Sunday, August 12, 2012

Time At Sea

Sunday, August 12, 2012

As you can see, my timeline is off a bit!! LOL

The reason was that internet service on our ship was $100 for 25 minutes!!!!!!!!!  So NOT doing that!!  So I'm playing catch up.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Ahoy Everyone!!

It’s 9:40 am on Monday morning and we’re relaxing and taking our time in our Stateroom on board ship, Holland America Westerdam. As it’s been a few days since I’ve posted and I don’t have internet connection at the moment, I’m reclined on the AMAZING bed, drinking my morning coffee, and feeling the boat listing in the choppy seas.

So as not to get ahead of our timetable, I’ll regress to our last day in Vancouver, BC.  When I last posted, Mike had just had a horrible day of muscle spasms and spent the day in the ER at St. Paul’s Hospital.

After a fairly restful night, we got up early to go to the Vitality Health Clinic, a holistic sports clinic with nature path doctors.  Dr. Heidi met with Mike and knew immediately what the issue was and what needed to be done!!  Just as Mike had asked for the day before, he received multiple injections of Lydacaine into the deep muscle trigger points.  VOILA!!  He was a happy camper and could feel the good difference immediately.

Contrary to the MD, Heidi agreed with us that the cruise for a week was EXACTLY the right place to be because we would NOT be in a car, Mike could dip into the hot tub at any time to keep the heat on, walk until our hearts content, and if so inclined get a massage.

From the clinic we decided to head up to Stanley Park to try and do a little more sightseeing that would accommodate Mike’s sore muscles.  It was no easy task getting through the heavy city traffic headed north.  It seemed that everyone was trying to get out of Vancouver for the weekend!!

We made stops at the Totem Poles – beautiful – and views across the Bay, a stop at Lion’s Gate Bridge where I enjoyed getting to photograph 2 Chinese little children who had “Got Milk” faces.  A final stop at the Tea House and Beach.  Some good walking to keep Mike loose.


Once back at our hotel, we headed across the street to a pub for lunch.  About that time, we heard from our good friend, Craig Hinman, who was also visiting in Vancouver with a friend.  We were hoping that our schedules would allow us to get together to visit.  The stars aligned and after a wonderful dinner meal in Gastown at the Steamplant Grill & Brewery, we headed to English Bay beach to have evening drinks with him and Leslie on the lawn overlooking the Bay.

A wonderful way to end our time in this beautiful city of Vancouver!!

Saturday morning we headed for the border.  After sitting in traffic for 1.5 hours, we were still WAY away from the crossing.  Along came 2 young ladies that told us if we took the clear lane to the right and made a stop in the Duty Free shop and bought ANYTHING, we could circumvent most of the rest of the wait.  Too bad we didn’t know this earlier!!  So off we went and bought a bit of breakfast and we were back in line way up a head of where we would have been.  Within 30 minutes more we were finally though the crossing and on our way to Seattle!

At about 1:00 pm, we made it to the cruise terminal parking lot.  Boy, do they have this procedure down to a science!!  Impressive!!  Parked and boarded on the shuttle with only one suitcase a piece, we were dropped off at the actual check-in terminal.  Made it through security after Mike having to go through 4 times!  Give Mike pockets and he will fill them!!  Haha.

We boarded our ship with absolutely no idea of how to get to our room. We knew we were on Deck 7 and our room number.  For those of you that are very familiar with this process, I want you to remember your first time. 

After going down many a wrong hall, we finally found our stateroom.  A pleasant surprise truly awaited us!  We were quite pleased to see the size of our room and the king bed looked luscious!!

The first thing I did was read the days itinerary and saw that it was mandatory that we attend the safety and security drill at 3:15pm.  Mike then told me it was 3:10pm, so we’d better get a move on!  So off we went to find our Station.  When we got there, we were the only ones there.  Seemed odd!!  Anyway, we took the opportunity to explore Deck 3 and then made it up to Deck 9 – Lido to find some food.

Lots of food and drink were going on around the pool and a live jazz band was playing for our pleasure.  It appears that Mike was one hour off on his time telling.  LOL  So we kicked back and explored the top 2 decks.


At exactly 3:10pm, the loud speakers came on and we were directed to immediately go to our Station.  At least we knew where we were going this time!!

After a half hour of meeting our neighbors, we were on our own!!  At precisely 4 pm the boat cast its lines and we were off!  I have to say that we were quite excited and relieved that we had made it after what we’d just been through.

After a enjoying a drink and watching Seattle and the Islands begin to fade away, we made our way back to our room to unpack.  But the one beautiful scene that we saw that is sooooo unusual for Seattle is be able to see BOTH Mt. Rainier and Mt. Baker very clearly!!  A day this beautiful, clear skies and warm weather is a true joy and a spectacular site!!


Then we were off to the hot tub!!  Wonderful is all I can say!  The one thing Mike wants everyone to know is that he DID wear a suit!!

After a casual dinner, we watched the sunset from the Observation room in very comfortable lounge chairs and another drink in hand.  As you can see, I kind of “checked out” a bit and truly relaxed!!




Here it is now Sunday morning and it’s raining and ugly outside but we’re just kicked back and enjoying the morning after a truly blissful night’s sleep in a very comfortable bed.  Impressive!!

So the day begins!  Will post when I have “reasonable” internet.  They want astronomical rates – my biggest complaint so far. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

I must be relaxing as I’m losing track of the date. 

Sunday at sea actually turned into a not so bad day.  The rain was only brief in the morning and then we even had some blue skies along the way.

We wandered the boat and explored every floor. We could now give directions to many a lost soul.  The art and furnishings are beautiful and we enjoyed exploring each floor’s unique style.

Mike went to an acupuncture seminar and ended up signing up for 3 treatments for his back pain.  The first one lessened his pain to a level 1!!  Very impressive!

I found a book in the library, as I hadn’t had time to download any books into my iPad – a real pho pa!  So I gobbled up the book while sitting in the Observation Deck and drank my mocha.  Gorgeous scenery!


Monday we finally arrived in Juneau by 1 pm.  We had signed up for the Mendenhall Glacier & Whale Watching excursion.  The excursions are expensive but after our experience on this one, we feel like we’ve gotten more than our monies worth!!  It was an excursion of a lifetime!!

We were so very fortunate that we found several pods of whales and they were in a feeding frenzy!  One of the techniques that they use is called “bubble net feeding”.  Mike and I had actually seen a documentary on this not too long ago so it was amazing to watch it in person VERY close up!!

There were from 8 to 12 hump backs all together that would dive deep with one swimming in circles and blowing through his blow hole to make lots of bubbles to disrupt the Krill and confuse them causing them to swim in masses.  With that accomplished, the whales all come to the surface nose up and mouths wide open at the same time forming a circle of open mouths.  Thousands of krill are then gobbled up.  Each whale takes in 15,000 gal of water into their mouths each time.


A simply awesome sight!!  And, we got to see this happen 4 times!!  Very rare!

Besides the whales, which we watched and chased for several hours, we saw a bald eagle and stellar lion seals.

This guy was massive!

From there we boarded our bus and went on to Mendenhall Glacier.  Oh, what a beautiful sight!


Back to Juneau and dinner and drinks at the Red Dog Saloon, which was the most successful and original bar since the gold rush days.  Good music from Brian Gale, good food and a rowdy crowd!!  Fun!!

It also felt good to have cell service again and be able to catch up on email and communicate with friends and family back home.

It’s now 8:40am and our day today is all at sea again traveling up Glacier Bay.
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