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LEICESTER, MA

2023 Volendam Grand South America & Antarctica Voyage

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Getting ready!

As we write this "testing" blog post, another small snowstorm has just ended
at our home in Massachusetts! Hard to believe that on January 3, 2023, we
will be boarding the Volendam in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

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We last sailed on the Volendam in 2006 and we share a few photos taken then.
The ship was made in Venice, Italy, and launched in 1999.

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Volendam is 778 ft long and has a 106 ft beam. She has ten decks and
contains staterooms on six decks with a ship's capacity of 1,432 guests.

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The ship's theme is flowers, and she features floral designs throughout. The
Volendam was christened by former professional tennis player Chris Evert on 12 November 1999,
who became the ship's godmother.

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We hope to include photos and brief descriptions of our adventures in this
blog as we cruise around South America.

Posted by Swenigale 14:22 Archived in USA

FT. LAUDERDALE

All aboard today!

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Welcome to 80 degrees Florida! And to a New Year!
We took a long walk on Monday in Ft. Lauderdale – nature/shopping adventure

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Posted by Swenigale 14:51 Archived in USA

Technical difficulties

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We are having serious technical problems connecting our laptop to the internet onboard ship.
We hope to be up and running soon with pictures from Jamaica and Costa Rica. The IT department will be helping us tomorrow.
Thanks for your patience.

Posted by Swenigale 20:29 Archived in Costa Rica

Jan. 5 – OCHO RIOS, JAMAICA

RETURN TO JAMAICA

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Ocho Rios, our first port – when we were here years ago, we climbed Dunne’s Falls and took excursions into the rainforest.

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Our rainy arrival created a beautiful double rainbow!

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Today, while going for a leisurely walk along the shore, we caught glimpses of daily life.

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The newest Norwegian cruise ship, the Prima, was here, as well.

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It’s easy to find island beauty.

Posted by Swenigale 15:54 Archived in Jamaica

Jan. 7 – PUERTO LIMON, COSTA RICA

COSTA RICA, EAST COAST

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During the Spring and Summer of 2022 the Volendam was home to 1200 Ukrainian refugees. Some of their thank-you notes and drawings are on display. 650 crew members were onboard to provide services for them.

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We are in port today with the Holland America Zuiderdam, starting her world cruise.

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We’re not in New England anymore!

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The Limon Cathedral was rebuilt in a contemporary style after an earthquake in 1991.

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Epiphany, or 3 Kings Day, just passed. The church’s nativity scenes are both outside and inside.

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Vargas Park – close to the seashore

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This is an owl of a different color!

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We were told we might see a sloth in these trees….

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Mother and baby!

Posted by Swenigale 16:35 Archived in Costa Rica

Jan. 8 – PANAMA CANAL TRANSIT

Our 9th time – but who’s counting

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This morning we observed the Baptism of Our Lord at our first Sunday worship service on board. The ship entered the canal in the early dawn.

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We got pretty lazy today – actually taking pictures of the live ship camera on the TV in our room! Yes, it’s hot and muggy outside!

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HAL* treat Panama rolls! (*Holland America Line)

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The amazing lock system is an engineering feat. Operating since 1914. It transformed world trade by reducing the times, distances, and costs between production and distribution centers.

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After leaving the Caribbean Sea the Gatun Locks brought us into Gatun Lake (the largest man-made lake in the world – 27 meters above sea level)

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Time-out for lunch – lingonberries!!

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At times we were side by side with the Zuiderdam.

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The “mules” connect to ships in the locks to help keep the ship from scraping the sides of the locks.

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Docking in Puerto Amador, we had a view of Panama’s mountains and the Bridge of the Americas.

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Tying up for the night

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Panama City gleams in the distance

Posted by Swenigale 16:48 Archived in Panama

PANAMA MALL FOR INTERNET

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[img]We are at a mall in Panama City at a lovely coffee shop where we posted our last three ports. The internet issues with our laptop have not yet been solved on board the Volendam but, hopefully, it will happen soon. While the coffee and cake were delicious it’s not our preference to carry our laptop onshore for posting.
If you have “traveled with us” in the past you will recognize our mascot Hästa, our little Swedish horse enjoying cake.

