Archive for March 8th, 2008

Feb 26. Deception Island

Wed Feb 26. Off Deception Island in the South Shetlands. Sunrise today was nothing like yesterday, which was described as magnificent, mystical, almost magical.

Now heading NW to Cape Horn. There is a storm approaching and the Capt wants to get around the Cape in good time. Had breakfast with an LA criminal judge, who described his profession as, ¨I´m in sales – I sell hard time¨. Great chap Leon and his wife Laura, a retired school teacher. Free ranging discussion about the US election, and the consensus suggests that Hillary can´t catch Obama at the moment. Laura felt that Hillary cannot win because she is a woman. Black male trumps any female. Leon´s comment – regardless of who is elected any of the three (including McCain) would make a good president. The country wants hope and change, and Obama offers that. Hillary will also fight the health insurance firms. Leon felt that the US had great health care, but a terrible billing system.

CA at one time fired all parole and probation officers, then the crime rate really rose. They are now hiring many more back, and the rate is decreasing. They operate a three strikes and then life in prison, no parole.

Weather is worsening. It snowed on deck last night, then it froze to the deck, making walking precarious.

Some discussion by a couple from Timmins explaining how a 50:50 Fr/eng town operates. You need to be bilingual to bag groceries. They also explained how the Ont. conservatives lost the election – over funding all separate schools. Not just the Catholics. Most Cdns we meet seem very happy with Stephen Harper. There seems no alternative.

Mar 1. Punta Arenas

MuseumPunta Arenas, Mar 1 2008. We sail through the Chilean fiords, passing 3 incredible hanging glaciers called the Holland, American & German glaciers, named after the first discoverers. Not original but whatś in a name! We also passed our sister ship the Costa Victoria. The ships had their brief conversation (horn blowing) while flashbulbs were going off on both decks.

The Panama Canal dealt this resupply town at the bottom of Chile almost a death blow. It Is now a growing tourist destination, with a ski hill in the back yard as well as being the gateway to Patagonia. Incredible scenery and activities await the adventurer here who has the time to venture inland to savour it. Europeans have been here since the early 1500s, of course the local natives did not survive.
We were surprised to be unimpressed at this dreary little town (not a whole lot better than Punta Arenas, Costa Rica), despite some incredible architecture dating back to its heydays. Like many places at that time, a few families enjoyed a monopoly in trade. They spent their riches on opulent mansions, which survive today.
The town suffers from neglect. As one cruiser, Keith from Ottawa put it, ¨Ït’s hard to look at scenery and keep watching the ground to make sure you do not break a leg in the gaps in the sidewalks.¨
Interesting stones such as lapis lazuli, onyx and rhodochrozite were being sold as jewelry items, as well as fossilized trilobites, petrified nautilus shells and sharks teeth. The local cuisine has terrific seafood (crab and more) which is still reasonable, plus the wine is superb. The wind blew, some sun and a few showers, which kept the summer temperature down. i.e. all the locals wore caps and toques!

Ushuaia Feb 29

Ushuaia, Feb 29. Right inside Beagle Channel, where winds blow all day down off the mountains & down to the sea, is Ushuaia. The Last City on Earth, The End of the World as they call it. It was a whaling station and a prison colony, It is the most Southern Town in Argentina and is encircled by glacier capped mountains. The Beagle Channel is the third largest ice field in the world, (Antarctica first, Greenland second). Our trip here followed glacier after glacier dropping into the sea.

What a gorgeous little town with its beautiful backdrop of mountains and glaciers. We had our first culinary experience of an Argentinian Parilla – a grilled meat platter. Steak, lamb, chicken, chorizo, blood sausage and sweetbreads. Amanda tucked into it all with gusto, while I stuck to the more recognizable meats. Terrific flavor, succulent, with only salt and pepper used as spices. All washed down with a robust and inexpensive Malbec . $30 for two. Argentinean beef IS definitely the best in the world!
A quick catamaran trip from the harbour took us to a fur seal and cormorant colony. What a splendid day and incredible vistas, plus more international contacts.

We steer clear of the incredibly stupid on board games & activities but instead take the time to cultivate knowledge and relationships from our multicultural shipmates. Our cruise so far has been a treasure of fascinating contacts as we exchange business cards & personal info and share in their vast experiences, jokes & joys.


Cape Horn.Feb 28

Cape Horn. Feb 28. We snuck up to the famous Cape, in a light sea and clear skies. I can only imagine my Grandfather Sven Nordman´s ordeal as his struggle to round the Cape took 48 days. We did it in a few hours, despite some last minute problems with Chilean pilots who did not have the correct boat to approach our garagantuan ship. Eventually we rounded the Cape, allowing us to be called ¨Seadogs¨, ¨Cape Horners¨ or perhaps just ¨horny¨. We are also allowed to wear one earring to signify we rounded the Cape from East to West, once. The Magellan Strait and the connecting Beagle Channel, is a fiord that cuts across Tierra Del Fuego, and it shortens the transit time for modern day sailors. (But the winds still howl down these Straits and Channels).

