Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala

It is not the destination where you end up but the mishaps and memories you create along the way.

Antigua, Guatemala was for 200 years Spain’s Middle American capital, leaving behind elegant pastel-colored mansions, lovely churches, and baroque civic buildings which date back to the 1500’s. 

Again, the tours to Antigua were too far away, too long and we were too tired!  So we simply walked ashore to the lovely port shopping area.  John sat in the cool shade while I walked around perusing the shops.  Since Guatemala is known for its coffee and colorful textile weavings, I picked up one of each and John needed a new belt and found a beautifully stitched design on one. That was the peaceful, unhurried beautiful day we had in Guatemala.

Can’t forget my tugboat!!

Puntarenas, Costa Rica and Merry Christmas

Nautical Term – of the day – Even Keel

A “keel” is like the backbone of the vessel – the lowest and principal centerline structural member running fore and aft.  A vessel that floats upright without listing is said to be on an “even keel,” and this term has come to mean “calm and steady.”

Although Costa Rica is known for coffee, its lush, green jungle countryside, and monkeys, we went to an Andalusian Horse Show. 🙂  Rancho San Miguel has been exhibiting horse fiestas for more than 30 years and is famous for his purebred Andalusian horses.

While watching the masterful abilities of the traditionally attired riders, we were also enjoying listening to the rhythms of  Spanish flamenco music.

Christmas Eve, after enjoying the horse show, we had a lovely evening dinner, chocolate dessert and a church service at 10:30 pm so some of the crew and staff could attend.  Our regular Sunday morning church services have about 100 attending whereas Christmas Eve 240 attended.  The Christmas Story from bits of scripture with corresponding carols were sung and enjoyed by all.

“Jesus was God and man in one person, that God and man might be happy together again.”  ~  George Whitefield


Christmas Day dinner for the 60+ Churchgoers was a wonderful family-style dinner.  Santa collected small ($5-$20) gifts that were handed out as a surprise to the kitchen crew. They give such good service we can’t say thank you enough.

Panama City (Fuerte Amador)

“Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I’ve seen.”  ~  Benjamin Disraeli

Approaching Panama with all kinds of ships around the harbor. The Canal, one of the world’s greatest engineering feats has been ranked one of the seven wonders of the modern world by the American Society of Civil Engineers. We’ll have to visit another time to see it, as we’re only going to see the “Old Town”. Not enough time here. It takes 10+ hours to travel through it.

Panama City skyline

After sacking the original Panama City settlement (now known as Panamá Viejo) in 1671, Captain Henry Morgan burnt the place to the ground, massacred its inhabitants and made off with the richest booty in the Americas.  A couple years later a new, “old town” was built with eclectic architecture and grand palaces, churches, government buildings and hotels. I found most of it has been kept up or renovated recently.

Quito (Manta), Ecuador

“There’s a good reason why nobody studies history, it just teaches you too much.”  ~  Noam Chomsky

Manta is the “Tuna Capital of the World” and we didn’t have time to stop at the fish market 🙁   (BTW the little blue on the belly of the fish is a window reflection, not part of the fish, lol)  The mineral-rich Humboldt current is again at fault for so many fish.  In addition to the Panama hat, Manta is the gateway to the Andean city of Quito, the northern capital of the Inca Empire and one of the world’s highest capitals at 9200 feet.

We head off for Montecristi and the birthplace of the making of the Panama Hat.  Miners coming from the east coast of the United States looking to get in on the Gold Rush between 1848-1855 made these straw hats gold in their own right as these aspiring workers bought them in droves as they headed to work in the CA sun. The popularity boom for such hats that occurred in the ports of Panama is what eventually linked them to the name of the place they were purchased rather than their place of origin.  Then during the building of the Panama Canal in 1906, Teddy Roosevelt was photographed wearing one and popularity rose again. 

Local Ecuadorian entertainment on board ship that evening.

Lima (Callao), Peru

Our first stop in Peru was El Chaco, a small port town serving the city of Pisco since the 1600’s.  However, the shore excursions in Pisco, Peru were too long or energetic for us, so we simply went into the port town of El Chaco, a charming village on Paracas Bay.  The Malecon has been rebuilt after a major earthquake in 2007.  We stopped for a “magnet”, some great scallops that they are known for and their famous drink “Pisco Sour”.   

The word Pisko (pisco) is an indigenous word for bird.  In the 16th century, the Spaniards brought pisco grapes to South America and made brandy with them in this area.  The Incas drank this stuff and thought they could fly, so they named it pisco — bird. 

