Jump to content
RachelG

Silversea Explorer Nome to Seward August 13-25, 2018-live

Recommended Posts

August 12,2018–setting the table for Nome to Seward on Silversea Explorer

 

We are here in the admirals club at LAX awaiting our flight to Anchorage. Originally we were going to leave a few days earlier, fly to Fairbanks, and drive to Denali then on to Anchorage. But George and I were both swamped with work, so we had to change the plans. By that time, the direct flights from DFW to Anchorage were sold out, so we are taking the scenic route. But hey, we get more miles.

 

Tomorrow we will fly on to Nome then embark on Silversea Explorer for what I hope will be a much more successful cruise than the one just finishing up. A bunch of our friends are disembarking, and they are not happy campers. The ship was supposed to go to Wrangel Island, but never made it due to a medical emergency and ice. So they basically just floated around in the ocean for several days.

 

We are not supposed to go that far north. We go over to eastern Russia then down to Kodiak Island and end up in Seward. This is a new part of Alaska for us. And I am confident that we can make our landings.

 

This is our 5th cruise on Explorer, so we obviously like the little ship a lot. It is not the typical cruise. There will be no formal nights or shows after dinner. But there will be zodiac rides, wildlife, and a lot of fun.

 

So come on and join us vicariously. I will try to post every day though sometimes that may be a little difficult, particularly when we are in Russia. I try to tell it like it is, so be prepared for that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking forward to following along.

 

Feel really bad for your friends. You know my affinity for Wrangell.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Rachel, I hope your cruise goes well ! lets us know who is on board in the expedition staff. We will be following you along too.

 

Ron and Ann

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rachel, hope you have a wonderful cruise even though your crossing will be rough. Yes, this cruise has been a disaster; to add insult to injury we arrived in nome a day early so the captain could fly home early. At $1k per day sitting in nome playing cards all day is not my idea of fun.

 

I have not posted details on cc pending response for larger compensation than offered. I will eventually post a full report once I hear back from silversea.

 

Marc

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rachel, hope your cruise is as exciting as you imagine! Sorry to hear that the prior one wasn't - Marq, will look for your report when you are able.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Rachel, hope you have a wonderful cruise even though your crossing will be rough. Yes, this cruise has been a disaster; to add insult to injury we arrived in nome a day early so the captain could fly home early. At $1k per day sitting in nome playing cards all day is not my idea of fun. ...........

Marc

 

 

O M G the news from the Explorer just keeps getting worser and worser !!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks everyone for the well wishes. Marc, I am so happy we decided not to go on the cruise you all are on. We miss being with friends, but George would be furious and leading a mutiny.

 

Our flight arrived in Anchorage early, and our luggage was first off the plane. A quick cab drive to the new Home2 which is currently the #1 rated hotel in Anchorage (the standard here is pretty low—we have previously stayed at the Hilton, and it was nothing to write home about). It is brand new, but is basically just a Hampton Inn with big rooms. It is very clean and comfortable though George thought the pillows stank. I could not smell anything. I think he is having olfactory hallucinations.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Olfactory hallucinations can be very dangerous. And apparently they are contagious. Just reading about them almost made coffee come out of my nose!

 

Sent from my SM-G930T using Forums mobile app

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

August 13, 2018–embarkation in Nome Alaska

 

I woke up at 4:30 am because of the time difference. After trying to tell myself to go back to sleep and failing miserably, I gave up, pulled the curtain dividing our room, and tried to be as quiet as possible. George slept till about 5:30 but then gave up as well.

 

JP and stumblefoot, his olfactory hallucinations apparently were telling him that he needed to buy dental floss, because he had forgotten his, and my regular plain floss is not good enough. We inquired at the desk as to where a Walmart might be, and the clerk told us it was really close, just 4 blocks.

 

We took off walking. It had turned very cool and overcast over night with some pretty threatening looking clouds. It started sprinkling rain, but hey, it’s only 4 blocks.

 

All I can say is that the definition of a “block” is considerably different that in Oklahoma. My Fitbit logged the distance as 1.2 miles. At least I got a bunch of steps. By the time we got there, it was raining steadily, so dental floss procured, we ubered back to pick up the luggage and headed to the airport.

 

The Alaska Air flight to Nome was quick and easy. We were met at the tiny airport by Silversea reps who directed us to our transport, yellow school buses, but first we had time for quick hugs and greetings from our friends disembarking the previous cruise who were getting ready to board the return flight.

 

The weather was pretty chilly and overcast, probably in the 50s, but wind made it seem cooler. Our very friendly bus driver and guide took us to the old church where they had lunch set up for us, then we had time to explore the town, including where the Iditarod ends, and go out and see some musk ox that were hanging around nearby. Apparently the musk ox here are not a bit afraid of humans and are quite a pest. They get in peoples yards and eat their plants, knock over headstones in the cemetery, and kill dogs.

 

At 2:00, we reboarded the buses to go to the ship. Checkin was quick. Luggage was in our cabin, and I quickly unpacked and found a place for everything. Muster drill was at 4:00. This was followed by a zodiac orientation and safety lecture, then sail away at 5:00. At 6:30 was an overview of the upcoming trip. Also a word from the captain warning that the seas would pick up considerably during the night and to take precautions if needed. George is really happy about that, and I am not being facetious. He loves rough seas and is disappointed if things are totally smooth.

