Waiting For Penguins

Standing on a ship’s bow engages the senses. Staring at open seas,wind in your hair, a salty spray on your face and lips. It jogs the memory,  stirring up forgotten moments while whetting the appetite for future trips.


Forgive the diversion but on today’s jaunt out the Beagle Channel, I tried to draw up ‘A Best Ever List’. As one does when New Year is nigh.

Tripping around the Galapagos would have to be on it.  We luckily caught a last minute deal from Quito,  sharing the deck with rich retired Germans.Like stowaways,we were second class citizens, picking up scraps from the guide’s German explanations.

A stunning steam boat trip through the Stockholm Archipelago would be on my list. As would a Gulet cruise up the Turkish Turquoise Coast to Fetyah.

A summer trip from Ros a Mhíl, out Cuan Casla to the Aran Islands would make anyone’s list. Argentinian readers take note, this is a ‘must do’ when you eventually visit Ireland.

Our Argentine friends long for the Emerald Isle, especially after Star Wars. In Buenos Aires, there was a gasp in the cinema when Skellig Mhicil appeared on screen.  A trip aboard a Kerry fishing boat to Skellig would make any Best Of List too.

By the way, we had our Christmas dinner with the Christian Brothers in Buenos Aires. A proper Irish Christmas lunch,with all the trappings in 32 degree heat. A Christmas to remember especially when Br. Sean told me about his maiden sea voyage.


He sailed from Ireland to Buenos Aires in 1958. It took him three weeks. Stopping in Vigo, Lisbon, Las Palmas, Sao Paulo and Rio. His description of the ship’s arrival in Rio was so vivid,I nearly think I was aboard myself.

He described spotting flying fish as they approached the Harbor de Rio De Janeiro, then the marvellous sight of Christ The Redeemer engulfed in clouds high above them. He continued on to Montevideo and Buenos Aires and has stayed since. 57 years!

None of these boat trips had penguins though,  and today was all about penguin spotting. So Nan told me.

I really hope there will be penguins today,  we’ll be so disappointed if there aren’t!


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