Embarkation Day, Week 1, February 13th
I didn’t take many photos of our embarkation on the 13th, although I will mention that it was about the best registration and boarding process that we have every witnessed. I did capture a couple IR images of the Port Canaveral harbor as we prepared to depart. Here is one of a distant oil tanker and the nearer Sheriff’s department boat in the middle of the harbor. [P2130524a1.jpg]
Port Canaveral Seaway
Sunday February 14th
On the 14th we landed in Nassau, Bahamas, and Connie stayed on the ship while I decided to walk through a small portion of town to photograph a bit. The area where I walked was not the most affluent part of town, although I don’t know that much of the town was much better. After I got back on the ship I noticed the Senor Frog’s was very colorful and lively, but outside the area that I walked through. The area that I walked through is best represented by the following images.
The Amber Jack registered in Nassau, Bahamas
City Park of Nassau, Bahamas
Sunday Carriages in Nassau, Bahamas
Another type of carriage in Nassau, Bahamas
A colorful Main Street in Nassau
A local traffic policewoman – in the process of writing a citation
[DSC00539d1.jpg, DSC00545d1.jpg, DSC00547d1.jpg, DSC00550d1.jpg, DSC00552d1.jpg, DSC00560d1.jpg, DSC00567d1.jpg] This was a Sunday and it is possible that businesses aside from the tourist activity was limited as it used to be in USA during the days of the blue laws.
Monday, February 15th
It was a day at sea as we traveled from Nassau to St Thomas (east of Puerto Rico). Shipboard on the 15th I didn’t take any photos during the day but the various restaurants and activity venues were crowded as one would expect with all the passengers trapped on board. During the day, the winds came up and the seas rose a bit. The pool was closed (as we discovered it would be the rest of the week due to the seas).
The night of the 15th continued to be stormy and windy and some of the passengers were seasick. The ship’s decks were fairly abandoned but were still wonderfully lighted [DSC00573d1.jpg].
Demonstration of the winds are seen in this video of the golf target spaces [C0001.MP4] (but is bigger than I want to upload, so comment to request to see it).
Tuesday, February 16th
At St Thomas we tendered into town and also took an excursion to Megan’s Bay where we spent a couple hours on the beach. The tenders were made up of our own boats as well as those of the Norwegian Escape that came to assist. These boats were much newer than ours and looked spotless and fresh (while you could see the old age of the Spirit’s boats). A view of Charlotte Amalie where our ship was anchored: DSC_4121a1.jpg.
A view of one of the tender pilots communicating the hands on-board our ship to properly position himself for taking on passengers: DSC00777d1.jpg (This is one of the Spirit’s old boats).
By contrast here is an image of one of the Escape’s newer tenders: DSC00774a1.jpg.
Entering the port at Charlotte Amalie I took a considerable number of bird photos (that I still need to identify accurately). A couple of those are here: [DSC_3946a1.jpg, DSC_4029a1.jpg].
At Megan’s Bay we rented a couple of beach chairs and found a shady spot to make our ‘home base’ as we walked around and surveyed the area but spent very little time in the water as it indicated a fairly significant drop-off several feet out from the beach proper.
I took both full spectrum images (from a distant vantage point) and IR images at Megan’s Bay. Some of those are here for reference: [Megan’s Bay-5.jpg, P2160559a5.jpg, P2160562a1.jpg].
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Wednesday, February 17th
The next port of call after St Thomas was Tortola and there we docked across the pier from the Norwegian Escape again [DSC00579.JPG, DSC00581a1.jpg]
and took another excursion to What Connie thought was Elm Beach, although its only identification was through a bar that used that name. I will confirm this name at some other time. [DSC00601d1.jpg]
The beach scene itself was just as one would expect (and from my perspective) pretty boring). The water was pretty and the bottom was smooth and regular however so this beach event was somewhat better than Megan’s Bay [DSC00602a1.jpg].
The Beach we did not Know
We rented chairs again and plopped ourselves right behind a family that we later discovered were Russians. There were also Spanish speaking tourists on either side of us, but I didn’t ask of their native land.
I took a video of our ride to Elm Beach and edited it later ship-board [Tortola-3.mp4] (too big to upload – comment to see the video).
Thursday and Friday February 18th and 19th
These next two days were at sea traveling back to Port Canaveral during which we played cards, read, edited video, played Scrabble and slept, and I took no photos of anything we or anyone else did during those days or on the day of our turn-around (the turn-around I refer to is the return to Port Canaveral, visiting Customs and leaving Port Canaveral with a whole new ship of passengers).
Sunrise, Feb 19th
Embarkation Day, Week 2, February 20th
So embarkation on the 20th of February was relatively uneventful although we visited Customs, ate chicken wings at the Blue Lagoon, listened to piano music (“Barry”) and talked with a sales girl at the Colombian Emeralds on-board store. We participated in the mustering drill at 3:00 PM, departed at 4:00 PM and then went to the casino to learn to gamble. The casino instructions were fairly straightforward (except for craps which is terribly difficult and offers very poor odds as far as I can tell). The simplest game with the best odds from my understanding is roulette, although it has as much as or higher minimum bet. We are told that we arrive in Key West the next day about noon. We have a Pub Crawl engagement at 12:15 in the theater.
Sunday, February 21st
On Feb 21st we landed at Key West and prepared for our land excursion. We first gathered in the theater to be organized into groups and then disembarked to join our group on land, get a free Pub Crawl T-Shirt, boarded the Conch Train and entered through the old Navy base to get to Mallory square where we started out Pub Crawl.
The Pub Crawl was great. We went to four bars (of the 300 or so on the island), including the Lazy Gecko, Rick’s, Flying Monkeys, and the Key West Hard Rock Café. At each of these were received a drink coupon of either a beer, a rail drink or one of their specialties (in most cases we took one of their specialty drinks – more on that later).
At two of the bars (the Lazy Gecko, and Rick’s) we heard entertainers playing their guitars and telling jokes (both were extremely good by the way).
After the third bar we stepped off of the main street to have a conch shell (the absolute first ‘shellphone’) blowing contest. There were at least five competitors (of which I was one), and the winner (for blowing the loudest, clearest and longest) won some great beads.
After the last bar we headed for the Conch Train stop to board the train back to the Spirit. On the way I decided to use the restroom at the Starbuck. While standing in line there for the restroom there was a Swede in front of me and a Scot behind me. I felt surrounded by my ancestors!
Finally, back on the Conch Train and back on the Spirit in no time flat!
The Conch Train
Monday, February 22nd
Another day at sea, sailing around the end of Cub from Key West to George Town, Grand Cayman, was uneventful. We took a couple images of the wind blowing the bow waves’ breaking into a colorful spectra.
Tuesday, February 23rd
Arriving at George Town, we had to tender in, but we didn’t use our own ship’s tenders but a private firm with several boats to get to and from the Spirit. We found a good spot among the beach chairs (and later the French and Italians showed up all around us). And in a little while they served us lunch on the beach.
Wednesday, February 24th
Our next port of call was Ocho Rios (Eight Rivers in Spanish), Jamaica where we docked and took an excursion to the Dunn’s River Falls via catamaran and enjoyed a reggae party along the way (on the cat).
Thursday, February 25th
It was another day at sea, and among other activities we had a luncheon with the Cruise Critic gang.
Friday, February 26th,
This day we were at the Norwegian private island Great Stirrup Cay. It was said that this had been a garbage dump island and was bought and converted to the ‘resort’ it is now.