Tuesday, April 15, 2008

On the Agua, Day II

Doug and Lydia—newlyweds who are spending almost the entire first year of their marriage traveling through Latin America—are my roomies. They're really nice. Easygoing, too. He's an Aussie and she's a Canook. Since there are two bunk beds in this cabin, but only three of us, we have a free bunk and an extra locker—plenty of space for all our junk.

Doug got up around quarter to eight this morning, took a quick shower, and Lydia followed. After they headed down to breakfast, I followed suit, arriving to a line-free buffet. Just my style. I hate standing in line when I could just relax and walk right up to the business end of the whatever-it-may-be after everyone else is done with the whatever-it-is.

Puerto Edén For breakfast, we had scrambled eggs, a slice of cheese, a slice of ham, cold cereal, yogurt, juice, bread with butter and jam, a banana, and coffee for those who are so inclined. It was a good and filling way to start the day.

Each day, we're given a morning briefing at 9:30, just to give us some details about where we're headed and what we might see that day. Later in the morning, we saw dolphins and seals jumping out of the water. It was pretty neat, and I got a few mediocre photos. It's cloudy today with a bit of mist in the air on occasion, but it's not as cold as last night, when it was clear.

The morning briefing Just before lunch, Andrea, the cruise director—my term for her—gave a little schpeel about Patagonia and the native people of that area—first in Spanish, then English, the routine for all communication on the trip.

For lunch, we were fed chicken, rice, bread, juice, fruit, and soup—another excellent meal. I sat with Don and Julie and met Martin, a native French speaker, originally from Quebec, but living in Yukon Territory. He works out in the boonies—does that go without saying?—sampling soil and searching for minerals and other desirables for mining companies. When you first see him, you definitely think "mountain man." It was very interesting learning about what he does in the field of geology. Not your typical office job.

In the afternoon, they showed a documentary about some scientists studying glaciers in Patagonia. The scientists flew over the land in helicopters and the film contained some amazing shots of the beautiful and rugged landscape.

About 5:00 P.M., I took my first seasickness pill in anticipation of heading out of the protected channels into the open sea. Walking and even standing on board was difficult, but I think we came through the rough part of the trip without anyone falling and breaking anything. I grabbed my tripod and stumbled to the bridge to take some long exposures out the front windows.

Dinner was at 7:30 and it was an excellent meal of spaghetti, salad, bread, fruit, and juice. Unfortunately, after I was about 10% done with the meal, I was pretty sure I was about to add some more colors to my meal. I excused myself from the table and went outside to get some fresh air—that and find a better place to barf than at the dinner table.

After just a minute or two, I began to feel better. I then proceeded up to my room to take my second pill and lie down—we had been instructed that lying on your side—think fetal position—helps with seasickness as your inner ear functions better in this orientation. I did begin to feel better after the fresh air and lying down. Long story short, I never left my bed until the next morning. It did, however, take me hours to go to sleep.

During the night, things got pretty dicey. I hadn't imagined that a ship could be tossed around so much. At about 3:00 in the morning, the ship took a particularly violent shove from the fluid dynamics beneath. It seemed like the entire front half of the ship came clear out of the water before slamming down into the next wave. You could hear things crashing all over the ship—including my books and other items on the shelf between the beds.

I slept a restless sleep, but came through the night in one piece and with all my stomach contents in tact.

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