Thursday, January 4, 2018

Silver Explorer, Day 18 - Sorry

With thanks to Silversea for this hosted cruise
The Captain warned yesterday of a gale overnight, and no-one was quite sure if it was a joke or not, because that’s how he rolls – but in fact so did the waves during what was almost the dark (further south, the sun has been setting around 11pm and rising again before 3am, and the bit in between has never even approached what you might call dark).

This morning though it was calm again, and there ahead of us, too rapidly getting larger, was land: Tierra del Fuego, and the end of our voyage. Everyone is sad about it. It really has been so special, and though some people (mainly the ones who got soaked in the downpour in Stanley while I was in the museum knowing nothing about it) would have liked a bit more sunshine, general opinion has it that we did well, seeing Antarctica in all of its moods. Well, most, anyway. I can cope without experiencing a blizzard.
When we got back to our cabins suites after breakfast, there were our suitcases laid out on the bed – a pretty brutal sort of hint. We had already received disembarkation instructions last night. There was a little note from our butler Ivy offering to do the packing. That’s an interesting concept and almost tempting, but I’m passing it by. Too many decisions that only I can make, really. And thank goodness for my expansion zips, which were the reason I bought this particular suitcase ages ago, and which it’s been ever since a mark of honour not to use. Silversea gives you a puffa jacket as well as an outer parka, both of them very well made, but they’re something else to make room for. Along with the two blouses I didn’t wear, tch.
We took a break to listen to Anthony Smith’s talk about the art of bronze casting – something apparently random but which he managed to link to everywhere we’ve been – Ushuaia, the Falklands, South Georgia and even Antarctica have had bronze busts or statues that we’ve seen. The one in South Georgia was actually by Anthony himself: a bust in the museum, of Ernest Shackleton (of course). It was actually fascinating, to be shown the many stages in the process of creating a bronze, and Anthony is clearly multi-talented.
We’ve been impressed by the depth of knowledge of all of the lecturers, and have particularly enjoyed the talks by Anthony, Luke and Cory, who know their stuff inside out and communicate it intelligently and accessibly. And then it was Denis’s turn, to play the full-length version of the video he’s been compiling and without a doubt going cross-eyed and without sleep during the last couple of days to complete. Of course he has the big lenses, multiple camera bodies, and even a drone – but the talent and expertise help, too. It’s fabulous, and a wonderful reminder of the places we’ve been, the things we’ve done, what we’ve seen.

And so that was pretty much it: there was the Captain's jolly auction of that lovely map (it's gone to Chicago, for US$1300); then some drinks in the Panorama Lounge before dinner, with chairs at a premium as groups of new friends made the most of the last chance to be together; followed by dinner ditto; and then the ritual putting out of the packed and labelled suitcases before bed, and setting the alarm for the last breakfast, and the eviction at 9am as the crew work like crazy to make things ready for the lucky new consignment of passengers guests, who have all those good things ahead of them while we trudge through the tedious bits of flying back home again, our adventure over.

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