2024 South America group teeshirt
2024 South America group teeshirt
click to enlarge

A Diary & Photos for our 2024 Cruise - South America!

Below is some information on where the 2024 Spirit of the West Cruise is going. We hope you enjoy the diary as we head to South America. See the map below (or scroll down). We will sail on Princess Cruise's "Sapphire Princess" - below is a photo showing what she looks like.

See the map below (or scroll down).
Go to the Itinerary below (or scroll down).

2024 South America group teeshirt
2024 South America group teeshirt
click to enlarge

Princess Cruise's Sapphire Princess We will sail on Princess Cruise's Sapphire Princess

Princess Cruise's "Sapphire Princess"

Diary for February 2nd to February 20th, 2023

All photos will enlarge if you click on them

February 3rd & 4th

Yes a long day but everyone is still going strong in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Awesome Buffet breakfast at the Alvear Hotel in Buenos Aires

A big city with about 3.1 million people in 200 square miles!

A really good night's sleep & everyone is in the lobby for a city tour

February 4th

A giant metal flower sculpture "Floralis Generica" in Buenos Aires

Deborah, our guide, in the Plaza de Mayo (city center)

Argentina flag ... note the colour of our t-shirts above

looking from the plaza towards Obelisco de Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires Metropolitan Cathedral

Larry Selin doing the Tango with a local dancer (photo prop)

The colourful alley "Caminito" in the La Boca district

Typical of the second floor balconies in Caminito

Beer at a cantina. John Romaniuk waving

more of our group stops for a beer at another cantina

David and Ellen Brown and Garry Thiel enjoy a cold one

4100 peso for 1 beer and 1 wine (about $5 US with the tip)

58 of us lined up for a dinner show at Tango Porteno

a great show in an amazing theatre ... a fun night

One of eight big tables in the dinner theatre

Another of the eight big tables in the dinner theatre

February 4th and 5th

A six piece band and the base fiddle player got a good workout

The dancers were great but some of the other acts were spectacular

Miles and miles of corn and soya crops on the prairies

Numerous liner loads of cattle passed us (interesting looking trailers!)

February 5th

Cattle dotting the horizon as we got out of town, and lots of them

Their sign could use a refresh but this is Estancia El Ombu de Areco

The first half of the group that chose to ride

Our Gaucho horse ride guide

Different saddles and different horse but we all enjoyed the ride

Those that didn't want to ride could take a wagon ride

The team of Percherons were in great shape and all enjoyed the ride

When the wagon was full the rest got to go on a buggy ride

About half of the group relaxing in the shade as Santiago spoke

Mark and Santiago doing an interview for the Spirit of the West

At lunch we celebrated Barbara MacFarquhar's birthday :-)

This ball cap used to be on Ric Arthurs's head ...

Ric Authur wearing the Gaucho hat (he traded the cap and some $$)

Then this four piece band started up to entertain us ...

... and the dancers took to the floor in front of us.

After a bit they asked some of the braver ones in our group to join them

Laura was the guide on one bus and here she joins Bill and Barbara

One of the Gauchos does a "horse whispering" demostration for us

he was very good and his horse never made a wrong move

they finally took us from dead silence to standing ovation

Now pictures with them ... Larry and Bonnie Speers

Kathy and Karen ... wow Karen with a horse!! Pretty brave!

Charlotte and Richard Preston

Pat Brewer thanking the horse for everyone

Vera was on a horse for the first time ever! Way to go Vera!

Keith and Laura Budd (on the tourist side of a tour)

The saddle and rigging are totally different than ours

The Gauchos wear coins to decorate their belts

February 5th and 6th

Heading back to the ship ... a very long and straight road

The support crew headed out on their own to a polo farm

Behind our guide, Agustina, the spare polo ponies wait in the shade

There's a game here at Caballos a la Par every day of the year

February 6th and 7th

a special room all netted for practice and learning

A buggy that they use for weddings here at Caballos a la Par

Back on the ship we celebrate Caroline Leask's birthday

Everyone gathered around at the evening get together

February 7th

Montevideo, Uruguay ... don't need English to find the vet

The city tour of Montevideo was fantastic!

