We have spent 4 days cruising the Beagle Channel, Garibaldi Sound,Magellan Straight and the many small archipelagos and islands that are in this most Southern part of the world. We have had some sun, and LOTS of rain. We have suited up in rain gear and ventured out into zodiacs and gotten soaked. Always the crew welcomes us back with hot chocolate laced with scotch, a drink, for which I am developing a great fondness.
We have also been indulged with wonderful wines from Argentina and Chile. Everyone has their favorites, and at lunch and dinner the staff explains the selections to us and we choose. Believe me, it is difficult, because I am enjoying all of them. We have also learned and appreciated calafate and pisco sours which Chileans love to sip before meals. Our guide has introduced us to entirely unique Argentine liquiers called "Leggue", which is 29% alcohol, and "Gancia" which is less, and my favorite. They are not exported, but immensely enjoyed by the locals. Also, YerbaMate'' a herbal drink which is promoted a lot in the US now, and the national drink of Argentina. Our guide has spent numerous hours telling us of local customs, and social mores surrounding "mate' " and everything else in between.
We have been blessed by Silvana, a firecracker of a guide who's passion and enthusiasm have made us enjoy everything. Every evening we get a little treasure slipped under our room door. We never know what is inside, but it is always interesting, funny, and enjoyable. Sometimes the envelope contains "our own" schedule, as she veers away from big groups. Sometimes we get educational material on the area we are in along with book marks, pictures, magnets, and small goodies. I really look forward to these envelopes. Sometimes she writes a personal note, and ALWAYS....SHE IS RECYCLING! I have even noticed old envelopes from other tours with cute stamps covering their logos, or messages printed on the other side of old news bulletins.
She loves to talk about politics, as do most Argentines, and of course, while they sit and sip mate' they can cure the world of all it's problems.
We disembark tomorrow in Chile, and I am looking forward to 8 more days of fun with Silvana and the rest of the group. And hope my clothes dry out in time to pack!