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Location: California

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Gusty Ain't The Word

Currently heading SSW, 2 hours out of Huatulco. The exact spot where, 4 years ago, the cruise onboard Regal Princess provided our experience riding through a hurricane.

Sure enough. High winds have Island Princess listing to starboard. I tried to exit on port side to feel the weather but was unable to push the door open. Two guys already outside pulled as I pushed but to no avail. I'm going to go out via starboard door just to have my daily 3-mile walk around the ship in the winds. Wish me fun.

Better - wish me back.

Huatulco (click for larger picture)

We've anticipated this visit with relish. First visited Huatulco December 2004 and it's charm lingered in our minds. There were even pipe dreams of investing, moving, stuff like that.

Suffice to mention this port has not frozen in time, yielding instead to wear and tear that tourist engender. After returning to our ship, we've been sneaking around to avoid the gauntlet of fellow passengers to whom we oversold our descriptions.

Tomorrow: at sea, headed for
October 2 visit to Puntarenas, Costa Rica.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Monday Afterthought

Dan's Birthday Bash went well yesterday. Wait staff of dining-room sang as he blew out his candle.

The competition is heated during ongoing DC vs DC shuffleboard. Score stands at DC, 0 and DC, 1.


It's now noon, Monday, at Acapulco: The ship is peacefully tied up and is slowly emptying passengers to their day of shopping in town.

Entries appearing below were prepared late Friday evening, Sept. 26 - just as internet connectivity was shut down due to proximity to satellite signals. Several email messages, along with this update, have had to wait. Unfortunately, incoming messages are waiting for us, as well.

So - be aware that we are at the mercy of connectivity. If nothing's updated for a while, you'll know the reason.

What's the purpose of this craft?

Cruise ship passengers are accustomed to the many tenders stowed over their heads as they stroll one of the mid-level decks. They're the little boats that ferry vacationers from the cruise ship to shore at ports where no piers are located. They are also the ship's lifeboats.

This curious little craft is new to us. Island Princess has two of these Norsafe AS Rescue boats built by Norcraft of Arendal, Norway. They are totally battery powered, very speedy and quite seaworthy. In heavy seas, should the boat become capsized, it's design forces it to upright itself in seconds.

Picture this: In the event of a Man Overboard alarm, the ship makes an immediate turn to begin rescue operations. Vessels the size of cruise ships, however, require a very large diameter circle, requiring lots of time for the maneuver. Enter the Norsafe. These boats can be launched and in the water within three minutes of the alarm, and then can speed directly back along the ship's wake path toward the rescue point. The whole idea is to have a victim out of the water as quickly as possible and returned to the ship.

It certainly wouldn't be much fun to witness an actual rescue, but several of us are hoping to see a practice run some time during this cruise.

Old Trivia Friends

Meet Thelma and Leonard. This is their 73rd cruise.

One year ago, Thelma and hubby Leonard were regularly teamed with us during daily Team Trivia games. When we went for the first game of this cruise, yesterday AM, it was a pleasant surprise to find them there, awaiting someone to team with.

Leonard is blind and Thelma is his faithful guide of many years. They love to tease others about the blindness by toying with phrases. For instance, Thelma will point and say, "Look at that, Lenny!" Today, he told us, "Nice to see you - you two haven't changed one bit."

(For honesty: this pic was taken during last year's cruise to Hawaii.)


A tri-fecta coincidence with a boomerang effect:

Early Friday, we met a retired homicide investigator from San Diego Sheriff's group. Then at dinner we met a gent who had been a long-time investigator for the Los Angeles District Attorney.

Today Dan met a third retired law enforcement-type fellow -- a retired Ventura County Deputy Sheriff. Dan's thoughts turned to friend and former neighbor, Paul DeFlores, and he asked this man if he ever knew Paul. "Paul DeFlores! I sure did know him. We worked together for several years."

That's the coincidence report. Here's the boomerang: Dan asked the man what he does now, in his retirement. Those who know Dan, hold on --

This guy manages a self-storage facility in Ventura!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Plenty of Parking

It seems always that travelers like to jam the cruise port parking lot as closely as possible to the ship. Result is a crammed-full lot.

Within no more than a 5-minute walk is a lot just adjacent to the port's northern-most berth, the one from which most of our cruises have boarded. This lot rarely has more than a half-dozen autos parked. From one of the upper decks of Island Princes, if your eyes are sharp enough, you can see where we've parked for the duration of this cruise.

Don't Need No Stinkin' Car

After taking the photo of the car, an about face finds the view we'll have while buffet dining. No swimmers? Of course not. They're still trying to find spaces in that crammed parking lot.

This is a downright 'cute' little ship. Much smaller than Diamond Princess, and carrying only 1,900 passengers, much of the interior design and layout of Island Princess resembles that larger vessel. There will be more pictures as the days pass.

By the way: just click on the photo for a larger view.

First Afternoon

Having wandered about - finding our way - and after our first evening dinner in the Provence Dining Room, it's now cabin time. Yes, the pillows were adorned with the complementary chocolates. The clock has already been set for tomorrow's time zone change. We will be sailing southward through the day tomorrow, heading for our first port call on Saturday - Cabo San Lucas.

Relatively good news arrived from Michigan and Northern California. Hospitalized family members in both places are doing encouragingly well. Knowing that makes us both feel more comfortable with being comfortable.

Island Princess Waits For Us

We're headed down the coast highway for the cruise port at Long Beach. Plan to stop somewhere for brunch, then on to check in at the berth occupied by our home away from home, Island Princess.

Such moments are always more hype than relaxation. Nerves warn that something was forgotten, someone was not called, a plug not pulled from its socket. Slowly it sinks in - nothing will matter once onboard. Nothing. That is, other than finding the stateroom, the internet cafe, the LUNCH buffet. Little things like that.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Yet Another Experiment

Tomorrow we begin another cruise. It may not be a good time to experiment with new BLOG software, but why not live dangerously, huh? If it doesn't work out, it's always possible to return to the old MindWalker site.

If it does work out, this will be a way to share a few pictures along with some text while the cruise progresses.

Wish luck!