There were huge monuments throughout the city

These were all very well made with extreme detail

Here the city of Montevideo literally meets the beach

The tour guide talked about the monuments, statues and history

Half our group with their guide in the square

Cathedral Metropolitana, one of the amazing churchs in Montevideo

Judy Broda, Marilyn Weeks, and Beth Dixson in the dining room

Lorraine Sim, Pat and Phil Brewer, Barbara and Bill MacFarquhar, Kathy

Richard Preston about to share a poem at the group gathering after dinner

Our group enjoying one of the get-togethers in Club Fusion

February 7th, 8th, and 9th

Walter Wolbert sharing one of a few stories at our get-together

Ernie Israelson doing an interview with the support crew for Hugh

Another great private group city tour this one in Puerto Madryn, Argentina

Some of our group getting off the ship. Vicki and Gary Hetrick in the centre

February 9th

Looking back at the Sapphire Princess as we walk off at Puerto Madryn

Definitely the right place for these power creating windmills!

One of two buses doing the Puerto Madryn private tour for our group

Valarie, our guide, demonstrating how to make a cup of mate in her mate cup

A couple of young Megallanic Penguins beside the boardwalk at Punta Tombo

The penguins hole up in the sand under shrubs often a mile from the water

They are quite content and totally ignore all the human traffic

The peguins are just about finished molting for the year

Walter stops to take a pic of a penguin hiding from the sun in deep cover

The penguins were in this scrub brush all along the trail to the ocean

I think this one wants to join in on our next evening get-together

They are very good at telling people to give way to the penguins - 2 meters

Beth Dixson getting a photo with the penguins while keeping her distance

The hundreds of penguins are in amongst the wild guanaco

Here a CO stands on the boardwalk to make people walk around a penguin

A pair of twin guanacos take turns nursing on their momma

These penguins are more where we expected to see penguins - at the water

Keith Budd takes a pic of his wife, Laura, with the scenic background

The penguins were coming and going from the ocean in a steady line

Others were swimming in and around the rocks close by

It was really a great place with beautiful beaches and colourful rock

More penguins but these ones enjoying the nice sandy beach

A sign explaining that penguins don't go on land for half of the year

Back at the dock on the walk to the ship we saw these snoozing seals

February 10th & 11th

A Spirit of the West interview with Lorraine and Jim Dibben

The lineup of Land Rovers just for our private tour at Port Stanley

15 Land Rovers all heading to Volunteer Point and the King Penguins

Irene and John Romaniuk in one of the Land Rovers

February 11th

Lots of sheep dotted the peat meadows for miles and miles

Everyone had to walk through the foot bath before going any further

Ellen Chase steps out of the foot bath and heads off to see the Penguins

The line of Land Rovers parked and waiting for us to enjoy our day

A King Penguin walks "the walk" right past us heading for the ocean

This guy is one of the few that handn't finished molting yet

Literally a sea of Penguins ... and pics don't do this scene justice

One of the baby penguins just venturing out into the big wide world

Some of our group gathered around the King Penguin area

This guy is one of last year's babies that's venturing further

An amazing and undescribable day. Truely awesome!

Now back to the Land Rovers for another bumpy but fun ride

Gary and Vicki Hetrick looking at Charlotte Preston's pictures

Ed Peake and Ernie Israelson hiding in the wind shelter

Karen and Jim heading for the foot wash on the way out!

Back in the Land Rovers and heading for the sheep farm

In places you could see why they use Land Rovers

Lots of places! Hope everyone is buckled up!

The rest of our group arriving at the sheep farm

The group gathered around the fleece grading table

A small pen of sheep waiting their turn with the shearer

The farm owner gave an explanation and demonstration

It was pretty amazing to anyone who had never seen a sheep being sheared

As he worked around the sheep his feet would reposition the sheep

the fleece just seemed to fall off in one big piece ...

