There is often a rush to get on shore or back on the ship, so we tend to wait and go ashore after the rush. We spend less time ashore and come back early. I mean really, it's supposed to be a relaxing vacation. Rushing tends to destroy the very thing I'm trying to accomplish here. Besides, there is little on shore to do. I didn't even go ashore at St. Maarten; that way I had all the ship's accommodations to myself, well mostly except for a very few other smart shipmates.
We bump into the Ebners, so we go ashore with them in the same tender.
Tender pilot to Half Moon Cay
Ed bought a really cool watch. It's got a clear front and back made of sapphire. You can see all the gears inside.
Ed's faceless watch
Very cool. Now he can stick his arm out the window of his Porsche at the stop lights with pride. I asked him if I could borrow it on long trips in my Porsche. He gave me a frowny face and rolled his eyes. He doesn't wear it on these shore excursions. Doesn't want to mar it's polished surfaces. So I get a kick asking him, "Hey, Ed, what time is it?" This irritates Ruth but gives me great satisfaction. I wear my twelve-year-old Seiko everywhere, even weed whacking.
Anyway, I swam out to the swimmer's rope some 200 feet out. The bow of the ship faced the island at about a half a mile out. I snapped a picture of Jesse and Becky with our ship in the background.
Little Tilly, Jesse and Becky's daughter, was a real trouper. She had a great time with mom and dad.
Tilly (Jessie and Becky's little cutie)
The weather is perfect. The temperature is 81 degrees. There's an island-fresh gentle breeze combing through the palm trees just over my head. Puffy clouds against a royal blue sky is what I saw as I lay on the lounge. The water was a baby blue color graduating to a midnight blue under the ship. What could be better? "Dave, want something to eat?" says Ruth just behind me. "How about a hot cheese burger from the grill?" Yeah, maybe so.
We packed up shortly after 1:00 to head back to the ship. It looked like it was getting ready to rain and we wanted to beat the rush back to the ship. Besides, we figured we could hang out in the jacuzzi, kind of have it all to ourselves.
Approaching Westerdam in tender from Half Moon Cay
Ruth is talking about playing some ping pong. They have two Ketler indoor/outdoor tables identical to ours at home. There were a few good players. They had scheduled some tournaments too. The Chinese father and son team were great.
Sure enough, we got back to the ship and it started to pour. It was a beautiful tropical rain. After a shower to wash off the sand, I sat on the outside balcony to watch the rain patter against the calm seas. The weather is awesome. I was so tempted to jump off the ship from our room just about six stories up. The cameras would tag me for sure.
We all ended up at Ed's room to have some Champagne before our last supper. Over dinner Steve and Donna showed us some of the expensive-looking rings they got from the gift shop. On the last day they try to sell out everything. Some of the stuff goes to 40-75% off. They were having a special on rings. This stuff looks great! So after dinner we went on a shopping spree and bought four rings. What's cash but to spend? The others bought a ring or two each.
Rings and more rings
I brought with us our '97 Chateau St Jean reserve. We went back to Ed's room to photograph all the girls rings and then all the guys rings. We opened our '97 and it blew us away. This stuff was outstanding. It went down like water but exploded on the palate. The body was viscous and the bouquet was full and rich. There were six couples by now so we each got enough to taunt us.
Since our bags need to be outside our cabins by 1:00, we all ran to our staterooms to pack. We are to meet at the Atrium Lounge for song, dance, and some wine. We just dump our stuff into the suitcases, sit and zip. We've got another night aboard to fill and we can't be bothered with these incidentals.
I sit here writing these last words before our final night. I'm near the Internet office using a wireless notebook. The leather chairs surround chrome and glass tables sitting on deep wine-colored carpets.
We dance our final evening in the Atrium Lounge. Ruth and I have gotten better - no one laughs at us. Sure there is some polite snickering, but I truly believe it's because they cannot spend the big dollars on lessons that we did. No matter, we'll be teaching beginners out on the dance floor soon. Last night in the Crow's Next (afore deck, tenth floor), we saw a man in his 90s gliding a woman around in her 60s. I was checking the floor for oil or grease - he was so smooth. He was hunched over and was only about five foot five. He wore a black hat that looked like a Greek fisherman's hat complete with a braided band above the visor. This is the man I aspire to - not the stature but the dance.
We drained our bottle of '97 St. Jean between dances. We also had a stash of extra chocolates left each night on our pillows. Chocolate and Cab go together well. And that's what's cool about this journey; you can carry your drink or bottle anywhere and opened. Try THAT in a moving car sometime.
We sleep soundly.
"If you always traveled, where would you call home?" - Dave Terry