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December 2013 cruise review with many pictures


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Thanks Sandy. Wow Vickie Bernie what a great cruise you have coming up ! This review may take a while so if you have any questions before you leave , ask away.

 

Our lunch was in The Latitude 42 Restaurant at The Yan Kee Way Lodge. We first tried this place in 2007 and loved it. We didn't realize that the price of the lunch had been included with our tour so it was a pleasant surprise when we found out. The lodge has an interesting , eclectic décor.

 

 

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Unfortunately , the carved tree had seen 7 winters since our last visit and some of the beautiful images had lost their original splendor.

 

 

 

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Here is the story of the carved tree

 

http://www.southernchilexp.com/_CHILE_Hotel_and_Lodging/YAN_KEE_WAY_LODGE/Yan_Kee_Way_Spa/Sculptured_Tree/sculptured_tree.html

 

 

 

The restaurant sits on the lake

 

 

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The view of the lake and the volcano was the same (but my wife's hair color had changed from dark - to snow white ! ).

 

 

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And the food ! - first was a local seafood and chorizo soup. Delicious and HUGE. We asked the guide and driver why they were not eating and they said that they could never finish it all. They also informed us that time was becoming an issue.

 

 

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Taking a cue , we moved on to the main. All of the ingredients are caught or grown locally , and they taste that way . Next up was Salmon with berries and

they were as good as any I ever have eaten before !

 

 

 

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For wine I chose a tinto (red) of their choice. It was perfect but we were told by the guide that we had to go. We had finished our main but the chef was concerned that we would miss dessert so he came to our table to talk to us and show us a picture of the dessert on his smart phone. We thanked him for a great meal , and requested a box to go ( being good Americans ). It seemed like a shame to put his work into a box but we enjoyed a special taste of Chile on the ship.

 

 

Next: The perfect storm

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Thank you so much for the great pictures and review. Taking our first SA cruise on Feb. 19 and love getting info. Can't wait to see more.

 

Welcome to our cruise and congratulations on your cruise. This review moves kind of slow ( after all , it is a cruise ). So if you have any questions - ask and I'll try to fast track them.

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We had to cut lunch short to make it back to the ship for the last tender at 4 pm. If I had one gripe - it would be time compression. The scheduled time in Puerto Montt was 8am - 5pm. With last tender time @ 4 pm and a tender ride from ship to shore , the time ashore is diminished considerably. Anyway , while ashore I tried to make an ATM withdrawal and noticed that my card was missing. We had left some jewelry , money, ATM and charge cards in the safe. Upon our return a through search revealed a missing ATM card. I had last used it in the Santiago airport 60 hours earlier . We went to the ship's desk to explain and request a phone call to our bank. They seated us at a desk informing us that there was only 1 phone line available and to try it periodically. It took more than 30 minutes for the line to open and during that time we noted another passenger on the phone at the desk . We surmised that she had been using the line and as soon as she hung up we had an open line. 50 minutes later we had our answer and had answered many questions . A thief had a shopping spree and had withdrawn / charged $ 6500 in one day ! I'm usually very careful and don't usually check my balances online while traveling. Since we had nothing to lose from our bank account we went online to document our losses . Seeing the other couple at the internet café , we shared our tales of woe . When they were having lunch in Puerto Montt she had left her handbag hanging on the back of her chair to use the restroom. A thief grabbed and dashed - leaving her husband in the dust. My mistake was impatiently getting money at an ATM while my wife went to the ladies room. I usually like to have both of us work together when getting money. Lack of sleep didn't help . I thought that I had secured my card , but I was wrong. Being at sea for a couple of days meant that I didn't notice it right away . There was nothing that we could do at this point so we vowed to have the best time that we could under the circumstances. We hoped ( and prayed ) that the bank could recover our money and trusted them to take care of it. Several long days latter , they did and credited

our money back to our account. We would like to thank Holland America for their help and for not charging us for the long distance phone call. I must say that Holland America has become our favorite cruise line and we have been on quite a few cruises . Please be very careful when traveling. Work together while paying or withdrawing money. Check your accounts . We were concerned that our banking information could be stolen online but as this point I feel better checking it frequently while at sea .

 

 

 

Next port: Isla Chiloe

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Oh dear, you must have been totally distraught...wise words about taking precautions at all times, although after a long flight it´s not always easy to be alert. I´m glad for you that everything seems to have been resolved.

