Cuban Excursion- parte ocho- at sea
Cuban Excursion- parte-ocho- at sea-
Friday, Dec. 7th, 2018- at sea- windward passage
We were up by 7 A.M. It was already 80 degrees out. Coffee and a pastry in the room was followed by walking 22 laps on the deck eleven oval track. It was both refreshing and relaxing to be looking out to sea in the early mornings. The windward passage here, between Cuba and Hispaniola, had been the major sea route for pirates, Spanish Galleons, British privateers and all manner of rascals and rogues during the 1700’s.
A stop in the deck ten café for omelets was followed by another interesting lecture, at ten A.M., by Sandy Cares. This talk was about the history of the Bahamas. It was fascinating. meeting up with Ozzie Nelson in the early afternoon. Days at sea on a ship can be relaxing and enjoyable.
We wandered by the Sirena lounge at 4:30 P.M. and joined the Ciccarellis and the Besseys for a team Trivia challenge game. Somehow, we came in third place. When they ask the right questions, you are a genius. When they don’t, you are a dope. Afterwards, we retrieved a glass of champagne, from our room, and stood topside, watching the 5:25 P.M. sunset. At sea, these are beautiful events. The golden glow of the falling globe colors the sea a delightful aqua marine, as it sinks beneath the waves.
It was time to clean up some. We were dining in the specialty restaurant “Tuscan Steak House” at 8:00 P.M. Although late for us, this is early for the Europeans. We were seated with two delightful octogenarian women from New York City. One had been a social worker in the Bronx for forty years. She had a few stories to tell. Her companion, another widow, also could spin a yarn. It was pleasant conversation, as we enjoyed Oysters Rockefeller, Caesar salads, Lobster, key lime pie with a glass of Pinot Noir. A meal, in a place like this in NYC, would cost you the down payment on a new car. It was windy topside, so we retreated to our cabin, and read for a few hours before drifting off to sleep. In the real world, it was Peral Harbor Day.
Sat. Dec.8th, 2018at sea- sailing to the Bahamas
We were up by 5 A.M. The heavy seas, that had waived us off the Dominican Republic, were rolling the boat back and forth, like a hog in a wallow. We read and watched the early t.v. news. Trying to walk the deck in, a heavy seas, would have been silly. We visited the deck ten gym and worked the weights and exercycle for an hour, watching the white caps and rollers all around us. Now we know what it feels like to work out drunk as the back and forth motion made us scramble from weight machine to machine. Afterwards, we shared breakfast with George and Nancy Taylor, watching the boat rock and the mist splash against the boat. Pleasant, unplanned encounters like this make the voyage all the more interesting.
Ten O’clock found us again in the Siren Lounge, listening to another lecture by the wonderful speaker Sandy Cares. This one sounded prosaic enough. It was about Bananas. “Huh?” you might say. It was fascinating. The development of the Caribbean basin, in the early twentieth century, centered around the cultivation and transport of this humble food stuff. The United Fruit Company and the Standard Fruit company (later Dole and Del Monte) brought the humble yellow tuber to the area, developed the banana plantations, and later rail transport and refrigeration, to found an empire. Along the way, it is alleged that they engineered a few regime changes to the “Banana Republics” that asserted themselves a little too vigorously for their company’s interests. Hey, we did those things way back then. The Russians aren’t the first ones to come up with the idea.
We read for a few hours in the Library, where we were treated to one of life’s delightful vignettes. Most people sat quietly reading. But some, perhaps plagues by a respiratory ailment or other age-related malady, coughed occasionally. Whenever a person coughed, a man’s voice would pipe up saying “go to your room.” After the third such irritating exposition, a small woman stood up, turned to the man and said” You know something, you are a real jerk!” Then she slammed her book shut and stomped out of the room in a huff. It happened so fast that I didn’t get the chance to stand up and cheer her on for doing something all of us probably wanted to do. Score one for decent people.
We then stopped by the Sirena Lounge again to watch a movie. Today, “The Wife” was playing. Although Glen Close’s acting was brilliant, the movie was an intense downer. Ugh ! We managed a glass of wine in our cabin, before gathering with the group of Spring Run Travelers for a group photo in the decorated stairs, between decks four and five amidships. Then, it was off to dinner in the main dining room. We were dining with Bill & Carol Furtwengler, Ron and Linda Klocke and Myrna and Miland Meeks. Iced shrimp, Caesar salads, Monk fish medallions, chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream and a glass of Pinot Noir entertained us while we talked about everything that had happened this week. The meal conversations highlight the day, shipboard. It had been a full day and we were tiring, so we repaired to our cabins to read and drift off to sleep. The seas around us had calmed as we approached the shallow shelf of the Bahamas. Tomorrow would be a beach day on Great Stirrup Cay, in the Bahamas.
Joseph Xavier Martin