Antarctica – February 6, 2018…Wild seas in the Drake Passage…

We made a great video but won’t be able to share it until we’re back in Buenos Aires due to the poor Wi-Fi signal.

Currently, we’re experiencing what is classified as Level 2 (of three levels) rough seas in the Drake Passage, which is known to be the roughest seas anywhere in the world. It’s difficult to walk across a room and down the hallways.

My water glass flew off the table in the lounge on deck three.  I’d decided against drinking tea this morning when the risk is too high for getting scalded.  As I began preparing this post, there was only a handful of passengers in the lounge.  We imagine the rest are in their cabins preferring not to walk about the ship.

Seasickness bags are positioned throughout the ship’s public areas, as shown in this elevator.

Tom usually has a few poached eggs and bacon in the buffet each morning while I wait until lunch to eat.  Most mornings, I join him and sip on herbal tea.  This morning, I suggested he go on without me since it would take a little longer for me to get showered, dressed and ready for the day based on the rocky conditions.

Taking a shower was challenging.  Thank goodness there is a grab bar in the shower which I hung during the shower.  I decided to forgo shaving my legs which I usually do daily.  “Too risky,” I thought as I bounced around in the small space.

This photo was taken from our cabin balcony this morning.  It’s certainly wild!

I hurried and by the Tom returned to the cabin, I was ready to go.  We grabbed my laptop and headed to the lounge.  As we sat on a sofa we stared out the windows, stunned by the raging seas although we weren’t feeling seasick (thank goodness). Glasses and cups flying around breaking with a loud crash, startling the few of us in the lounge on each occasion.

This 264 passenger ship (only 200 expedition cruisers are allowed to enter Antarctica) is considerably smaller than any cruise ship on which we’ve sailed over these past five-plus years.  It’s more like a luxury yacht than a cruise ship.

The seas continue to lurch unpredictably, making walking rather challenging.

As a result of the ship’s smaller size, we’re feeling the rough seas considerably more than we have during rough seas during any of our prior 21 cruises since the onset of our world travels, except for the trans-Atlantic crossing in 2013.

Are we scared?  If it gets to Level 3 within next 28 hours or so until we arrive in Ushuaia on Wednesday (where we’ll spend one more night on the ship), it could be one rough and rocky ride. 

For a moment it may seem calm and then whoosh…there’s a giant swell powerful enough to knock us off our feet.

The cruise line had planned the extra overnight in Ushuaia to accommodate any delays in our arrival due to rough seas.  It certainly makes sense for them to plan accordingly to prevent passengers from missing their flights.

At this point, we’re fine, not overly worried and prepared to stay as stable as we possibly can.  We made a video and took these few photos of the rough seas but at the moment, I’m having trouble holding onto my laptop on my lap and don’t necessarily feel like going outside to take more or better photos. 

The waves are splashing up to the 6th deck.

Based on the fact any videos we post here must be uploaded to YouTube and with the signal is too weak to upload a video, we’ll save it for when we wrap up the posts from Antarctica once we’re on land.

We’d planned on posting other photos but today, we decided to focus on this last leg of our journey through the Drake Passage as we head back to civilization.  We’ll be back in touch soon.  We’ll keep you updated.

May your day be safe and steady!
                 _________________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, February 6, 2017:

We were at the Geeveston, Tasmania Classic  car show when we spotted this ’48 Chevy Fleetmaster,  made the year I was born.  Gee.,,that car is old and so I am!  For more, please click here.

Day 22…Cruise to South America…Punta Arenas, Chile, port of call has been cancelled due to rough seas…

Punta Arenas would have been a great port of call to visit but bad weather prevented the necessary use of the tenders.  We sailed away.

Sightings from the Veranda while Cruising”


Tom captured this rainbow when we were in Punta Arenas, Chile.

 A few frustrations popped up this morning.  One is due to rough seas, we won’t be able to visit today’s port of call, Punta Arenas, Chile one we’d very much looked forward to visiting during this cruise.

Secondly, the Wi-Fi signal aboard ship this morning is outrageously slow, making it impossible at the moment to upload our awaiting photos for today’s post.

Another view of Tom’s rainbow capture.

Well, missing the port isn’t so crucial for us when we plan to return to South America for an extended stay in 2019-2020.  Thus, we take that in our stride.  However, being unable to upload photos is an entirely different scenario altogether.  

