Antarctic Cruise - 2012



Day 38 - Sunday, February 12th - Sea Day: We attended a lecture this morning on things to do and see in Papeete, Tahiti.  Other than that, we didn't do much besides trivia and a little gambling.  The blog hopefully got published this afternoon and we sent some emails.  We're amazed how quickly the sea days fly by--thought we'd spend hours reading by the pool or out on the deck, but that hasn't happened.  We heard at the afternoon session of trivia how bad things were with the tenders returning to the ship from Easter Island.  Some had to wait two hours when they suspended tender operations.  Apparently a man fainted, hit his head on a rock and was bleeding profusely.  He was rushed to the ship on a tender as its only passenger.  This is the third serious incident we've heard of regarding our fellow cruisers.  Previously, a woman was hit by a bus on our first stop in Dominica and was hospitalized there, and a gal broke her ankle in Recife and is hobbling around with a cane.  We were lucky yesterday to get back to the ship in 50 minutes after our tour, as today we heard about people waiting a long time out in the sun.  The tender crew worked hard for many hours.  Two of them caught Barbara and kept her from falling on her butt getting on the tender at Easter Island.  On the positive side, we're enjoying some of the wine we bought in South America.  Tonight we had a glass of the cabernet from Uruguay and it's pretty good.

Day 39 - Monday, February 13th - Sea Day: This morning we went to hear Revell Carr's lecture on "Terra Australis No Longer Incognita." Aristotle was one of the first who thought there was a huge, habitable continent where Antarctica lies.  Revell told us about all the many explorers who attempted to find this place.  It was finally James Cook, who made three voyages around the world before he was killed by natives in Hawaii, who got close enough to realize that the continent is cold and white and is not suitable for most humans.  We tried the Pinnacle Grill tonight, where you pay an additional fee for dinner.  The service was impeccable and the food was good, but not as good as Capital Grille or Ruth's Chris.  Barbara's head is feeling weird, so she didn't totally appreciate the special dinner.

Day 40 - Tuesday, February 14th - Sea Day: Happy Valentine's Day! There is a dance tonight called the "Hearts and Flowers Ball" and the ship is all decorated in red and pink with lots of hearts.  We went to dinner on this formal night and lobster was on the menu again.  The lobster, crab and escargot are quite good and have been on the menu 3 or 4 times.  The fish is always very good as are the desserts.  Beef, pork and chicken are not as good.  We gained another hour tonight and went to bed soon after dinner.

Day 41 - Wednesday, February 15th - Sea Day: Today we were invited to a Mariner Society Brunch where champagne was served along with some very good food.  Jay had an excellent filet and Barbara liked the salmon.  Tonight while we were eating dinner we saw dolphins frolicking quite a distance away but got a picture of them.

Day 42 - Thursday, February 16th - Tahiti: We went on a shore excursion today called "In the Footsteps of Gauguin." Our guide was terrific and very frank about the Tahitian people and the economy.  Things are tough, as tourism is their main industry and not many people are coming.  They charge cruise ships huge fees, so only 3 or 4 ships a month come here.  The guide said there are two seasons, hot and hotter, and that this is the end of the hotter part.  We remember the heat and humidity from our visit in 2007, and it sure hasn't changed.  Our bus was air-conditioned, as was our first stop, the Museum of Tahiti and Her Islands.  It's an interesting history--the Polynesians came from SE Asia and traveled in small boats across the Pacific to inhabit many islands, including Hawaii, Easter Island and the Society Islands that Tahiti belongs to.  After this stop we went to a sacred place called Marae Aruhurahu that was located in a lush, pretty valley.  Our last stop was the Paul Gauguin Museum, which contains none of his art, as it is not air-conditioned, is very open and has no security.  Gauguin had a very interesting life and abandoned his wife (thankfully she came from a wealthy family) and five children and came to live in the islands and paint.  Unlike the Mormon, Catholic, Protestant and other missionaries who came over the years to convert the "heathens," Gauguin is known for transmitting SDS among the population.  The houses here along the beautiful Pacific are very modest, as the rich people have built homes up on the hills.  The average person does not have AC and heat in houses is not needed.  Our guide says alcoholism is a big problem here.  French gendarmes come from France for two year stints, and our guide says that is good, because otherwise relatives might be arresting each other.  We did some shopping at the local marketplace before returning to the ship.  It rained hard when we were on the bus coming back to Papeete and it started raining hard again about 2:00 and continued the rest of the day.  We had dinner, then visited the Polynesian BBQ on the Lido Deck before turning in early.  We have turned our clocks back one hour for about 5 nights now.  If we do it much longer, Jay is going to be getting up before we go to bed! We're including two pictures that were taken awhile ago--our core trivia team and dinner table mates Paul and Lillian.

Trivia team with Cruise Director Bruce

Paul and Lillian with our dining room stewards

Valentine's Day

Pink bunny in the clouds

Papeete, Tahiti

Musée de Tahiti (our guide in red)

Musée de Tahiti

Musée de Tahiti

Marae Aruhurahu

Marae Aruhurahu

Marae Aruhurahu

Musée Gauguin

Musée Gauguin

Musée Gauguin - His Tahitian wife

Musée Gauguin - Self-portrait

Musée Gauguin - Model of his home

Tahiti from bus

Papeete - Cathedrale de L'Immaculée Conception

Marché du Pateete