Archive for November, 2006
“It’s me from the bridge.” For all of you who have enjoyed hearing that familiar greeting on the M/V Navigator, you will now have the opportunity to sail with Captain Romeo on the M/V Mariner.
Captain Romeo boarded the Mariner in Hong Kong and took the helm in Bangkok. He will be onboard throughout the holiday season until Fort Lauderdale, February 8, 2007. A native of Genova, Italy, Captain Romeo brings over twenty years of experience as Master. He will be replacing recently retired senior Captain Jean-Marie Guillou; for whom Capt. Romeo served as Staff Captain!
On a personal note, I had the pleasure to sail with Captain Romeo for two years on the Navigator and am looking forward to working with him once again. Like everyone on the Mariner, I wish Captain Romeo a warm welcome onboard!
Here at home winter’s cold is starting to set in; however down south – way down south – spring has sprung and summer is not far behind. South of the equator in the temperate zones below the tropics, climate is exactly like ours only in reverse. For some it’s hard to imagine that places within South America contain landscapes reminiscent of the fertile plains and prairies of North America and the spectacular, glacially created fjords of Scandinavia. More than a dozen cruise ships will be setting sail south to explore this fascinating continent. However, luxury ships are not the only option for cruising in South America.
The southern portion of the 2,700 mile long coastline of the incomparably beautiful, shoestring country of Chile is best explored by sea. Here the Andes, the longest mountain range in the world, plunge precipitously into the Pacific Ocean forming a perilous coastline of uncharted bays and inlets defined by rocky cliffs. The Humboldt Current races up from Antarctica bringing cold water and bitter winds that strip the land bare of vegetation. All but the hardiest species survive. Unlike areas in the northern hemisphere, Southern Chile lacks terrestrial wildlife. However the area abounds in sea birds and marine mammals.
One of the best ways of getting “up close and personal” in the fjords of Chile is by experiencing them from the decks of a Navimag ferry. Navimag (Navigaciones Magallanes) has been in business since 1979.The ships are a combination ferry, cargo, mail and passenger service transporting walk on day-travelers, overnight guests, as well as cars, trucks, and even livestock. The fleet of 2 vessels departs from Puerto Montt. From here they serve a handful of small towns not normally accessed by large cruise ships. Because of their size and draft, Navimag can cruise along channels too shallow for big ships giving passengers a closer look at nature. You’ll be hard-pressed to see any vestige of human habitation along the way.
Onboard life is not six-star; you won’t find chocolates on your pillow or evening entertainment. Overnight guests wishing a bed can pay for a private cabin with bath or a bunk with shared restroom facilities. For those not wishing a bed, there are plenty of chairs and deck space for tents and sleeping bags. Food is cafeteria style and there is a sitting room for quiet reading. But who wants to be inside when condors are soaring overhead and glaciers are on the horizon?
For those travelers looking for an adventure, I suggest Navimag. Your adventure will begin once you reach the breathtaking Lake District and end in Puerto Natales gateway to the spectacular peaks of Torres del Paine National Park. This is a special part of the world still pristine; untouched by the outside world. For more information contact www.navimag.com.