Day 114

We slept in a little bit, had a light breakfast and got to the theater in time for Terry’s presentation on “The Wolf of the Seas – The Amazing Life of Thomas Cochrane.” In a highly political trial of 1814, he was found guilty of stock fraud, by profiting from spreading rumors of Napoleon’s death. He was stripped of his social and military ranks, lost his knighthood and all related titles and positions. Let’s go back to the beginning. He joined the Navy at 18 and had a reputation of intolerance for fools, so there were many disputes with officers and peers. As punishment, the Navy gave him a small schooner and he was soon causing mayhem along the French coastal towns and captured a larger Spanish frigate. In 1804, he got a larger ship and continued building on his reputation as a local hero. He was elected to Parliament in 1806 and married a sixteen-year-old who was 20 years younger than he. They eventually had six children. On the other side of the ocean, Chile was trying to separate from Spain and heard of his reputation. The leader of the independence movement, Bernardo O’Higgins, offered him Chilean citizenship and made him Vice Admiral of the Navy. He engaged in several successful sea battles driving the Spanish out of Chile. Tired of peace, he went to Brazil in 1822. Pedro, exiled Prince of Portugal, wanted to break colonial ties to Portugal and bring Brazil independence. Cochrane was given command of the Brazilian navy and, after many battles, defeated the royal forces. He was given citizenship and royal titles but no pay. Eventually, he robbed the treasury and took a ship back to England. Bored again, he went to Greece in 1827 to help them break away from the Ottoman Empire at the Battle of Navarone. On return to England, he was pardoned of the fraud charges and during the following years had his peerage re-established, was re-instated in the Navy, knighted and received a great sum of money for back pay. He made Admiral in 1857 only to die of kidney stones during surgery in 1860. Now that was an adventurous life.

John Warne spoke on the important issues of the Amazon, such as the indigenous people, biodiversity, rainforest, and others. The Amazon basin contains 20% of the world’s fresh water. He mentioned the history of how the Portuguese exerted their claim for more land beyond the Amazon from Spain. He described the aboriginal tribes, their lives, languages, and values. He spoke on the rise and fall of the rubber barons of 1850-1920. Deforestation is 60% from cattle ranching, 33% from agriculture – soybeans, 3% from logging, and 4% other.

We played the noontime card game, 31, for fun. After lunch, I met Art for a few games of ping-pong. He gave me quite a battle today. I forgot about the slots tournament and went to a photography workshop before trivia and mensa. We got Regent points for mensa and placed 4th in trivia, just out of point contention.

Tonight was the first formal night of this segment. Since our original captain, Atanas Kostadinov, just reboarded, we decided to attend and meet him again. He even paused for a photo with us. Later on we had dinner with Ricardo, the destinations manager. Another couple joined us a few minutes later. To our surprise and delight, it was our good friends, Gwen and Dean. Ricardo is originally from Brazil and gave us much information about his country, along with some details about some of our future excursions.

This evening’s entertainer was Jon Armstrong, a comedian and magician. He was the resident magician at Disney’s Epcot for 5 years and later performed at Caesar’s Magical Empire in Vegas. He did some amazing card and other types of tricks. He said he will be teaching a magic workshop on a future sea day. That should be fun.

Yours in travel,

Pat & Mac