Episode 192 – Sea Days Aren’t Boring

Another multi-day post to get around wifi issues, which seem to have settled down as we near Uruguay.

February 10, 2022. 51°F/11°C

#myvikingstory

Arctic tern in flight.
Petrel in flight.
Albatross in full flight, and taking off after a dive.
Flightless Fuegian steamer ducks (aka Magellanic flightless steamer ducks)
Chilean skua
Kelp gull having just regurgitated food for its chick.
Top: Imperial cormorants (aka Imperial Shags) channeling their inner Magellanic penguin. Bottom: the real thing

While Ted worked through hundreds of bird photos to choose the ones for this blog, I attended 2 of the 5 onboard lectures offered today: “A long way from Windsor: A Queen in Latin America & the Pacific” with Nigel Cox, and “Climate Change part 1: Messages from the Past” with Philip Creaser. The plan is to have learned new things and feel smarter by the end of the cruise.

The day flew by for both of us, and all of a sudden it was time for dinner and a show.

The best part of tonight’s dinner turned out to be the appetizers: tiger prawns, and shaved Parma ham with fig confit, shaved Parmesan, fresh basil, and truffle honey, all on a crostini.

Tonight’s guest entertainer was Mark Hussey, a flamenco guitarist from Oxford England with a show he called “The Best of Classical Guitar”. In addition to a couple of Spanish style numbers, he also performed some Eagles, Clapton, Chet Atkins, Willy Nelson, and Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah.

February 11, 2022. 57°F/14°C

There were 3 lectures offered today, but only one that interested me, so I dropped in on naturalist Stephen Marsh’s Q&A on whales and dolphins while Ted did 12 laps (3 miles) on Deck 2.

After lunch I went to a craft workshop with our Assistant Cruise Director, Damian, to make a collaged bookmark. No picture – in an effort to create dragon-fire for my eldest grandson, I ended up with a mess. Truly hideous.

Then we both attended the future cruise presentation about Viking’s 93 day Grand Pacific Explorer itinerary, which is one we’re interested in doing in 2023 or 2024. These presentations always include a signature “destination cocktail”, which in this case was a delicious combination of crème de cacao, vodka, chocolate gelato, and chilies! It was meant to evoke spicy Indonesia and India, but to me it tasted like Mexican chocolate with chilies – one of my favourite flavour combinations!

Dinner. Top left: lump crab cake with roasted red peppers, avocado relish, and garlic aioli. Bottom left: T-bone steak with panko-crusted onion rings, crispy polenta fries, and truffle hollandaise. Right top to bottom: Norwegian meatballs, green tea tiramisu, and coffee soufflé with Bailey’s Irish Cream sauce.

After dinner with our new friends Allan & Karin, all 4 of us headed to the theatre where guest entertainer Tanya Roberts was making her second appearance, in a show she called “The Hostess with the Mostess”.

February 12, 2022. 61°F/16°C

Mid morning there was a mandatory crew drill. These take place once per week; sometimes they are fire drills, sometimes related to simulated engine or hull breach issues. Emergency lights are activated, select fire doors close, and crew move to their action stations. No action is required by passengers.

Today was a Code Echo: an evacuation drill, accompanied by the general emergency alarm, which sounds like a sailor’s whistle blown 3 times loudly over the PA system. (A single long whistle is the “abandon ship” signal.) In normal times, passengers would take part, gathering at their designated muster stations, ready for lifeboats, but due to Covid protocols we’re exempt from congregating in large groups, so did not participate in the drill. Nonetheless it was interesting to listen as various instructions were given, and watch as crew moved efficiently to perform their duties.

I find it interesting that the captain always apologizes for any inconvenience caused by these drills, as if getting a latte or being greeted by name at the café entrance is on an equal footing with being kept safe.

In preparation for our excursion in Uruguay tomorrow, we attended a talk on the country’s history. This reminded me to comment on the quality of guest lecturers travelling with us. Today’s talk was given by Retired Wing Commander William (Bill) Simpson, OBE, who is our “Resident Historian”. Bill served in the Royal Air Force, and was decorated twice by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace, one of those decorations being his Order of the British Empire. He penned the acclaimed biography “The Prince”, and now writes historical novels. That’s quite the résumé, and quite the resource for the rest of us.

I also took in the next of Dr. Bradley’s textile talks, this time on The Art of Balinese Textiles and Costume, with lots of information that I’ll be able to look back on when we’re in Bali in November. We generally don’t buy souvenirs anywhere, but a sarong might just be on my wish list.

I probably won’t be able to afford anything made of Perada cloth, which is decorated with actual gold leaf, or gold-wrapped silk yarn, which is just as well since we try to pack light!

Captain Olaf announced at noon today that due to adverse weather conditions (high winds) we will not be able to call in at Punta de Este, as originally scheduled for February 14th. Instead, we’ll spend two days in Montevideo. Ted and I had signed up for a boat excursion around Sea Wolves Island to photograph sea lions and fur seals, but if the waters are too rough for the Star to anchor and tender us ashore, they’re DEFINITELY too rough for us to be in a little motorboat. I’ll be doing a wine tour from Montevideo instead, and Ted has chosen to amuse himself on board.

Today is the 46th anniversary of the day Ted asked me to marry him, which is a date we celebrate annually in lieu of Valentines Day, so we decided to enjoy dinner at the Chef’s Table, where the theme was Great Britain.

Top left: the amuse bouche was half a Scotch egg, with the richness of the pork sausage perfectly offset by crunchy pickled vegetables. Bottom left: the first course of crispy beer battered fish and chips, with minted pea purée and tartar sauce. Not pictured is our palate cleanser, which was a gin & tonic granita with candied lemon peel. Top right: the main course. Fork-tender braised beef accompanied by a crisp mini-Yorkshire pudding filled with caramelized onions and bacon, plus potato, carrot, herbed butter, and gravy. Centre right: dessert was Whim Wham, a trifle-like concoction of cake, raspberries, double cream, cream sherry and whisky. Bottom right: because we shared engagement stories with Lorraine, our server who just got engaged to one of the butchers on the ship, Viking treated us to a gorgeous tiramisu cake and a bottle of champagne that they sent down to the Torshavn bar for us to enjoy while we danced the night away with the Viking Band.

We were well and truly spoiled.

8 comments

  1. Truly enjoying your posts. I’m taking notes on this part of your journey as we do it in reverse on Viking towards the end of the year. 46 year engagement anniversary for us as well but you’re celebration is enviable.

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  2. Happy Anniversary! To have shared life with your soulmate for 46 years is a wonderful gift & wishes for many more! Enjoying your travel news, thank you…..

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a great post. So much fun. And I see you are planning into 2024 already – no surprise, there, eh? Sounds like the next “big one” would suit you to a tee.

    It also sounds like you celebrated in high style yesterday. Congratulations on 46 of the very best. Your British-themed meal would have suited me very nicely. I enjoyed every mouthful as I read through!

    Sending hugs – Happy Sunday.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Viking makes it really hard not to want to return – they spoil us at every opportunity. I’ll share today how well they treat their staff too. Yup, you’d have loved the meal – wish you were here (you’re in my heart though)

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  4. Aaahhhh, how nice! You deserve it!! Happy anniversary! Reminds me of Teds letter about marriage. You two just keep getting better and better! I’m so glad you found each other, Xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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    Liked by 1 person

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