The next day we were docked in Callao and while John went on a boat ride to see some Coastal Wildlife of Peru,  I went on a Peruvian Cuisine and Famous Cocktail tour, of course! 🙂

The Peruvian Pelican is restricted to the cold water of the Humboldt Current along the coast of Peru and Chile.  Peruvian Pelican is nearly twice as big as its northern counterpart, the Brown Pelican, which is found in both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of North America and northern South America.


Yes there are little penguins in this picture. The pelicans are bigger.

Humboldt penguins can breed at any time of year, usually digging burrow-like nests among piles of guano in caves and along cliffs. The Peruvian Booby is one of the most guano producing birds along the Peruvian coast, which is much needed by the Humboldt penguin for their nesting ground.  Many were seen on the rocks, but no good pictures of them.

Another shot of the same Peruvian Pelicans and Humboldt Penguins.
Since our photos are weak, thought you might like a biggie.

The Humboldt Current is one of the largest water currents in the world as it carries water for longer distances. The water then mixes with the warm waters at the equator, which marks the end of the Humboldt Current. The current is usually cold, except during El Nino.

Due to its cold nature, the current leads to the formation of fog along the coastal regions of Peru, Chile, and Ecuador and adds to the dryness of he coastal cities.

Furthermore, the arid climate experienced in the Peruvian coastline, and the Atacama Desert in Chile, are as a result of the Humboldt Current.  

Sea Lions coming out to see the boat. John said some folks went in swimming with the Lions!

My tour took me into Lima that has a population of over 9 million!  But the pre-Spanish civilization was estimated as having more than 16 million.  There was a 3-night overland tour to Cusco and the abandoned site of the Inca Empire, Machu Picchu, (mid 1500’s) rediscovered in 1911. What a fascinating history. Too much climbing for us to go.  60% of Peru is Amazonian, 30% Andes. 

Less than 1 inch of rain per year in Lima! And I thought Yuma, AZ didn’t get any rain! The cloudiness is humidity that doesn’t evaporate, due to Humboldt current. There is a fog-collecting beetle that is sustained by the condensation of fog that it collects.

We tasted Pisco in both Chile and Peru and were told there is a competition as the grapes in both countries are a little different, plus the distilling method is different in both.  It is referred to as a wine or a brandy.

Peruvian pisco is single-distilled to proof and nothing is added, not even water. 

Chilean pisco is distilled more than once and then watered down to a desired proof. 

Peruvian pisco is aged in neutral casks and is therefore clear, while Chilean pisco is caramel colored because it’s aged in barrels.

Arequipa (Matarani), Peru

Landscape is changing.
Approaching Matarani
John and I didn’t go ashore so this is all arriving and departing!!!
We sailed through that narrow pass.
The pass without lights.
That’s more like it!! I had fun timing my snapshot with the rotating beacon.
Another favorite tugboat going sideways no less! and that is a bird, not a flying saucer! 😉
We made it with room to spare, I think!

Iquique, Chile

“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.”  ~  Ibn Battuta

I slept in till 9:00 am. View from the bow, we’re already docked.

Built with Oregon pine shipped as ballast during the copper boom.  This town was once part of Peru and grew prosperous in the 19th century from saltpetre mining, a form of potassium nitrate.  It was ceded to Chile in 1883 after the War of the Pacific in which Chile beat both Peru and Bolivia, now a land locked country.

Municipal Theater from the 1890’s.
Lovely clock tower in the center of the square.
Club Croatia, the building with the pretty cupola.
The Government’s Port Authority.

Iquique means “peaceful place of rest” and it was lovely.  Sail away from our last Chilean town, with different mountains than what we have come to love.  Northern Chile with desert and Southern Chile with those beautiful snowcapped mountains and fjords.

La Serena (Coquimbo), Chile

“The most energetic workers I have encountered in my world travels are the vegetarian miners of Chile.”  ~  Charles Darwin

An important 19th-century port in the copper and gold industry Coquimbo and its riches lured many Europeans.  Today Comquimbo is a thriving gateway to Chile’s scenic central valleys.  Nearby, coastal La Serena, founded in 1544, is the country’s second-oldest city after the capital of Santiago.  In the 1950’s Italians, Germans and French were given property to build here. 

Approaching Coquimbo
Coquimbo Saudi-built Mosque, top right for only 6 families.

