Does anyone really know what time it is?

February 19-21, 2019

Does anyone on Insignia really care?

OK, so we crossed the international date line and here are our instructions in the daily Currents newsletter:

So, now we are somewhere in the South Pacific en route to Figi where we will arrive on Friday, February 22 and it is Thursday, February 21 here at 7:45 AM. And in Philadelphia it is 2:45 PM on Wednesday, February 20.

Confusing, right? Well, do we care what day and time it is? I guess the people who had birthdays on February 20 care! There was a star gazing and miss a day party on deck last night and those birthdays were celebrated. Otherwise, it is just another wonderful day in paradise.

Speaking of paradise, on our deck walk…early… this morning we had a brief shower and a beautiful rainbow to welcome our day.

Lots of things to do today. Making a necklace with June, Zorba class, manicure, hopefully blackjack tournament, cooking class…life is good.

Oh, and I forgot to mention. We saw what we thought was a bat yesterday in American Samoa. Jubilee told us they are flying foxes! So I looked them up and they are in fact a type of bat called the flying fox or fruit bat.

Posted in At Sea, February, South Pacific, World Cruise 3 | Leave a comment

Pago Pago, American Samoa

February 19, 2019

Pago Pago is pronounced Pango Pango and it is absolutely lush and beautiful.  The town is at the western end of an L- shaped bay and surrounded by beautiful mountains.  Here are a couple of pictures taken as we sailed in.

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We made plans with Rodney and Candace to go hiking at the National Park.  When we got off the ship and realized how hot and humid it was, we took advantage of one of the many bus and taxi drivers who waited outside the port gates to offer guided tours of the island.

We got maps from Miss American Samoa!

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We met Jubilee and quickly agreed to go in his bus for a 3 hour tour – for $20 each. These wooden buses are everywhere on the island.  They are very colorful and all decorated differently.  Here is Jubilee with Norm, Rodney, Candace and our bus.

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Now, Jubilee would be quite happy if we got a few more people to go with us on the bus.  So as we passed passengers from our ship, we yelled out the window to see if they wanted to join us!  We ended up with 8 more people.  Most of them started to walk somewhere and found out how hot it was.

I should mention here that for all of the ports we have been to before – you can read the descriptions on the blog post from that port.  For example, here is the link to the post from our trip here 2 years ago. If you are thinking of visiting any of these places, you can see what we experienced on our visits.

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So, we set off on our adventure.  We immediately noticed the no drinking, no eating inscription which was written at the front of the bus.  Jubilee told us “don’t worry about that – it is for locals!”

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Jubilee took us to the western part of the island first. About 65,000 people live on the 76 square mile island and around 9000 live in Pago Pago. Including the marine waters, the area is about the size of the state of Oregon or New Zealand. 90% of the island is covered in untouched tropical rainforest. 

The local people retain much of the traditional way of life.  In fact, the organized ship’s tours to the villages had a requirement that women wear long pants, not shorts.

There are guest houses called “fale” that look like large gazebos where people entertain visitors or hold ceremonies like weddings. They are open and without walls to symbolize the villagers’ unrestricted culture. We saw many different styles. The first one is a ceremonial one with impressive carved columns.

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It was very interesting to learn that many families bury their loved ones in their front yards.  There are also cemeteries but we noticed so many gravesites in the yards.  If they have burial sites on their properties, the families are never allowed to sell the house, nor can the government take it over for any reason. We did see quite a few deteriorating houses and wondered if that was the reason.

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The road doesn’t go all the way around the island, so we went to the western area first, then went back to the eastern side before returning to the ship.  Jubilee wanted to take us up to a high point for some beautiful pictures of the landscape, but part way up, the bus started to overheat, so we didn’t do that.  By the way, these very interesting buses don’t have air conditioning, but the breeze once we travel makes them quite comfortable.

Here are some of the pictures of the sights we saw. The water is clear as can be.

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So, this island is an American territory and dollars are the currency. There is a US post office and of course, a McDonalds, in fact there are two of those.

