The Ancient Mariners

      12/2/2023       Next-->

What a glorious cruise we had to the Antarctic. 21 sailing days from Buenos Aires, skirting the Falklands, around the Cape Horn, through the Drake Passage and up to San Antonio, passing through the magnificent Chilean Fjords. Then a hop.skip and jump over to Rio! Possibly one of the most vibrant cities we have ever visited!!

Ten intrepid Bulawayo explorers followed the paths of Shackleton, Scott and Amundsen from Buenos Aires, past the Falklands, around the Cape Horn to the Antarctic Sound and then up to San Antonia via the Chilean Fiords.

We thoroughly enjoyed making friends with South America, a people of beauty, friendship and exciting cultures. Apart from Antarctica, Rio De Janiero was my favourite, HeeHoo had sailed there in 1975 and was full of anecdotes of his trip, of which passengers included the infamous Derek Mulholland. But more of that at a later stage.

The cruise was fabulous, exotic, palatial with magnificent food, wine and brilliant service.

Sadly a nasty respiratory bug attacked many of us (all except HeeHoo - no self respecting bug would dare attack him!!) and in the middle of it all we had to deal with the Dreaded Drake Passage.

Haha I write with tongue in cheek!!

Now here we are, on a ship with 700 passengers and 300 crew and after surviving the Drake (only just) we now need copious amounts of cough mixture! Gargling was at a premium for sore throats and several salt cellars were purloined from the Grand Dining Room to make a salt gargle. There was nothing, and I repeat nothing, in the way of medical supplies unless one visited the ships doctor!!
It reminded me of that ship that was caught during the covid pandemic, the ship that sailed around like the Marie Celeste, barred from each and every port at which it tried to dock!!

The Diamond Princess was the first cruise ship to have a major outbreak on board, the first to "go down" metaphorically speaking of course!!
The ship quarantined at Yokohama from 4 February 2020 for about a month. Of 3711 passengers and crew, around 700 people became infected and 9 people died.

Now the pandemic is hopefully over but the rumours abounded! None of us dared to visit the medical facility, afraid that that ghastly "blue line" would keep us away from the gourmet dining rooms!!

And so we coughed our way around the Horn!!

There were a couple of Port Days but I dare you to try and buy cough mixture in Spanish or Portuguese!! Hah - I dread to think what were were drinking!!! Instead of perusing the quaint little stalls and buying penguin earrings and alpaca sweaters, we were standing in lines at pharmacies bewildered by the currency and the language.

Now, says She Sternly to the abundant cruise liners cruising the world, when you have a ship full of Ancient Mariners, instead of selling the opulent jewellery and Stella McCartney gowns in the luxurious shops, lets have a whole room devoted to the elderly masses. DRUGS!!! A well stocked pharmacy would have been much more in demand..

All sorts of embrocations, lotions, curatives and unctions were required, a ships pharmacy could have done a roaring trade with the Ancient Mariners!! Cough mixture for the Bronchial Brigade, thousands of tissues, sea sick pills for the Queasy Queens, remedies for the Gastrointestinal Guys and Gals, antacids for the Dyspepsia Darlings!! and so on and so forth!!

I type this as I sit in the shadow of Christ the Redeemer on the famous Corcovado, overlooking the Copacabana Beach, and I know no-one feels in the least bit sorry for me!!


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