... as the shearer moved the sheep towards the exit hatch

A whole sheep can be sheered in about one minute!

The fleece is thrown on this table where it's graded

February 11th & 12th

This shows the stress management and care of the anmimal

There's the Sapphire Princess awaiting our return in the Land Rovers

Jim and Karen arranged a private galley tour for our whole group

It was a great tour as we walked through this sea of stainless steel

Antonio points out the different equipment as we walk through

Many of our group had never done a galley tour before

Thank you to Jim, Karen, Mario and Antonio for a great tour

Judy and Gary Burgemeister doing an interview for Hugh and the radio show

February 12th

Had to add this great photo from Carolyn Leask at Volunteer Point

Room deliveries today: pens, note pads, & revised schedule of events

Kathy taking Ceasar orders from our group: Bill Leask & David Brown here

29 Ceasars being made for a special memory day for the Prestons

Jytte and Perry Olechowski

Ellen and David Brown

Ellen and Dan Chase

George and Gail Slusarczyk

Annette and Steen Jochumsen

Vicki and Gary Hetrick

Judy and Gary Burgemeister

Keith and Laura Budd

Jim and Lorraine Dibben

Linda and Rick Arthurs

John and Irene Romaniuk

Charlotte and Richard Preston

Carolyn and Bill Leask

Les and Evelyn Free

Bonnie and Larry Speers

Pat and Phil Brewer

Ed and Diane Peake

Pat and Larry Selin

Vera Abrey, Judy Broda, Marilyn Weeks

Ernie Israelson and Pat Bird

February 12th & 13th

Walter Wolbert and Garry Thiel

Judy Bergstrom and Joan Yule

Beth Dixson and Lorraine Sim

Tierra del Fuego National Park at Ushuaia, Argentina

February 13th

This shows the big "U" of the valley created by the glacier

Quite the pretty scenery with meadows, creeks, & high peak mountains

One of our stops was this scenic little trail along the shoreline

A map where Kathy points out where we are

Hard to see in this pic but the rocks on the beach are green as green

Everyone back on board as we head to the "World's End"

Jytte and Perry took advantage of the quiet time in the bus!

At the "World's End" and looking at everyone from way up above

A map of where we are & the blue square where the last pic was taken

Here we are literally at the "World's End" with a pic to proove it

A sign showing how the glacier moved through the mountains ...

... creating the big "U" which is the valley where we are standing

February 13th & 14th

Beagle Channel connects the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean

Kathy got a couple of pictures through the very dirty glass ...

... in the wine bar of these glaciers along the Beagle Channel

Jim arranged for everyone to get on our own private tender off the ship

Off the tender and the sign says welcome to Punta Arenas, Chile

Our whole group testing the strength of this board walk ...

... as we head out to board our own group boat to Isla Magdelena

Most of the group seated in a large and comfy area on board

February 14th

Six of the group got their own little seating area by the galley

Mark happened to catch Pat and Larry Selin out on the stern

The heads had signs on the doors that everyone thought were pretty cute

There was quite the lineup by the time we got onboard ...

Magdelena Island is the home of more of the Magellanic Penguins

The lighthouse in the background was built on the Island in 1902

Not the best weather today but still amazing to watch these birds

This Penguin decided it should cross the path right in front of us

I mean it is Valentines day here on Magdelena Island ...

... although no one told these seagulls that! Ooch!!

This sign shows the location of Madelena Island & us!

Back on the ship the group gathers at another get-together

February 14th & 15th

Everyone seemed to have a great time at these get-togethers

Darrel and Marg Hinkey doing an interview for Hugh & the S of the W

Everyone gathering on the bleachers at the back pool for photo number one

Jean-Luc, the ship photographer, with everyone in front of the glacier

Our group photo for 2024 !!

