Day 14 –At sea again…….
After a day ashore, we were happy to have a quiet day. A large part of the day was spent in our stateroom playing Quirkle and watching the large number of humpback whales that were migrating past – some of them we could almost reach out and touch. That evening, the onboard band leader, Sasha, put on an amazing show of piano classics, some of them with his own little twist.
Day 15 –Puerto Madryn…our last time ashore before disembarking….
We were up relatively early as we wanted to watch the arrival into the port. We hadn’t realised just how large the bay was until we noticed that we’d lost GPS tracking on entering around 5:15am and we didn’t get to the dock for another few hours. The land was fairly low with long expanses of white beaches and as we moved closer to town, a few high rises appeared.
Before breakfast, we headed down to the Cabaret Lounge for the Sunday service led by cruise director Tony. Peter, a guy from New Zealand that we’d met the previous week, also shared an inspirational story.
It was forecast to be a hot day – maximum of around 35 degrees (C) – a huge change from the single figures in Stanley or the sub zero temperatures a few days before in Antarctica. We basked in the warm sea air, enjoying breakfast at the outside tables of Windows Café.
Dressed in shorts and T-shirt, we strolled along the 1km dock to reach the beachfront promenade. The tide seemed really low, revealing a broad expanse of black sand on which families had already gathered for their Sunday outings. It was really hot as we made our way along the esplanade, determined not to complain after having been soooo cold for what felt like forever!
There were quite a few memorials dotted along the way and further along we came across all the beach baias – just like Europe where people pay for their little patch of sand and other amenities that come with it. There were also a number of watersport facilities, with snorkelling with the sealions seeming to be the most popular. We decided not to bother with any of the organised activities but to enjoy a flexible day exploring.
At some point along the way, we chose to leave the sea and make our way into the suburbs. We passed lot of pretty and some huge houses and there was a nice feeling along the streets. What struck us was the variety of architecture adopted. We realised later that the area where we started was a more affluent suburb.
We stumbled across what appeared to be the main shopping street in town and walked along it, parallel to the coastline. Being Sunday in Argentina, a Catholic state, all the shops were closed. As we approached a large church on the main square, dozens of people were flocking out from what must have been their Sunday service.
The map we’d been given on leaving the ship showed a few historic houses and museums that we tracked down. Sadly, these too were closed, but they did draw us to a very different part of town, much older and poorer. It also took us to the memorial to the locals killed in the Falklands – the Argentinian view of what we’d been immersed in a couple of days prior in Stanley.
What would a cruise be without time at the pool? To be honest, we typically don’t venture to the pool deck much except to walk around. But with most people on long bus tours off the ship and getting back in the heat of the day, a fruit cocktail by the pool was a refreshing delight. It even tempted us enough to have us back there after lunch for a swim in the pool and a laze in the spa before taking a nap on the deckchairs.
Early afternoon was spent relaxing on the balcony of our cabin until a fast-approaching thunderstorm drove us inside. Fortunately the bulk of it passed quite quickly, allowing us to go for the land based run we’d been planning. There was still a huge amount of water around, so we spent much time jumping over puddles. They can’t be used to much rain as the drainage was shocking! The road along the shore was under water and we had to negotiate streams of water (and who knows what else?) that were flowing between road and coast. Eventually we came across one that was going to be way to challenging to cross so we turned around sooner than planned and headed back to the ship managing an 8km run instead of the 10 or more kilometres we’d hoped for.
Azamara put on a White Night on every voyage. They decorate the pool deck with all things white and the guests dress in white. With the earlier storms, the staff were charging around getting sorted but we were lucky to be able to enjoy the buffet, live music and dancing for a while. The wind was pretty strong, especially as we left the dock soon after dinner, so we chose to head down to the Living Room for a while before leaving the party and going to bed. Sadly we missed the lunar eclipse that 100 or so other passengers saw from the top deck at around 2am the following morning.