Sunday, March 13, 2011

Musings: Back Home (part 1, maybe)

We are back home after being away for 11 weeks! Folks wonder how we can be gone for so long, but it’s not hard...pack up and go! Which is what we did. For 9 of those 11 weeks we were in Southern CA, for the remaining 2 we were on a cruise to Hawaii.
This dainty ship, aka The Golden Princess, was our floating hotel for 14 days. She’s a bit bigger than I like, with a full contingent of 2600 passengers, but she is pretty. By the way, that "flying wedge” atop the back of the boat is a night club by night and really quiet place to sit back and look at the water during the day.

We’ve cruised to Hawaii several times, yet it’s still fun to visit the lovely garden isles. Late February in the Islands was perfect...not too hot,  not too cold, not too much rain, not too much humidity, and not that many tourists. Folks tend to visit Hawaii during the Christmas and Easter holidays but not in between. We were in that 'tween season and it was good. Lucky for us we were off the sea by the time the tsunami from Japan raked the islands. I wonder what a large cruise ship feels like as it sails through a tsunami?

I have divided cruises into “easy” and “hard” water varieties. An easy water cruise is calm, and frankly there are not too many of them. What you see above is an easy water day. When the water looks like this, you do not know you are moving 18-20 knots per hour. A cruise through the inside passage to Alaska is an easy water cruise. There’s land on both sides, and that tends to keep the water calm or least not too rocky. Generally speaking, a cruise in the Caribbean is of the easy water variety too (except during hurricane season). The water is usually clear and still. Sailing around the Hawaiian Islands is an easy water cruise too. Only NCLA has that cruise now. These 3 cruises are good for folks who have never been cruising, are subject to seasickness or want a calm ride.

A hard water cruise is just the opposite. The ultimate hard water cruise is sailing the Drake Passage from Ushuaia to the Antarctic Peninsula. This picture is of the Drake after it calmed down a bit! That’s some bumpy water! The North Atlantic can be hard water. AND, the water off the coast of LA is hard. The general pattern for a 14 day Hawaii RT cruise from San Pedro has the following flow: the first day out is rough with seasick bags by the elevators and the stairs. The second day is less rough and only a few seasick bags are located in the public areas, the third day will be less rough and there are no seasick bags to be found (I wonder if they have run out of them by then) and the 4th day will be perfect. There are then 5 days of smooth sailing. The waters around the Islands are easy as is the first day back to the US Mainland. Then, just repeat the water pattern from less rough to very rough. The day before landing in San Pedro, the ship stops in Ensenada for 4 hours. That’s usually pretty calm, but the crawl up the coast to San Pedro can get a bit choppy.

We’ve been on the this cruise and had 4 bad days out and 4 days back OR 1 bad day out and back. There will always be one bad day in each direction. For the weak of tummy, take Bonine or Dramamine or wear a patch or wear a bracelet or take your ginger (whatever works for you) and enjoy the cruise. We’ve been on far too many cruises and we take Bonine and we don’t get seasick. I don’t know what would happen if we did not take Bonine, but I don’t want to find out either.

In Hawaii I was able to feast my eyes (and camera lens) on flowers! As you know, I love capturing flower images and Hawaii is a perfect place to do that. We visited a garden on the Big Island that was filled with beautiful flora and I was in camera heaven. I’ll post more pictures later, but here’s a teaser.

In the meantime, I’ve become more connected than ever before. I own a Verizon iPhone now; along with an iPad, an iTouch and a MacBook. I’m one of the older members of the iGeneration...I don’t think they give folks my age general admission, but maybe they will let me sit on the sidelines and participate a little bit. I’m learning how to text, which is great fun. I might get an iPad2 as the other DrC thinks he’s ready for the iPad, first edition. We’ll see. I do like toys and Apple makes some pretty ones. Watch this space to see what happens next.

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