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Jubilee told us of the earthquake and tsunami that happened on 9/29/09.  60 people died and he said if it had happened at night more would have died.  We stopped at the Leone Mission Monument that marks the contribution of Reverend John Williams who landed here in 1832 and began spreading Christianity.  The island is predominantly Christian and we passed MANY churches.

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We passed a school and on the way back, Jubilee pulled into the parking lot and picked up his daughter. The students were happy to see us!

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When we passed Jubilee’s house, his wife came to get his daughter!

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We went to “two dollar beach” which is also known as Avaio beach.  It now costs $5 but the name remains the same.

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There is a large Starkist tuna processing plant on the island – about 2000 people work there.

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Some shots of us in the beauty of American Samoa.

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We headed back around the bay. As Jubilee saw people walking he offered them rides back to the ship for $5. We picked up about 6 more passengers. Curiously, there are two places named for Ronald Reagan.

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Tonight, countdown to the Oscars continues with the movie BlackKKKlansman.  We have already seen it and liked it a lot.  I always say that the movie night is “all about the popcorn” which we only get on movie night, so I may go just for that!


Posted in February, South Pacific, World Cruise 3 | 3 Comments

At Sea in the South Pacific

February 17 and 18, 2019

Yesterday we had the beautiful brunch that the chefs prepare several times during the 6 month voyage.  Today was the first and as always, it was wonderful – both in taste and in appearance.  You can order specialties from the menu or choose items from the buffet.  Here are some pictures of the Grand Dining room feast. The delicacies are too numerous to mention!

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As we left the brunch, we saw one of the bar tenders at the coffee bar, Baristas.  It turns out that he is a fabulous artist. He showed me his picture from Bora Bora, then he said he left out the Insignia in the picture, drew it in and I took another picture of him holding his masterpiece. He did this with a ball point pen! He drew the Insignia at the top right in the picture between the mountains.

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At Baristas, they make specialty coffee drinks all day with these goodies always available.  It is open from 6:30 AM – 6 PM, then it converts to the Grand Bar for the evening. 

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I went to the Zorba the Greek dance class – we are preparing to do the dance at the passenger talent show and this was our third class.  I will post pictures after the show.  No word on when that will be yet.

After a relaxing day at sea, we attended the Oceania Club cocktail party.  This party is held every segment for returning guests.  Of the 650 passengers, 530 are returning guests so they need to have two parties.  Once you have reached a certain status which is calculated on your cruise points, you are invited to both parties. The second one is always the next evening.  I may have mentioned in a previous post that there are lovely appetizers served and the drinks flow freely.  You always get to greet the Captain and the General Manager as well as other officers.  Guests who reach the next level of loyalty have the opportunity to receive their pins at these parties.  We got our diamond level pin already.  Here we are with friends at the party.

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Monday – President’s Day in the US – we are at sea en route to Pago Pago, American Samoa.   It is a beautiful day and the seas are calm compared to a bit choppy yesterday.

I mentioned that I have been reading The Printmaker’s Daughter and going to the book club which is led by Becky Marck.  Not only are we discussing the book, Becky is giving us quite an education about Japan and its culture and customs. We are going to be learning about chopstick rules and have already discussed a lot about art, rituals, observances, etc.  For example, all young people born in that year “come of age” on the same day, January 20, not on their birthdays.  20 is the age at which they can vote, drink, etc. and are considered adults. There will be a lot to observe and learn before and during our time in Japan which will be March 26 – April 4.

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Our wonderful Polynesian enrichment lecturer, June Teruya, is on board until Tokyo.  I took her classes on the last world cruise and she is just delightful. Today we made the woven lei.  She gave us some history and described the correct way to gift someone with a lei.  Then we all made one. They can also be made into hatbands.

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They haven’t been having the blackjack tournaments because not enough people have been coming. We will see if they have one today!

