Port Call: Victoria, BC, Canada!
I had been sleeping very well on the ship. It had been many months since I had last been able to sleep past 6 a.m. regularly, but here I was beginning to sleep past 8:00! I got up just after 8:30 a.m. in fact on this morning.
For the past 1961 days, weighing myself had been a part of my life, and Saturday mornings had been my official Weigh-in. This Saturday was my 280th week in a row of marking down my weight. The previous Saturday I had weighed 199.0 pounds.
So, I pulled out the scale, and when I stepped on it, I smiled when I saw that I weighed only 197.5 pounds! The last couple of days being careful at the table had really paid off! I had really enjoyed walking up and down the ship's stairs, and the scale it liked it too. In our ports of call we had also been walking, sometimes up and down hills; we had gotten a lot of exercise. I knew I just had to eat half-way decent and I'd be okay. The first few days I blew it, but the last few days balanced it out, and then added in a bonus!
The skies of Juneau had been cloudy. Sitka had been blanketed in gray. Ketchikan had poured its rain on us all day. Even the ride up had been gray, windy, and rough. But this was Saturday, and Saturday was perfect! Looking out from our stateroom window we couldn't see a single cloud, but we could see lots and lots of blue.
Looking at the water running beside the ship the wake was still white, but the rest of the water was almost as bright in the sunlight. This was not a cloudy day!
Dotti is smiling to see all the sunshine and blue in the sky and water. The sea has some swells but there are no whitecaps and motion of the ship was very gentle.
Okay, I had to include another shot of Dotti, just because I can. I love looking at this lady, and she has always been my favorite subject for my photos. There are some thin clouds off in the distance, but they were of no concern on this beautiful morning.
I look like I hadn't quite woken up yet but I was still enjoying the view. It was a beautiful morning!
On this morning we had decided to forego the in-room breakfast and we called up Jim and Tammy, and they said they would be happy to join us. I kept it light and only had some fruit and coffee for breakfast.
At 10:30 we had a mandatory Disembarkation Talk and Champagne Crew Farewell in the Vista Lounge.
For once cameras were actually allowed! You can see how close we were all sitting when we in the front row (towards the right side) on Thursday night when the illusionist performed. He walked down on the main floor and was standing in front of the stage right in front of us when he was talking with Dotti. He was close enough to where I could see the muscles in his jaw tighten a bit when Dotti said, "That was a joke!" He was between a grimace and a smile at that point. ☺
By the time we attended this meeting, we had accumulated a lot of good memories. We had met some very nice new people, and we had seen a lot of new things. But we didn't scratch the surface of what was available to see. We didn't take any shore "excursion packages" or do any of the "wilder" things available. So much was left undone. As with anything in life, the more you know, the more you know there is much more to learn.
Alaska was already hundreds of miles away, and the cruise was nearly over. Here we were getting the final instructions on how to leave the ship on Sunday for good. How sad is that?
It was a beautifully done theater. The stage, the chairs and décor—even the ceiling—were all "top drawer," and we always enjoyed visiting this location on the ship.
There really were no bad seats in this theater. The rows of chairs were angled sharply so you had no trouble seeing over the guy in front of you, even if he was tall. (It also meant that you didn't have to worry about blocking the guy behind you, just because you shifted your position in your chair.) Whether it was in the front row or the last row, and we spent time in each, you could see the entire stage and enjoy the show.
I had the camera in my lap and shot upwards for this picture. You can see that the ceiling is not all that much above us. Since this was a "mandatory meeting," there were not a lot of free chairs. We weren't late (we arrived around 10:25) but all the seats down lower were already taken.
I asked Dotti if she would calculate the amount of a radioactive element that would be left after 1.7 billion years if the half-life were 17.2 million years, and there were 5 grams to start with. She closed her eyes and set to work on the problem as you can see. Okay, would you believe she fell asleep not 5 minutes after we arrived? I held the camera high over her and snapped this one looking down. Doesn't she look peaceful?
Tammy looks like she might be just behind Dotti, with her drooping eyelids. Jim, Raiders hat donned for the day, is enjoying the show. Of course the list of details about what we were going to have to do to deal with our luggage and other issues associated with final embarkation hadn't begun.
