A Travellerspoint blog

January 2022


Chilling out (couldn't resist)

sunny 71 °F


Chiloé is a large island in an archipelago off Chile’s west coast. (Did we mention that Chile has a very long coast??) Castro, the island's main city, is a charming little place with houses built on stilts and churches with VERY crowded cemeteries. You’ll read a bit about the churches in tomorrow’s homily. The historian on board has told a disturbing story of how the (16th C) Spanish conquistadors decimated (more than decimated: reduced by 95%) the population with guns and germs; Jesuit missionaries followed with their church construction plan. Chiloé’s economy then prospered with a rich lumber industry, almost gone through deforestation. Now every inch of coast is peppered with small brightly colored plastic floats, signs of burgeoning salmon and mussel farms. Some of the mussels are bright orange and the size of your hand, they say. So watch out.

Her's another story of the excellent Chilean immigration officials. Jude Deveraux (novelist) was ahead of us in the line to enter. An official took a photo of each of us as we presented our vaccination certificate and affidavit (creepy); another singled Jude out and told her to wipe her mouth. Jude expressed her confusion about what to do; the official got very angry and demonstrated nose blowing. Jude blew her nose. She was then removed from the line and another PCR test was done (this would be the 10th for ship's passengers). This makes no sense because PCR results take time and we were back on the ship before results could have been reported. But then lots of things don't make sense here. Our next onboard Covid test is tomorrow (our 11th).

We chose to dine at the Pool Grill, where we cooked gorgeous beef on hot rocks (500 degrees) brought to the table. Now on to the Chilean fjords.

XXOO Bill and Hope

Posted by HopeEakins 20:49 Archived in Chile Comments (2)


Off the long coast of Chile

sunny 66 °F

Aboard the Silver Whisper at 9:15 am on January 30, 2022

HYMN: O Worship the King, all glorious above

Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness;
let the whole earth stand in awe of him.

Let us pray. Deliver us, O Lord, when we draw near to you, from coldness of heart and wanderings of mind, that with steadfast thoughts and kindled affections, we may worship you in spirit and in truth, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A reading from Paul’s letter to the Colossians

Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (3:12-17)

The Word of the Lord
Thanks be to God.

Psalm 95

Come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us shout for joy to the Rock of our salvation!
Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving;
and raise a aloud shout to him with psalms!
For the Lord is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are the caverns of the earth;
and the heights of the hills are his also.
The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands have molded the dry land.
Come, let us bow down and bend the knee,
and kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.
O that today you would hearken to his voice. (1-7)

A Reading from the Gospel of Matthew

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’ (6:19-21)

The Word of the Lord
Thanks be to God.

A Reflection The Reverend Hope H. Eakins

Jesus was about to leave them, and he called his disciples together to say goodbye.
“When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted,” says the Gospel. Some doubted? How could they doubt? They had been through so much together and seen so many signs. They were there when Jesus healed the lepers and when he walked on water. They saw him on the cross when all seemed lost. But then their hopes were raised again with the report that his tomb was empty. Even though it was hard to believe the women’s tale that Jesus had risen from the dead, they saw him come into the room and say, “Peace be with you.” And now on the last time they were to be with him, “some worshipped him and some doubted.” And we do too. Sometimes we worship and sometimes we doubt.

Worship is not just keeping holy the Lord’s Day, not just going to church. Worship is stopping what we are doing when we have an experience of God, when our breath catches in our throat and when we can’t explain what we feel, but we know it is a holy moment. Worship happens when we feel earth and heaven touch and we are filled with awe and wonder and gratitude and we stop and give thanks.

I think every person has had a time when they wondered if they are all there is or if there really might be a God. Those of us with good parents and good Sunday Schools get taught that God is in heaven and Jesus loves the little children, but still we wonder if it is true, if somebody up there, somebody out there, cares for us. We wonder if we are rewarded for good and punished for evil, if creation started with a Big Bang or with God saying, “Let there be light.” Sometimes we wrestle with those questions for a lifetime, sometimes faith comes and then wavers as life wavers, but in those remarkable moments when God seems real, we want to recognize the fact; we want to fall down and worship. It is what the Wise Men did when they saw the babe in the manger and knew that he was Messiah come to them. It is why we come here together in the Show Lounge, recognizing that there are more important things than Trivia and the Chilean fjords or at least hoping that there are.

And in the hoping sometimes we remember a still small voice bringing comfort when our hearts were broken, or the wonder of a universe so splendid that we can’t imagine creation happening by chance, or a sense of forgiveness when we have done something wrong. And in the remembering we want to mark the place where it happened, to set it apart, consecrate it, remember it and maybe return to it.

