Saturday, January 31, 2009

Pictures from Easter Island

Some moai plus a photo of our pilot from the island.

Easter Island Is Calling

Monday, January 25
Happy Australia Day and first day of the Chinese New Year! Another beautiful day at sea. We are passing over some of the deepest parts of the ocean—about 14,000’! Highlights of the day: Ron has a good walk and I have yoga; we attend two lectures—one on the cultures of Latin America, and the other on keeping the computer safe; I try escargot—not my favorite; Ron is enjoying reading “Edgar Sawtell.”
Tuesday, January 26—3006.4 miles
The day dawns overcast on our third day at sea. Walking the track is more comfortable today and I include some yoga stretches. We got a little too much sun yesterday—so easy to do here. We find a scrabble game; join a ship’s choir, and I pig out on video games. There’s a ton on the new laptop! Don’t have time for that at home!
Wednesday, January 28
The last of our four continuous days at sea; sure has gone fast! I don’t get up to the track till late and it’s too hot to do two miles. We have a wonderful lecture on Easter Island (Rapa Nui). Early inhabitants called it “Bellybutton of the World” thinking they were the center of everything. The “heads” that we see in pictures (moai) were carved of volcanic tuff about 1000AD and actually include full torsos which have been buried over the years. They represent upper class leaders of the early Polynesian clans and are believed to have caused the demise of the culture because they denuded the island making palm logs to help move the moai from the quarry to the apus (platforms of rock and dirt found all over the island).The first European landed there on Easter Sunday 1722, so came the English name. There are only 3500 inhabitants there now; an air strip helps keep them supplied with goods. We meet with the choir and begin to work on “Summertime”, “Oklahoma” and “Getting to Know You” which we will sing on a passenger talent night when we leave Papeete. Ron attends a lecture on the Concord and I read by the pool. The sky clouds over a bit so we walk our other mile after supper; the decks are awash with water—must have rained! We watch a movie before bed—“Rapa Nui” co-produced by Kevin Costner; it very closely follows what our lecturer told us. Easter Island tomorrow!
Thursday, January 29
Got soaked today trying to get in my two miles; first rain we’ve had! It was neat to watch Easter Island come into view during my walk. We head for the tender early as we want to walk into Hanga Roa (the main town on the island) before our tour at 1 pm. The sea has heavy swells and it’s a real carnival ride to shore! We pick up some gifts and mail some cards in town, then our tour bus takes us to several areas where there are moai. We also visit the quarry (Rano Raraku) where most of the moai were carved out of the rock of the volcanic crater then moved to apus; some still remain which never got moved. The red topknots on some moai come from another crater on the island. We see free-range horses all over the island; they are a status symbol there. Another carnival ride back to the ship and oriental food for dinner—yum! I decide to do the wash tonight; I figure everyone is tired from the hot day on the island!
Friday, January 30
We are at sea for a couple days now before Pitcairn Island, and we will be changing clocks on the ship an hour back for several days in a row so that when we land again we’ll be synchronized with shore time. The day is warm and sunny, but I get in my walk before it gets too hot. Ron attends two lectures: “World Famous Oceanliners” and “Coral Reef Life” while I spend the day with Kay Scarpetta—I can’t believe I missed this Patricia Cornwell book! We play a game of scrabble by the pool then dinner in our room so I can watch the video of the coral reef lecture. We sleep so well each night, the movement of the ship is like being rocked to sleep.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009



Sailing the South Pacific

Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Today is our last of 4.5 days at sea to reach Easter Island. By tomorrow morning 7 am we will be at anchor off the island the natives call Rapa Nui. (The first European landed on it on Easter in the 1700s, hence the name.) The days at sea have been so enjoyable and they went by so fast! The weather has been sunny and pleasant with lots to do: yoga classes, walks on the track, lectures on the area cultures, a computer class, playing scrabble and cards, joining a ship’s choir, reading (Ron’s loving Edgar Sawtelle and I’m finding several of my favorite authors in the library), lots of new foods ( I try escargot--not my favorite), special celebrations for Australia Day and the beginning of the Chinese New Year. Also there are tons of games on the new laptop—fun! I am attaching pictures of us leaving the Lima Harbor and the view from the fantail where we have our breakfast each morning.

Sailing the South Pacific

Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Today is our last of 4.5 days at sea to reach Easter Island. By tomorrow morning 7 am we will be at anchor off the island the natives call Rapa Nui. (The first European landed on it on Easter in the 1700s, hence the name. The days at sea have been so enjoyable and they went by so fast! The weather has been sunny and pleasant with lots to do: yoga classes, walks on the track, lectures on the area cultures, a computer class, playing scrabble and cards, joining a ship’s choir, reading (Ron’s loving Edgar Sawtelle and I’m finding several of my favorite authors in the library), lots of new foods ( I try escargot--not my favorite), special celebrations for Australia Day and the beginning of the Chinese New Year. Also there are tons of games on the new laptop—fun! I am attaching pictures of us leaving the Lima Harbor and the view from the fantail where we have our breakfast each morning.