 

Posted in At Sea, February, Food, South Pacific, World Cruise 3 | Leave a comment

Bora Bora, Society Islands, French Polynesia

February 16, 2019

Last night the countdown to the Oscars continued with the movie “The Favourite”.  Well, it was not my favorite.  The performances were good, but I didn’t really like the movie so much. We will see if the Oscar voters like it.

Today we arrived in Bora Bora by 8 AM.  We had an 8 AM tour scheduled.  Here are some pictures as we sailed into the harbor.  This is a tender port.

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Bora Bora is one of the islands of Tahiti – the largest marine territory in the world, covering an area of 5.5 million kilometers (equivalent to the land mass of Europe!) Of the 118 islands I mentioned in my last post, very few are occupied.  You can see a couple of the small ones in these pictures.

Our tour was an island circumnavigation by jetboat with snorkeling at one spot and swimming at a sand bar just off Matira’s white sandy beach.  The water here is such a brilliant blue and so clear it is amazing. And the colors are ever changing. You can see the color changes as the depth changes.

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Our jetboat captain was Alex and his assistant was Keatu. To our surprise, there were only 3 passengers and then Rene, our destinations manager, and one of the ship’s receptionists joined us so only five plus Alex and Keatu were on this adventure.

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We had a fast and exhilarating ride around the island.  Alex pointed out many sights including the amazing hotels that are actually kind of tiki huts on pilings in the water.  We passed one of the time shares – very expensive and exclusive – Marlon Brando owns one full time. They cost – on average – $20,000/month for the smallest.  The Four Seasons Hotel costs $5000/night!

The first pictures are of the Four Seasons and the second is one of the two Intercontinental hotels on Bora Bora.

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Here is one needing a new roof!

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And here we are with our fellow jet boaters.

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We had a snorkeling stop at the Coral Gardens which is said to be the best snorkeling on the island.

Norm took lots of fish and coral pictures with his new underwater camera.  I had some bread and the fish came right up to me to eat it.

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We then went around another part of the island to a sand bar where we went for a swim.  Alex wove some coconut leaves together to make a basket and he chopped open a coconut and fruit – grapefruit, bananas and papaya, and we enjoyed it with fresh pineapple juice. All of the fruit came from Alex’s own back yard!

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Here’s the name of the boat and some of me swimming as well as the sting ray that swam right by me!  Norm has on the hat that we were given as around the world guests.

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Alex entertained us by singing and playing his ukelele.  What a great day.

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When we returned to shore, Alex showed off his butt – and said “don’t put it on facebook”, with a big grin!  So here it is in the blog.

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This boat is the airport shuttle – the airport is on a separate island. And here are some local musicians entertaining us at the port.

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We had time to do a bit of shopping and we went back to a shop where we purchases a gorgeous necklace last time we were here.  If you go, it is called Bora Home Galerie. I bought a wonderfully designed pearl necklace and a hand painted dress. The shop keeper remembered us from our last visit.  And we will visit again, next time.

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The weather forecast called for wind and rain but the day was really lovely.  At the swimming spot we got about 4 minutes of light “liquid sunshine” but that was it for the day.

 

Posted in World Cruise 3 | 1 Comment

Papeete, Tahiti, Society Islands, French Polynesia

February 15, 2019

Last night we had dinner in Toscana and had a delicious pasta appetizer and then a tuna dish that was probably the best yet. Mario said he would try for more fresh fish in Tahiti.

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Last time we were in this port, it rained hard the whole day and our snorkeling trip was cancelled.  We stayed in Papeete and did a little shopping and visiting the markets. 

Today the weather was beautiful, hot but sunny and nice. We were greeted by local women who gave us one of the Tiare Tahiti local flowers to wear.  Behind the left ear means we are unavailable! Other musicians played for us as we came ashore.

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Then we were greeted by a whole group of 8th graders from Mennais Junior High School.  They have been studying English for 3 years and are doing a class project welcoming tourists and guiding them to several places to visit.  Most seemed quite shy but eager to practice their English. They had a brochure that they made about local attractions and local fruits to sample.  I spent a bit of time talking to them and their teacher.

