Monday, May 17, 2010
Well, it is sort of like Christmas finding stuff we bought 5 months ago.
Duane still has a bad cough, so we are going to the doctor tomorrow. That is what will fill a lot of our time, you know, checkups, dentists. Back to the old routine, which wasn't so bad.
Thanks for following along with us.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
As for the end of our water cruise, in Vancouver we went ashore and saw a trolley that was a free shuttle to someplace. Well, free got Arleen's attention and we took the shuttle. It was to the Capilano Suspension Bridge and Park. The driver gave us a lovely tour of the city on the way to the park. We decided to see the park and had a lovely day. We have no pictures, since we did not know we were going anywhere, so we didn't take our camera. Sorry, because it is a cool place. It has one very long suspension bridge over a canyon and several small ones between trees, like a canopy tour. Strange as it sounds, we met some people who live close to our new friends on the ship. And they live in a pretty small community. Small world.
The next day we docked in Seattle and disembarked about 1/3 of the remaining passengers, including Juby and Tom. We helped them get all their stuff off the ship. We didn't really want to do anything else in Seattle.
Then 2 more sea days and we arrived in LA for our "land cruise"
Thanks for following our adventures. Until our next one
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Well, we finally got the real info on who was taken to the hospital by helicopter. With all the old folks on this ship, you would assume it would be a sick oldie. Not so. It was a 30 year old kid here with his godparents. He has probably drunk himself to death. As of the last we heard he was still holding on in a hospital in Anchorage. We send our prayers his way.
We continued on toward Vancouver. We had a full 7 days at sea, even though we only used 6 calendar days. It did not make the trip any shorter. Even tho we love sea days, 7 of them in a row is a bit much. Especially since more than half of them were only 23 hours long. We lost one hour a day for 4 consecutive days. It sure messes up your internal clock.
When we get near Vancouver, we will not change the clock again. A bunch of us started pestering the captain. OK, we didn't just start pestering him, but this time we had a purpose. We wanted to go to Vancouver by way of the inland passage. You know, the beautiful waterway that goes between lovely forested islands and the Canadian mainland. We used all kinds of excuses, "We didn't get to see the Falkland Islands because of weather, sniff, sniff" or " We had to stop and have a rescue, sniff, sniff" or "We didn't get to go to the Seychelles due to pirates, sniff, sniff" and "We have had 6 days of rough seas, barf, barf"
Anyway, something must have worked (or he planned it all along) and we did get to said the inland passage.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
So, on we go toward the northern hemisphere. We had 2 Monday, April 19th’s. That was the good news. You know, we crossed the international date line. The not so good news was that like all the days afterward, our extra day has only 23 hours. We have been losing the hour between 2 and 3 pm everyday. It is making our bodies go bonkers.
Yesterday, the 20th, we were able to see the Aleutians, the islands that run south west of Alaska. We were traveling on the north side of the chain due to weather on the south. We did have some wave action and wind, even as far away from the weather as we were.
These are the clearest pictures we were able to get. The weather kept closing in and snowing. And the sun set. How rotten of it. So the pictures eventually got too dark.
My dad was stationed somewhere in the Aleutians during his war. I’m not sure which one, but I am pretty sure it was not one of these, but further south west. They remind us of when we were in Antarctica.
I had hoped to spot some wildlife, but only one whale was spotted by Duane, and pretty far off. It must have breached, because all they saw was a huge splash.
Today, Wednesday the 21,(and yes that is the same day as your 21st) we had some excitement. We were told by the captain that a passenger had to be evacuated for medical purposes. We would be diverting toward Kodiak Island and be met part way by a helicopter and plane. We had to travel through several snow squalls to get to our rendezvous point. When the ship slows down in open ocean, the waves have a very great effect on her. We had plates and food flying around the buffet. The crew is great, though. They deal with this a lot.
Anyway, the helicopter came and had to make 4 approaches. We weren’t allowed in the forward section of the ship, so they could work, so we didn’t see exactly what was happening. The rumors about who was being evacuated were rampant. We do believe we figured out who it was. We were not close to him, which is only good news for us, sort of.
From what we could see, the helicopter came to the ship 4 times. While this was going on, a plane, see above photo, was flying around and around. We figured it was for refueling and/or looking for weather fronts and/or there for rescue of something went bad. Nothing did. The helicopter had to leave a couple of times due to us entering a weather front, or it overtaking us. The winds picked up and visibility was zero due to blowing snow. It was rather scary to watch the ship bow going up and down with a helicopter trying to stay above it.
Well, the Coast Guard know what they are doing. They were able to get the man on board and away they finally went. I think the whole thing, from the planes arriving to their leaving, took over an hour. Hopefully the plane had enough fuel for both of them to get to Kodiak. From there, we imagine, they will have to transport him to Anchorage or some other big city. We think he needs dialysis.
Well, we have continued on our way. The trip is much smoother now. Duane is snoring on the bed. The time changes don’t seem to bother him.
Love to all, till next time.
We are hoping to find some internet in Vancouver or Seattle.
Deb, I will try to get a phone working so we can set up a pick up. Let me know about Mike when you know. (our brother may be meeting us in LA. He wants to see our pictures. He has no idea:)
Sunday, April 18, 2010
No, I did not get runaway fingers. That is the name of the city. It was named after St. Peter and St. Paul. These were ships that came with Vitus Bering and who founded the city.