We saw lots of those set apart places on Chiloé. Chiloé is a little island. But it is covered by so many churches that Silversea planned a tour of churches alone – although because this is Chile we were not allowed inside any of them. The churches were built by Christian missionaries soon after the conquistadors arrived. Within a hundred years they had built 79 churches and now there are almost 200 of them. So why did they do it? Well they had some good reasons and some bad ones. There were obviously political factors, the desire of explorers to conquer the land and convert the native peoples to Christianity. But the missionaries weren’t just trying to force their faith on the natives; they also were excited about it and wanted to share it. What they wanted to share was a faith so vibrant that it called them across oceans to preach the good news that God’s only Son had come to dwell among us, news so exciting, so life-changing that we would bow down and give thanks and worship. And so they built churches, as many as they could, each with a tower as tall as they could make it, places set apart to gather and give thanks and sing praise and listen for God’s word and get fed by God’s very self, places to worship.

So assuming that we are not going to get off this vessel and follow in the footsteps of the conquistadors, what difference does this make to us?

I think there are two answers. First, I think we need to be mindful of the times and places God when speaks to us. We ought to note and remember the time the sunset was so magnificent that we knew that it was a display of the Creator’s handiwork and remember the brilliant colors and plunging sun when we wonder if there really is a God. We need to remember where and when we fell in love, where and when our child was healed, where and when we found the strength to do what seemed impossible, where and when we believed that God cares and cares about us.

You know all the theologians in the world can give proofs of God’s existence and all the conquistadors of Spain can explain how God wants to be worshipped, but none of that explanation matters unless we have experienced the mercy and affection and love of Someone beyond us. And when we have that experience of the divine, when our hearts beat faster, when tears come to our eyes, we can have no other response but worship. And so we bow down and bend the knee and kneel before the Lord our Maker. And when we do that, when we worship, we find joy and meaning in our life.

But people being people, we forget about that joyfulness, and so we need to worship together, and tell our stories together and listen to what our forebears have passed on to us as the Word of God because our hearts sing louder when we sing together, because our hope grows stronger when we hear of other hope fulfilled, because our burdens are lighter when we share them.

The churches of Chiloé have stood for hundreds of years. The people come to them to be married, to christen their babies, to teach their children, and to bury their dead. They come to worship God not so much for God’s sake but for their own sake. And that I think is just the way God wants it. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving and raise a loud shout to him with psalms!

The Prayers

In peace, we pray to you, Lord God.
For all people in their daily life and work;
For our families, friends, and neighbors, and for those who are alone.
For this community, the nation, and the world;
For all who work for justice, freedom, and peace.
For the just and proper use of your creation;
For the victims of hunger, fear, injustice, and oppression.
For all who are in danger, sorrow, or any kind of trouble;
For those who minister to the sick, the friendless, and the needy.
For the special needs and concerns of this congregation.
For the crew of this ship, for guests arriving and departing.
Hear us, Lord;
For your mercy is great.
We thank you, Lord, for all the blessings of this life.
We will exalt you, O God our King and praise your Name for ever and ever.
We pray for all who have died, that they may have a place in your eternal kingdom.
Lord, let your loving-kindness be upon them.
We pray to you also for the forgiveness of our sins.
Have mercy upon us, most merciful Father; in your compassion forgive us our sins, known and unknown, things done and left undone;
and so uphold us by your Spirit that we may live and serve you in newness of life.

And let us pray in the words that Jesus taught us

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name
Thy Kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass against us
And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil
For thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

The Blessing

May God’s comfort and peace rest upon you and all those you love in this world and the next; and the blessing of God Almighty, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, be with you now and always. Amen.

HYMN: All creatures of our God and King

The Dismissal

Go forth in peace to love and serve the Lord. Thanks be to God.

Officiants: The Reverend Hope H. Eakins, The Reverend William J. Eakins; Music: Alex Manev

Posted by HopeEakins 14:16 Archived in Chile Comments (3)


(and we ...)

sunny 70 °F

We are continuing to sail south just off the coast of Chile, and it is slow going. Chile is very long (2700 miles!) and its restrictions have been very difficult. We pick an excursion, choose where to spend the day, get ready ... and the excursion is cancelled. We have yet to set foot on land in this country (save for a few steps inside the ports); we just watch the jellyfish floating beside our veranda.

