This is out of order but here it is...
We are on sea day #6. We hit land tomorrow. The weather was perfect for five of the days - sunshine and 20 -24 degrees. Today we have a little drizzle, it's 15 degrees and there are bigger swells in the ocean. We haven't seen any ocean wildlife yet and there are no birds out here. The area around the Azores is supposed to be a playground for whales, dolphins and other marine wildlife so I hope we see some.
This morning the ship was listing heavily to one side and it didn't come back down for some time. We saw a bunch of crew in their yellow rain gear run through the crow's nest outside. I guess they were working on the stabilizers. We eventually stabled out.
So, what does one do at sea? You can be as busy or un-busy as you want! We love walking the deck and do at least 5 km of deck walking a day (except today because the decks are closed because of the waves). We go to port talks, the spa, watch chef wars - ship officers are paired with chefs and have 30 minutes to create a dish with mystery ingredients, read, sit outside, nap, watch shows, try new drinks and eat. It is really wonderful!
I look forward to the captains updates everyday. After all the nautical talk (we are travelling at 90 knots) he gives some obscure facts. They have been about the importance of the compass, sea creatures (mythical and real), Equinox... Today was about seasickness. Basically the body likes to be upright and you find your balance in relation to the objects around you. So if your brain can't fix on a stationary spot and has trouble adjusting for the movement you may feel seasick. It can last for a few days. After being at sea for a while the opposite can happen on solid ground - land sickness.
I made it to bookclub meeting #1 even though I was two chapters short of the assigned homework. I don't think bookclub is my thing. I skipped meeting #2, I think I'll just keep reading at my own pace and discuss the book in my head. It is a good book and easy to read.
James is sunburned, I am not. I used 30 sun protection and he did not. Refer to my earlier post where I mention that I am a 6 in the Enneagram - I plan and I don't want to burn nor age prematurely so I wear sunscreen. I am amazed at the people (not James) who bake their skin. It's shocking.
The other night we had a Travel with Alan cocktail party. There was an open bar for an hour. That's unheard of on a cruise ship. There are 150 people in the Travel with Alan group. Nansea is our rep on board and she is lots of fun. She keeps a board by the front desk with updates and she is available an hour everyday if we have questions. I recommend booking the deals through Travel with Alan - great price and great service!
We've been to the Tamarind restaurant twice - we love it! Another Travel with Alan perk is free saki both times we had dinner there.
I am looking forward to hitting land tomorrow in Ponta Delgada - well hopefully docking safely as opposed to hitting. Internet is slow and expensive on the ship so we will look for wifi. James has some video to post.
James mentioned in his blog that we each have two colours that we are photographing. My colours are teal/turquoise and orange. I thought the orange sunset fit the bill nicely.
There are different things on this cruise that we haven't seen before. One day there was a glass buffet - all the food was in wine glasses. A paella BBQ, yesterday was a pancake buffet in the Lido and this morning the largest towel animal zoo at sea. The Lido pool area was taken over by towel creatures of all sizes and fierceness. The crew would have been up late creating the zoo. So cute!
Now our day in Sao Miguel...
The ocean was quite choppy as we came in to Ponta Delgada and there was a slight drizzle. We went up to the Crow's Nest to watch the approach and as we got closer to Ponta Delgada, the sun came out and a beautiful rainbow formed. Must be a sign of a good day to come!
We met our other tour mates (met through Cruise Critic) just before we docked. There were 8 of us in total and we had a wonderful day on the very lush, green island of Sao Miguel (one of the nine islands that makes up the Azores) with Lisa Ringelberg. Lisa is originally from Ontario but has lived on the island with her family for 20 years. Lisa's husband is a vet that specializes in cow genetics and introduced North American dairy cows to the island many years ago. Their 5 year plan to live on the island ended up lasting a lot longer. There are as many cows on the island as people - 140,000. And they are really nice looking cows! Portuguese prefer to eat dairy as opposed to drinking it so there is no fresh milk produced. It's all powdered or boxed or made in to yogurt and cheese and exported to Portugal. Dairy and tourism are very important to the island.
Lisa explained that her three daughters have had to leave the island for post secondary and their careers as there is no work for young professionals. The economy on the island isn't great.
Our tour began with a drive to Caldeira Sete Cidades. Here there are two volcanic lakes - one is green (shallow with algae and therefore green) and the other blue (a deeper lake). The lakes and vegetation are stunning. There are loads of hydrangea bushes and I can only imagine how beautiful it is when they are in bloom.
We had a pit stop in a small village by the lakes. I love the colourful houses. All of the houses have some sort of religious tile above the front entrance. 95% of the island is Roman Catholic. James had an espresso and a piece of cake and I had a pumpkin tart and the bill was just over 2 euros.