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We decided to try to find a local guide to take us around since we didn’t see any of the rest of the island last visit.  We found Tom, and another couple from the ship joined us, Linda and George.

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Tom was a delightful 74 year old who has 16 children from 3 different women.  He said it was all because of not having any TV!  He serenaded us, told us lots of local stories and seemingly knew everyone we ran into on our travels.  He even knew this couple who was getting married in the botanical gardens.

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French Polynesia has a total population of about 300,000 on all of its 118 islands, most of which are uninhabited. They are halfway between Los Angeles and Sydney.  Tahiti has 197,000 and of that, Papeete has about 30,000 people.  It is a bustling town with lots of shops and markets. Tahiti is divided into two parts – the larger portion to the northwest is known as Tahiti Nui while the smaller peninsula is Tahiti Iti.  Nui means large and Iti means small.

Here is a picture of the island.

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Tom took us around the whole island stopping at all of the beautiful spots.  We started at the cave –the Maraa Grotto.  This is the largest underground cave in Tahiti.

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Next we went to the Harrison W. Smith botanical garden. The flowers and trees are just beautiful. There were beautiful lily pads too. Harrison Smith was an American physics teacher who created the gardens in 1919.

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They even had flowers in the rest rooms!

We visited the Fautaua Waterfall, one of the tallest in the world.  The water falls about 980 feet into a large pool below.

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The views along the way were beautiful as the road around the island is between the sea and the mountains all the way.  We also passed some pretty churches. Tom said the country is mostly Protestant.

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There is a large blowhole near the waterfall stop.  Tom told us the myth of this Arahoho Blowhole. The story goes that Queen sat down on it and went “ahhhh” and that is the sound you hear. I do have video but too large to load.  When the sound is made, the sea mist comes up through the hole.

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Our last stop was at Point Venus.  This was the Tahitian landing spot for captains Cook, Bligh and Wallis.  It is surrounded by black sand beaches.  There is a lighthouse which dates back to 1868 and the  Bounty monument which was erected by descendants of the ship’s crew.

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Here are some of the fishing boats and I guess some resting fishermen?

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We had a great day with Tom, Linda and George.

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We also explored Marche de Papeete, the largest marketplace here.  They have everything from fish and produce to hats, shell necklaces and local crafts.  Many women are making these flower headdresses that I loved, so I had to have one!

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So glad we got to experience more of Tahiti then just Papeete.  Great day.



Posted in World Cruise 3 | 2 Comments

Rangiroa, Tuamotou Islands, French Polynesia

February 14, 2019

Last night we had another terrific fish dinner that was grilled on the outside deck at the Terrace Café.  Mario was out getting fresh tuna (which he said you can tell it is good quality by checking the eyes of the fish).  The displays of the carved vegetables are also beautiful.  And the fruit that was brought on board was a delicious ending to the meal.

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Here are my dealer and manager friends in the casino. Sometimes it is a good night at blackjack but it is always fun!  Thanks casino team.

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First picture is Walter, Shanvia and manager Jennifer.  Second picture includes Dushan.

The show last night was Gabe Abelson.  He does stand up comedy but also mindreading.  He did the comedy show a few days ago and this was the mindreading show.  We have also met him around the ship and he astounded us with his abilities.  We are still shaking our heads about the things he did – trying to figure it out. He is a former writer for David Letterman and a 5 time Emmy winner.  This afternoon he will do a talk about working with Hollywood Legends – the inside confidential scoop.  If I really learn any scoops, I will be sure to share them!

Today we arrived in Rangiora about 8.  The weather is beautiful and the color of the water just astounding.  Here are some shots of our approach.

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You can see that we have to come into the bay through the narrow passage – easy to miss this port if the weather is bad.

This is a coral island and known as one of the world’s great dive destinations. 

We went into the port via tender again, these islands don’t have docks to accommodate cruise ships, even smallish ones like ours.  Musicians and dancers greeted us.

