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It would be impossible for me to describe the pleasure of collecting a Latte’ at The Bistro early this morning, and heading up to deck 12, to observe our ship approaching Cape Horn. This infamous tip of South America, reknown for her storms and unpredictable weather, has been written into maritime folklore, and certainly many a vessel has been wrecked in these waters. Today, however, she beckoned like a mistress. In glorious weather, sunshine and calm seas, we were spellbound by the craggy peaks and cliffs, stacked upon one another, creating a kaleidoscope of greens and purples rolling off into eternity. Karen and I sat watching the birds flying past, stunned by Nature’s glory. We could clearly see the lighthouse, its keeper’s home, and the mighty Albatross sculpture marking this as Cape Horn. The Captain skilfully rounded the island, passengers lining the decks taking photos in all directions. Eventually a Chilean naval boat pulled up alongside to take off the Pilot, who had served us very well. Many swells and white caps indicated rock outcrops some way offshore – dangerous sailing grounds indeed. It really was a wonderful start to our day, before we headed south into what can be fairly termed a “Drake Lake”. Conditions thus far have been very benign indeed, and onward weather predictions indicate we are in for a calm cruise.

I attended a lecture by General Michael Hayden on Tectonic Shifts in Global Security. This retired US General and Congressman epitomized for me what professional speaking on board these ships should strive towards. Without referring to a note, and never erring he entertained us royally for a full hour. From a security perspective, we are certainly living in uncertain, challenging times. The ice pilot on board, Keith Johnson, joined us for lunch, and what an interesting life he has led working on ice breakers. We teased him about the responsibility he carries with the ship, and everyone on board, effectively relying on his judgements. Keith assured us that he will not be having a drink until we leave Elephant Island, heading north. As this is Serenity’s inaugural voyage down here, Keith’s experience is most reassuring.

Cruise Director, Gary Hunter, invited me to join him for a live TV broadcast this evening. We had a great time talking about our mutual humble beginnings, then my joining David Rattray after a 4-year unbroken sojourn travelling around the world, and eventually ending up talking about early Antarctic exploration on vessels like Crystal Serenity. It is almost unbelievable. I am very much hoping that my talks will be well received on board, and that our DVD sales go well.
Karen and I rounded off a perfect day with dinner in the restaurant (one of 7 eating possibilities on board). The King Crab soup and grilled Swordfish steaks were to die for, whilst Karen and I spoke about just what a unique privilege this is, and what extraordinary opportunities Life has passed our way. The sea outside our balcony remains very calm, and we feel blessed to be alive.

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