Sunday, January 25, 2009





Peru Highlights

Thursday, January 22
Thursday is another at sea day—but a lovely temperate day to be outside. I put in two miles on the track then get back tour cabin to find I have a yoga class in 15 min. I’ll be fit today! When we take our breakfast to our favorite outside deck we see a pod of dolphins. What a thrill! We have a wonderful speaker on Peru after lunch to prepare us for Callao/Lima. Four things we didn’t know about Peru: they had a mountain of silver when the Spaniards came; they mine bird guano for huge profits; the Nazca lines are here(the ones referred to in “Chariots of the Gods”; and their pyramids were larger than the ones in Egypt before the Spaniards flooded them to reveal their gold. I order the wild boar and gravy for dinner! The offerings are so diverse—I’ve also had queen fish from Antarctica, buffalo and calamari!
Friday, January 23
We wake up in the harbor of Callao/Lima. (we have traveled 2291.7 miles so far!) We’ll be here till 1pm tomorrow when we sail for Easter Island! Our tour of Lima is an experience of contrasts: we are taken first to the poor part of town (just like home it is nearest to the port), then past some very decorative, multi-storied buildings left from the colonial times (some being the oldest in the city); and then to Miraflores (the second heart of the city)—the prosperous part with banks, businesses and beautiful apartment buildings. Lima has 8 million residents—mostly Mestizo (mixed blood)—and 40% are poor. It was one of the two most noted cities in the Spanish New World (the other was Mexico City). The city was founded in 1575 by Francisco Pizarro, who is credited with drawing the first “line in the sand” when some of his followers wanted to return to Spain. The story is that only 13 stayed. Then we go to the square which is the first heart of the city, Plaza de Armas. It was the site of Pizarro’s home, then used by the Spanish viceroys, and now the home of the President. The Mayoral complex is here too, and a grand Cathedral (patterned like one in Seville, Spain—and the oldest in Lima). We tour the Cathedral which has Pizarro’s bones entombed there; there are also beautiful frescos, carvings (in cedar from Panama), and mosaics (Moorish designs from Spain). The buildings have been restored many times due to earthquakes. From there we walk to the San Francisco Church and tour its monastery; it has a beautiful, green courtyard and many frescos and mosaic, some of which were newly discovered while doing restoration work. We visit a lovely seaside park in Miraflores, Lover’s Park; there is a huge statue there called “the Kiss.” Our last stop is a beautiful home, built in the 20s in downtown Lima. The hostess offers us a tour of her residence and refreshments in her lovely courtyard. We are served canap├ęs and a tasty Andean drink containing a strong liquor from fermented grapes. The evening entertainment back at the ship is folk dancing by a marvelous group called “Incamerica,” great music and dancing, and gorgeous costumes.
Saturday, January 24
Saturday dawns cool and sunny—a good morning to walk the track for our two miles today. We leave the ship to look over the offerings of some shops set us on the dock. At 1 pm we begin our trip to Easter Island—2311 mi away. We will cruise this afternoon and four more full days to get there. There are lots of activities offered to keep us busy, and the days fly by! I will be watching for internet service so I can download to the blog.
Sunday, January 25
Another lovely day on the Pacific. Smooth sailing. Highlights of the day include a lovely church service led by our Captain; we pray especially for our families and friends back home and I get tears in my eyes. The dining room crew has put together a marvelous brunch, and we meet a Finnish lady from Woodbury MN (not far from the Cities?) and her German husband. They are wonderful conversationalist.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


The folowing are pictures from Panama Canal and then tuna and tuna boats in the Manta harbor.