I’ll continue to try but if I can’t get them uploaded, we’ll have to post our story for today, adding the photos as soon as we receive a better signal.  Since all passengers are staying onboard today, they are busy on cellphones, tablets, and computers. 

A cruise ship, a freighter and a fishing boat in the harbour in Punta Arenas.

Plus, many passengers had booked private tours for Punta Arenas and are busy attempting to cancel them in order to receive refunds for monies they may have paid in advance.  That must be frustrating.

In these circumstances, the cruise line automatically reverses all charges for ship-sponsored booked tours without the necessity of passengers heading to the guest relations desk.  But, they do not reimburse passengers for any lost funds they aren’t able to recover from private tours.

What a pretty city view.

Hopefully, the tour company operators understand the weather conditions and will refund all monies paid in advance.  None the less, it’s quite an inconvenience for those passengers working on that today.  Luckily, we hadn’t planned anything specific when we would have grabbed a taxi for a few hour tour of the area.

Instead, we’re now leaving Chile to be on our way to Ushuaia, Argentina for tomorrow’s port of call.  Oddly, we’ll be back in Ushuaia on January 23rd, when we fly from Buenos Aires to board the Ponant Antarctica Cruise.

View of Puneta Arenas from the bow of the ship.

When we arrive on January 23rd, we won’t have much time in the most southerly city in the world so we hope to disembark the ship tomorrow and explore on our own.

We’re so fortunate to have this upcoming Antarctica cruise since we’ve been wearing a number of items we purchased for that cruise, in order to stay warm, especially during these high winds rough seas in the area.  

A ferry making its way to the port.

The ship keeps the indoor temperature very cool to control the spread of germs.  As a result, most passengers including us are bundled up in warm clothing with many wearing heavy jackets.  We haven’t needed to wear our jackets but certainly, are taking advantage of sweaters and nice sweatshirts we have on hand.  Safari luck.

Last night, again, we stayed up very late having too much fun!  I don’t think I slept for four hours.  Tom’s slept a few hours more than I did and is feeling well after his pesky cold subsided. 

On the other hand, I may have dodged a bullet by not catching Tom’s cold but today, I feel a bit raggedy.  Perhaps a short nap will be on today’s agenda, later in the day.

As we sailed away from Punta Arenas…

At the moment, we’re in the Cafe al Bacio doing the usual, writing to all of our worldwide readers while enjoying the delightful conversation that periodically ensues with passengers stopping by to chat.

May you have a great day engaged in delightful conversation!

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Photo from one year ago today, December 14, 2016:

Last year at this time we called Pyengana Dairy Company in Tasmania to order 10 packages to be shipped to us in Penguin, Tasmania as a holiday time treat since we don’t eat traditional Christmas baked goods and candies.  For more details, please click here.

Day 21…Cruise to South America…Whoa!…Videos of rough seas as we approach the Strait of Magellan!

 
This morning’s video of the water splashing out of the pool
during the rough seas as we approach the Strait of Magellan.


Sightings from the Veranda while Cruising”

This is just the beginning of what is yet to come as we approach
Cape Horn, in the next few days. one of the windiest spots of the planet.
We traded photo taking with another couple while on the deck last night around 9:00 pm. 

Whew! What a start to the day! Around 5:00 am this morning while awake as usual, I felt the familiar rolling of rough seas. As soon as it became light, I opened the drapes to find some rough seas.

It was a “smart casual” night so we didn’t have to figure out what to wear for a dressy night. 

Tom was still sleeping and I didn’t awaken him knowing he needed every moment of sleep as he’s quickly recovering from his six-day cold, now almost completely gone.

Snow-capped mountain.

How I didn’t catch the cold baffles me but I won’t “look a gift horse in the mouth.”  I’ll take whatever good health comes our way as we continue on our journey.

Most often its foggy and cloudy when sailing through the Chilean Fiords.  We were fortunate to see some blue skies.

I’m hoping that with all the care I’ve taken these past few years with the gastrointestinal illness that perhaps my immune system has recovered and I’ll be less prone to coughs, colds, and flu.  On at least half of our 21 prior cruises, I’ve fallen prey to the “cruise cough,” a sore throat and/or cold or flu.  My fingers stay crossed for this one.

