The Gentoos of Waterboat Point

On the last day of 2016, our cruise ship the Seabourn Quest, anchored just off Waterboat Point in Paradise Bay.

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Here is Chile’s Antarctic Base which was active from 1951-58 and again briefly in the early 1980’s. The base was named after Chilean president Gabriel Gonzalez Videla who in the 1940’s became the first head of state of any nation, to visit Antarctica.

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Waterboat Point is an official historic site under the Antarctic Treaty and this sign honours the smallest ever wintering-over party of just two men, who spent a year and a day in 1921-22 in a shelter they made out of an old whaling boat they found on the site. Maxime Lester and Thomas Bagshawe, 22 and 19-years-old respectively, were junior members of the British Imperial Expedition, and when their particular project was aborted because of lack of funds, they and two others hitched a ride on a Norwegian Whaling ship. Against the advice of the whalers, these two opted to stay over in Antarctica for a year. They survived the Antarctic winter ‘against the odds’ by extending the hulk of the old boat with packing cases, sacks and timber. This small, uncomfortable but almost weatherproof hut became their base, and they supplemented their meager supply of biscuits, baked beans, pemmican, sweets and crème-de-menthe sweets aand a little alcohol, with seal and penguin meat, as well as penguin eggs. They used seal blubber for heating and cooking fuel. When the two whaling Captains returned for them on the 18th December, they sent them away again, refusing to leave until they’d spent a full year there and completed their research. They left on the 13th January, 1922. Theirs is an incredible story of  ‘survival against the odds’.

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Whilst there, they did daily metrological measurements and conducted detailed studies of the wildlife. Bagshawe wrote the first scientific study of penguins and their development, and today the Gentoo penguins, the descendants of the ones he studied, nest in the ruins of the whaleboat shelter.

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If you’re a penguin hugger, this is the place to go. You can really get up close and personal with the gorgeous Gentoos. This Mama-to-be even stood up from her nest to proudly show us her eggs. (I told her you’d like to see what she was sitting on.)

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Here is Marilyn, the blondest and most glamorous of these red-beaked creatures. Our expedition leader told us that she’s very popular and never without a partner.

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This jolly pair were most cooperative and posed very happily for their photo shoot.

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We only had about an hour to explore, as there’s a limit to how many people are allowed on land at any one time. Passengers on our expedition cruise were split up into five groups, and as one lot left to rejoin the ship, the next ones were arriving.

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At this point, we had travelled just over 3.500 km from our starting point in Valparaiso.

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We still had another two weeks to go, so I have lots more to share with you.

Tonight we’re going out for dinner with friends to a restaurant who’s motto is “Eat, drink and be comfy.” It gets great reviews, so I’m looking forward to it very much. Hope you’re having a relaxing and fun weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

WPC Solitude: Solitary Seal

On the last day of 2016, this fur seal wasn’t out partying with his friends. He chose to spend his day all by himself on an iceberg.

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I don’t think you can get much more solitary than that.

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Happy Tuesday to you all. Click her to see more entries for the ‘Solitude’ challenge

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A Lucky Black Cat On Friday 13th

Here we are in Buenos Aires. Across from our hotel room is a very sad-looking abandoned building. I wonder who painted this colourful cat, high up there. The sight of it certainly brightened my day.

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Happy weekend to you all. We’re almost at the end of our month-long trip, and I’m so looking forward to getting home again. See you all next week.

Macro Moments: Sammy is back!

I hadn’t seen this sweet little creature since we returned home, but at breakfast this morning, Sammy decided it was her turn to sit on the rock outside our kitchen window, which is so often occupied by one of the Iggy family.

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Wishing you all a really good week.

To participate in Susan’s macro challenge, just click this link.

 

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Wild Bird Wednesday: Mr. Peli is back

 

One lone pelican has arrived here for the winter.

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I guess he just flew faster than the rest of his mates. Last winter we had quite a few of these gorgeous birds roosting in the trees alongside our lake. I’m sure the rest of the pod are on their way.

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Wishing you all a splendid Wednesday.

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Expressing myself for the WPC

“Be yourself – not your idea of what you think someone else’s idea of yourself should be. “ ~ Henry David Thoreau

This week, Krista challenges us to show what “express yourself” means to us.

I enjoy expressing myself with my piano music, although nowadays I don’t play nearly as often as I used to.

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My eyes often express what I’m feeling, like in this photo of hubby and happy me.

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I love to express my joy at being granny to my adorable grandkids.

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I adore travel, but as clothes are part of my way of expressing my individuality, I don’t tend to travel light.

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Taking every opportunity for a bit of fun that comes along, ensures that I have a great time wherever I find myself.

