Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The National Geographic Explorer

On the National Geographic Explorer we visited southern Patagonia from Puerto Natales, Chile, on the Señoret Channel,
then into the fjords near the Strait of Magellan, then onward to a landing at Cape Horn, and finally to Staten Island.
Our final port was Ushuaia, Argentina. While the ship was underway we enjoyed the views from the bow and the decks.
Here's a peek into the ship's kitchen, where numerous cooks prepared 3 meals a day and snacks.
In the depths of the ship are many support systems, such as two enormous frozen-storage rooms,
large stores of canned and processed food, a state-of-the-art garbage processing area, and more.
Breakfast and lunch were served from a buffet. At breakfast, a chef made omelets, poached eggs, or fried eggs to order. There were lots of other choices which varied day by day, including fruit, cereal, ship-made granola, yogurt, pancakes or French toast, bacon, sausages, and many more. At lunch you could choose from several hot entrees and a varying salad bar. Far too many to try them all! An alternate lunch service was upstairs in the observation deck where you could watch the scenery while eating -- we did that several times. Afternoon tea was served at 4 PM, but we were usually either too busy or too tired to go to the dining room for this extra meal.

The final afternoon tea was Swedish pancakes, dished up by the Purser
(who is Swedish) and the head chef. We did enjoy this one!
Dinner was served quite formally. Here are photos of three dinner courses served on various nights:
Duck patè with figs and balsamic glaze.
Roast beef, asparagus in prosciutto, and mashed potatoes. 
A typical dessert. I often opted for ice cream instead!
In the lounge, a briefing is held before dinner each evening. Besides a recap of the day's activity and a
description of possibilities for the following day, we usually heard a brief lecture on a topic such as native people or local vegetation. Before the briefing is a cocktail hour with snacks and hors-d'oeuvres.
The chart room is usually a quiet place with maps of where we had been. One night, however, as shown: we
attended a cocktail party here. From the chart room you can exit onto the bow for dramatic views of sea and shore. 
The bridge of the Explorer is generally open to passengers except in very tricky navigation situations.
At the helm in this photo is Oliver Kruse, the captain of the ship.
The water level door shown here is the exit where we
would board the Zodiac boats for better viewing of the
scenery or for shore landings. The tanks belong to professional
scuba divers who made underwater videos to inform us
of another element of our surroundings. No diving for passengers!
Another area for quietly watching the scenery is the library, which offers many
books about the areas where the Explorer goes. Outside the window is
Cape Horn. Owner of leg pointing to Cape Horn: unidentified.
I've already shown a number of photos of the ship: here's one more, showing a Zodiac
coming to shore to pick up hikers from a beautiful hike on Staten Island.
Staten Island is almost entirely off-limits to vistors, so there are no trails and we used
walking sticks to deal with the rough terrain. Only the Explorer is allowed to anchor there.
In the month of October, we were almost completely occupied with packing and preparing for the trip, traveling, and then returning home to resettle in. Usually, at the end of each month, I share a post about my kitchen with a number of other bloggers, but these photos of the Explorer represent my "kitchen" activities for the month.


sherry from sherrys pickings said...

Oh wow Mae. This looks like such a fabulous trip. how wonderful. you must have seen and learned many new things. Thanks for joining in with your fascinating trip! cheers S.

Kitchen Riffs said...

I'd say your October "kitchen" activity was wonderful! Really fun read -- those expedition ships are supposed to be fun (I've never been on one) -- you can visit such neat places. One of these days I'll do that!

Jeanie said...

This is fascinating, Mae, and so cool to be in the kitchen here! It's really remarkable and I loved seeing the faces who all looked so interested in the discussion, too!

Anonymous said...

Looks like an amazing experience Mae, much better than being at home in the kitchen

Liz said...

What a fabulous trip, I love that it wasn't on one of those huge cruise ships. This one is on my bucket list. I am looking forward to hearing more about your travels.

Kim Bultman said...

Mae, what a wonderful glimpse of "your kitchen" -- thanks for sharing it in mine, xo. IMK is blessed by such broadening world-views!