Apr 11 2024

Whalers Bay @ Deception Island

Day 15 – Sunday, Feb 4: South Shetland Islands, 65 nautical miles north of the Antarctic Peninsula

… more pix & videos on Google Maps: Deception Island, & Whalers Bay.

Waking up to a rather overcast skies, I went to the bow and took some spectacular videos. As we’re sailing into Whalers Bay, the scenery is even more beautiful and tranquil. It did perk me up – for more than two weeks on the ship, I was a little weary.

This would be our last landing of the trip.

Deception Island is a small island in the Bransfield Strait, 620 miles / 1,000km south of Ushuaia, Argentina. It is close to Antarctic Peninsula but is in South Shetland Islands. Long video

This island is the caldera of an active volcano, that had ruined the scientific stations in 1967 and 1969. Because of its natural harbor, it was a whaling station in the 20th century, as early as 1906. Argentina and Spain have their research station during the summer months, but it’s administered under the Antarctic Treaty System. Each year, it sees about 15,000 tourists. Walk the beach,  visit the ruins, climb up to Neptune’s window for the vintage view. I saw the cutest seal, playing hide and seek with me.

The group in red outfit is from Brazil. This is the only time that we ‘ve a company. We were the only one at all other landings.

I would love to go kayaking one more time but it was canceled due to the weather. By 10:20am, the wind was picking up, that forced us to return to the ship earlier than planed.


Apr 11 2024

What a thrilling conductor!


… more pix on Reddit.

WOW Wow wow … the violinist Julian Rachlin (1974-; Vilnius, Lithuania) is a conductor and, a better performer: enthusiastic and energetic – gotta to go to his concert, and bring your glasses or binoculars. His large and intense movement and facial expression are the highlight of the evening. I’d like to know

  1. if he does warm up
  2. if he gets tennis elbow

Oh gosh … everyone should go to his concert!!! Unfortunately at his age, he’s not going to have any break through and becoming that hot commodity. So do go while you can.

Tonight’s program:

  1. Hector Berlioz (1803-1869) Roman Carnival Overture, Op. 9
  2. Wolfgang A. Mozart (1756-1791) Sinfonia Concertante, K.364 (320d)
  3. a surprise piece by ??
  4. Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) Symphony No. 9, From the New World or New World Symphony

Sarah McElravy plays both violin and viola. She’s pretty, with a narrow waist but lacks virtuoso flair: holding her viola very low, I feel she looks like a cowboy performer than a soloist of classical music. Up class, the stage light is harsh on her.

The surprise piece: every now and then, they insert a small piece in the program. This time, it’s Krzysztof Penderecki (1933-2020). Without prompt – like no applause, she returned, followed by conductor Rachlin, to give us the surprise – a contemporary piece. Can do without it. The reason of this piece: McElravy said she and Julian Rachlin performed at Penderecki’s funeral, per his wish.

Bathroom issue: the toilet water is brown, which is unfortunately … yucky.

One of our neighbors is volunteering as the usher and he found us from the second floor – we were playing bridge on Monday mentioned this concert.

The real surprise is after the intermission: a spectacular performance by Rachlin when he conducts Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9, New World Symphony while he was in US, and was premiered Carnegie Hall in New York in 1893 – a lot of Americana in it. Rachlin is on fire … I normally listen to concert and tonight, I’m on the edge of my seat, watching! What a treat, his movement is dramatic and flashy (hence my tennis elbow wonder…) thank you conductor. I sure will come for more. As soon as the last note ends, a man yelled out: BROVA and the applause is thunderous.

They allow patrons to bring their glasses to the seats … and one broke. Someone has to come in with broom to clean it up.

Our dinner at Steelbach is good too: a good prelude to the weekend.