Day 11 Santiago and Bartolome Islands

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This morning starts with a zodiac cruise of the shore of Santiago island.

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We’re in search of Blue Footed Boobies but alas none to be found.

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There are however, quite a few nesting pelicans.

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There’s a juvenile hawk that for some reason wants to pick a fight with the fur seals.

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He eyes off the crabs for awhile instead.

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The shore has quite a lot of fur seals. They look so much like sea lions but I remember these guys from South Georgia – vicious and grumpy.

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As the pelicans look for fish some of the other birds hitch a ride in hope of snagging a freed feed from the mouth of the pelican.

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Before lunch the other go on a snorkel in the same area – water is cold and with the fur seals around I’m not expecting much interesting wildlife so I’m waiting for this afternoon’s snorkel from the beach.

As the afternoon approached it was our last chance to snorkel on the beautiful Bartolome Island beach.

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The water was somewhat warm with the wet suit on and the rocks were teaming with fish.

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Had a bit of a play with the go pro trying to simulate a desktop pic of a snorkeler in the water. Didn’t do too bad with one of John.

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I on the other hand completely suck with the flipper things. All they seem to do is either bend or feel like they’re going to snap my ankles. We saw a couple of Galapagos penguins wizz past us – tried to follow them but they are way too quick in the water.

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The late afternoon was a hike up the view point on Bartolome.

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380 or so steps was a bit huffy puffy but the view was great.

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Really wish we’d come up here in the morning or lunch time as the sun set is in such the wrong place late afternoon for a good picture.

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Tonight we pack up our room ready for our last outing in the morning. We have by far had the best cabin on the boat. It’s on the upper deck and is at a dead end so nobody walks by our window and the door and window let in really nice breezes. It’s small but still the type of place you can relax and allowed me to read 2.5 books while I’ve been on board.

Farewell drinks with the crew and last massive meal of multiple meats from the wonderful chef.

Day 7–Hotel Switcheroo Bring on Antarctica

Today was hotel swap day. Moving out of our little apartment and to our much more expensive and swish hotel to meet up with our group before the big journey begins.

When we arrived our room wasn’t ready so we were put in the late checkout room which is pretty nice – shower, tv, lounge etc. I think they forgot about us and that may have helped us somehow  score a MASSIVE room.

The new place is massive – massive bed, spa bath, lounge room, dining room, bar, “guest toilet” etc. It’s a bit fancy for my taste and there’s something about all the staff speaking English that takes the “fun” of being in a country where their first language isn’t English. Even though my Spanish is non existent and my phrase book has been getting a good workout for just single words, the sign language, pointing, and improvising really makes you feel you’re a long way from home.

Tonight we had our pre-departure dinner where we met some of the people we’re going to spend the next couple of weeks with. We thought by leaving from the Falklands we cleverly only cross the Drake passage once but tonight we found out the crossing from the Falklands to South Georgia is known as “the washing machine” and the Drake is tame in comparison.

We’re going early in the season so will be the first ship to South Georgia in the season and the 2nd ship to the Antarctic Peninsula. Tomorrow is going to be –2 (with windchill –7) so it’s going to be a boots and all intro to the cold bumpy adventure.

This will be our last post for awhile. On the boat to Antarctica we don’t get any internet – scary yes. I’ll be writing some posts but won’t be able to hit the publish button till we hit land in Ushuaia again.
 

John’s been playing with some hyperlapse. Here’s a quick glimpe of one from Easter Island – make sure you watch the HD Version

Day 6–Hike up Alto el Naranjo

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Today we got out of town and went for a hike up Alto el Naranjo.

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It’s a short drive out of the city except in peak hour traffic when it’s quite a bit longer.

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It’s quite a steep walk on very slippery rubble. It gave my new hiking boots a good workout. I really should have bought a pair of these a long time ago. I’ve been living with sneakers all these years and sliding down on my butt on slopes way less steep than this one for years.

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As you get higher you get a decent view of the mountains and a look over the city. It  is surrounded by mountains which seem to trap the smog.

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My feet were a bit swollen and tender from yesterday’s flight so hiking up a steep hill was not a good idea. I really started feeling it on the way down.

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I felt like a little old lady on the way down, shuffling with my hiking poles.

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The hill was covered in cactus plants with some cool flowers.

The afternoon was spent finding and working out how to use the laundry in the complex. Turned out to be fairly straight forward if you have small bills. So now we have a stack of clean clothes before we get on our boat.