There be penguins matey!

We started the day with breakfast in our cabin:

Breakfast Puerto Madyrn

Joe on verandahIt was so strange to think that we were going to a penguin colony and it was 80+ degrees and full sun. We had time for a last cup of coffee on our verandah before departing:

As I type this on Christmas Eve we are on the bus back from Punta Tombo wildlife park. I think I said it was going to be a 90 minute ride previously… I was wrong, it’s 2 hours and 30 minutes each way! 

Here's the view we had for 2 hrs each way

Here’s the view we had for 2 hrs each way

The bus is very comfortable be it that it’s suspension could probably use a little servicing. It rocks like a boat from side to side ever so sensitive to the road. I’ll try to remember to upload a photo as it’s very strange landscape. Dry, desert-like with one lane in each direction and one can see miles down the road. 
The ship had four tour busses for this excursion and so we are like little dots in a row on the road. 
Once at the park, it was really amazing how one didn’t feel like there were a couple of hundred people visiting the preserve. 

To our surprise there were two other cruise ships in the port. And even with a couple of tour busses from them also, we didn’t feel crowded. The only wish is that we had more time to watch and photograph. The two and a half hours seemed to fly. 

Did we see penguins? You bet we did!!!

It’s pretty exciting as our iMovie class homework was to shoot 10-15 short videos so we can start leaning how to use iMovie in our next class on Christmas morning. 10-15 hah! Try like 30 I think as well as photos. My iPhone 5 performed incredibly! We transferred them on to my iPad mini on the bus and looked at all the photos and movies! What a way to make the 2.5 hrs go by. I’m so excited at what great shots I got. 
Joe was busy too with his Nikon, taking photos as well as videos. 
Man, this is our first real scenic Patagonia/Antarctica stop and I am psyched at how incredible this adventure has been and it’s only just started!I don’t care how long I have to stay on the ships wifi, I’m going to upload at least a couple of shots to our photo stream so you can share this experience as soon as possible.

Rewind to last night…
When we were leaving the hilton hotel in Buenos Aires, we were waiting for a taxi and this fellow came out and was also going to the pier for our cruise. We offered to share the taxi if we could get all our luggage in one taxi. He is a Belgian from Brussels traveling by himself because his wife has problems with detached retinas that prevents her from flying.  He explained that there are still a few places he would like to see before he stops flying and Antarctica was one of them. He had just cruised on Crystal in Asia 7 months ago. We’ve seen him from time to time and yesterday at the lecture he said he had reservations at one of the two specialty restaurants onboard…the Italian one called Prego for this evening and wondered if we’d like to join him. You are only allowed to prereserve one night at each of the two specialty restaurants per cabin per voyage at no additional charge, but you can go as guests with other people. We have reserved Prego for later in the cruise so we jumped at the invitation.

Superb meal at Prego

Superb meal at Prego

It was delightful. The restaurant has maybe 25-30 tables and it’s very intimate and quiet. The service is top, top and the food was amazing. Christian, the Belgian fellow order carpaccio as a starter and there was a 5 minute at the table preparation of his plate that blew us away. Lemon juice squeezed between spoons and drizzled over the top, then he chose between two olive oils, next 20 year aged balsamic vinegar drizzles in a Z pattern across the entire plate and finally the entire plate is taken, turned just sideways and rotated to gently cover the carpaccio. 
I had lobster poached in sage butter, joe had Dungeness crab with avocado and orange as starters.
We all had arugula salad. Joe had veal scaloppine, Christian had gnocchi, and I had rack of lamb. For dessert we partook in the specialty of the evening lemoncella soufflé (ordered when we sat down) with a strawberry coulis surrounding it and Joe had this killer chocolate gateau. 
The evening was finished with our nightly Benedictine (delivered to our cabin) to be enjoyed on the verandah. Already it’s cooler and we are using the extra blankets in our closet for the verandah.

Well we are almost back at the ship so I’ll close now by wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas hardly seems like Christmas with the sun, warm temperatures, and desert-like landscape we are surrounded by.

Next stop Port Stanley, Falkland Island on Boxing Day.