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We didn’t have a tour booked but intended to pick up a snorkeling trip and we got one right away.  There is a snorkel site called Motu Nui Nui which is accessible by boat.  It is known as a natural aquarium and was classified by Captain Cousteau as one of the most beautiful in the world.  Just the two of us, the boat captain and his dog were taken to another boat in the snorkel area. 

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We had a wonderful time.  Norm got a new underwater camera (thanks, Doc, for the recommendation!) So I didn’t even bring my Go Pro this time.  Our guide fed the fish and they were everywhere around us.  I counted at least 15 different species.  Unfortunately the two crew didn’t speak English so we didn’t get the names of all of them.  But we know angelfish, clown fish, surgeon fish and needlefish for sure.  The coral is in good shape – not as colorful as others we have seen but still beautiful.

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After our snorkel adventure, we walked to the Pacific side of the island where the current and waves are pretty dangerous for snorkeling.  It is beautiful and relaxing here for sure.

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Last time we were here we went to the pearl farm and bought a beautiful necklace.  The pearls here are the only cultured pearls in the world with so many natural colors.  I think of our time here every time I wear it, and I will wear it for our Valentine’s Day dinner this evening in Toscana with Marilyn and Charlie.

This time we enjoyed the natural beauty of this island.

Posted in Excursions, February, South Pacific, World Cruise 3 | 3 Comments

Nuku Hiva, Marquesas, French Polynesia

February 12, 2019

Yesterday I had the second cocktail school with Sebastien.  We made the Insignia Colada, the Ker Hawaii and the Mark Sebastien Old Fashioned.  I wrote all over the recipes so I won’t picture them here but here are some shots of the class and of the group. At the last class we were each given a cocktail shaker and at this one, we mentioned that we loved the long handled cocktail spoons, so the bar manager gave us one! In the second picture you see Sebastien smoking the ice.  I have never seen this before.  Not sure I would do this but it was interesting and gave a smoky taste to the old fashioned.

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Last night we were invited to dinner with the chief engineer, Nedyalko Tonchev who is from Bulgaria.  We call him Ned!  There was another couple with us and it happened to be Ned’s birthday. We had a nice dinner, lots of wine, and of course a birthday cake and ice cream.

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After dinner we saw the movie The Wife.  Glenn Close played a wonderful role.

On February 12, we arrived in Nuku Hiva.  Last time we were here, we had such bad weather in the South Pacific that we didn’t get here until it was almost dark, so we didn’t see much.  This time we got in by 9 AM. Even though this is the largest of the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia, it is largely inaccessible by car except for the coastal villages. There are no villages at all on the western side. We were tendered into port on the south side of the island.

The island was the site for Survivor: Marquesas, the fourth installment of the CBS show. It is a beautiful place.

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We were greeted by local musicians and dancers. The women all had these beautiful flower headdresses.IMG_1219IMG_1220

We first walked through the small town of Taiohae, the main town on the island. It is located on the edge of an ancient volcanic crater that collapsed into the sea, forming Taiohae Bay where our ship is anchored. It was a hot and humid day, but we walked all morning. The local people were all welcoming and friendly.

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Next we saw the Notre Dame Cathedral. The remains of the 19th century church is just a portion of the stone wall – Norm is standing in front of it, but the 1977 structure is also interesting.  All of the stations of the cross and other statues are carved in local woods.  Here are just a few of them.

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The flowering trees are so beautiful.  Norm is pointing to a breadfruit.

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We walked up the hill to the Keilkahanui Nuku Hiva Pearl Lodge.  This lodge is composed of 20 bungalows and has a spectacular view of the sea and the black sand beach. There is only one employee who speaks English and good thing she was there because she helped me buy my turtle bracelet.

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We then walked up to the large sculpture, Tiki Tuhiva,  at the top of another hill.  It is the highest contemporary structure in the Pacific. The woman tiki is 40 feet high and the warrior is 26 feet high.

