Feed on

Last night was a bit of a challenge. Emerson’s cold grew worse and her fever went up. We got her fever lowered, but she was restless a good bit of the night. Libby slept a little; I slept pretty much not at all. In the morning when it opened at 8am, we went to the ship’s medical center. We were quickly seen by the ship’s doctor—a nice guy from the UK—who confirmed my suspicion that she had a viral infection. No medication to prescribe… just continue with the acetaminophen and add children’s ibuprofen (which the medical center provided), as well as pumping fluids into her. This combination worked like a charm, and she seems back to normal this evening… though the doctor said it’ll likely take until Elephant Island on Saturday to get back to 100%. I’m also always impressed by the low prices (in relative terms) of medical care aboard ships: $109 (including medication).

In any case, like all such travel misadventures, I’m sure we’ll look back on this as a fond memory… “remember the first time Emerson got sick? Yeah, it was on a cruise in the southern Atlantic Ocean near the Falklands.” In the meantime, I’ll stick with my claim that Shackleton’s got nothing on us. Enduring an Antarctica winter, sailing 1300km in an open boat in some of the roughest waters in the world–I’m resoundingly unimpressed. With a toddler in tow, I doubt he would have made it out of Southampton.

In other news: today was our visit to the Falkland Islands!

We honestly weren’t sure if we’d even be able to make the port. First, the weather is often bad and ships often have to skip this port. Today’s weather was perfect: Second, with Emerson’s illness, we weren’t sure if we’d be able to go ashore with her. However, the doctor gave us permission as it certainly wouldn’t harm her. So, we got a late start (around 10:30am), but we managed to tender ashore and enjoy the day.

The Falklands have a rugged beauty. The islands are literally barraged by winds, making them nearly devoid of trees. They’re also fairly dry and cold, not unlike Antarctica itself. Our primary mission here was to see penguins up close and personal, as many of the other destinations have penguins but at a much greater distance. However, based on the (incorrect) guidance of the ship’s travel guide, it seemed that this might be near impossible to do independently. Fortunately, this advice was misguided. I was able to hire a taxi to take us out to Gypsy Cove ($60 w/ tip for the three of us vs. $125+/pp for the ship’s penguin tours), where we were able to view Magellanic penguins. It was great!

My friend Brett’s daughter, Lottie, asked me to take a picture of a penguin for her.

So, here it is, delivered as promised, Lottie:

Penguin in Falklands

We returned to the town of Stanley, a quaint little place overrun with tourists (the two ships’ passenger counts today were double that of the total population of the Falklands). We both really liked the Falklands, though I can’t imagine living there. The islands have two schools, one for lower and one for upper grades. There are no traffic lights on the Falklands. If medical care is required for serious / complex illnesses, patients are evacuated to either Santiago, Chile or back to the United Kingdom. The people are amazingly friendly with a British sensibility without the same sense of reserve.

Tonight, we’re now bound for the Antarctica. Tomorrow’s the Drake Passage.

Note: if you’re interested in our current sea conditions, click on the “Wave Height!” page above. It has been very smooth to date, but tomorrow we’ll see if it’s Drake Shake or Drake Lake. :-)

Country Count: +1 (Falkland Islands)

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