Thursday, January 28, 2016

Castro, Isla Chiloe, Chile

Visited UNESCO World Heritage sites on the Island of Chiloe, three different churches, and also a museum where we learned about the life of the people here.  One of the most interesting parts of the tour were the palacitos, wooden houses built on stilts along the Gamboa River. The folks harvest shellfish and clams when the tide is low, and go fishing when the tide is high.  Yesterday we visited Puerto Chacobuco, Chile where we hiked a trail to a waterfall on a nature preserve, enjoying the beauty of the perennial rainforest.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Punts Arenas, Chile

Another early morning with an excursion to Magdalena Island Penguin Reserve where we saw thousands of Magellan Penguins with their downy young.  These penguins make burrows in the ground for their nesting, and we thought this quite appropriate because the wind was so strong it was difficult to walk!  There were also Kelp Gulls nesting here with their young, and hundreds of South American Terns.  The Penguins were entertaining to watch as the fed their young or waddled to shore to swim or fish.  One was especially so as he pulled on a man's trousers with his beak. Most of the time the Penguins completely ignored their human admirers, but who knows what that penguin was attempting to do?

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Ushuaia, Argentina

Early start this morning, took the End of the World Train to Tierra del Fuego National Park, visiting Ensenada Bay.  Upon returning, we walked along the harbor at Ushuaia and enjoyed the scenery and waterfowl.  In the afternoon, there was scenic cruising on the Beagle Channel with the snow covered peaks of the Andes Mountains.  The numerous peaks, waterfalls and glaciers make it the most spectacular mountain scenery ever.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Cape Horn, Argentina

Arrived at Cape Horn, the southern-most tip of South America after another rough passage over the Drake.  Going outside we soon learned the meaning of the Roaring Forties.  The weather did not seem to bother the many albatross though.  We are scheduled to arrive at Ushuia, Argentina tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Palmer Archipelago, Antarctica

An overcast grey day at Palmer Archipelago where we had visitors to the Vaandam from the Palmer Research Station.  These folks told us about the research being conducted in the Antarctic as well as the logistics of life there.  We cruised the Le Maire Straight enjoying spectacular vistas.  In the morning it was comfortable enough be outside, but the visibility became poor and there were snow flurries by mid-afternoon.  The folks from Palmer Research Station left the ship at one PM.  We will not soon forget the sight of those two small boats passing a giant iceberg as they entered the bay on their way back to the station.  The white landscape and grey-blue ocean framed the folks aboard, who looked like small red dots.  It is difficult to imagine the life they must lead in such an isolated and inhospitable frozen landscape.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Cuverville Island, Antarctica

Began the day at Cuverville Island where we saw a huge colony of nesting Gentoo Penguins.  Opposite the island are the shores of the Antarctic Peninsula with rugged snow-covered peaks and glaciated valleys.  The sky was overcast most of the day, and it was as if everything was in black and white.  We have been fortunate to see many whales on the trip, the Right Whale, Humpback Whales, Minke Whales, but today we had one of the highlights of the trip, a pod of 12-15 Killer Whales.  As an expedition team member pointed out, we didn't see any penguins in the water at that time (photo is of an Adele Penguin).  We were unable to cruise the Le Maire Chanel today because there were too many icebergs.  The Captain plans to take an alternate route to Palmer Archipelago and Palmer Station, our destination for tomorrow.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Admiralty Bay, Antarctica

Awoke this morning to calm waters and sunshine after a rough passage over the Drake yesterday. Looked out the window and saw our first iceberg. We were outside early to see the beautiful landscape of Antarctica at Admiralty Bay.  Saw several research stations on the coast, and also two large penguin colonies one Adele and the other Chinstrap penguins.  Lots of ice floes, some with penguins or seals on them.  After several hours in Admiralty Bay, we headed for Hope Bay.  There were many huge tabular icebergs blocking the bay, so no hope of viewing Hope Bay, and traveling to our next destination.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Port Stanley, Falkland Islands

Took the tender from the ship to the dock and caught the early tour to Bluff Cove Penguin Rookery.  Our driver, a 5th generation Falklander, gave us a good idea of what life was like on this barren windswept island.   We saw King Penguins, Gentoo Penguins, Upland Goose, Brown Skua, Dolphin Gull and Black-throated Finch.   We visited the Museum in Stanley and a walked along the shore.  Saw the flightless Steamer Ducks and Antarctic Tern as well as several cormorants, or shags.  Had lunch at a local hotel and took the tender back to the ship.  Had time to do a watercolor sketch of the islands before departure.  It was a beautiful sunny day, but we were told they had several inches of snow earlier in the week.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Puerto Madryn, Argentina

Today we visited Valdez Peninsula Nature Preserve where we saw sea lions, elephant seals, imperial cormorants, and giant petrels.  On the return trip we saw wild guanacos and rheas.  It was worth the  long drive from Puerta  Madryn.  We also saw osprey and turkey vultures, birds also found in North America.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016


 In Montevideo we took a tour of the city, saw the Legislative Palace, Prado Park, and Independence Plaza.  Visited the Carnival Museum where we watched a demonstration of Candombe drumming and dancing.  Back to the ship in time to do a quick watercolor sketch of the city of Montevideo . The above photo is of a ship boneyard in the harbor. Tomorrow is a day at sea.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Our first full day in Buenos Aires, visited the Saint Susana Estancia where we learned about the gauchos and life on a cattle ranch.  We saw burrowing owls, caracaras and many other birds.  We should arrive in Montevideo, Uruguay tomorrow.

Friday, January 8, 2016

The Magic of Africa

At the reception for my "Magic of Africa" show at the West Nebraska Arts Center in Scottsbluff, Nebraska.  The show will be there from January 7th through January 31st of 2016.  The gallery is open Tuesday-Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM and from 1PM to 5Pm on Saturday and Sunday.  Gallery admission is free and open to the public.  Thanks to all the folks who attended the opening reception, and for the Arts Center folks for such a wonderful presentation.