Cayman Islands to Ecuador

Saturday: January 17
We have a day at sea. They always offer lots to keep us busy. Highlights of the day include my yoga class, the Captain’s Reception (I should have packed a jacket for Ron after all; but I rent one which he can use all cruise), a lecture on the “Building of the Panama Canal AND WE FIGURE OUT HOW TO DOWNLOAD PICTURES TO THE WEBSITE!
Sunday, January 18
I will never forget this day. We wake up to sunshine and blue skies, anchored in a harbor waiting with many other ships to take our turn to pass thru the Panama Canal. We can see the whole operation as we eat breakfast “al fresco” on the deck .The massive Canard cruise ship “Queen Victoria” is in the lock next to us. We will pass thru together while little land-based “tugs” keep us stable with their taut lines. It takes us the better part of the day to cross the first set of three locks, Gatun Lake, and then two other sets of three locks. Church is at 4:30pm. Ron skips dinner to watch the Cardinals and the Steelers take their conference titles. I walk my 2 miles on the track up on 10th deck after dinner. It is beautiful—balmy and cool in the evening darkness.
Monday, January 19
The day starts out lovely, calm seas and warm temps. We find a certificate in our mailbox attesting to the fact we passed thru the Panama Canal! There will be another day at sea till we pass the Equator and dock in Manta, Ecuador to take our Machu Picchu trip. Ron and I stop at the doctor because we’ve been asked to check in if we have loose bowels. It turns out we have rotavirus, almost as common as the common cold, but it means we have to take medicine AND BE QUARENTINED IN OUR CABIN FOR 24 HRS! That means no trip to Machu Picchu! I am devastated, but Ron takes it better. Nothing we can do about it; we’re up against the CDC (Center for Disease Control) on this one! They put us on a pretty horrible bland foods diet, but we stay busy, even confined to our cabin. They do agree to refund our trip costs, and we get a certificate for crossing the Equator (which means we are no longer Slimy Pollywogs, but Trusty Shellbacks).
Tuesday, January 20
We get a phone call just after our “in stateroom breakfast” that we will be released from quarantine at noon. Too late for our trip to Machu Picchu, but it feels good just to go out on the dock. We are docked next to the Statendam--the ship we were on for our Alaskan cruise! Manta is the third largest city in Ecuador, and famous for its tuna fisheries. We can see many, many tuna boats in the harbor. There is also a US Air Base here. Folks are coming back from there day tours saying there are men with guns on the dock. The explanation seems to be that there was a dockworkers strike which would have prevented our ship from sailing, but we do take off as scheduled, so someone must have settled things! We sure aren’t in Kansas anymore!
Wednesday, January 21
Today we will be at sea. Ron saw sea turtles and flying fish as he toured the ship taking pictures and walking on the track. He is really enjoying reading “Edgar Sawtelle.” (We picked up an extra pair of glasses in the Atlanta Airport.) I found “Bejeweled” on the laptop and had fun with that; I also went to a craft class on making boxes, had my toes painted and laid in the sun and read for awhile. It’s a beautiful day—about 75 degrees and breezy —and the seas have been so calm since we got out of the Caribbean!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sailing to the Cayman Islands

Wednesday, January 14
We had to have our bags outside our door at 9am Wednesday, so we had time for a nice walk before we checked out. The Princess bus picked us up and took us to a terminal in Fort Everglades. By the time we checked in all our documents and boarded the ship, it was time for our first dining experience. The meal was “wow” and the view as we sailed out of the colorfully lit harbor was magnificent!
Thursday, January 15--Happy Birthday, Ginger
The next day was a sea day—good for settling in. I set up a yoga class, finished the unpacking, found the laundry, walking track and the library. We are still struggling to learn our way around the ship, as are many of the other passengers. The ship is very swanky, wood and gilt everywhere. I think we are out of our league! After dinner we find a dance, tho it’s challenging to keep balance as the ship rolls; then a comedian named Monthey. He is a riot!
Friday, January 16
By morning were are docked out away from the beautiful Grand Cayman Island. Tenders come out to take us for our tour of the capital, Georgetown, and the rest of this gloriously warm, clean, safe island—only 22x8 miles. The only bad news is that we can’t snorkel—the gov’t has closed the beaches because there is too much wind—nuts! We do get off the tour bus at a community called Hell because of the odd coral/ dolostone outcrops, a green sea turtle refuge and release center, and a rum and rumcake factory before our driver drops us off downtown for a tour on our own. I find a watch battery and we go into one of Cayman’s 150 banks to get some local coins. By the time we get back to the ship and clean up for dinner, we are pooped. It’s hard work having fun! When we return to our cabin Ron figures out how to download pictures to the laptop, I log a little and z-z-z-z-z-z!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Trip to Fort Lauderdale


Monday, January 12 and Tuesday, January 13
After being delivered to Skyline Shuttles at the Radisson Hotel in Duluth by nice neighbor Terry Ribaudo, the trip to Minneapolis Monday was snowy and slippery, and an hour behind schedule. Glad we weren't driving tho! We spent a short but pleasant night at Jill and Corey's, then were back at the airport at 4:30 am. Flights to Atlanta then Fort Lauderdale were sunny, clear and without incident. Met the girlfriend of the staff captain (second in charge) on the Tahitian princess) on the flight. We'll meet up again tomorrow no doubt. Weather in FL is windy, rainy, but tropical and warm. -20 degrees (Mpls)+80 degrees (Ft. L.) =100 degrees difference from 4:30 this am to 4:30 pm. Yikes! Tommorrow we board our ship!!!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

January 11--Packing Day

Clear day--things are in a big pile on the bed but not in the suitcase yet. Everything is roaring along at a snail's pace.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Friday, January 9--Home

I am trying to set up a blog to use as we cruise. Del Bergquist, bless her heart, has helped me get this far! It's 6 a.m. and these song lyrics are going thru my head--
"Far away places with strange sounding names, far away over the sea.
Those far away places with the strange sounding names are calling, calling me.
Take me to China, or maybe Siam, I want to see for myself--
Those far away places with the strange sounding names that I read from a book on the shelf.
Two more days! Ready or not, here we come!