February 16th

Another tender port ... Puerto Montt, Chile

The line up of busses at the dock, two of which are for our group

We're headed up to this snow capped volcano, Mount Osorno

The drivers did great navigating the road up the mountain

Our two busses and our group up at the ski center

Vera poses for a pic at our next stop at Petrohue Falls

It was a gorgeous site with all the blue pools in between the lava rock

Here Mount Osorno stands high in the back ground

This is Villarrica Volcano that erupted in 2015 - Mt Osorno erupted in 1869

Our whole group then stopped here for an awesome lunch

Las Tranqueras in the area of Ensenada - great place!

The biggest part of the group in one room and the rest ...

... here. It was an awesome salmon lunch with wine & dessert

This shows the two volcanos, one in each side of the heart

Puerto Varas is the town we stopped at and wandered through

Last stop of the cruise ... San Antonio, Chile

Another great hotel. This is the atrium of the Hotel Marriott Santiago

A food court with restaurants, this one with really big horses!

Our last bus tour in the court yard by the parliament buildings

The Parliament buildings with the flag showing that the President is here

Jim and Karen Bell, the couple that made this whole trip happen!

Our guide said the Mapocho River looked like choc-oh-late milk

At the cable car ride up San Critsobal hill, the highest point

The cable car ride was super steep and the view was amazing!

Looking over the 5 million people in the city of Santiago

San Critsobal hill is crowned by a statue of the Virgin Mary

Back at the hotel for our last night in South America. An awesome trip!


We have announced the 2025 cruise destination! We'll be back to the basics
in February on the Majestic Princess! See the 2025 cruise page here.

For more photos see the Support Crew website diary page at: www.SitkaFarm.com.

Our Itinerary!         Top of Page

The 2024 Spirit of the West Cruise.




Itinerary (times are tentative)

Day 1

Feb 2nd


Fly from Canada

Day 2

Feb 3rd

arrive Buenos Aires.

Transfer to hotel. Day/evening at leisure

Day 3

Feb 4th

Buenos Aires, Argentina

1/2 day city tour. Afternoon at leisure. Dinner at Tango and show at Porteno

Day 4

Feb 5th

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Private Tour Estancia El Ombu (350 cattle & 70 horses). Hotel then board ship.

Day 5

Feb 6th

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Day of Leisure. Welcome reception 5:00, dinner at 5:30 & Sail 6:00 pm

Day 6

Feb 7th

Montevideo, Uruguay

7:00 AM - 6:00 PM. Private tour 9:00 AM. Pool side get-together 9:00 PM.

Day 7

Feb 8th

At Sea


Day 8

Feb 9th

Puerto Madryn, Argentina

8:00 AM - 6:00 PM. Private tour 8:30 AM. Pool side get-together 9:00 PM.

Day 9

Feb 10th

At Sea


Day 10

Feb 11th

Falkland Islands (Stanley)

8:00 AM to 6:00 PM. Tender to Private King Penguin tour.

Day 11

Feb 12th

Cape Horn (cruising)

At sea cruising Cape Horn

Day 12

Feb 13th

Ushuala, Argentina

7:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Private tour 8:00 AM.

Day 13

Feb 14th

Punta Arenas, Chile

8:00 AM to 8:00 PM. Private tour 9:45 AM.

Day 14

Feb 15th

Amalia Glacier, Chile (cruising)

4:00 PM to 5:00 PM

Day 15

Feb 16th

At Sea


Day 16

Feb 17th

Puerto Montt, Chile

7:00 AM to 6:00 PM. Private tour with lunch 8:00 AM.

Day 17

Feb 18th

At Sea


Day 18

Feb 19th

Santiago, Chile

5:00 AM. 9:00 AM private transfers to Santiago.

Day 19

Feb 20th

Santiago, Chile

Return flights to Canada

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Here is a map - showing the Panama Canal cruise stops. Click to enlarge.

2024 hosts, Mark and Kathy McMillan
2023 hosts, Mark and Kathy McMillan
click to enlarge

2024 South America
2022 Cruise - Alaska!
click to enlarge

2023 Panama Canal group photo
The Spirti of the West Cruise 2023 Panama Canal group photo
click to enlarge

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