.
|Back on deck, we continue our tour with a quick look at one of the two hot tubs that we never got around to trying.
|Whoops! The Drake Passage swells do make a bit of a mess with the hot tubs.
|Back in our cabin, we present to you Cape Horn again.
|Our cabin television showed us where we were.
|Not long after this, our cabin steward came around with our Hurtigruten Logbook CD containing a wealth of information, including a map of the exact route we had taken, text of all of the daily programs, expedition team biographies, a slide show of photos taken by the ship's photographer, and more. It was an unexpected treat.
|We also received personalized certificates noting we had been to Antarctica.
|That evening at dinner, we had our third and final fixed seating meal, the Captain's Farewell Dinner. The officers stood in line and were photographed excessively ...
|... as was the expedition/lecture staff. In a huge error of omission, hot geologist dude was cut off the right side of this photo, but picture him rocking a handsome dark suit.
|We got Ted to take a picture of our tablemates, including Rolf and Irmagard, David and Janet, Chuck and Don, and Tom and Debbie.
|After dinner, it was time for the March of the Baked Alaskas! Hooray!
|The line made its way around the entire dining room to the center where the buffet is normally set up. Our waiter, Edward, is just visible on the right of this photo.
The dining room and kitchen staff sang a farewell medley of tunes for us before we went off to bed to prepare for our very early morning the next day.
Copyright © Deborah Schilling/Thomas Bundy