Imagine those prior to power vessels, having no Panama Canal until 1917, who were told to ¨sail aggressively against the prevailing winds, as hard as you could go, without breaking something.¨ Awesome as my sons say. These were tougher men, who fought the seas with fixed masts and booms unlike todays pampered sailors.

Cape Horn

The Ship is Big. Feb 28

The sun has returned after a days absence. Still steaming to Cape Horn, but the seas remain calm. Our Spanish lessons continue with Gerado and Moises at dinner. Not so sure I could order dinner without some help however. This is Feb 28 today, Thursday, but one runs into another on the ship. 2700 passengers, yet it never seems crowded. The systems are all set up to handle everyone. The only bug for me is the dollar a minute super slow Internet connection. It makes for very expensive blog postings. I just learned that my guide book erred wrto the BA telephone system. It is GSM and my BBerry would have worked there. Evidently minutes are really cheap there as well. Phones are not. I am not finishing as many books as expected. Did not expect to have so much to look at on the deck. The pics we took are incredible.


Feb 27. Whales ho!

Feb 27 – Let there be whales! We have been lucky to see a Minke and a few Humpback whales, seals and penguins swimming freely beside the ship. The skies remain clear with cloud formations called whale tails. Whales are now breaching right outside our window. A mid sized humpback did a series of breaches. Of course the ship tilts as everyone scuttles to starboard side!

We head back through the Bransfield Straits towards Deception Isand. The weather is slowly changing to rain & heavy cloud cover. Several volcanic eruptions in the 20s, 30s & 60s has now made this island the largest crater island. As we sail past we spot, waaaaay off in the distance, a colony of penguins. There goes the ship tilting to starboard side again! We then head across the Drake Passage towards Cape Horn.


Iceburg Alley. Feb 26

Feb 26 Monday. Another stunning day in Antarctica. We steamed into iceberg alley and stood in awe as we watched icebergs float by with amazing glaciers as a backdrop. What an incredible sight. Some of the bergs are bigger than the ship, big enough to land a 747 on, with room to spare, surrounds us. Considering that only 1/7th is above water makes them truly huge, and you feel real small! Of course it was as cold as the proverbial witches tits – the wind never stops blowing. At times I cannot imagine the conditions that early sailors underwent to get around the horn. Nor why early adventurers kept going under conditions much worse than these. So far only 250 000 people on our earth have ventured this way and less than 50 000 have set foot on the Antarctic peninsula. One of this ship´ś crew member mentioned that since their cabins are below the waterline and the water is so cold here, they feel they are living in an icebox. When the sun shines, the sights and vistas are incredible. Feeling really lucky today as there were sightings of Humpback whales, seals, Orcas, and many stunning seabirds. Still a considerable lack of wildlife to pacify my partner!
Our Capt. also takes us through the Gerlache Strait & Neumayer Channel.


Nurturing – Part II

Nurturing – Part II.  while reading Thomas Freese’ book, The New Era of Salesmanship,(See Review) he made a point about how prospects can lose interest quickly after that first very successful phone call./contact/trade show meet. We have all experienced it.  He goes on to emphasis  that the sales person needs to  constantly renew the pain solutions and implications to the client of not proceeding  and why thats important to him during the  of the sales process.  Folks are busy and have lots on their plate , so urgency will diminish.  You remember all that you have said to client, bu tits likely they have not.  Nurturing programs give the client a regular “shot” of reasons why they should consider your solution.  The message is a silent assistant to the salesman, helping to maintain the urgency. You are looking to take some of the client mindshare over time.

I am learning (??) Spanish and this has some bearing. I have found that to learn a word I have to concentrate and use it in context  over 16 times  (So I am told).  Now I want to learn and I am focussed, but its hard for this engineer. How much more difficult is it for your messsage to penetrate a target when they are likely initially less motivated to act on your product than I am  to learn a new language?.  In your Nurturing program, your message has to create curiosity ain the target and ensure that you are seen as something different from all the other noise in a prospects work life?  Its simple, but hard to do right.

Feb 24-25, Elephant Island, Gerlache & Esperanza Station.

February 24 – Weather continues to be grand. Today we cruise past Elephant Is. which is part of the S. Shetland Is. and our first glimpse of the magnificent glaciers of the Antarctic sound. A running commentary from our captain informs us that there are 2 Brazilian research stations on this island. Also a plaque commemorating the 1916 rescue of survivors of the British ship Endurance by the Chilean navy cutter Yelcho.

February 25 – We cruise into Hope Bay on the Trinity Peninsula and past the Argentinean Esperanza Station.
Just saw a sailboat go by, it was so small. Takes a lot of guts to travel these waters in such a small vessel. Must have been because it was such a nice day.
We then head back out towards Admiralty Bay, where the depth changes from 3000 to 900 ft. Then on to King George Is. where we will stop at the Arctowski Polish Research station. A zodiak load of research scientists will board the ship and provide a live broadcast on the wonders of Antarctica.

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