 

Sure enough, in about an hour, we were really rocking and rolling. Dinner was delicious. I had an asparagus salad and Indian veggie vindaloo which was excellent. George had fettuccini Alfredo and scallops. But we saw something we have never seen before.

 

Due to the seas, the dining room was very quiet, maybe about half full. Suddenly two crew members in hazmat suits came in and about 1/4 of the room was cordoned off. The passengers in that area were moved to different tables. Apparently a lady had become sick, probably sea sick, but in an abundance of caution, the ship doctor had the whole area roped off and decontaminated. Interesting to say the least.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Crazy items in the store for summer. Why would anyone living here need these or buy these?

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fair Winds & Following (well some swell for George) seas for your Explorer cruise Rachel & George!

 

Enjoying your delightful Nome narrative and Explorer boarding experience.

 

Marc, very sorry to hear your Explorer cruise turned out as more of a crossing than

as an expedition voyage. Followed with keen interest, your posts both here and on the other board. Hoping Silversea helps make it as right for Arlene and you--meeting your post cruise expections.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rachel - Just an FYI - I am not seeing any of the photos you posted. You might check the posts on "the other forum" from the group that just disembarked - if I recall correctly, it seems to be an issue with Silverseas blocking some photo hosting sights - but they found a way to get around it. Looking forward to your posts - we have not been to Dutch Harbor or Kodiak yet either, and it's on our bucket list.

 

Cindy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Arrival in Nome

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

 

Will retry the pics. Internet is being glitchy.0a84f14c831fe3e5376cb388e7a2075e.jpg

 

27c0cd062537eec6a9be65f701603996.jpg

 

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Iditarod sled race finish

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

 

 

 

8d8fec655da4920aa28af45e8e7e3105.jpg

 

5d98bcc50ed2367258b011a03f123b90.jpg

 

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Crazy items in the store for summer. Why would anyone living here need these or buy these?

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

 

 

 

7a4f65853bcad5131fa1bec84cf5d161.jpg

 

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Crazy items in the store for summer. Why would anyone living here need these or buy these?
I think they ship them back-n-forth with Ushuaia as the seasons change. ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The photographs are bringing back memories, when we were there, that field in front of the church was all mud.

Its a quirky town.

On our approach to the port, we saw a guy fall off his boat, which was really just a platform with a small cabin on it, and there was a call for man overboard from our ship. The guy managed to get back on by himself. He could have used that swan float, maybe that's what they are used for! People buy them as flotation devices ! They are so expensive, even with the club discount.

you look happy and relaxed.

Enjoy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pictures working now! Thanks!

 

Love the Swan Rider! I wonder how many of those things they sell? Seems like the water would be a little chilly even in the summer!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think they ship them back-n-forth with Ushuaia as the seasons change. ;)

 

Ushuaia has a Safeway?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

August 14 (skipped)-August 15, 2018-crossing the Bering Sea to Provideniya Russi

 

As promised by our captain, the seas were quite rough through the night, sort of like riding a bucking bronco all night long. We were able to fall sleep but were awakened by the sound of our fruit plate crashing to the floor. George got up to secure the fruit that was rolling around and immediately fell over. Then the closet door started flying open and shut. We finally corralled all the runaway fruit, then put a bunch of heavy stuff in a backpack and wedged it against the door.

 

To make things more confusing, we crossed the international date line and went ahead in time 20 hours. Or skip a day and go back 4 hours.

 

After the longest night ever, The seas had calmed considerably, and there was sun peaking the clouds. Temperature in the upper 40s. In the distance, we could see fairly barren peaks, some still snow capped. With minimal wind, it was perfect for walking outside on the little hamster wheel walking track. I soon had 10,000 steps, and saw lots of birds as well as a couple of whales.

 

Our captain for this trip is Adam Boczek, from Poland, who we have sailed with before, most recently a year ago in Iceland where he skillfully navigated us through the icebergs.

 

Last year, when they refurbished this ship, they replaced the bathtubs with showers, a good thing IMO. However, there was a terrible design flaw. The showers have a very shallow lip and no door plus the drain is very small, the same size as what had been the bathtub drain. Therefore, if you take a shower which lasts more than about 3 minutes, you have a flood, particularly in rough seas, where the wave motion creates a sort of tsunami onto the bathroom floor. I had forgotten and was not in speed shower mode this am, so we had a bit of a flood.

 

Several lectures on for this morning about birds and rocks. We had to pick up our boots though we will not need them today as we are at a proper dock.

 

At 11 am, we sailed into Provideniya, a former Soviet military outpost which then fell into disuse with the population dropping from 12,000 to about 2000. Recently the government has begun efforts to try to revitalize the town as a gateway to the northeast passage, but it is still very depressed with many deteriorating empty buildings, the typical Soviet era block apartments, and streets full of potholes.