The scenery is breathtaking through the fiords.

This morning, after taking the two above videos, we’re comfortably situated in Cafe al Bacio with cruise-mate Don with whom we’ve shared many delightful conversations over these past many mornings while I busily prepared the day’s post, all the while listening to the conversations between Tom and Don.

Snow-capped mountains in the Chilean Fiords.

The captain of the ship continues to keep us informed as to the development of the storm we’re currently experiencing. However, we have no doubt the seas will worsen over the next several days.  With our past cruising experience, we aren’t intimidated by rough seas.

We took this photo last night, close to 10:00 pm.

Instead, we’re fascinated with where we’ve been these past many days and anticipating what is yet to come over the remaining 10 days until the cruise ends.  This has been an amazing cruise thus far.

There wasn’t much vegetation on the islands in the cold weather climate.

For a bit of information about the Chilean Fiords where we’ve been sailing over these last many days:

“Fjords and channels of Chile

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The southern coast of Chile presents a large number of fjords and fjord-like channels from the latitudes of Cape Horn (55° S) to Reloncaví Estuary (42° S). Some fjords and channels are important navigable channels providing access to ports like Punta ArenasPuerto Chacabuco, and Puerto Natales.

History

During colonial times, the fjords and channels of Patagonia were first explored by the Spaniards. There were a number of motivations for their explorations, including a desire to Christianize indigenous peoples, to prevent intrusions of any foreign power into territory claimed by Spain, to increase geographic knowledge of the zone, and finally, to search for a mythical city called the City of the Caesars. In 1792, the viceroy of Peru ordered the exploration of the Patagonian channels in order to find an entrance to the interior of Patagonia. The said order was carried off by José de Moraleda who led an expedition that visited many of the main channels of the zone. In the early to mid 19th century, explorations by hydrographers like Robert FitzRoy and Francisco Hudson increased knowledge on the channels. The channels south of the Isthmus of Ofqui were explored in detail by Chilean government agent Hans Steffen in the late 19th century.

Climate and geography

This route is mostly used by vessels desiring to avoid the heavy seas and bad weather so often experienced on passing into the Pacific Ocean from the western end of the Strait of Magellan. The large full-powered mail steamers generally at once gain the open sea at Cape Pillar (at the west entrance of the Strait of Magellan), as experience has shown that time is thus saved to them; but vessels of less engine power, to which punctuality and dispatch is not so much an object as avoiding possible danger, will find the Patagonian Channels the best route.
The general features of these channels are high, abrupt shores, with innumerable peaks and headlands remarkably alike in character, their bold, rugged heads giving an appearance of gloomy grandeur rarely seen elsewhere. The shores are generally steep-to and the channels, for the most part, open and free, while the few dangers that exist are usually marked by kelp. The tides are regular and not strong, except in the English Narrows.
In the case of the two above mentioned and some other fjords, these waterways proved of value as transport lanes when western Patagonia was settled and incorporated into Chile. On the other hand, the fjords have served as a natural barrier preventing north-south land travel in Chilean Patagonia.”
Overview of Channels in South Chile: North to right and South to left side
Map of the Chilean Fiords.

By 2:00 pm, less than three hours from now, we’ll be entering the Magellan Strait (aka, the Magellan Straits or the Straits of Magellan).  In tomorrow’s post, we’ll be posting information, videos, and photos of this majestic part of the world.

The rough seas didn’t start until the middle of the night. 

Please stay tuned for more as we make our way through this stormy part of the world filled with excitement and adventure on this fascinating journey to the southern end of South America.

A ferry moving through the Chilean Straits.

Have a great day, dear readers!

___________________________________________


Photo from one year ago today, December 13, 2016:

Gerard and his High on Penguin holiday home in Penguin, Tasmania, overlooking the town and the sea.  For more details on this rock and roll memorabilia themed property, please click here.

Day 26…Circumventing the Australian continent…Rough days at sea continue…Major course changes…

Our ship, Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas, taken while we walked to the train station.

“Sighting on the Ship in Australia”



Art on display in the gallery area on the ship.

These past few days have been interesting aboard the ship as we’ve continued along unable to disembark to tour any ports.  With our itinerary changed from visiting the South Island of New Zealand to the North Island, the number of days at sea have been increased to accommodate the changes due to inclement weather.

