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Cruising on the HAL Zaandam
Chile & Antarctica
January 31-February 21, 2017
Mike attempted to down the enormous sandwiches and steins of beer we were served at Elkika, a pub near our hotel in Santiago, Chile.   Despite the calories, Mike & Paul were looking good.
What was a plantation home, is now the beautiful Undurraga Winery.   We were able to sample 4 different wines, then could have all the refills we wanted to enjoy in the Carriage House.

Where to eat:

In Santiago, Chile: Elkika Restaurant and Pub, calle Diego de Velasquez, 2109 - German pub food, wonderful atmosphere, huge portions, reasonable prices.

In Valparaiso, Chile: Cafe del Pintor, Urriola 652, Cerro Alegre - wonderful service, good 3 course fixe prix menu - fish, chicken, nice Carmen Insigne sauvignon blanc wine


In the southern tip of Chile, Punta Arenas has an open air museum that has reproductions of several famous ships - incuding Charles Darwin's HMS Beagle.   The glaciers that we saw as we sailed through the Drake Passage had clearly shrunk since we last saw them 7 years ago. Large waterfalls poured from the melting snow and ice.
But the incredible voyage to Antarctica was the highlight of the cruise. We were blessed with good weather (overcast skies) and spent a lot of time out on the deck watching in wonder as we passed icebergs as big as our ship. . .   penguin colonies with thousands of the birds playing, eating . . .
and just hanging out on the snow and rocks.   Some drifted with seals on the ice flows.
Seals littered the iceflows. . .   some played in swimming pools inside the enormous bergs.
At one point there were so many whales, seals and penguins near our ship; it was hard to know where to look. The Captain announced that all crew should come out on deck, bring their cameras and take a few minutes to enjoy this "once in a lifetime" scene.
The glacier in front of our ship was so close, it seemed you could touch it. We heard the thunderous crack of the glacial calving and backed away from the area.
The icy water was scary and amazing at the same time. Standing on the bow, we could hardly believe it was summer. We were lucky to spend 4 days in the Palmer Achipelago and South Shetland Islands.