Looking forward to a happier next blog installment

 

Sandy in Spain

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We had found a tour on the internet for Chiloe and knew that we would be sharing the tour with others. We were up early to catch the first tender and while we waited , we talked with Daniel and Sarah. As it turns out they were booked on the same Holland America tour that we were on in Punta Arenas - Torres del Paine. As we chatted , we soon found out that we had a lot in common. They had not booked anything for the day so we suggested that they check with our guide to see if there was additional seats available. There were so we slid in the mini bus to wait for the others. Soon we were off and running.

 

 

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With the tide out it was obvious why we had to use tenders.

 

 

 

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Here is the ramp that you will walk up. The picture quality is low because of the overcast conditions and the pocket camera that I used to take these.

 

 

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As we left Castro , we could see that the land was lush and green and hilly and reminded of Sao Miguel in the Azores . At our first stop I observed the kind of scale shake siding that we had seen in Norway when we visited in September.

 

 

 

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It could also be seen in this church that we walked past.

 

 

 

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As we settled in for a long ride to the Parque Nacional Chiloe , our guide begin to share some information about Isla Chiloe.

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Rather than bore the reader with the details we will move on to the visuals. If you care to read about Chiloe , a good link is found here : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chilo%C3%A9_Archipelago

 

We would be walking the Sendero El Tepua trail through the lowland rain forest.

 

 

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While unimpressive in a close-up the Chilean Firebush put on an impressive show roadside while we were riding to the park.

 

 

 

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There is a walk across the flatlands to reach the forest.

 

 

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It looks a little like The Beatles Abbey Road album cover.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most of the walk through the forest has a walk way.

 

 

 

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To me , the forest seems more like a jungle ( and I know jungles because we live in one ) . Complete with ferns

 

 

 

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and birds

 

 

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I am enjoying your photos and travelogue about places we have visited on similar itineraries.

 

Re your most-recently posted photo headed "and birds", in case you do not have a field guide for Chile with you, the bird in the photo is, I believe, an Austral Thrush (Zorzal in Spanish), scientific name Turdus falcklandii. The resemblance (in shape) to the closely-related American Robin is obvious.

 

John

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I am enjoying your photos and travelogue about places we have visited on similar itineraries.

 

Re your most-recently posted photo headed "and birds", in case you do not have a field guide for Chile with you, the bird in the photo is, I believe, an Austral Thrush (Zorzal in Spanish), scientific name Turdus falcklandii. The resemblance (in shape) to the closely-related American Robin is obvious.

 

John

 

Thanks John for the information. We may need your guide in the future as we saw a large variety of birds as we sailed further South.

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beautiful review with stunning photos.

 

We are excited about our voyage. We did a similar trip two years ago but left from Rio that time. This time we are leaving from Fort Lauderdale and sailing all the way to LAX.

 

We are excited to be spending an overnight in Rio and getting to go to Carnivale.

 

Thanks for sharing your adventure.

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beautiful review with stunning photos.

 

We are excited about our voyage. We did a similar trip two years ago but left from Rio that time. This time we are leaving from Fort Lauderdale and sailing all the way to LAX.

 

We are excited to be spending an overnight in Rio and getting to go to Carnivale.

 

Thanks for sharing your adventure.

 

Thanks Vickie_Bernie and stay tuned . The pictures will get better later in the cruise. I just peeked at your cruise itinerary - brilliant ! I think I just caught a case of " cruise envy".

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While at the park we climbed the mirador observation tower. While there , we were treated to this view of the cabanas and Lake Cucao.

 

 

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On the way out of the park I spied this seed pod from the Chilean Rubarb plant.

 

 

 

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It is quite a pest in some areas of the world.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gunnera_tinctoria

 

 

In the description of our tour on the internet it lists a "picnic lunch" as part of the tour. It would be next on the agenda. When I hear the expression "picnic lunch" it conjures up a certain vision in my brain. That of sandwiches being eaten, while sitting on a blanket on the ground at the park , complete with ants running around. Our guide told us that that we would be stopping at a friend's house instead. It was cool and beginning to rain so it seemed like a good idea. The "picnic" was carefully and expertly prepared using home grown, ingredients. Salad , salsa , potatoes , homemade empanadas and desert comprised the picnic , now turned feast.

 

 

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The potatoes were unlike any that I have seen or eaten before. It was if I had never tasted a potato before. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potatoes_of_Chilo%C3%A9

 

There was a homemade drink made of apple and Chilean Rubarb that was delicious . There were several different types of empanadas. Some had homemade goat cheese that I really liked. I saw my wife's eyes light up when she found out that some contained razor clams - a taste that she had acquired on our previous trip to Chile. Feeling stuffed , it was time for desert .