As described by the captain, the bad weather in the Tasman Sea has required many cruise ships to be diverted to less turbulent areas.  Apparently, changing course is not the easiest task for the captain, navigational crew and support staff.

Golf course on the way to Adelaide.

New ports of call have to be determined, tours and transportation arranged, new materials designed and printed and entertainment and other activities rescheduled.

Many entertainers board the ship at specific ports along the way, only staying aboard until their established performance dates are completed.  Now, with these changes, several will have to fly to alternate ports of call to board the ship. 

There is an array of manufacturing plants and facilities in the outskirts of Adelaide. 

In some cases, this isn’t possible and the cruise director and support staff will be required to arrange new shows from the ship’s own performers, in itself not necessarily an easy task when many passengers may have already seen several performances. 

In any case, the reason for all of the above, outrageously rough seas, has been instrumental in these and more required changes.  More importantly for many passengers has been falling prey to seasickness which is prevalent among some travelers who are determined to head out to sea with patches behind their ears, wrist bands and medication to avert the horrible feeling of associated with this dreadful condition.

Apartment buildings as we neared Adelaide.

Not only have many passenger fallen ill with the “cruise cough” but now are also suffering with seasickness.  Although the cough hit both of us for which we’re now on the mend, we are gratefully free of any feelings of nausea, cold sweat, pale skin and vomiting.  For some odd reason, neither of us ever suffers with seasickness. 

Building near the university.

I wish that last night at dinner I’d had the camera with me.  The seas were so rough, that plates of food were flying across the dining room.  Later, as we walked past the shops, we noticed hundreds of bottles of alcohol in the duty free shop had tumbled to the floor, many breaking.  

War memorial on the corner of King William Road.

It was still light during our Thanksgiving dinner in the Cascades dining room and we were able to watch the approximate 30 foot swells by looking out the many windows.  We were on deck 4 and water was splashing on the windows.  We discouraged our friend Lois, who suffers from seasickness, from looking out the windows, which furthers exacerbates the symptoms.

Displays in the other areas had also fallen to the floor.  Once we returned to our cabin, we noticed the one suitcase we’d left out in a corner had rolled across the floor.  During the night, I had to get out of bed when numerous items we’d left on the desk were rolling back and forth as the rolling continued. 

More older buildings line the boulevard than the more modern.

Walking from the bed to the bathroom in the tiny cabins was challenging it itself let alone taking a shower which required hanging onto the grab bar to avoid falling in the even tinier space.

Once we left the cabin this morning, as the ship made its way toward New Zealand’s North Island (where we lived on the alpaca farm for three months ending on April 15, 2016), we noticed a slight decrease in the rocking and rolling.  Hopefully, especially for those suffering, we hope this soon ends.

Another statue near the library.

Today, as always, we’re content and enjoying the final days of this lengthy cruise.  Tonight’s formal night.  We’ll do our best to dress appropriately.

We celebrated Thanksgiving (US holiday) yesterday but wish all of our family and friends in the US a very meaningful and enjoyable day.  Gratefulness prevails on this day and always.

______________________________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, November 24, 2015:

A ferry passing in the morning in Fiji.  For more photos, please click here.

Day 25…Circumventing the Australian continent..Deaths aboard ship…Change in course…Bad weather…Rough seas…



The Art Gallery of South Australia has a lot to offer the art enthusiast.

“Sighting on the Ship in Australia”

Classic car display on stairway.

As we wandered along the main boulevard in Adelaide we were excited to spot the Art Gallery of South Australia.  We were surprised  that admission was free since in many cities throughout the world there is a fee required to enter.  That’s not to say we wouldn’t have been fine with paying a fee. 

Australia has a rich history revered by its citizens.

Australia is proud of its rich history and we’ve found that many historic venues are free to enter as we’ve traveled from city to city.  Welcomed by an enthusiastic staff as we entered, we were encouraged to explore at our discretion.


Interesting sculpture.

From this site:
“The Art Gallery of South Australia (AGSA), located on the cultural boulevard of North Terrace in Adelaide, is one of three significant visual arts museum in the Australian state of South Australia. It has a collection of over 35,000 works of art, making it, after the National Gallery of Victoria, the second largest state art collection in Australia. It was known as the National Gallery of South Australia until 1967 when the current name was adopted.

