Day 12 – Cruising the Chilean Fjords, En Route to Punta Arenas

Today was the first of two sea days en route to Punta Arenas, Chile. For a sea day this one was busier than most. A few early morning pictures

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This morning was the Crew Charity Auction. Regent hold these auctions once every Grand Voyage (this one being from Miami to Barcelona via the Panama Canal, and Cape Horn, to raise funds for the crew fund. The purpose of the crew fund is to provide the crew with better facilities on-board and ashore, including tours, musical equipment, etc. The items auctioned off include things which are not traditionally available to the passengers and usually include the crew in some manner, including dinners with senior members of the crew, or your favourite crew member, dancers and singers, a private wine and cheese tasting in the bakery, a lesson on cooking Steak Tartar from the Executive Chef, a T-Shirt signed by the crew, and the list goes on.

What do you think I would be after!

The Cruise Director Jamie was the auctioneer and he did not follow the usual rules of auctioning, he really tried to milk the passengers for every dollar, but in a nice way. If it was possible to arrange two of the same item, he would give the two highest bidders the opportunity to acquire one each.

An Italian Dinner with the Captain, his wife, and the Chief Engineer, in the Captain’s Quarters for four was the item that I expected to be the most popular so I decided that it would be out of my price range and would not bid.

The first items were mainly related to the members of the cast and band, so I did not bid on them, the first item that I wanted was called “Pop Go The Corks”, a wine and cheese tasting for six people in the bakery. The bidding was not bad  started at around 100 and then it got interesting, when myself and my friend from the rafting, Tony, and I started bidding against each other, just that Tony did not realise who he was bidding against, in the end I had the highest bid, so won, but Jamie saw an opportunity to make some extra cash and offered a second tasting to Tony, which he accepted. Would be having words with him later!

The next item I was interested in was dinner for 4 with Chief Engineer and the 2nd Engineer, unfortunately I was out bid on this one. Next item was a Croatian Degustation with the General Manager, Davor, and the Staff Captain, Luksa, plus Luksa’s wife, surprisingly the bidding on this item was not as aggressive as I expected and I won this as well. Dinner would be in Prime 7, and Davor would be organising the menu and the wine. Would be taking my friends Kathi and Don along for the dinner.

As I had spent a bit of cash by this point, I did not bid on the dinner with the Captain, which was not as expensive as I expected, in the end it went for a little over 1000, which really surprised me. I should have waited, but, in the end we ended up enjoying the wine and cheese, plus the dinner with Davor, Luksa and his wife were a couple of the highlights of the cruise.

Another item that interested me, more as a keepsake for my Mothers wall, was a Maiden Port Plaque. This item was available as the Mayor of Iquique did not turn up to the ship to receive it when we were in port. Both Davor and the Captain waited for 2 hours for Mayor, but he did not show, so the plaque was available. I did not end up winning, but, there was a second, blank one available, so as I was the second highest bidder, I won that one instead. Happy Birthday Mum 🙂

Lunch today was Chili in Chile. Unfortunately, someone must have forgotten what Chili needs, SPICE! There were 4 chili’s to choose from, one did not count as it was vegetarian :). They were all tasty, but not spicy enough for me, luckily there was Tabasco Sauce. One of the things I have noticed on board is that whenever you ask for fresh chili, the chefs chop it up for you, but remove the seeds before handing it over to you, which means that it is not as spicy. It was still an enjoyable meal, especially when a Bloody Mary is added to the mix.

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This afternoon we sailed past the wreck of the Cotopaxi which was skippered by Captain Leonidas. Leonidas ran aground on a reef in the Canal Messier in 1968 on route to Valparaiso. The story is that he did it on purpose so that the owners could claim the insurance, unfortunately for Leonidas, no one believed his story that he made a mistake and he ended up in jail.

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We sailed on to the Tempanos Glacier. When I booked the cruise I had tried to get a suite on the port side (left for any of you land lubbers out there) as I thought that would mean I would get a better view from my cabin, I was wrong, the starboard side (the other left) ended up presenting the best views of the various fjords, lucky for me!

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This was my first opportunity to get up close to a glacier and I was amazed by the colour of the ice. Unfortunately the glacier is shrinking, but it is still a fantastic site.

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Check out how blue the ice is

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The Captain held us in position off the glacier for about 30 mins, giving everyone a chance to get some great photos before dinner!

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The building in the photo above I think is an observatory, monitoring the glacier and local wild life. BTW, did I mention that it was COLD!

Time for dinner!

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