How about a Semi-Recap? Saturday, Dec 21st, 2013
During Captain Wilson's farewell speech last nite, he loaded us with stats -- as in, how many pounds of potatoes were consumed, how many tons of water, gallons of beer, sacks of carrots, etc., and, of course, fuel. Kinda mind-boggling. I wish I'd had pen & paper and the presence of mind to take notes, but he rattled 'em off pretty fast. Doesn't matter, really -- passengers and crew alike: We consumed. One item he did not mention was how many gallons of coffee were used. Bet that'd be one for the books! I can tell you this much for sure:
December 4th - December 21st, 2013
Total distance traveled from Los Angeles, California to Valparaiso,Chile
5356 Nautical Miles, 6159.4 Statute Miles or 9919.3 Kilometers
(Note: 1 Nautical Mile = 1.15 Statute Mile = 1.852 Kilometers.)
Jimmy and I were some of the first folks to disembark our Golden Princess, and the buses were waiting. We weren't sure if we were going to Santiago in a local bus, a minivan with Sue and Adel, or a Princess-sponsored bus, but it turned out we boarded the Princess bus bound for Santiago's airport (an approximate two-hour ride). We missed Sue and Adel; they left later. Our flight to Punta Arenas, Chile wasn't till 3:15 in the afternoon, so Jimmy and I had PLENTY of time on our hands. We found a semi-quiet table in one of the airport restaurants and fired up our computer & nook. We walked around. We ate lunch. And then finally, our LAN flight to Punta Arenas was called. And we were ready!
Hello, is this Napa Valley? No it's a vineyard between Valparaiso and Santiago (one of many).
Llamas made it seem more like Chile than California!
The bus stopped after an hour or so at a restaurant for a potty break, which was thoughtful. We took a couple of pictures outside, because these trees and flowers looked like what I knew in SoCal! This looked like a (California) Jacaranda tree, all in bloom and very pretty.
And then this appears to be one of the biggest Blue Plumbago bushes I've ever seen. Mine never looked like this!
Several hours later, our jet descended over the Straight of Magellan to Punta Arenas' airport. The Straight of Magellan is a navigable sea route immediately south of mainland South America and north of Tierra del Fuego. That speck in the water is a large tanker. We sat on the starboard side of the plane (ocean side), so we missed seeing the Andes, tho the plane flew over its spine. What we saw were hundreds, thousands of islands dotting Chile's west coast -- a gazillion islands -- quite a sight in itself.
Land, Ho! The flight from Santiago (SCL) to Punta Arenas (PUQ) was roughly three-and-a-half hours. We didn't worry about getting in after dark. After all, today - Dec 21st - is South America's summer solstice, the longest day of the year.
What we didn't quite expect was to step onto the tarmac in our thin clothes... and just about be blown over by cold winds! We were lamentably under-dressed. Hmmmm, we thought as we shivered, maybe it's a good thing we packed long johns.
Welcome to summer at the bottom of the world!!!