The biggest copper mine in the world is in the Atacama Desert which is the hottest and driest in the world.   It sits between the Andes and the Chilean Coast Range at such a height that prevents moisture reaching it from the Pacific or Atlantic Oceans.  It receives less than 1mm of rainfall per year and some parts of the desert have no recorded rainfall at all.

The desert was at the center of the world’s attention in 2010.  Famous for the ‘Copiapo mining accident’, whereby 33 miners survived 69 days buried in a 120 year old copper-gold mine.  Thankfully all were safely rescued.

La Recova Market, La Serena

In the 90s, the civic authorities of Coquimbo came up with the idea of building a monument to commemorate the Jubilee of Year 2000 of the Catholic Church, celebrating 2000 years since the birth of Christ, and the introduction of the Church into the third millennium. The project, appropriately called “The Cross of the Third Millennium,” gained great support from local church authorities and the Vatican.

Valparaiso and Santiago, Chile

Nautical Term ~ of the day ~ Rummage Sale

Rummage” comes from the French arrimage, the word for a ship’s cargo. Damaged cargo was sold at a “rummage sale.”

Easter Island is a Chilean territory/state. A number of sailing vessels, including whalers, visited the island from 1792 onward. By 1860 the population was about 3,000. Settlers from Tahiti began to raise sheep in 1870. In 1888 the island was annexed by Chile, which leased nearly all its territory for sheep raising; in 1954 the Chilean navy administration took over the sheep range. In 1965 a civilian governor was appointed by the Chilean government, and the islanders became full Chilean citizens. Within a single generation the Easter Islanders successfully responded to a complete acculturation to continental standards without losing their pride in their own ancestors and their skills and customs. Annually in February old and young of both sexes meet in contests to revive the arts and practices of the island’s past, including carving, tattooing, reed-boat building, and traditional singing and dancing.  We did not visit Easter Island, it is 2000+ miles to the west of Chile in the Pacific.

All part of the museum.
1930’s Casino Vina del Mar
The seaside Hotel part of the Casino Del Mar
The funicular in red building.

On board local entertainment from the capital of Chile, Santiago. We didn’t go to Santiago but there were shore excursions that included it.

Garin Bader, Chopin artist and magician!  Fantastic at both.

Another couple, Barbara and Ron, we enjoyed visiting with. They sailed their 37′ sailboat from their home in Nova Scotia to Trinidad on a 6 month trip against the wind and waves. Being boarded by pirates at 3 am, they were held at knife point, tied up and robbed. Fortunately not hurt. Awaiting your email Barb 🙂
And Kadek of course got in the good-bye photo, as he was leaving us too 🙁 But we hope to see him and his family in Feb.

Puerto Chacabuco, Chile

The mountains are calling and I must go”. ~ John Muir

Beautiful Andean Mountain countryside.
A lovely sunny day traveling through what is known as the Chilean Patagonia.
The Virgin Falls

Rio Simpson National Reserve, with a beautiful rugged landscape.  We love our rhubarb from WI and John is standing next to it’s South American cousin, while not actually related to European rhubarb, it looks similar (though even larger) and tastes very much the same.  Frank and Kathy I., I can’t say I know that it tastes the same as I didn’t get to try any. 🙁

The life expectancy for the Andean Condor is a very fulfilling 50 years. However, some have been known to live up to 75 in captivity. This age is only surpassed by its New World cousin, the California Condor, which has a life expectancy of 60 years in the wild.   Although it is on average about 3 inches shorter from beak to tail than the California condor, the Andean condor is larger in wingspan, which ranges from 8 ft 10 in to 10 ft 6 in.

And Pudú are the world’s smallest deer.

These are the best photos I can capture as we zoom by.  But a couple of interesting items.  The tree is commonly called the monkey puzzle tree or Chilean pine and is an evergreen tree growing 3–5 ft in diameter and 100–130 ft in height. It is native to central and southern Chile and western Argentina.  

It is also the national tree of Chile. Its piñones, or seeds, are edible, similar to large pine nuts. Since the cones drop, harvesting is easy. The tree however, does not yield seeds until it is around 30-40 years old which discourages investment in planting orchards (although yields at maturity can be immense); once established, it can live possibly as long as 1000 years!! 

The 210 m long President Ibáñez Bridge in the Aisén region of southern Chile is the country’s longest suspension bridge and has been declared a national memorial. Completed in 1966, the bridge crosses the Aisén River and is a historic monument for the architectural style that was typical for public construction projects during the 1960s. 

In addition to the bridge, the attractive Monkey Puzzle tree is in the picture on the left edge.