 

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We had been seated under a large covered porch and next to where I was seated stood this strange tree. I asked the guide what the tree was called and he said " Chilean pine". I found out later that it is also called Araucaria or "monkey puzzle tree".

 

 

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Although I must admit that I'm puzzled why it is called this. Finally , I would like to thank my wife for allowing me to use her photos of the food.

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We were on this cruise with you and did some excursions with you...maybe only one? We went all the way to Rio and then Iguazu Falls. LOVED the trip.

 

We are cruising on Zaandam (Valparaiso-BA March 17). Originally wanted to sail right up to Rio but schedule conflict.

This being our first trip to S. America, we're staying extra 5 days in BA post-cruise (Mar.30-April 4)

Couple of Side Trips in mind were

1) Iguazu Falls-Argentina Border

2) Colonia Del Sacrameno, Uruguay

Would appreciate any recommendations --tour excursions, travel process to these places.

Steve & Sally

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After our wonderful lunch the tour resumed with a visit to some churches. These churches were built by Jesuit missionaries and posses a unique style of wood construction indigenous to Chiloe. While mostly constructed by the Spanish , some of the latter construction was done by Bavarian Jesuits and resembles the Stave construction that we saw in Norway. It is mostly seen in function and not form. UNESCO declared 16 of these churches to be World Heritage Sites. The most famous Church , Castro , was closed when we visited and I found this picture of it on Wikipedia

 

 

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/63/Iglesia_de_Castro.jpg

 

The first church that we visited was the Church of Conchi

 

 

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Here's the interior

 

 

 

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The next church was the Church of Nercon

 

 

 

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Interior of Nercon

 

 

 

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If you look carefully at the columns you may notice that they are wooden boards pieced together to form a column. They were then faux painted to resemble marble.

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Our last stop on Chiloe was at some palafitos on a river. These ramshackle houses and sit on top of stilts , over the water.

 

 

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Changing locations for a different shot I heard an English accented voice inquire " still taking photos "? At lunch the day before in Latitude 42 we had met a couple on holiday from Sheffield , England who were seated next to us. They had a rented car and were roaming Chile. By coincidence they had driven to Chiloe and crossed to the island from the mainland on a ferry. " Well I guess we will see you in Chacabuco tomorrow was my reply" as we said our goodbyes .

 

 

 

 

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All in all Chiloe was a nice surprise and an enjoyable day. As we boarded the tender for the ship our mind was on dinner. We had made reservations for Pinnacle Grill and we were really looking forward to it.

 

 

 

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As you can see , the tide was high and we didn't need the ramp to board the tender.

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This was a long cruise and we like some variety in our dining experience. The Pinnacle is Holland America's upscale restaurant and we love dining here. We are not fancy or snobbish people who critique dining experiences. We just enjoy good food and a relaxed pace when dining . I like spicy food so my for my starter I chose a Thai style soup. Very nice to my palate.

 

 

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I wanted a Caesar salad and they prepare it as you like - at tableside.

 

 

 

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For a main course I picked a version of Surf and Turf . The filet was cooked perfectly and the extra large shrimp were very good.

 

 

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My wife likes lamb and said that it was cooked as requested and was delicious.

 

 

 

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I wanted a light desert of fruit and this is what I got !

 

 

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But it was so good that I had to finish it all ! This was our first visit here - but it would not be our last . Arriving at our cabin we found our today ON LOCATION for our next stop - Chacabuco .

 

 

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As I prepare for a Northern Capitals cruise this summer, I have been drooling over your amazing photos of St. Petersburg and Moscow. This morning, I decided to search your posts for more of the cities that we plan to visit. I have found many beautiful photos, but not of the cities that are on the cruise.

 

I wonder if you remember if you have posted any for Berlin, Riga, Visby, Helsinki, Tallin, Stockholm, or Copenhagen.

 

Barring that, whenever I want to go on a trip from my armchair, I know to look for one of your trip reports. Gorgeous photos. Thank you for taking the time to share them with all of us.

 

Debbie

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As I prepare for a Northern Capitals cruise this summer, I have been drooling over your amazing photos of St. Petersburg and Moscow. This morning, I decided to search your posts for more of the cities that we plan to visit. I have found many beautiful photos, but not of the cities that are on the cruise.

 

I wonder if you remember if you have posted any for Berlin, Riga, Visby, Helsinki, Tallin, Stockholm, or Copenhagen.

 

Barring that, whenever I want to go on a trip from my armchair, I know to look for one of your trip reports. Gorgeous photos. Thank you for taking the time to share them with all of us.