The art is appealing as well as the thoughtful displays.

The Art Gallery is located adjacent to State Library of South Australia, the South Australian Museum and the University of Adelaide, AGSA is part of Adelaide‘s North Terrace cultural precinct and had 712,994 visitors in the year ending 30 June 2011. As well as its permanent collection, the AGSA displays a number of visiting exhibition every year, and also contributes travelling exhibitions to regional galleries.


Collection of portraits.

The gallery was established in 1881 and opened in two rooms of the public library by Prince Albert Victor and Prince George, later George V of Great Britain. The present building dates from 1900 and was extended in 1936 and 1962. Subsequent renovations and a significant extension of the building which opened in 1996 added contemporary display space without compromising the interior of the original Victorian building.”



Modern art.

After the gallery we continued on the main road finding more points of interest in the beautiful city of Adelaide.  More photos will be presented in future posts.


Wall of Australian leaders and dignitaries.

Now, an update on the ship’s situation.  A few scenarios have occurred during this cruise we’d yet to mention.  Sadly, two elderly passengers have passed away on this 33 night cruise from health issues. One of them, we’d discussed in  a prior post as shown here in early November. 


Antique chair.

The second death occurred a few days ago when we all heard the emergency call, “alpha, alpha” followed by a cabin number on the 8th deck.  We were saddened to hear this second person also passed away.

A short time ago, the captain made an announcement that its necessary to make a change in course.  He stated that bad weather in the Tasman Sea is the reason for the change.  But we’re speculating that recent damage from several earthquakes may have compromised a few upcoming ports of call, particularly Wellington on the South Island of New Zealand.  We may never know.

Variety of artistic glassware.

In the interim, a change in course will result in the ship visiting the North Island of New Zealand where we recently spent three months living on the alpaca farm.

Statue of two oxen merged together.

We’ll keep our readers updated as we continue on over these next several days.
May all of our readers in the US have a very happy Thanksgiving, enjoying time with your family and friends.

Be well.

______________________________________
 

Photo from one year ago today, November 24, 2015:

In Fiji, last year, it appeared that breadfruit trees continue to produce fruit all year long.  For more photos, please click here.

Windy, rough seas continue…Having fun anyway!…Year ago photo, a favorite…

Tom is happy as a clam, even in rough seas.

Itinerary:  Celebrity – Celebrity Solstice, departed 9/23/14, 12 nights
Tue Sep 23 Vancouver, BC, Canada  5:00pm

Wed Sep 24 At Sea 

Thu Sep 25 At Sea 

Fri Sep 26 At Sea 

Sat Sep 27 At Sea 

Sun Sep 28 At Sea 

Mon Sep 29 Honolulu, Oahu, HI 1:00 pm

Tue Sep 30 Honolulu, Oahu, HI 8:00 pm

Wed Oct 1 Kilauea Volcano, HI (Cruising) 

Wed Oct 1 Hilo, Hawaii, HI 11:00 am 8:00 pm

Thu Oct 2 Kona, Hawaii, HI 11:00 am 8:00 pm

Fri Oct 3 Lahaina, Maui, HI 8:00 am

Sat Oct 4 Lahaina, Maui, HI 6:00 pm

Sun Oct 5 Honolulu, Oahu, HI 7:00 am

Yesterday morning after breakfast in the Oceanview buffet restaurant, we walked the long distance to the Sky Lounge for the first Cruise Critic “Meet and Mingle.”

As always, we met a fabulous couple we sat with during the entire event, both doctors who’d traveled the world, providing relief for doctors in many remote areas. The stories they shared and their enthusiasm and support for our way of life were inspiring and uplifting. We hope to see them again soon.

The most pleasing aspect of cruising is meeting people, many of whom also seem to have a love of cruising and traveling. Although many other cruisers are our age or older, we find that many have a craving for the wanderlust life as well as a sense of adventure, not unlike us.

Celebrity Central, mid-ship, is where a lot of activities transpire. We’ve been sitting in this area during the day since the waves aren’t as noticeable as in our cabin which is located between the bow and mid-ship.

However, few people we meet, after lengthy conversations ensue, feel they could live as we do, unable to conceive of the concept of freeing themselves of “stuff.” We fully understand their curiosity as to how we could do this. Some are curious as to how we could leave our loved ones for the fulfillment of a dream.

