Tuesday, December 1, 2009

South America Day 13: Plague Ship

I was up bright and early, showered and breakfasted and ready for the Falklands! I've been looking forward to today since we planned this trip, because the Falklands are cool.

1. Their money has penguins on it. I plan to collect some.

2. The islands are populated by about 2500 people and about 500,000 sheep. I want some of that wool!

Dad gave me a brilliant idea: I went to the Shore Excursion desk to see if anyone had cancelled the Rockhopper Penguin tour. Rockhopper Penguins are jaunty, petite penguins

samuel blanc rockhopper
Photo : © Samuel Blanc / www.sblanc.com

samuel blanc rockhopper 2
Photo : © Samuel Blanc / www.sblanc.com

who - as their name implies - hop around over rocks, crags, etc. on their windblown islands. Back home in Ohio when we were planning the trip, the price for the Rockhopper tour seemed a bit steep, but it seems much more reasonable today for some reason.

In any case, I checked with the desk, which wasn't open. I located a crew member, who sent me to the Stardust Lounge to wait and see if someone failed to show up - maybe I could get in on standby. The call for the penguin tour was for 8:45. I was there at around 8:15. I watched my odds shorten as the room slowly filled up, with passengers claiming their numbered tender tickets. At 9:15, there were six no-shows for the Rockhoppers! At 9:20 - sinking heart - all six wandered in. Drat and blast!

Disappointed, I went off to find Dad and located him hanging around the Atrium. We figured we'd just get tender tickets and go walk around the town, take in the landscape, have tea in a tea shop, etc. Then...

The captain came on the loudspeaker with an announcement: The Falkland Islands decline to let us land, due to the ongoing epidemic of gastroenteritis on board. I can't really blame them for not wanting to suffer through it - it was pretty nasty - but they are sacrificing about $40,000 in port fees not to mention all the ca$h we were planning to drop on tours, souvenirs, etc. Our only option was to put back out to sea, taking our contagion with us, and sail - slowly! - in the direction of Argentina, two days hence. We have become the Flying Dutchman.


IMG_1368 001

IMG_3843 006

IMG_3853 016

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represent our closest approach to the Falkland Islands. See those tiny, little black specks on the beaches? D'you think they could be penguins?

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