We didn't blog from Antofagasta, trying to spare you the details (like the dead dog lying on the sidewalk). Chile finally allowed us off the ship to take a three hour panoramic bus tour. We were closed into the passenger compartment while the driver's area was fumigated, and then we peered out the window at the old (1870) ruins of a silver mine, the Methodist Church, and the advanced electrical wiring in this town. Two days later we arrived in Valpariso, a fascinating place that we viewed from the deck because we couldn't bear another three hours on a bus. Bill painted some charming watercolors, one of a church in Puerto Montt (from a photo model). Today we came to P. Montt eager to get on a bus so we could see the church. We were sealed back in, drove a hour and a half to see a volcano (Osomo) in the distance, just above a land slide that washed out our road. We turned around and drove back to the pier, glimpsing the church a block away.

Back on the ship and .... we had to be Covid tested. This is our third test this week, once before each port. Our noses hurt, and we wonder why the authorities mandate testing and then won't let us in, even if we test negative. Then a drink poolside and a long aaaaaaah.

Finally, we append a photo of fellow travelers who found the weather terribly warm today (we wore sweaters).

Posted by HopeEakins 19:17 Archived in Chile Comments (4)


Along the Chilean coast

semi-overcast 67 °F


Bill and Hope - and Alex Manev, our musician. Photo taken by a parishioner who must have thought it was the Lenten season.

ECUMENICAL WORSHIP. Aboard the Silver Whisper on January 23, 2022

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Let us pray. Grant us Lord, not to be anxious about earthly things, but to love things heavenly; and even now, while we are placed among things that are passing away, to hold fast to those that shall endure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.

Psalm 49

Hear this, all you peoples; hearken, all you who dwell in the world, you of high degree and low, rich and poor together.

My mouth shall speak of wisdom, and my heart shall meditate on understanding.

Why should I be afraid in evil days, when the wickedness of those at my heels surrounds me,

The wickedness of those who put their trust in their goods, and boast of their great riches?

Do not be envious when some become rich, or when the grandeur of their house increases;

For they will carry nothing away at their death, nor will their grandeur follow them.

Those who are honored, but have no understanding, are like the beasts that perish. (1-2, 4-5, 16-17, 20)

A Reading from the Gospel of Matthew

Jesus said, ‘Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.' (6:19-21)

The Word of the Lord
Thanks be to God.

A Reflection The Reverend William Eakins

We have been sailing this past week along the coast of the once great Incan empire whose fabled wealth was plundered by the Spanish conquistadors. Atahualpa, the last emperor of the Incas, tried to ransom his life with twenty tons, that is, one hundred forty thousand pounds, of silver and gold. It was enough treasure to fill three vast rooms but ultimately not enough to save Atahualpa’s life. After strangling him, Atahualpa’s conquerors loaded the treasure into the holds of great galleons bound for Spain.

And what became of all that gold and silver looted by the conquistadors from the Incas, the Aztecs, and other conquered peoples? Most of it eventually arrived in Spain where it made that country and its rulers the mightiest nation in the world for a few hundred years – until the money ran out. Some of all that gold and silver never made it to Cadiz and Seville. Many of the treasure galleons were intercepted en route and plundered by pirates; others were wrecked by hurricanes that poured their treasure out onto the ocean floor.

We might hear the fate of all that Spanish treasure as an illustration of Jesus’ warning, “Do not stow up for yourselves treasures on earth.” Hanging onto things like silver and gold is a difficult and risky business. Ships can be looted by thieves and sunk by storms. Stock markets can plunge in a few days; businesses can fail; real estate investments can turn sour. Fortunes can be lost no matter how we try to preserve them. And even if we manage to hang on to whatever wealth we have amassed in our lifetime, we will all lose it in the end. There are indeed no pockets in a shroud.

Wealth is not just transitory; it is illusory. People suppose that if they can get rich they will be happy, and they are often disappointed. Wealth brings problems of its own. True, money can buy pleasures and comforts but money cannot buy the sense of meaning and purpose in life that create the contentment and well-being of true happiness.

So, “do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth,” Jesus urges us. But “store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth not rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal.”

Well, we know how to store up treasures on earth, but how re we to “store up treasures in heaven?” I’m sure you have heard more than one preacher suggest that Jesus is urging us here to do good deeds like giving to the poor or being faithful to God in adversity or visiting the sick and lonely – good deeds that will secure God’s favor and gain us entrance to heaven when we die. But what if storing up treasure in heaven is something we can experience not just some day but right now? Maybe Jesus is urging us to open our eyes and our hearts to discover that heaven – God’s presence and love – is all around us?

