Thursday, 15 January 2009

Day Seven: Bathers Ahoy!

We checked the temperature in Plymouth last night when we were on the Internet sending out this blog - 37F tough luck our hearts go out to you as we are now well down on our route to the Caribbean and spent most of the day sitting just in the shade of the Lido Deck with a temperature around 75F. Waiters bringing Ginger Beer, plenty of water and cups of tea, snacks available on demand, now this is retirement.

We were very good with our eating again today; both of us had a fruit plate for breakfast (although Sam did succumb - again! – to a croissant with jam and butter) and fruit again for lunch. Although we have yet to participate in any organised physical activity we are endeavouring to get around the ship using the lifts as little as possible. Often this is because we have got lost and can’t remember exactly which deck we are on or which deck a particular place is on – Decks 4, 5 and 6 are very confusing but we are getting there.

We started the day’s activities with a description of the tours available in San Francisco, something that we don’t intend to participate in. Most of them involved Alcatraz although a couple involved Muir Woods and Sausalito. Our plan is to wing it as we did in Madeira, find a Walgreens, see the seals and the chocolate shop and do a bit of shopping which will probably involve buying some bottled water and maybe some fruit juices to keep in our fridge. They seem to be very concerned about the new immigration procedure that came into force this week which means that before anyone can go ashore the whole ship – including crew that want to go ashore – have to be interviewed. Only when everyone has been cleared can the first person go ashore, and this may be as late as 11.30am. Overkill or what? I hope Barrack can do something about this.

We did go to another SpyMaster lecture today and he was brilliant as always, this time his subject was the dark side of the Caribbean and most of it was about the pirates of old - “thank God for Johnny Depp for without him I wouldn’t have many pirate pictures,” he said. He really is an old rogue and likes to sneak in pictures of scantily clad ladies to emphasise his point. He followed up the pirates section with a talk about the use of German U boats in WW2 and how they plundered US shipping in the Caribbean and even disclosed a secret plan by the Japanese to sabotage the Panama Canal by the use of large submarines. He touched on drug smuggling and money laundering and tomorrow promises to talk about the use of spy satellites in tracking the drug smugglers down.

With the lectures over it was time to don the shorts, head for the Lido Deck, find some recliners and hunker down for a day’s book reading, crossword puzzling and general relaxation. By early afternoon the pool temperature was warm enough for Sam to venture into the extremely interesting Sapphire Pool where the water sloshes up and down as the ship pitches and rolls. Ten lengths forward and 4 lengths backstroke – they are extremely small lengths – and it was time to sit in a very hot Hot Tub. Just as we were about to leave around 4.15pm Sam looked over the side and watched a flying fish jump several yards away from the boat. So Hilary is now not the only one to have seen the creatures of the deep!

Let me just explain how we are doing this blogging thing – first of all it is expensive to be on line here as I have probably said before – so we store our memories as we go in Hilary’s notebook and around 4.00pm or so we fire up Word and start typing so that we get as much as possible done off line. Then after the evening show we go back to the cabin, pick up the laptop and go off to the CyberCafe where I am now and finish up the off line typing. We then copy and paste from Word, open up the Ship’s Browser with our password and username, and paste the lot into our blog page. Lastly we check our emails and delete all the spam. So right now it is 9.45pm, we have just come out of the show, Hilary is checking tomorrow’s activities from the leaflet that is left in our cabin when our maid turns down the sheets and leaves our chocolate on the pillow and I am in the CyberStudy typing as fast as I can so that I can get to bed. Actually it is not too bad again as it is another night when the clocks get put back an hour so we get an extra hours kip.

Dinner as always was excellent, Samantha may not approve but we both chose the Mahi Mahi, a fish that we learned to love during our visits to Kauai. We learned a little more about our fellow diners and what they did when they were working and we discussed quite a lot about the good old days of the big bands when Count Basie et al dominated the music scene. Incidentally the dress code tonight was semi formal so it was back to blazer and tie again. I have worn a tie more times on this short visit than I have since I retired; thank God I brought several of different patterns and colours. After dinner it was off to the Theatre Royal for a show involving all the entertainment crew with a tribute to Hollywood. It was pretty good considering that they get so little rehearsal time and we came away humming a few show tunes. Tomorrow looks like being another nice warm day but we do have a bit of a swell running so swimming may not be a safe option.

Oh last thing from Sam – we have now booked all our excursions right up to Barcelona so we are expecting a very large bill by the time that we get to San Francisco – we get to sail under the Golden Gate bridge! Really looking forward to that. On Friday we are in St. Maarten/St. Martin in the Caribbean, not sure what tour Hilary has booked for us but I will let you know tomorrow.

Hi this is she, my bit tonight is about showering on a pitching, rolling ship. Unless you have tried it, it is hard to imagine. You need at least three arms and hands to maintain some hope of keeping under the water spray and in an upright stance. Luckily our shower is over a bath tub which eliminates the probability of the whole bathroom becoming awash. Today I struggled to shampoo my hair which means you have to let go of the grab rail which prevents one skidding down the length of the tub, so I slid down as a skier would descent the mountain. No sooner had I reached the end of the tub and regained my balance the ship tips the other way which means you skid headlong back under the shower. It takes a while to rinse the shampoo away and you can loose interest in bothering with the conditioner!

I understand that the swimming pool has a natural wave machine effect when the ship rolls – I’ll wait until calmer seas before I attempt that one.
PS I have tried to upload some photos but even reduced they take an age and sometimes don't load at all. Enjoy what you get, some of them are poor quality as they are photos of photos.


samw7 said...

Well you both do look spiffy. love all the photographs. Looks as though you are both having a great time, although mum looks a little unsure of the basket ride in Madeira. not much going on here. Jack is laying on the couch as I find other things to do than the write the reports that are due. We had a cold spell this morning but will be back up to the mid-60's in a couple of days. Jeff and I went to the Lady Longhorns game and they won in good style which was encouraging. I now have 1200 Yuan in hand so I have a little cash when I get off the plane. Can't believe it is getting so close. Love to you both, Sam

Julian said...

Hi glad to hear you are enjoying yourselves and managing to eat sleep at sea. Showering can be interesting and you need to take care pouring boiling water for tea and coffee at sea. First week at college nearly over. Enjoying the practical electrical but stress strain heat and engineering science is hard work. If you have fiery ginger beer all you need is 1/4 dark rum 3/4 ginger beer ice and lime to make your own ' Dark and Stormies' You must watch a sunset with a Dark and Stormie.

Hayley said...

I want to watch a sunset with a dark and stormie! ooh that is so a mental note to self, and going on the list of things to do before the year is out! Thanks cousin Julian! I'm loving the showering technique aunty! how funny! You both do look amazing, loving the photos. Not too long until you can step on to dry land again...have fun!