There are also many sculptures (notice the anatomy!) on the path leading up to Tiki Tuhiva.

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Local fruits to be sent to the ship.

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And here I am with one of the people who will later be in the show on the ship.

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After we returned to the ship, the group of local performers did a show on the deck – local folkloric show.  They were terrific.

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And they invited guests up to dance with them.  Even Damien got involved although he didn’t take his shirt off!

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We always say that when the Captain makes an announcement and it is not noon (his daily announcement time), there is something unusual going on.  Today it was that one of the hoists for the lifeboats (which are used as tenders) was malfunctioning and we wouldn’t be leaving on time.  We did leave by about 10:30 PM and shouldn’t have a problem reaching our next port.

Dinner was in Polo tonight, and I had the lobster.  The waiter removes all the meat from the shells and put mine in a heart as Valentine’s Day is coming!

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Posted in Excursions, February, South Pacific, World Cruise 3 | 4 Comments

Crossing the equator and cocktail time

February 10, 2019

Today we crossed the equator – of course, we have crossed it many times, so we are already “shellbacks”. The equator divides the earth into Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere. Here there are 12 hours of day and night throughout the year.

The celebration has been done since the days of the Vikings, some say, and on cruise ships it is definite that the initiation of all Polliwogs (who have never crossed the equator) into the Society of Shellbacks takes place the day we cross the equator.

This begins with a procession of the band, some mermaids, some pirates, a judge and of course, King Neptune and Queen Neptuna.

Here the women of the entertainment team, Stephanie and Sophia, get initiated. The initiation involves kissing the fish and being doused with something. The passengers mostly got ice water but the staff members got raw eggs and pasta. Queen Neptuna was actually our assistant cruise director, Nieks, who had his boobs and wig removed to reveal his disguise!

Mario readies the fish

Norm has been attending the lectures (sometimes I watch the video later) but we did both go to the cocktail master class with Sebastien. Today I also went to the cocktail school where we made two of the drinks from the master class and the Honeymoon dacquiri.

The Martinis bar is ready for our class. Only 8 participants so we get a lot of attention

I am writing this on Monday, February 11. We attended another master class with Sebastien where he made the Honeymoon Daiquiri, Raspberry Ginger and the Spicy Mango Experience. We got to taste the Mango one. I will go to the cocktail school this afternoon too, where we will make 3 new drinks.

Tonight the viewing of Oscar nominated films continues with The Wife. We have dinner scheduled with the chief engineer and will go to the movie after that.

Some single ladies – they dubbed themselves the “naughty ladies” hung some lingerie on one of the wall art exhibits. It didn’t stay there long!

Posted in World Cruise 3 | 2 Comments

At Sea and Charlie’s birthday!

February 9, 2019

We are in our second of 4 days at sea on the way to Nuku Hiva, the largest of the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia.

Today we had two unique events plus an 80th birthday party for our friend Charlie.

Of course, we do love the relaxation of the sea days and always find things to do.

First we always do our one hour walk around the deck.  Today it was cloudy and a bit windy, but still a brisk way to start the day.

We had a master class in mixology with Sebastian Houdemon from France.  He is a graduate of St. Nazaire’s catering school in France and has worked in France, Spain, Dominican Republic and all around the world for international companies.  He is known for creating new cocktails.

Today he made the Oceania Elixir which we got to taste, a Tiki Smoky Old Fashioned and the Insignia Colada. I think the Oceania Elixer is a good one for yaya time at the beach!

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Sebastian is on the left with Roberto (food and beverage director) and Leslie, our cruise director.

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He will be doing another master class on February 11 and will also do a cocktail school twice during the next couple of sea days.  He is also in Martinis bar at night where he makes and serves his special cocktails.  I assume he will be departing at one of the upcoming ports so I want to try some more of the cocktails before he leaves.