The highlight of the day was a homemade Portuguese lunch at the home of John and Geretti Estrelas. They were both from the island but moved to Toronto when they were young and returned in their retirement. Their three daughters are still in Canada. They were wonderful hosts and the lunch was great. Everything they served was from the island except for one of the wines was from the mainland. We started with delicious cheeses, pineapple, blood sausage (I don't eat things with the word blood in them) and chorizo (home made). Then there was coleslaw, fish, potatoes, pork ribs, fava beans and two desserts. One a passion fruit custard and the other a baked rice pudding. Delicious! You can't see the ocean from their land and they have three cute dogs.
Next we headed to the volcanic beach - popular for surfing. The sand sparkles a grey/black colour. James waded in the water but a wave caught him so he ended up with wet pants.
We had a bit if time to see the historic buildings in town and we walked through the city gates which apparently means you will return. The island is beautiful and we only saw a portion of it. You could spend a lot of time exploring.
If you are ever in Sao Miguel, I highly recommend Lisa as a guide.
Today we are at sea and it is overcast. They have the decks closed because of wind so we can't walk outside. Very unfortunate because we are not getting our exercise in. We've been to a port talk and culinary demonstration this morning. We are meeting some people for lunch at the Pinnacle.
I have been having trouble posting my blogs - there is one floating out there that I thought I posted. Maybe it will show up someday?!
Some people have to get their sea legs when sailing but I have to build my stair legs. In an effort to thwart the effects of all you can eat 24 hours/day, the rule is no elevators. We must always take the stairs. Going from deck 3 to deck 11 is a challenge but it's getting easier.
We have been at sea for two days and it has been wonderful. The weather has been perfect - sunny and 22-24 degrees. There's a bit of wind and some motion in the ship - just the way I like it.
The Eurodam is great and I am definitely not bored! There are so many activities to do and talks to take in...and the crew is excellent. Mom, Ian Page (from our 2012 cruise) is onboard again to do the port talks. We've been walking the deck a lot - it's my favourite thing to do when cruising. I could watch the water forever. We went to the gym this morning so it's a good thing I packed my runners. I haven't wished I brought the grey boots yet. We bought a thermal suite pass and we use the thermal suite and hydropool everyday. It's so relaxing!
I decided to join the book club onboard because the book is one that I brought with me - "Beautiful Ruins" by Jess Walter. I thought bookclub would be fun but it turns out it's just stressing me out. We are meeting on Wednesday at 3 pm to discuss chapters 1-8. I'm only on chapter 3. I have a lot of reading to do or I'll have to fake it.
We need to lose 6 hours by the time we get to Ponta Delgada so every day we move the clocks ahead 1 hour at 2 pm. Someone I was chatting with said it makes people less grouchy to lose an hour in the day vs the evening. I guess when you need to keep a ship of 2000 people entertained you don't want them grouchy. It means I have one less hour before bookclub!
The food is great especially the Tamarind and Canalleto...oh and the Dive In fries are amazing. And I usually don't really care for fries. We haven't gone to the Pinnacle Grill yet. We've met some nice people and we'll get to know them more when on our independent excursions.
Our daily program says we will lose internet and TV reception soon as we get further out to sea so we will be out of touch. We will try to connect again in Ponta Delgada on Sunday April 12.
Signing off from somewhere in the Atlantic.
We made it to Fort Lauderdale! So far our adventure has been uneventful - in a good way.
The Edmonton airport was busy - spring break and Easter. Our US customs officer told us he used to work on the Eurodam - the ship we are sailing on. we were about to question him about why Edmonton? And he said - I'm closer to home. Our plane was de-iced and we were off to Chicago. See ya snow!
We are at the cruise port waiting to board the ms Eurodam. No visit from the Easter bunny today but I did see an Easter salamander.
Being at Port Everglades reminds me of my first cruise in 2005 - Christmas in the Caribbean with family. It was so fun and got me hooked on cruising. Aunty Mary-Lou's suitcase was lost and it didn't find her until our last stop in Nassau. Luckily there were enough people to share clothes with.
I woke up at 4.30 am and felt some panic because I couldn't feel the dogs in bed. I'm used to getting kicked by Phin or growled at by Westley. I'll miss them but hope to get some good sleep.
This morning we had breakfast, went for a little (dogless) walk, packed up and are ready to sail.
We booked this cruise through Travel with Alan out of Seattle and so far the service has been superb. Our flights, transfers, breakfast, etc are great.
I'm looking forward to sitting in the sun on the deck with a sail away drink...ship horn blowing. It's fun sailing out of Fort Lauderdale because people wave from shore and from their balconies.