Posted by Swenigale 17:15 Archived in Panama

Jan. 9 –PUERTO AMADOR

PANAMA CITY

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Here we are in the biggest mall in Central America – confident that here we can get online to catch up on our blog before we get blogged down (heh, heh).

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The mall is open, but many local businesses are closed on this National Day of the Martyrs – remembering the thousands who died constructing the Panama Canal. On this day no alcohol is served or sold.

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The striking corkscrew design of the F & F Tower – an office building in the financial district

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The Volendam and Zuiderdam sit side by side. This morning is low tide, and the tidal difference is fifteen feet.

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A cruise terminal is under construction….

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And it looks like it will be amazing!

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Weather radar showed thunderstorms were all around us, but we escaped any downpour. Unfortunately, there was a single lightning strike this afternoon, actually hitting a tower on the Zuiderdam! We heard there was some damage that would not affect the ship’s operation, and gratefully, there were no injuries. The Zuiderdam is on a world cruise and heads west while we continue south toward Antarctica.

Posted by Swenigale 13:33 Archived in Panama

Jan. 11 –MANTA, ECUADOR

TUNA CAPITAL OF THE WORLD

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Welcome to the Tuna Capital of the World!

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At other times when we have docked here we had close-up views of the amazing unloading of tremendous amounts of fish. Today, a giant car carrier was unloading on the same pier.

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In addition to being famous for Tuna, Panama hats (actually made in Ecuador, not Panama – but that’s another story), the Tagua nut carvings are a unique product – sort of a vegetable ivory!

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A walk along the seaside – pretty empty during the week, but crowded during the weekends and holidays.

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The new cruise terminal is clean and inviting, and cool, here on the Equator.

Posted by Swenigale 16:23 Archived in Ecuador

Jan. 13 –LIMA PERU

PORT OF CALLAO, DAY 1

semi-overcast 75 °F
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The working port of Lima – in addition to all of the mystery containers being loaded and unloaded, there are giant hoppers loading and unloading tons of corn (think Tacos and Corn Chips 😊).

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During our 2 night stay, recognizing the need for safety, the ship’s shuttle bus would bring guests on a 75-minute ride to the Indian Market in Lima, our meeting point.

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Striking off on our own, we circled a few blocks…

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…and found a perfect little Salon for a $9 haircut!

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The Shuttle Bus brought us back along the shore as the sun was setting.

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Pretty Volendam, brilliant amongst the giant ships and cranes, our home for the first two and a half months of 2023

Posted by Swenigale 19:11 Archived in Peru

Jan. 14 –LIMA, PERU

PORT OF CALLAO, DAY 2 A LONG, LONG, LONG, LONG WALK

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Lima’s busy streets were easy to navigate, thanks to Google Maps! Here was our goal, the Bohemian neighborhood of Barranco, a one-hour walk from our shuttle stop in Miraflores.

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Adventure is sweetest when shared with the one you love.

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The dry Pacific coast yields beauty in this narrow ribbon of the desert plain.

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The Bridge of Sighs is one of the most famous landmarks in the District. First built in 1876 it eventually attracted poets and lovers, thus leading to the name.

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The gorge spanned by the bridge leads down to the sea.

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We got to the view point – and realized we would have to climb back up from the beach, as well as up from the view point! So we decided to settle for the view.

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Did I mention artists as well?

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The high cliffs on which the city is built are draped with netting and cloth to slow erosion.

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This bird got an afternoon snack.

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We had a pleasant walk along the Malecon (many cities in South America have seaside walks such as this) before turning away from the sea to find our way back to the Indian Market and our ship’s shuttle.

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A talented group of Peruvian musicians and dancers performed traditional folk music and dances later Saturday night – to a very appreciative audience!