This is our only stop in Russia. We thought we were in Siberia, since that is what our travel guide, the person who the cruise line has on board to tell us about the ports, said it was. Our native guide today said Siberia is a 5 hour plane flight from here. I believe her. Anyway, it has been interesting.
The Russian government may not be communist anymore, but they still must have lots of paranoia. When we arrived, at 6 this morning, we boarded 16 or so immigration officials. They spent the entire morning going through every single passport. The passengers who had booked excursions offered by the ship had their passports examined first. When that was complete, the passenger then had to collect their passport, get a tender ticket, (remember, when we cannot dock at a port, we have to take the lifeboats, or tenders, into the port, this is one of those ports) then they had to have their passports checked again while looking at them to make sure the picture matched.
The plan was that all excursion participants had to be cleared and disembarked before non-participants could collect their passports, etc.
We had a trip planned with a guide that Juby had used on a previous trip here. Yes, it does seem that Juby and Tom have been everywhere. We thought we would not be able to take the tour, since the estimated time of departure for us was 11-12am. Not much time left when we had to be ready to return to the ship by 4. Well, Juby was able to get us moved up. Even though I had talked to the ship personnel in charge and gotten nowhere, she talked to the lady who came on board to exchange money, from dollars to rubles. Who knew she would be able to get us expedited. But she did.
We had a lovely lady whose English was pretty good. Turns out this was her first tour. The guide Juby had used before was unable, at the last minute, to take us, so Anna did. She did a wonderful job.
We first went to a view point. This town is surrounded by volcanoes. And, the day is perfect. Clear skies and views were unlimited. Their wasn’t even any wind. It seems that is very unusual. It never got above 38 degrees, but in the sun, it felt warmers. We left our jackets in the van most of the time. The view are great, as you can see.
Russian Orthodox Church that is still under construction. Juby saw it 3 years ago, and it was still under construction.
Next we drove a while and went to a volcanic hot springs. It was lovely, warm, sunny and friendly. We only had about 1/2 hour there, due to our late start. There was a man there, who just kept talking to Arleen. Anna came over to interpret, since he didn’t speak any English. She wasn’t able to help, because he never paused long enough for her to interpret. He must have talked nonstop for 4 minutes. That is a very long time. Time it and see. There was no way Anna could remember all he said in that time. It was quite amusing.
From the hot springs, we drove to a Dacha. A dacha is a summer house. People who live in the cities, even small ones, have summer homes where they have gardens and grow their own veggies. We were greeted warmly by our hosts. They prepared a lovely lunch for us in a small building along side their home. We had 5 kinds of salads, 3 kinds of salmon and caviar to eat along with the most wonderful bread.
This is the view from the back of their house
Then came the soup. They called it borscht, but it was not cold, it was hot. It also had no beets in it. It was, what I would call, a cabbage soup.
Then we had mashed potatoes with shish cabob and tea and cookies. Oh, yeah, on the way to the lunch, we stopped off and bought local beer to have with lunch. It was very good.
By this time, it was time to head back to the ship. We did take a few minutes to look at a local market. With only 10 minutes, all you could do was look. Too bad, though the prices seemed really high. Being as isolated as Petropavlovsk is, everything is expensive. Did I mention that the only way to get here is by plane or ship? No, well that’s true. It is pretty isolated.
Now we are back on the ship, all the tenders are back on board, all the passengers are back on board, and we just had a message from the captain. Just like the procedures we went through this morning, it will be another 3 hours before we will be allowed to leave. So, here we sit until about 8 pm.
I don’t care, the view is beautiful. Hopefully we will see a wonderful sunset over the volcanoes.
Notice the volcano started to steam. It started with one vent, and then went to 2. It didn’t do anything else while we were here. No erupting volcanoes on our sail-out either.
When we leave here, we have 7 days of sea travel. The dates are only 6, but we have Monday, tomorrow, twice. Yup, we pass the date line. We will continue to lose hours, but we gained a day. (ok, since I first wrote this, the captain announced that we do not get a whole day, we only get 23 hours, since we lost an hour as soon as we gain a day……not fair!)
It is kind of sad that this is the last real foreign port. It is hard to count Vancouver as a real foreign port. We are heading home. We will be sailing through the Aleutians on the way and hopefully that will be scenic. But, we are near the end. It is a mixed feeling. On one hand, it will be good to get home. On the other, we will be in one place, we will have to cook and clean for ourselves. All our needs will not be within walking distance. Doesn’t matter. Whether we like it or not, we are on our way home.
As I said, our first stop was the trappistine convent.
I wish I could say this is what it looked like today. It was snowing so hard, the pictures are not very good and everything is grey. Nothing has bloomed yet. This is a picture of a photo in the museum.
I just couldn’t resist. Only in a squat toilet country would you see this sign. See, I’m still doing a survey of toilets.
This device on the wall, makes flushing sounds so no one will hear what you are doing. In the past the Japanese would continuously flush the toilet to cover their sounds. In the 80’s when Japan was very wealthy, some places put in noise machines, and heated seats and……
The sink has soap, water and dryer.
I never did get to play pachinko here. I have my own game at home.
Here we are at the top of the tower
There is a clear spot in the floor of the tower and all the “children” were looking down.
Looks cold doesn’t it?
The flags flying at the tower are of koy(sp) fish, which stand for strength.
Fresh huge crabs and scallops. Huge.
Japanese fairies that live under leaves. Saw them at the museum. They were the only thing we could take pictures of.
When we got back to the ship we were surprised by a show. We were entertained by 31 six year olds. It was delightful.