Voyage Journal 7819 Day 22

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Day 22 - November 2, 2008 - Coquimba, Chile

By Robin L. Aiello, Marine Biologist

Co-ordinates: Lat: 29° 57’ S Long: 071° 20.1 W
Weather: Sunny skies and cool temperatures

As we pulled alongside at the port of Coquimba, we were greeted by a troupe of folkloric dancers performing local dances. The costumes were beautiful – the boys wore decorated hats, jackets and knee-high boots with spurs, while the girls wore brightly coloured dressed with layers and layers of lace.

Once off the ship, we boarded our buses for a half-day tour of the key sites of Coquimba and La Serena, a neighbouring beach resort community. Included on this tour was a scenic stop at two beautiful beaches and at a lookout high on the hill that allowed us to see the entire area laid out below us.

At one point we got off the bus and strolled through the Plaza de Armas, visited the cathedral, and explored a few side streets on our way to the Museum. Although small, the museum held some amazing artefacts, including mummies found in the Atacama Desert, marine fossils found in the Andes and samples of ancient pots. The highlight was seeing a full-size Moai sculpture from Easter Island.

After the museum, we walked another block to a large marketplace where we had the opportunity to shop for some last-minute souvenirs.

There was a fantastic brass band to welcome us back onto the ship – we could hear them playing even as the ship left port, heading to our final destination, Valaparaiso, Chile.

The afternoon was leisurely, with little to do until the Final Recap at 6:30pm. Most of the guests spent the free time packing and preparing for their return journey home. In the evening, the Expedition Team gathered together and said their final farewells, and Val, the photographer, showed us the final version of the slideshow that he has been making all trip. It was incredible – and was a fantastic reminder of the activities and sights we had seen over the past three weeks.

Guests will be sad to go tomorrow, but will leave the Prince Albert II knowing that they have seen some amazing wildlife, stunning cultural ruins, and made some life-long friends.

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