Everyone’s needs and life desires differ. We spent all of our lives up until two years ago, near most of our family. As do many Minnesotans, leaving Minnesota for warmer climates, we too felt we couldn’t continue living in a cold climate as we age. No longer could we shovel snow, slip on ice, and staying hunkered down in the long cold winters.

Instead of the typical Minnesota seniors. who often move to Florida or Arizona, we chose the world as our home, for however long it works for us. If and when that changes, we’ll figure it out. For now, we don’t worry about the future. In a few short months, we’ll be together with our family, and in a matter of minutes, it won’t feel as if we’ve ever been away. 

For now, as we cruise on unnerving and unsteady seas across the Pacific Ocean toward Hawaii, we’re reminded of how vulnerable we all feel in these circumstances. 

Yesterday, we attended a private party for Captain’s Club members for those who have been on multiple Celebrity cruises. The more we cruise, the more benefits we’re entitled to receive including free cocktails and laundry service.

Feeling queasy is debilitating for the most part. But for us, like many other determined cruise participants, make the most of it, continuing  to partake in both preplanned and spontaneous activities, all of which we find
entertaining.

As I write this at the moment, we are sitting at the concierge desk, third-floor level while a ping pong tournament is occurring beside us. We’d love to participate but our bad right shoulders prevent us from doing so. 

We all have limitations of one sort or another as is clearly evident on this mostly over 55 cruises. A few manage with wheelchairs, canes and walkers and others are dancing at the disco late at night. A few are young newlyweds and fairly inexperienced travelers. We love meeting them, regardless of their situation. Each has their own unique life story to share.

Americans occupy only about 20% of this particular cruise.  Most often we find ourselves visiting with Canadians and Australians. Few non-English speaking people are on this cruise, although we encountered a few.

Please bear with us during these five days sea. The storm coupled with the poor WiFi signal has made posting extremely difficult, especially when adding photos. It’s taking as long as 30 minutes to upload one post with three photos. Bear with us. Once we arrive in Hawaii, we’ll easily be able to post photos.

In the Hawaiian Islands on Monday, we’ll be able to use the XCOMGlobal MiFi for a strong signal and we’ll add many photos of Hawaii as we cruise several of the islands, many of which we’ll be living on over the next several months.

Once the seas settle down, I’ll be back to my “overly bubbly” self which does, even in my somewhat queasy state, is forefront in my demeanor and much to my delight, is evident in the smile on Tom’s face, content as he could be.

Who’s to complain? Not us!

Photo from one year ago today, September 26, 2013

We loved this photo we took a year ago today, as we walked along the Indian Ocean in Diani Beach, Kenya. For details from that date, please click here.

‘The view of the ocean…Changes by the hour…We’ll never tire of this…

The sunset can only be seen in its entirety behind a nearby hill. Last night, we were able to see a mere touch of it with the pink color on these clouds.  Breathtaking!

Interesting fact about Madeira:

“Christopher Columbus came to the Madeira Archipelago in 1478, marrying Filipa Moniz, the daughter of Bartolomeu Perestrelo, the first governor of Porto Santo. She died shortly after giving birth to their son. Their house has been made into a small museum in Porto Santo.”

We will continue to add more “interesting facts about Madeira” from time to time. Porto Santo is one of only two inhabited islands in the Madeira Archipelago, which we hope to visit this summer.

The beginnings of the partial sunset view.

As we lounge most of the day while I await recovery from the illness, we only need to lift our eyes from the task of the moment and there it is, the view. 

Throughout the day the view changes as fluffy white clouds roll in, at times tinged with gray, all laced within the bright blue of a cloudless sky begging to appear and rule the horizon. 

The pink clouds were quite a vision.

An island, in the sometimes rough waters of the Atlantic Ocean has a rapidly changing climate. We’ve excitedly observed these changes over this past week  each time we’ve looked up from the task of the moment whether it’s washing dishes, researching for the future or writing to you here.

Waffle like clouds fill the sky.

Several times each day we open the heavy glass doors in order to savor the views of the changing scenery before us, at times the hills shrouded in shadows from the ominous clouds or sheathed in sunlight when it clears. 

It’s interesting to watch the progression of the clouds as they cast shadows on the island and the ocean.

