From the ship owners' perspective, this cruise had one major purpose: to get the ship from its "season" for Antarctic expeditions to the Mediterranean for the cruising "season" there. We passengers were just along to cover part of the fixed costs of this repositioning and the various ports of call were primarily to make it enticing to as many people as possible. Nevertheless we had a LOT of open ocean to cross where there was not a sight of land. It took two days to get from the Falklands to South Georgia, four days from South Georgia to Tristan, and another four days to Cape Town.

Were we bored all those days at sea? Absolutely not! We enjoyed lectures, games, the library, laps around the promenade deck, movies, bird-watching, searching for whales and other marine mammals, and getting to know our fellow passengers. Even though the Corinthian II was much smaller than typical cruise ships, it had a lot to offer. One favorite video offering was the BBC documentary The Blue Planet, narrated by David Attenborough.

Only one thing disappointed us: the weather's lack of cooperation with the "Southern Skies" part of the program. We had expected to have several nights of star-gazing far away from light pollution. There were even plans for the captain to turn off the ship's lights for brief periods. Alas, it was not to be. There was only ONE night that the sky was partially clear. We did gather that night for a session with our astronomy expert, but we had to be content with glimpses of stars through the cloud cover.

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Narrative

Dramamine We were not blessed with smooth sailing, although it wasn't nearly as bad as it might have been. The South Atlantic is notorious for its unsettled conditions and our cruising to the Falklands and South Georgia would be in the "furious fifties." We would then proceed to Tristan in the "roaring forties." We were amused that instead of the typical bowl of mints at the reception desk, the crew had set out this handy supply of Dramamine.

Throughout the ship was evidence of preparation for rough weather. Every horizontal surface had edges to prevent things from sliding off. Doors and drawers had retaining latches. Chairs and tables in the common rooms were chained to the floor. Handrails and barf bags were always within reach. Our cabin had a small balcony with a table and chairs that were tied to the railing. It was too cold, and often too wet, to sit out there anyway.

Rick & Rick

The "Southern Skies" portion of the theme was provided by former astronaut Rick Hauck (L) and Rick Fienberg, editor emeritus of Sky and Telescope magazine.

They gave us entertaining and thoughtful lectures about space exploration and cosmology. As noted above, however, we only had one night that was partially suitable for star-gazing.

Piers & Vyvyen In addition to the "Skies" portion of the program, we were privileged to have Piers Brendon and his wife Vyvyen as lecturers on the history of the far-flung British Empire and its people. They are an extremely accomplished couple, besides being delightful companions for a long ocean voyage.

The Falklands/South Georgia and South Africa have played pivotal roles in empire, and our current destination, Tristan da Cunha is also a British outpost.

On board One of the favored afternoon "activities" was gathering in the bar for snacks and cocktails. Here we are at King Edward Point, but this helped pass the time on the many days at sea.

Pictured are Mair and Hugh Lewis, Merle Wexler and Jim.

There was also an extensive library on board, a jigsaw puzzle, satellite internet service and other games to amuse us.

Gary

Gary, sitting here with Barbara, one of the expedition staff, was quite accomplished at processing digital photographs and responsible for changing my entire approach to photography on this trip. He introduced me to the use of software to adjust the digital images. It is possible to level the horizon (I almost always produce tilted pictures no matter how hard I try) and use cropping, contrast and saturation settings to make the images much clearer and more appealing.

Gary had two goals with his photographs: 1) modify the picture as needed to bring it closer to what you actually saw, and 2) let the picture tell the story.

Although he used software on his Mac that wasn't available for my PC, he did recommend a similar product, Lightroom, that I purchased immediately after my return home and that I have used ever since. He also tried to convince me to take photographs with "raw" format, but I've never been converted to that length. I do now use the maximum precision my camera can handle short of raw. This results in a much more flexible image than any I took on this trip (except towards the end after our discussions).

John Frick

In addition to all of the above, John Frick, the expedition leader, even gave several readings -- including The Rime of the Ancient Mariner with its warning against harming albatrosses.

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