Antarctica & Patagonia Dispatch – Wednesday 11 December 2013
The Holiday Adventure Begins!
As many of our fellow travellers we arrived in Santiago yesterday to allow plenty of time to get to Quest today. After having breakfast in the hotel, we began to make our way to Valparaíso. The more adventurous of us navigated the local buses while others took advantage of direct transfers to the ship. Earlier this morning Quest had slowly crept into the dock at Valparaíso, Chile under the sure hands of the harbour pilot to await our arrival. The vistas along the way revealed vineyards, cactus, palm trees, olive tree groves, and rolling hills. As the coast of Chile came into view the morning was foggy and overcast but as the day progressed the sun began to shine. The sunshine revealed a vibrant and bustling city nestled into the hillsides and in the distance the resort area of Viña del Mar became clearly visible. The excitement of the coming adventure filled the air of the passenger terminal with electricity as expectations began to grow about the adventure to come and the new friends yet to be met.
The shuffle of people and bags proceeded amazingly smoothly with more than 400 people embarking within a span of only a few hours as Quest’s crew and staff deftly handled all the details making our boarding smooth. We had barely settled in to our accommodations when we were summoned by the clarion call to the first mandatory emergency drill and we assembled at our emergency stations in the main restaurant. A role call was made and important instructions and information were delivered assuring that people knew what to do if an emergency were to arise at sea. Looking around the room, it was interesting to see the crew, who will be serving our meals and tending to our suites, in their alternate roles as trained emergency responders. One tends to forget that our safety is really their primary responsibility as professional seafarers.
As the ropes slipped from the pier stanchions Quest began the first small steps to re-trace the path that would bring it once again to Antarctica. The Captain announced that we could expect moderate to high seas as we plied the waters of the Pacific Ocean to Puerto Montt. So begins Seabourn’s Holiday Antarctica, Patagonia & South Georgia Island Voyage!
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