 

The people however were uniformly kind and welcoming to us, even the Russian customs officials. I have never seen a Russian customs official smile before, but these guys were very friendly. Everyone loved George’s cowboy hat and boots. He was sort of a pied piper, with kids following us all over town.

 

We had a visit to the tiny but very well done local museum, which had some excellent exhibits of Native art. Then there was a cultural performance at the civic center, with native dancing and throat singing, Russian dancing and singing, and some of the cutest kids you have ever seen.

 

After the performance, we were free to walk anywhere in town we wanted and hike out to the lighthouse and cemetery, built overlooking the harbor on a pretty steep hill.

 

Back onboard, we had recap and briefing followed by dinner with a fun multigenerational family from Mexico. They are like us, except Mexican. Love to travel, take their kids, etc. George had the clam chowder which he proclaimed excellent and duck, which was ok. I had asparagus arancini and hake with spinach. Both were very good. But the chocolate mousse at the end was outstanding.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Russian billboard 4995f14f82129c33c6b1231aa1e4d162.jpg

 

Just hanging out with Lenin

2a9074e7bb64f474b63484c39522c1bd.jpg

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Weird cemetery on a hillcf64ca5a95ecfd84379aa14162db81ca.jpg

 

The hospital

9592caf135e2043ec595c707d4187666.jpg

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rachel; delightful posts and beautiful photos. Especially enjoyed the "pied piper of Tulsa" moniker for George. Thanks again for sharing your Explorer Nome to Seward adventure with us.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

August 16, 2018-Chukotka Peninsula, Russia

 

In contrast to last night, the seas were so smooth during our sleep that you could hardly tell you were on a ship. I was up and out on deck by 5:15 when the captain announced we were in Penkigney Bay surrounded by whales and with 3 brown bears on shore feasting on a whale carcass.

 

We quickly threw on our parkas and ran up and out to the top deck. Right in front of us were three very fat brown bears having a whale for breakfast. Not close enough for me to get a good picture with my iPhone but close enough that we could easily see them with binoculars. All around were whales spouting in the water, probably at least 20. We watched till the bears decided they were full and ran off up the ridge. Boy, they can really move. I would not want to be on land with them.

 

It was really cold outside, probably in the upper 30s, so we came in to get breakfast. I rarely eat breakfast on a ship, usually just opting for a few cups of tea, but the early rising and cold made me hungry. And I was not disappointed. Someone on the ship knows how to perfectly cook American bacon to just uniformly crispy but not burnt.

 

While we were eating, the captain dropped the anchor at Proliv Senyavina. We board the zodiacs in totally calm seas to arrive at a flat gravel beach. To the left was a ranger station, to the right a gentle stream, flowing into the ocean, and in front, gradually rising glacial moraine covered with boggy tundra. There were the usual flat to the ground birch and willow “trees”, the same tree one would see further south, but here unable to grow more than a couple of inches high so spread out flat on the ground. Lots of tundra grass and lovely wildflowers blooming. Every so often, we would spot a little marmot or ground squirrel. We hiked to the hot springs, about a mile as the crow flies, but quite a bit further because there is no path, so you have to take a circuitous weaving route to stay out of mud.

 

There were millions of mosquitos, but fortunately it was cold enough that I could keep all my layers on to shield from the bugs and not feel hot. Only had to take a glove off to make pictures.

 

The rangers had built a hot tub at the springs, and lots of people got in. George and I explored along the river. He saw some salmon swimming up. We hiked back down by a different route. This area was really boggy, and a couple of ladies got stuck in the mud and fell down. I had mud up to mid calf, but didn’t get stuck.

 

Over at the ranger station, the rangers had prepared a snack for us—smoked and dried salmon and trout, fried salmon, caviar, and bread. The fish was outstanding. We were able to view their drying hut, and I made acquaintance with the resident cat.

 

As we rode back to the ship in the zodiacs, we had to de-mosquito our hats and clothing. They were really swarming.

 

After lunch, we arrived at Yttygran Island. The sun had come out, and it was considerably warmer. Much fewer layers needed. Here we could only go ashore in small groups, and ours was last. Last off, and last back on. We arrived at a rocky beach littered with whale bones which had been there 400-600 years. They had been hunted by the natives, then the bones were used for various purposes, both ceremonial and practical, such as holding down the edges of tents or covering stores of preserved meat.

 

Past the bones were cliffs with nesting sites for puffins then cormorants, and we were able to get very close. We went back to the ship just long enough for tea, then back out on the zodiacs for a whale and walrus watching cruise.

 

The water was completely calm, and the whales and walruses were out in force. We went to a point where over 300 walruses were on shore and in the water and were able to get pretty close to the ones in the water. Russian law requires we stay at least 300 meters away from the ones on land, but there is no restriction in the water.

 

Finally, on the way back to the ship, a whale came up right beside our zodiac. Of course, I didn’t get a picture of that one because it was a complete surprise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great write up Rachel. Sounds like everything is going well - lucky you to have seen those bears.

 

That's interesting that you had so many mosquitos at the hot springs landing - we didn't have any there, or really anywhere thankfully.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Explore the Night. Sweepstakes - Enter now for a chance to win win a free cruise for two with Azamara Club Cruises!
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Community Contests
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×