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Posted by Swenigale 21:11 Archived in Peru

Jan. 15 –LIMA, PERU

PORT OF CALLAO, DAY3

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It is a good thing – elevator carpets are magically changed each night. It’s Sunday morning! As we are still in port, the worship service will be at 6pm (on days at sea it is generally at 9am).

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Container trucks look tiny by the big crane things 😊.

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Here are the massive hoppers and silos (we’re staying onboard today – what can I tell you?)

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We watched 3 trucks at a time being loaded with corn through these chutes.

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Holland America Line SHOULD have beautiful flowers, right?

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Later today worshippers will find their way to these comfy seats in Wajang Theater for our Sunday worship service. Tonight we sail for General San Martin, Peru.

Posted by Swenigale 02:24 Archived in Peru

Jan. 16 –SAN MARTIN, PERU

SAND AND SEA

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Many of our South American ports are not just cruise ports. These giant spokes for wind turbines will travel by land to a wind farm some miles away near the Nazca Lines.

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We watched sea salt being loaded onto a ship for travel North – to be used on our icy roads!

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Twice in the past we have toured out in the bay to Ballesta Islands, with each visit a different experience. Today our guide was Olenka.

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A bus took us to a pier in the small town of Paracas (which means “sandstorm”).

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We’ll be back, Volendam!

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On the other side of the Paracas Peninsula is this giant geoglyph. Its origins are uncertain – perhaps 2000 years old, created as a navigation guide? Or made by aliens?

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Inca Terns perch on the rocks of the island – we could already smell the guano (which is harvested by the government to be used as fertilizer). The seas are rich in anchovies, which makes the best guano fertilizer, I guess.

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The picturesque island boasts Peruvian Pelicans –

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oh, surprise! A fisherman with his friend scuba diving for some reason– careful!

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It is early in the birthing season, but sea lions are already coming for mating and for the annual delivery of babies.

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This little Humboldt Penguin is getting new feathers.

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Lots of crabs

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And lots of bird poop (as our guide calls it), a lot of which comes from Peruvian Boobies – some fuzzy babies here

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Turf war

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Thousands and thousands of sea birds

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I’m outta here!

Posted by Swenigale 19:37 Archived in Peru

Jan. 19 –COQUIMBO (LA SERENA), CHILE

FIGHTING THE HUMBOLDT CURRENT

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Deck chairs and cushions were secured overnight as we had some rocking and rolling, sailing against the Humboldt Current. Two mighty tugboats contributing 15,000 horsepower to help the ship’s side thrusters keep the Volendam steady against the pier. We have never seen this before.

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In the bay – I like our ship better!

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We walked out through the port……

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…….and up to the Millennium Cross – why not? It’s only 2,000 steps 😊

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Up

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And up

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And up

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Homes line all of the stairs and lanes.

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We’re there!

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In the base of the 305 foot concrete structure is a worship space…..

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Also statues depicting scenes in the life of Christ.

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But what goes up, must come down…..

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Down.

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Back in the bay – Coquimbo was the haunt of pirates and privateers

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The Black Pearl 😊

Posted by Swenigale 19:53 Archived in Chile

Jan. 20 – SANTIAGO (SAN ANTONIO), CHILE

REFUELING AND RESUPPLYING

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We weren’t kidding about South American working ports!

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Port Shuttle buses are provided to the terminal. From there shore excursions can bring you to the capital, Santiago, for a short visit. Preferring to stay local, we poked around the harbor.

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This is one of the three ports where the Volendam is scheduled to have a major resupply of fresh produce. Orders are placed months ahead.

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Quality and inventory control by ship personnel

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Hästa was along for our long walk along the shore.

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Families crowded the boardwalk and the new mall on a sunny Friday afternoon (it is summer here).

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What fun – an outdoor puppet show!

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Pretty sure our Captain will find a way to sail out of the crowded San Antonio port.

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Fishing boats came back in the morning…..

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For the Fish Market.

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The final sale.

Posted by Swenigale 18:54 Archived in Chile

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