Aboard the MS Veendam: Strait talk about ice and soup


Aboard the MS Veendam–  I’ll always remember yesterday, November 11, because it’s the day I lost a front tooth aboard ship – or rather a very large crown, anyway. It doesn’t hurt much, but it’s pretty awful to look at.

Actually I recovered the thing, but there was no way to re-install it on board. I went to the medical office down on “A” Deck, but the nurse there said quite definitely: “We don’t do dental work.”

Luckily this distraction occurred on another sea day, so I didn’t miss much along the way. Today someone in the office is looking into finding me a dentist in Ushuaia, Argentina, where we will dock on Wednesday.

The shipwrecked hull of a cargo vessel called the Santa Lenor

The day concluded with a wonderful Indian dinner in the Rotterdam Dining Room, which certainly improved my outlook on life.

Today dawned brightly and more optimistically on a bright and treeless fjord.  As we progressed along its length, increasing numbers of little ice bergs began to float by the ship. These berglets eventually led to the impressive  Brujo Glacier with a tidewater face a mile wide. In the sunlight it seemed to shine with a pastel blue glow.  Hot Dutch pea soup was served to all of us who ventured onto the outside decks to see and photograph the scene.

Bundled up to enjoy the view

The captain dispatched one of our tenders to collect some of the glacial ice, which eventually showed up displayed near the swimming pool on the Lido deck, so we could all get a close-up view of the stuff.

The Veendam seems to be almost alone in these lovely but cool surroundings. Today, I saw only two other ships. One was some kind of a bulk carrier,  perhaps loaded with some of the low-grade coal that is mined at these southern latitudes.

The other was a genuine shipwreck, the hull of a cargo vessel called the Santa Lenor, which came to grief here back in 1965. It was a silent reminder that the way through the narrow straits was not always as efficient and smooth as it seems to be today.

Photos by Robert W. Bone

Monday, November 12, 2012

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