A Buenos Aires to Santiago, Chile voyage
(Bill Brown: "Doing the Magellan thing with CLUB 44 friends was great fun!")

WHO'S WHO IN FORMAL CLUB 44 PHOTO -
Left to right from bottom: Any Capi, Dotty Kesten, Nancy Otto, Jean Williams, Lila Savada, Virginia Minor. Cynthia Minor, Stair 2: Sherrill Capi, Art Kesten, Clare Lambert. Bob Williams, Mort Savada, Cal Minor. Stair 3: Helen & Jerry Levitan, Lee Lambert. Stair 4: Elaine & Loron Simon, Dorey Jenkins, June Parker. Stair 5: Barbara Spevack, Jenks Jenkins, Harold Parker, Ginny Wood. Stair 6, L-R: Betty Roberts, Ed Spevack Joellen Donkle, Hal Wood. Stair 7: Sally Riggs, June Lonergan, Lou Donkle. Stair 8, L-R: Beverly Levy, Alan Kaplan, Jerry Shockman. Stair 9: Hilda Milton, Erna Kaplan. Stair 10, L-R: Bobby Gallant, MaryJo Zieman, Arlyne Shockman. Stair 11: Bill Zieman, Bettie & Ray Starbuck. Stair 13: Jeanne & Ted Thoren. Stair 13: Ann & Bill Brown, Don Middleton, Stair 15: Joan Donahue, Anne Middleton, Jean Bosworth. Stair 15: Phyllis Evans, Ed Bosworth. Stair 16: Kit Sigety, Janet Starr, Dick Evans. Far left: Kathleen & Stu Roberts. Charlie Sigety, Jean Kane, Ruth Rhynedance, George & Shirley Durham, Nancy Rundell, Jim Starr. Behind front row: Ray Kane, Hal Rhynedance, Bud Rundell.

... and the Horn was foggy and windy!

     In February, 1997, 73 of us embarked in Buenos Aires on a Princess Line Cruise that would take us around the Horn of South America. Actually, a bunch of us had started three days earlier with tours of that great city, taking in some nightlife that featured some very torrid tango dancers and going off into the Pampas getting a taste of the gaucho life on a working ranch.

     We'll never forget Hal Rhynedance upside down but still in the saddle when the girth on his steed broke. My main Argentina memory (or one of them): their celebrated steak - absolutely tough to cut and even tougher to chew and this as served to us in La Chacra, a first class Buenos Aires restaurant.

     Sailing on our first night on the Pacific Princess, the original “Love Boat” of TV fame. We arrived in Montevideo the next morning and found this to be an old world European city transferred to Uruguay. It was both charming and busy. The next day, we cruised down the coast of Argentina, and I assure you it's a long, long coastline.

     Arriving in Port Madryn, a good many of us had the chance to go animal (bird?) hunting. Thousands of penguins to see, but no whales in sight. . . Whales can be viewed at this port, but we were told that at the time they were surfing up north and we were looking for them out of season.

. . . and on to the Falklands!

     The following morning, we again up-anchored and cruised in calm waters while on our way to the Falkland Islands where, you recall, the British protected their interests. In Port Stanley we got an overview of the British effort to put down the Argentine invasion. For example, well-marked land mines were still in the ground all around the main airport (too costly to dig them up!). Port Stanley, itself, was a hilly town (not a city) but full of English gardens, both vegetables and flowers. A wonderful opportunity to sightsee and to enjoy some local food ashore.

     Leaving in late afternoon, we were at Cape Horn by the afternoon of the next day. As expected, the Cape was both foggy and windy with turbulent seas. Windblown, wet top-deck tourists with wet cam-corders! We cruised by the southernmost tip of South America so that we could get a certificate saying we did so, and then turned back to go the rest of the way through the more protected Beagle Channel.

     Here we found a chain of islands in an area known as Tierra del southernmost city in the world, Ushuaia, Argentina, a jump-off port for many Antarctic cruises. It was the last city we visited before we entered Chilean waters.

Still more penguins!

     Now our Pacific Princess 73 traversed the Straits of Magellan sailing north and then docking at Punta Arenas, Chile. We had a second opportunity here (the first for many) to see more penguins and some of us did so in a driving sleet storm that, fortunately, did not last through our whole hike of almost two miles to the beach. Later, that evening, at our nightly "Show and Tell," one of us aptly described the event as "The Death March" for which he received our CLUB 44 “Ripoff Prize.”

     Back to the Straits and cruising where we had an unexpected highlight, a cruise-by never before taken by Princess Lines and this to see the Pio XI Glacier, the largest and southernmost glacier, It was found at the end of a long narrow fiord; It was gorgeous; and, as you might have expected, the ship did not have much room in which to turn around.

     Another open day at sea cruising the Pacific Ocean, and always sailing north-ward along the long Chilean coastline to Puerto Montt, Chile. Getting ashore here gave our gals a wonderful opportunity to catch up on some souvenir shopping. Yet another bonus was dining in one of the many fish market restaurants that were within a football field of our dock. Puerto Montt is also known as the gateway to what is called the Chilean Lake District. Many of us toured "Bavaria-South America” where numerous German-South American residents had built their brauhauses and taverns.

Many optional shore tours

     While at this same port. a busload of CLUB 44's shore-toured the beautiful Lake Llanquihue, the fourth largest lake in South America and the site of a major resort. We had some difficulty in getting to it, however, for our bus had to ford some streams. Several bridges had been washed out . . and we found that large tour buses aren't the best stream-forders.

     Another day of cruising north into still warmer weather, and then our group disembarked from the “Love Boat” in Valparaiso, Chile, the port nearest to Santiago, our airline gateway home. After a long bus ride spent enjoying the coastline and the Palm Beach of Santiago, Vina del Mar, many of us toured Santiago and were fascinated by its most interesting architectural buildings, again reminding one of old Europe with a twist.

     About half of us emplaned for the USA that night with the other half of our CLUB 44 tour group staying on an extra three days to see and enjoy much more of Santiago. This included a most convivial visit to the nearby Concha y Toro winery. It was a great end to 15 days of many adventures with friends of long standing.

Bill Brown, BME. 47
Vice President, Mid-Atlantic Region
 
 
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