Saturday, January 3, 2009
January 3 Saturday
This ship seems to be governed by Murphy’s Law. The unexpected keeps cropping up, ship detours, an air evacuation, landslides-and this morning tender delays. Since we were dropping anchor early in the morning,7 AM, tender service for the first tours was to begin at 7:40 am, and my whale-dolphin watching trip to leave at 8:20. I am not a morning person anymore—it really does take me a while to get all the kinks out and get going. It was a struggle, but I finished breakfast early and headed out before eight to get a seat in the main lounge before it became overcrowded with tour groups and passengers waiting for tender service.
On board, schedules are highly regimented by ship time—everything takes place as posted. However, plans involving foreign governments, particularly in this area, are subject to Caribbean time. The government agent, who was supposed to board the ship to arrange for clearance, was expected at 7 AM. He finally arrived, after much phoning back and forth, just before nine. So there we all sat, some less patient than others, waiting to get to our destinations. Most groups were tendered to the dock to pick up their tour transportation, but our whaling ship came right up to the side of the ship and, with assistance, we made the transfer with not to much difficulty. However, our re-boarding was quite dangerous. By the time we returned to the ship there were heavy swells and the tour boat bobbed down several feet, then up a foot or two beyond the gangplank. Most of us literally had to be lifted by the crew from one boat to the other.
As I have noted before, this is largely an older crowd and there are many with canes, walkers, and wheel chairs. It is amazing that there haven’t been more accidents. Our evening departure was delayed because the last two tenders from shore were turned back to port until boarding became less dangerous. Most of the day, even though the ship was anchored, it swayed back and forth because of the swells and we all had trouble keeping our balance as we walked to and fro.
On the whale watch, three whales and a school of dolphins were sighted. Unfortunately, I could not get close to the side of the boat to get a good view over the heads of those who were taller than I. Also, the ship was rocking and I did not feel the footing was secure. I was seated in a nicely cushioned chair on the first deck (I couldn’t climb the very steep ladder to the second deck where the view was much better)—so I basked in the sun, took pictures and enjoyed the scenic ride past the cloud covered volcanic hills. As I said a few days ago, I have learned to pick my battles carefully. I am recovering nicely from my back injury, and I want to come home well and healthy.
I decided not to stay in the downtown area. From what I could see it was a typically Caribbean tourist shopping area with no historic or local points of interest. The site seeing trips offered involved visiting rainforests, waterfalls, hot baths, kayaking, botanical gardens, etc.
I had hoped to sit and read at the pool deck—but even there it was uncomfortably hot. Mid afternoon I watched a movie in the main lounge “Girl with the Pearl Earring” and worked on my pictures. I think I have finally figured out how to enter them in the blog—not that any of them are that great. I have been taking them from great distances, the ship and moving boats.
Tomorrow, unless Murphy’s Law raises its ugly head again, we will dock (not tender) at St Kitts and I have scheduled a mid morning coastal train ride around the small island. There is not much more left to the trip. St. Croix, Dominican Republic, a day at sea and then Ft. Lauderdale. I am beginning to feel talked out—I have had so many interesting conversations—but I am looking forward to some quiet time.