Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Beginning of the Caribbean Season

If you’ve been following our blog, then you have seen pictures of Half Moon Cay already, so you have an idea of where we were a few days ago. For those of you who have not read that part of the blog, we’ll be sure to post some pictures in the weeks to come. We enjoyed a short day on our private island in the Bahamas. We relaxed in the sun and played in the water with our favorite ship friends (Ben from England, Angie from New Zealand, and Aislen from Ireland – we are an earful of accents when we’re all together) and jut enjoyed being somewhere familiar.

The next day we arrived in Fort Lauderdale and were most excited to have cell phone reception, check e-mails, and go grocery shopping. Living on a ship is awesome but you do miss the little every day things like running to the store on a whim.

Then we were back out at sea again for two days before arriving in Costa Rica. This time we had a chance to get out and explore a little bit. We were able to see the city (which is very much like every other Central American city – very poor and crowded) and then took a boat out on the canal to see if we could spot some wildlife. While it was too hot for the monkeys to come out, we did view a handful of other creatures.

Banana Tree

See that little vertical row of blotches? they're bats!

Shipwrecked boats

It's hard to see but that is a crocodile head popping out of the water right at the bank.

This is called a Jesus Christ Lizard because he runs so quickly that it looks like he's walking on the water.

Ron on the canal

A two Toed Sloth - So cute!

The next day we set off to the Panama Canal. Ron had a busy day in the theater and I escorted a tour out to Gatun Lake and the Gatun Locks. This time we didn’t see much wildlife but it was neat to see Panama.

We did get to hear two really funny comments that day though. One was from a commentator who was narrating our trip through the canal. She very solemnly noted that “without water, there would be no Panama Canal.” Umm… without water, I’m pretty sure the Panama Canal would be the very least of our concerns but I guess she is fundamentally correct.

The next occurred when I was on the eco-cruise and our tour guide pointed out an animal in a tall tree on an island in Gatun Lake. A guest excitedly asked “Is that a mountain lion?” A mountain lion? In a tree? In a rain forest? Really? I’m here to tell you that he was absolutely serious. We can’t make this stuff up folks.

Gatun Lake

Gatun Locks

An Old Mule - The machine, not me. 

Another day at sea was followed by a very long day in Curacao. The crew gets really excited when we know we will be docked for over six hours and on Curacao day we were docked for 14 hours! Everyone had been making plans for time off for a week before we arrived. We had planned to go Ostrich riding (yeah, you read that correctly) but some of our friends’ work schedules got messed up and we had to cancel our reservations. But we plan to try again in a few weeks and we will video that endeavor for you. I’m certain it will be both terrifying and hilarious. Since we didn’t want to blow our ostrich riding budget on anything else, we just decided to wander the town. We crossed the pontoon bridge and strolled along the shop lined streets that reminded us a little of St. Thomas. Then we had lunch at this incredible Indian restaurant called Indi’s Spice Café where we split Chicken Tikka Masala and refreshed ourselves with some local beer. Amstel Bright is really good! We browsed a little while longer then headed back to the ship to cool off and grab dinner. Later we met up with some friends at the Soprano’s Piano Bar, then went back to the ship and played Bannanagrams (of course) until after midnight. We decided that we like Curacao overall but it is really expensive. We are glad this was our only long port there because it wouldn’t take much effort to blow the bank on that little island – yikes!

The picture on the label is of the background.

The Zuidy docked in Curacao

Our ship docks near Rif Fort which has been converted into a shopping center - of course.

Yesterday we were in Aruba. Sadly, we didn’t even get off the ship. I had raft drill which went long since we’re preparing for a Coast Guard Inspection and Ron had a high-maintenance guest entertainer who required a 2.5 hour sound check (which if you know anything about what a sound check should entail, you know that is just ridiculous). We were only docked for a short time so we didn’t even have a shot at just running into town to check it out. C’est la vie.

And off we sail away to Half Moon Cay again! We’re really enjoying our island this year. Ron has really great supervisors this contract and it makes our time off so much nicer than last time. We really get to enjoy the spectacular blue water, bright white sand and hours in the sunshine. Such a joy!

And that brings us to the end of this cruise! 


Erin Ranallo said...

I love your photos. And I'm jealous that Kelly is so photogenic.

Dice Family of Strasburg said...

Your contract looks amazing. I especially appreciate the picture of the Jesus Christ lizard - please google "the miracle of the Daffy Jesus Lizard" you will enjoy it, when you're done watching that watch the Honey Badger don't give a sh**. This must be done at your earliest access to internet, no excuses! Miss you guys!