Its difficult to distinguish the ocean from the sky, the blues melding into one huge mass of color. At times, white caps are clearly visible in the sea and at others, its as calm as glass. 

We only know too well about the rough seas of the Atlantic Ocean when we made the crossing last April with 50 foot, 15.24 meters swells lasting for three full days.

The billowing smoke to the right was from an outdoor grill.

In a little over three months, on August 31, 2014, we’ll again make the crossing when we sail from Harwich, UK to Iceland to Boston, MA, USA where we’ll stay for three days visiting family. 

With a lack of trepidation, we anticipate this next crossing with a sense of excitement and enthusiasm to once again be at sea which has proven to be one of our favorite elements of our travels. 

The gray clouds cast a shadow on the sea.

Of course, cruising is most enjoyable when we can avoid the common occurrences of becoming ill with Norovirus, which neither of us has ever had or a respiratory infection which we both caught last May on Royal Caribbean Mariner of the Sea.

As for my recent illness, I haven’t quite turned the corner. But, I’m grateful it isn’t nearly as bad as the bout a year ago while we were in Dubai, UAE for two weeks.  

Suddenly, huge clouds roll in to disappear from the island a short time later.

Desperately, trying to avoid taking antibiotics, I’ve been taking Tylenol for the fever and head pain while resting most of the day, only taking time out to cook an easy dinner. Tom has offered to get carryout food until I’m feeling better but I’m finding the moving about the kitchen has been good for me. 

Tom does everything else including waiting on me. Good care, good sleep and good food will surely aid in reducing my down time. I can hardly wait to feel well again.

A cloud cover over a part of our area presented an opening where the sun shone through on this point on the hill.

Soon, we’re leaving for a short stint to the local grocery store. Tom would gladly go without me but, an short outing will be a nice break after being cooped up these past several days.

Have a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend. Gee…I’ve almost forgot the taste of a brat.
                                               _____________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, May 24, 2013:

Shopping in Dubai, one of the richest cities in the world was indescribable. This fresh fish, flown in daily wasn’t as expensive as one might think in the exotic city. For details of the story on this date, please click here.

Unbelievable news revealed today!!!…

This afternoon, during a presentation made by the captain aboard the Norwegian Epic, he revealed news that literally knocked us for a loop.

After he’d revealed earlier that the waves at sea were 50 feet, not the original 30 feet, he said it the roughest seas he’s experienced with this ship but was impressed by how it handled it so well.

If you’ve seen the photos that I posted about the “looks” of this ship, it appears top heavy. Oh, my! 

He expressed the reason that he “told us” that the waves were 30 foot swells as opposed to the actual 50 foot waves was to avoid panic by the passengers and crew. 

There’s a special station on our cabin TVs, whereby the ship’s navigational stats are updated by the bridge in real time. He’d made a conscious decision not to post the actual statistics as the waves escalated instead sticking with the stats of 65 miles per hour winds and 30 foot waves. 

In addition, he didn’t reveal that he intentionally shifted the ballast, gradually increasing it up to 6 degrees, resulting in the ship listing to one side to counteract the waves as they slammed against the ship. 

He made the right decision in not revealing these horrible stats.  Many passengers would have been extremely distressed with this information. Tom, of course, said he would’ve been fine, but agrees that the captain did the right thing.

On this particular ship, the lifeboats are extended beyond the superstructure of the ship. As the 50 foot waves smashed against the ship, the lifeboats were in danger of damage and flooding. By listing the ship to one side in the direction of the waves, the risk of damage was diminished. The maximum shifting a ship of this size can withstand in 7 degrees.

It’s no wonder we had trouble walking in the hallways, and even in our cabin, as we leaned to one side. I told Tom it reminded me of a “fun house” type room that they had at Knott’s Berry Farm, when I was a kid, when one stepped into this particular room, it was impossible to stand up straight. 

That was us, aboard the Norwegian Epic only, tilted to one side, bashing around on unsure footing, empty barf bags all over ready to be used. Some passengers didn’t leave their cabins for three full days, too sick to get out of bed.

I must admit I didn’t work out during that period, but we did go about our days, not missing a meal, attending available evening entertainment (some shows were cancelled) and daytime seminars with few in attendance.

At least we’ve hopefully experienced the worst seas we will experience cruising. Anything less will be quite tolerable. Whew!

