Weather: Cloudless blue sky with a slight breeze and warm
Disembarkation mornings are always a bit melancholy for me. Suitcases mound up outside guest rooms. Public areas like the Observation Deck are quiet—only one or two guests taking a last look out at the ocean or watching port activity out of the windows.
At 6:30 am the hotel staff began setting up a continental buffet breakfast in the Panorama Lounge. I sipped a cup of coffee and nibbled a muffin as I waited for my colleagues to join me before heading over to the Valparaiso Port Terminal to see guests off. I also had to say good bye to three Expedition Team members who headed home to Australia, Colombia and Germany, respectively.
There were some emotional good byes with everyone. We had seen some wonderful archaeological sites together. In Peru we’d visited the recently opened Señora de Cao Moche pyramid with its beautifully preserved frescos of prisoners, priests and the sacred “Presentation” theme. At Paracas we’d walked through the narrow hallways of Tambo Colorado, an Inca administrative center, to visit rooms once gaudily painted red, white and yellow. The pigment was still visible. In Arica, Chile we were the first visitors to the newly built Chinchorro mummy gallery at the San Miguel Museum, home to the world’s oldest artificial mummies.
There was little time to reminisce. By midday new guests were arriving at Valparaiso’s Port.