 

Debbie

 

Thanks Debbie visiting and the wonderful words. The Baltic is a great area and a great cruise - we are sure that you will love it. We have not been to Riga or Visby. When we visited the Baltic in 2006 I had a film camera so I haven't posted many pictures of that trip. I'll see if I can find some of the photos and scan them in - but the quality will not be as good as direct digital. If you haven't seen our Northern Europe you can find it here.

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1923693

 

We will post them on that thread when we get a chance.

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We had visited this port before and like most visitors we went to Coyhaique and Rio Simpson . We wanted something a little different so we chose a private tour to Lake Los Palos . This is an off road tour and the lake is known for it's pristine

condition and it's birds . The Day began cool , cloudy , rainy and windy. It was our last tender port.

 

 

 

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After meeting our guide and driver we headed out to explore. We crossed many bridges

 

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Rivers

 

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And farms

 

 

 

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Another river photo taken from a bridge near Puerto Aysen

 

 

 

 

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Puerto Aysen was the main port and a city larger than Chacabuco . In the 1960s deforestation caused a silt to fill the harbor and forced a move of boat traffic to Chacabuco 10 miles away.

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While traveling the countryside we crossed many narrow suspension bridges. This is what it looked like from the backseat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After reaching the lake we were impressed with the solitude there. We didn't see any birds - but really enjoyed getting out in the country.

 

 

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While riding back to the ship we noticed something strange across a field.

 

 

 

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With the 300 mm telephoto I was able to take a close up of this odd couple

 

 

 

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Photographic evidence that opposites attract !

 

 

 

We had a short tour and returned to the ship early. In the afternoon the weather improved.

 

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Puerto Chacabuco

 

 

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Pulling away from Puerto Chacabuco we began to held West to the ocean

 

 

 

While cruising along the Aysen Fjord we came to this area where there had been a landslide in 2007.

 

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The landslide had been the result of an earthquake . The landslide had caused 25-foot wave that killed 3 people and tossed boats into trees. The full story is found here:

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/earthquake-rocks-southern-chile/

 

 

Here is another photo from the other side of the island.

 

 

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Sailing onward we enjoyed the scenery

 

 

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Suddenly a voice on the PA alerted to a wildlife sighting (our first on ship). A couple of Sea Lions and some Cormorants

 

 

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Resisting the urge to run forward with the crowd , we went aft and waited our turn for them to come into view. More Sea Lions and a channel marker.

 

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Before leaving Puerto Chacabuco we had to recover our tenders one last time so I took this small clip as they went past our window.

 

And here is one last view before we headed back into The Pacific Ocean

 

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Because we were heading South , the days were getting longer . I took this sunset at 10:30 pm

 

 

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After a bumpy night at sea we returned to the fjords for a day of cruising. The next morning was gray and dreary

 

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We were sailing close to some mountains with waterfalls

 

 

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It seemed like a good day to look for some color on a drab day and to scout a good place to take pictures of The Amalia Glacier that we would be seeing on the following day. I knew that I could find some perspective and color by going to the open pool

 

 

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And I found a place that I liked for photos , aft deck 7.

 

 

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We were in the Canal Fallos in The Chilean Fjords and we wanted to find some other locations for photography.

 

 

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A forward visit to the Crow's Nest yielded an interesting response. It seems as though some of the crows took the nesting literally. It was very territorial in the lounge chair area with some early birds occupying multiple chairs and using their medical equipment to mark their extended turf. It's not a good place for photography but seemed to be a great place for a scenic nap and the group dynamics were interesting.

 

 

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The bow area was open and it was great to go outside and breathe some fresh air. The cool air was refreshing and we felt connected to our location.

 

 

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There were some lovely children playing and they were really enjoying their vacation !

 

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When we visited Chile in 2007 we made some great friends, enjoyed the sheer beauty of the country and took some poor photographs. I had a good film camera and a 5mp digital camera that I had just purchased for scuba diving. Digital SLR camera and SD cards were very expensive and beyond my price point. Consequently, I had some good memories but no good photos . We had wanted to fix the latter this trip. Amalia Glacier was one of those places that we wanted to revisit and capture the beauty. On our previous trip the weather was not good. Rain , cold , snow and fog was all we got. And these photos.

 

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The digital camera had auto focus.It's good for underwater but it was going haywire in the conditions. The ship sent some workers out in small boats to pick up some glacier ice.

 

 

 

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As we sailed out of the glacier arm the weather and photos improved.

 

 

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Fast forward to 2013 and we were getting ready to enter the Amalia Glacier area again . We had waited a long time for this day.

 

 

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