Thursday 11 August 2016

NEW YORK TO SYDNEY CRUISE PART 4 - Valparaiso (Santiago) Saturday 6th August

We were late docking in Valparaiso because a container ship was still loading in our berth.  This appears to be a very disorganised part of the world.  Again, we were advised not to wear jewellery or take valuables ashore because of the high level of local crime. 

Although some where deeply sceptical that this advice was OTT it happened to be spot on. It was reported that 5 people had been accosted.  One lady held onto her bag and was dragged, together with the chair she was sitting on in Starbucks, into the street where she sustained severe grazing.   I think they ran away without the bag.  Another man had his wallet containing $200 stolen and a lady had her necklace snatched from her neck.   Another couple asked a taxi to take them somewhere.  He took them into a very poor part of town and demanded money to take them back to where they actually wanted to go.

Valparaiso is one of Chile’s oldest cities and Santiago is 75 miles away. I elected not to take the 4 hour round trip to Santiago and instead went on a half day narrated drive through Valparaiso which included a visit to a the Fonck Museum.  The guide was easy on the ear, very informative and didn’t keep us captured inside the museum for over 2 hours!  That was a great blessing. Outside the museum was a moai, one of the original ancient monoliths from Easter Island.  I’m so please to have seen this and if you read you’ll discover why.

We then drove through the ritzy and affluent seaside town of Vina del Mar, then back to the graffiti, rubble strewn Valparaiso.  Good to be back on mother ship again.

Our next stop should have been Easter Island.  Governed by Chile, this is one of the most remote islands in the world, over 2,300 miles from Chile and 2,500 miles from Tahiti. 

However, only 1 ship in 4 ships manage to land there due to adverse sea conditions and yesterday (10th August) we were informed by the Captain that we are one of the unlucky ones.  There is currently a deep depression moving across the southern Pacific, bringing with it large swells and high winds which would severely affect our passage to Tahiti. So goodbye Easter and Pitcairn Islands, hello Moorea on 16th August.  The Captain deemed that the safety of guests and crew was the highest priority.  I’ll go along with that one.

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