The famous Golden Buddha of Bangkok was made many centuries ago of SOLID gold. It weighs 5 ½ tons and is almost 16 feet high and 13 feet wide. When the Burmese attacked Siam in the 18th century, smart monks covered the Buddha with plaster to hide it, and did such a good job of disguising it that people forgot what was underneath. No temple wanted the Buddha because it was so lumpy and heavy. In the 20th century, one holy abbot decided otherwise and had the statue moved to his monastery, but alas it fell from the crane and cracked the plaster a bit. One day in 1955, a monk who was praying saw a glint beneath the crack and discovered the gold – all 5 ½ tons of it! Now the Golden Buddha sits in a magnificent temple of its own as a star attraction for tourists and worshippers alike.

What might be the hidden treasure in our lives? What are the signs of God’s presence and love, the bits of heaven that we may have overlooked or taken for granted? An obvious place to begin is to count your blessings – the people you love and the people who love you, times of joy and accomplishment, resources that give you security, delight and freedom, health of body and mind, all that gives you peace and joy and hope. But also consider well those negative experiences that have actually had a positive effect on your life – mistakes from which you learned wisdom and humility and a dependence upon God, disappointments that taught you patience and endurance, deaths and other losses that made you appreciate love and life all the more dearly.

The great benefit of discovering God’s hidden treasure, of finding heaven present here and now in our lives, is that the discovery leads to hearts that are full of thankfulness. “Where your treasure is there your heart will be also,” says Jesus. And when our hearts are full of thankfulness for all that God has given us, then we shall know how rich we are and share our abundance with others. And in the sharing we will find heaven on earth. So go, count your blessings!

The Prayers

Let us give thanks to God for all the gifts so freely bestowed upon us.

For the nations of the world in all their diversity, for leaders who strive to bring justice to your people and peace on earth,
We thank you, Lord.

For the beauty and wonder of creation in earth and sky and sea,
We thank you, Lord.

For the resources we have been given that allow us to explore the world and to respond to the world’s needs,
We thank you, Lord.

For the crew of the Whisper: for the Captain, engineers and sailors, for the staff, entertainers and lecturers, for those who clean and cook and serve, and for all whose work enriches our lives and our life together,
We thank you, Lord.

For our homes and families, and for friends old and new,
We thank you, Lord.

For health and strength to work, and leisure to rest and play,
We thank you, Lord.

For all we love who have gone before us and for Jesus’ promise that they are with you always,
We thank you, Lord.

Summing up all our petitions and all our thanksgivings, we pray in the words Jesus taught us

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name
Thy Kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass against us
And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil
For thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

The Blessing

May God give to you and to all those you love his comfort and his peace, his light and his joy, in this world and the next; and the blessing of God Almighty, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, be with you now and always. Amen.

The Dismissal

Go forth in peace to love and serve the Lord. Thanks be to God.

Officiants: The Reverend Hope H. Eakins, The Reverend William J. Eakins; Music: Alex Manev
Expected time of next service: Sunday, January 30 at 9:15 am

Posted by HopeEakins 16:42 Archived in Chile Comments (0)


Testing, testing, testing

overcast 70 °F

I think the Chileans must hate us. Before we left home Chile required us to obtain a Mobility Pass. Generally the cruise line takes care of visas and documents like this, but no, Chile said we had to do it ourselves. So we went to the website where the instructions were in Spanish. We asked a Spanish speaker for help; he wasn’t up to date on computer terms, but we got the idea and filled the long form out. BUT ... Hope entered the information using the same email address for us both. No, no, no! That somehow bolloxed up the system so that Me Vacuño rejected both our applications. Three more attempts and departure day loomed. So Silversea gave us a consultant who worked on our behalf, but we were not approved until we were sailing someplace in the Caribbean. Whew! But the inspection was not over. First, three friends were removed from the ship because their visas did not pass muster (they are waiting in Ecuador until we have sailed beyond Chile, when they will return). Then we had a rapid Covid test and a PCR test, but Chile wants to do its own testing, so today we have docked (for TWELVE hours) in the fine tourist attraction of Arica. Only the jellyfish swimming around the ship rival the above view of this splendid metropolis. We are not allowed off the ship; the bar and show lounge have been converted to a Covid testing center where they stuck those swabs into our brains again. Mustn’t grumble.

Because you shouldn’t have to see another blog without one happy photo, we attach one from last evening in the bar with Andrea and Steve Ryan and Cruise Director Fernando toasting Doug and Jane Kline who aren’t able to be with us this year.

Posted by HopeEakins 15:39 Archived in Chile Comments (3)

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