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I’m also not averse to expressing my ‘No Fear’ with a bit of up in the air riskiness, as long as I know I’ll be coming back down to terra firma afterwards.

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Pretty shoes are important to me, but on the odd occasion, I don’t mind expressing my sense of adventure in really ugly wellies.

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So, how do you express yourself, or what photos do you have of of someone else expressing themselves? You can join the challenge by clicking this lovely badge created by ‘firstandfabulous’ Gemma.

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‘Close Encounters of the Animal Kind’ for Ailsa’s Theme

Ailsa has given us ‘Close-Up’,  for this week’s Travel Theme.

I’ve picked out a few close encounters that I’ve had with animals and birds.

Here is Mr Gerry Giraffe at the Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve in Johannesburg.

Well, hello there.

Well, hello there.

This Cassowary in Australia, came up very close, to give me the once-over.

Here's looking at you kid.

Here’s looking at you kid.

A Llama in Peru, had a jolly good go at staring me out.

Whatchu lookin' at?

Whatchu lookin’ at then?

An Alpaca nearby, gave me this really funny look.

Go away! You're making me nervous.

Go away! You’re making me nervous.

In the backyard of my Florida home, one of our resident Anhingas was ‘singing’ his little heart out.

"Oh what a beautiful morning! Click, croak, grunt."

“Oh what a beautiful morning! Click, croak, grunt.”

The prettiest close encounter of all, was with this colourful Parrot seen at the ‘Kuranda Birdworld’ in Cairns.

Who's a pretty boy then?

Who’s a pretty boy then?

I hope you’ve enjoyed my close-ups for Ailsa’s theme. Just click here to see more.

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La Paz, an incredible mountain city.

 A few years ago, La Paz in Bolivia was one of the places we visited on a ’round-the-world trip’. At 3,550 metres above sea level, it’s the highest capital city in the world. Its Spanish name is ‘Nuestra Señora de La Paz’, meaning ‘Our Lady of Peace’. The airport El Alto stands at 4,000 metres, and I had been warned about the possibility of altitude sickness.
My first view of La Paz

My first view of La Paz

 

On the journey from the airport to our hotel, I began to feel the effects of the extremely high altitude, and that night I really felt as though I was going to die, in spite of being plied with copious amounts of Coca Tea, which many Andeans believe to be a very effective cure. Thankfully, it did seem to work, and the next morning I was as right as ninepence, and off we went to explore.
In the city centre is the beautiful Baroque style ‘Basilica of San Francisco’.
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At first glance, La Paz looked like most other cities, with its tall buildings and nicely laid out streets.
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Although the country is rich in mineral and energy resources, Bolivia is one of South America’s poorest countries, and the majority of Bolivians are low-income, subsistence farmers, miners, or small traders like this mother with her children.
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I think these bored-looking people must have been waiting for a bus or taxi. Note the beautiful decorated  building behind them.
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There was no shortage of tourism police keeping an eye out for any criminal activity. We had been warned to watch out for pickpockets and bag-slashers, just as in any big city.
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Fortunately for us, we weren’t booked into The Hotel Majestic. I’ve since read a review on Trip Advisor, which said “Calling yourself  ‘Majestic’, won’t necessarily make it so, and while its pink bathrooms, smart parquet floors and cable TV provide some distraction from the dirty baths and ‘stanky-like-a-field-mouse’ rooms, The Majestic is one of those last-ditch choices that’s good for a night and not much more.”
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The gift shops were bursting at the seams with locally made items. The best buys were knitted and woven goods, such as rugs, ponchos, sweaters, and wall hangings made from Alpaca wool. I bought a sweater, but sadly, it turned out to be really itchy, and I had to d’itch it.

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These guitar cases were so colourful, although I didn’t think my son would appreciate one, so I restrained myself.
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Internet cafes were plentiful, but tended to be in the not very salubrious parts of town..
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Many informal traders sat on the sidewalks, selling their wares to the passers by.
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The shopping streets were very steep, but we put our best feet forward and got the exercise, both climbing up,
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and down.
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A very popular tourist attraction is the Witches Market, also known as El Mercado de las Brujas. It’s run by the local witch doctors, the Yatiri, and there you can buy a cure for every ailment imaginable. There are lotions, potions, dried frogs, medicinal plants and even dehydrated llama foetuses, which are buried under the foundations of many Bolivian houses as a sacred offering to the goddess Pachamama.
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The truly affluent residents are housed in the lower ares of the city, whilst the middle-class tend to live in the high-rise condos near the centre. As we drove out of the city on our way to Lake Titicaca, we could see the makeshift dwellings of those less fortunate, crowded onto the surrounding hillsides.
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