They ran the meeting is stages. They did a little talking to us, and then put out information and then did some singing. It all came together pretty well for a "get the information out" type of show. And of course Dotti enjoyed it thoroughly. ☺
The Cruise Director Steve Gayda is front and center on the stage. The serving staff and some members of the crew are behind him.
As a Navy man, I have to admit that it was almost shocking to see the ship's captain, Peter Harris, come up on the stage, wave and then take a position in the front row of people, and do some singing and dancing as if he were a busboy, while the cruise director held the position of honor and prestige, as is shown in this picture.
On the ships where I had served the captain was almost a god, whose word was law, and everyone in a room would jump to his feet in respect when he entered. Even when he was not the center attraction in a show, he always held a position of honor and was treated with deference.
I am sure that Captain Peter Harris is treated with great respect by his crew, and this is not a military ship. So, how this was done was all perfectly according to protocol for a cruise ship I assume. But it really felt wrong to me. They say that you can take the sailor out of the Navy, but you can't take the Navy out of the sailor. ☺
It was fun listening to Steve Gayda talk about some of the questions and problems that have occurred in the past. One question he said he ran into stuck with me, "It is so far north, what is the elevation here in Juneau?"
I was reminded of when I was a teenager during the 1960's and I was watching "The Newlywed Game." They asked the ladies, "What direction will your husband say the sun sets in your neighborhood?" I remember that I thought to myself, "That question is so easy that it is insulting. The sun sets in the west, everyone knows that!" When two contestants got it wrong (and not with southwest or northwest either) it was my first adolescent exposure to the fact that adults don't always know things that seem like they should be obvious, like the ocean is at sea level, no matter how far north you go. ☺
We were reminded that we needed to leave out a little something to wear off the ship, because we had to have all our non-carry-off-luggage out in the hall beside our doors by no later than 1 a.m. Sunday morning, so they could pick it up and get it ready to offload in Seattle. If we packed all our clothes (or our passports or other important documents) it could be a problem getting off the ship.
Jim, Tammy, Dotti, and I all were given the same window of time to depart the ship on Sunday (8:15 to 8:30) and the entire process was supposed to go from 7:45 to 9:45, clearing everyone off the ship in two hours.
I imagine that when you have run as many cruises as Holland-America has, you have nearly all of the bugs worked out of the disembarkation process.
We were done with the meeting, and we still had about 8 hours before we docked. The water and sky were blue, and the ship was moving easily along its course. The weather was enough to give me cabin fever. Dotti and I decided to head down for lunch.
The dining room was lightly populated, even though it was about 1 o'clock. Perhaps we were ahead of the rush because the passengers were still on Alaska time. In any case, there was no difficulty in finding an empty table, and the lines were short at the serving counters.
Dotti was a sweetheart and went to wait in line and get us something to eat, while I held a table for us. There wasn't a lot to my job, since tables were so readily available. So, I started taking pictures. This is the view we had out of the window at our table.
The sea is not exactly glass, but it was pretty calm. The ship was running smoothly through it.
Dotti is placing our order for our meal. The large display sandwich hanging from the ceiling leaves no doubt as to what they are serving at this counter.
There were a lot of empty tables at this time. The only tables taken were like the one Dotti and I were sharing right by a window.
Dotti is making progress! She has some sandwiches in hand and is looking for some finishing touches for the meal.
There is a child in this picture, and she was a rare sight on the ship. It seemed very strange to go through our days without seeing children.
Here comes my beautiful Dotti with a smile and couple of sandwiches. Dinner is served!
Dotti made another run because I had this sub sandwich, some chips, a bowl of soup, and some rocky road ice cream in a waffle cone for lunch. It was more calories than I probably should have had, but there were tasty calories. ☺
And here is the perfect dinner companion: my charming Dotti! The light from the sky and sea highlights the lovely features of her smiling face, while the dark background gives a warm homey feel to the setting. Here inside a box of metal, large enough to house a city, and carrying enough people to form a small town, there were many places where we could find intimate conversation and time alone together. And after 30 years of honeymooning together, Dotti and I still very much enjoy sharing these quiet moments.
It was during one of these quiet lunches when we looked out the window and caught sight of a small whale, black with white markings. However, I was unable to catch a picture of it, and it didn't look any larger than a dolphin, so we pretty much missed it, except for a brief glance.
The weather outside was delightful, and there were a few hours yet before we pulled into port. What should I do?
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