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!