Days at Sea: A Little of This, A Little of That

Day 19, 2023 Grand South America and Antarctica

Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2023; At Sea, Pacific Ocean

Three sea days in a row seems a real treat – especially when the clock jumps forward two hours over that span. Sleep in a bit, paint a little, read some and plan for future cruises.

But first, I did something I rarely do – canceled a tour at the last minute. On Sunday, we docked in General San Martín, Peru. There was nothing at the port, but a shuttle bus took passengers to Paracas, about 20 minutes away. My independent tour went to a vineyard, a pisco distillery and an area filled with sand dunes, where some “sandboarded” down them. After two full days of touring in Lima, it just all sounded like more than I wanted to do. Instead I spent the morning taking advantage of the fast internet service on the mostly deserted ship.

About once a month I like to engage my VPN for internet security and check all my financial accounts – downloading activity into Quicken. I don’t exactly balance my accounts, but I look for anything suspicious. And try to assign each of those Holland America shore excursion charges to the correct cruise and port. It makes it much easier to manage my money later.

As we left General San Martín, we had a faint glimpse of the Paracas Candelabra, a prehistoric geoglyph. It is cut two feet into the soil and is 595 feet tall. Unfortunately, by dusk I couldn’t get a great photograph. Someday maybe I will come back and fly over the Nazca Lines.

My recent Peruvian Dinner created by guest chefs in the Pinnacle Grill was a bit disappointing. Four courses – and the first two were great, along with their wines. But we then waited 45 minutes for the main course, which was Udon noodles with four small cubes of beef. The sauce was good – but it didn’t merit the cost of more than $100 with the added service charge.

I got a notice yesterday that the second guest chef dinner is canceled as the guest chef was unable to join the ship. I may cancel the rest of my special dinners in the Pinnacle. On the world cruise earlier this year, my sisters and I treated ourselves to the special seven-course dinners. But with the price increase, I think I will find another way to splurge.

After stepping on the scale a few days ago, I’ve told the excellent bar staff in the Crow’s Nest to quit serving me the spicy bar mix, and I switched to gin and diet tonic from sea breeze. I need to make sure my new coats still fit when we get to Antarctica. It might be too late….

The chefs aren’t making that any easier. During recent lunches, they have presented special desserts more than once. I’m limiting myself to unlimited photographs.

I’m not a huge fan of dessert wines, but couldn’t resist an invitation to the Port and Chocolate Tasting this afternoon. Yes, it was the chocolate that drew me in. I learned more about port, too.

The number of stowaways around the ship have multiplied.

Other stowaways have joined the forward deck – leaving behind their calling cards for the crew to clean up.

Yesterday we all had to check in at our muster stations (required every 30 days, I believe) and watch a safety video in our cabins. This was a new video, about sailing in polar regions. It instructs us on wearing our Thermal Protective Aid (TPA). Quite the fashion statement – I hope I never have to model it!

Temperatures have fallen, as we crossed the Tropic of Capricorn. Blankets have joined the pool towels.

On to Chile as we continue toward Antarctica. I’ll have to bring out a new flag for my doorway.