Rough Seas…Proved to be 50 foot swells!!!…The Captain lied to avoid panic…

This photo was last night when the swells were only 15 feet. Today they’re 30 feet!

After a fitful night’s sleep as a result of loud creaking in our cabin as the sea wafted from one giant swell to another, I gingerly crawled out of bed, exhausted and unsure on my feet on the rolling floor.

Cautiously entering the shower, I gripped the well-placed grab bar hanging on for dear life. Not only did I drop the soap three times, but my Venus razor hit the floor twice dislodging the shaver head.   

Usually, when I shave my legs each day, I stand on one leg while bracing the other leg to be shaved on the shower wall. Not today. I shaved half of each leg, the front, the part most likely noticeable. Hell, who’s looking how close I shaved my legs? Tom would notice only if it became braid-worthy.

We’d left the drapes open last night in hopes of getting up early to begin to reset our disrupted biological clocks. A lot of good that did when I didn’t sleep more than three or four hours. 

Tom slept through it all.  He says that for the first 12 of his 42 years on the railroad, he’d stand atop of the roofs of the boxcars, jumping from car to car as the boxcars were rolling down the track. That’s how he earned his sea legs. Thirty years ago that dangerous practice was stopped.

The most balancing I’ve done had been skiing years ago with my kids and simply walking on my two clumsy legs on ice and in snow for the past 42 years that I’d lived in Minnesota, falling at least once a year.

As the waves have escalated over the past few days we’ve wondered how seasickness has escaped us as many passengers swarm the medical clinic located on our floor, the 10th.We’ve yet to use the patches our doc in Minnesota prescribed before we left.  Why not us?  I don’t know.  

This morning as we wobbled along the narrow halls to breakfast, we noticed the common areas, the hallways and the Garden Cafe, our favorite breakfast spot, were sparse compared to the calmer days when we first sailed last Saturday, April 20th. 

As I slid over to the beverage area for our usual routine of me getting the coffee with Tom getting the omelets, the ship lurched and the hot coffee, fresh out of the machine poured all over my wrist and the long sleeve of my shirt. 

As I write this now, I am using an ice pack I’ve made on which to place my left wrist, from front and back, while I type single handedly, with my right. No blisters yet, just raised and red. Later, when we return to the cabin, I’ll dig out our trusty medical kit to put on some antibiotic cream and wrap a sterile bandage.  See, I am clumsy.

As we sit in our favorite booth, which opened up shortly after we arrived awhile ago, only moments ago we heard plates, glasses and flatware falling to the floor in the kitchen behind us with a loud, “Ooohhhh,” from the crowd who grabbed the items on their tables to keep them from falling off.

A few moments ago, the captain’s voice came over the loud speaker and this time, everyone hushed and listened. “Ladies and gentlemen, this is the “Old Man” (as he refers to himself, “old man of the sea”). “We are experiencing 30 (he later told us they were 50 foot waves) foot waves and I appreciate that you are uncomfortable. We are attempting to veer our course, but it looks as if this may continue until after dark tonight.  There is nothing to fear.”

Another shot of a mere huge swells.

Fearful, are we? No. We’d anticipated that crossing the ocean would be rough. We’re in awe of how our ancestors crossed the sea on ships without stabilizers, navigational equipment, weather reports, doctor clinics and a wide array of safety and emergency equipment. How did they do
it? Many ships didn’t make it.

A few days ago, we made it through the Bermuda Triangle without incident.  Safely passed, we were inspired to attend a seminar yesterday about “the Bermuda Triangle, Fact or Fiction” albeit while the ship was rocking and rolling to 15 foot swells, now at 30 feet. We learned, as we’d suspected, that many of the stories as to its dangers, were either coincidence or not, unlike lost ships and planes in other areas of the sea.

Now five hours ahead of the time in Belize, a mere 16 days ago, we have yet to adjust to an upcoming three additional hours. For now, that is a moot point, as we watch the waves engulf the balconies on the first several decks of the ship. Taking good photos is nearly impossible, let alone walking to the 25 feet to get a vantage point at the window.

Our monkey towel pet awaiting us last night when we returned after dinner, along with a note on yet another time change.

Tom tried to get some photos today, but it’s impossible to stand still long enough to get a good shot.  

We’ll report back. Stay tuned