Then, I went to the new book club gathering.  We are going to read The Printmaker’s Daughter. This is a novel about Japan and the discussion is being led by Becky, who lived in Japan.  Since we spend more than a week in Japanese ports on this cruise, this book should give us a glimpse of their culture.  We were each given a copy of the book and I have started it.  Fascinating.  We will get together each sea day for discussions.

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It was an Asian lunch today in the Terrace Café.  Another unfortunate pig was served.

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I wanted to play in the blackjack tournament but they didn’t have it today as not enough people showed up.  So I played a while at the table with Lalo and Isaac.  Lucky me, on the $1 side bet – Jolly Jacks – I got the pair of jack of clubs which paid out at 120:1!! Next time I want it with the dealer’s blackjack which pays $1000:1.  Hear that, dealers????

Our friend Graham Denison, the resident artist that we met in 2017 – and bought one of his paintings – arrived with his wife and business partner, Shuna – in Los Angeles. Looking forward to spending some time with him.

This evening Marilyn had arranged a dinner for her husband Charlie’s 80th birthday.  It was a nice dinner for 10 – joined by Rodney and Candace, Stephanie and Vic and Joe and Ginny.  Here is the invitation and some shots from the dinner.

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That cake was delicious, served to us with vanilla ice cream, yum.  And all of the waiters came to sing to Charlie. Damien, our general manager, sent a bottle of champagne and Marilyn chose nice wines to accompany the dinner.  Happy birthday, Charlie!

Posted in At Sea, February, Food, World Cruise 3 | 2 Comments

Hilo, Hawaii

February 7, 2019

Here is the clock tower and the lights on the hills as we left the Honolulu harbor on Wednesday.

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We heard that our executive chef, Mario, had bought some fresh fish in the Honolulu markets so we went to the Terrace Café for dinner.  Mario and some of the other chefs were grilling fresh tuna out on the Terrace.  And it was delicious.  He was also quite proud of the display of the tuna and the opah (moonfish) which is a native Hawaiian fish. We will have the opah on Thursday.

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This was our fourth time in Hilo.  This time we chose to do a culinary tour.  This was conducted by hometourshawaii.com

and it was a great day.  Hilo gets a lot of rain, average of 160-280 inches a year. It was cloudy with rain predicted but we didn’t get any at all in the area we traveled. There were two vans with 8 people in each. Our driver/leader/chefs were Lisa on the left and Jen on the right.  Jen is talking about her book about living in a yurt for a year.

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Our first home is owned by Beverly, a former chip designer in Silicon Valley.  She retired here and bought 20 acres of absolutely beautiful land overlooking the ocean.  There is no possibility of anyone building to block her view.  She designed the home and every room has a view of either the ocean or the mountains and is constructed inside and out of native Hawaiian wood.

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Here we are relaxing in the lovely spot.

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This view shows our ship in the harbor.

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Here’s our breakfast.  Pure Kona coffee (costs up to $50/pound).  Most coffee labeled Kona has only a small percentage of Kona beans.  We could add Bailey’s or Kahlua, cane sugar and whipped cream. We had a small glass of guava juice, banana macadamia bread, chocolate expresso/coffee bread, a taro doughnut – malasada (my favorite) and homemade sausage.

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We had plenty of time to relax, enjoy the serene setting and chat with Beverly and the other cruisers before moving on to the next house.

Here is a blown up version of the chip she designed.  The actual chip is on the right of the picture – very small.

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We moved on to the second house, a bed and breakfast called The Palms Cliff House Inn (which, by the way, is for sale).  On the way, our driver/guide Lisa gave us some information about Hilo and the Big Island of Hawaii.  There are no snakes here, also no squirrels, skunks or raccoons.  They do have rats which came from some of the ships originally, and they introduced mongoose to catch the rats.  Unfortunately one is nocturnal and the other is not so they actually co-exist quite well.  Another unintended consequence of human intervention!

We didn’t meet the owners of this beautiful place, but we did meet their 4 and 6 year old granddaughters who just couldn’t stay away even though they were told to.  They were proud to say that they were wearing their bathing suits!

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This place was just built in 1995 and made to look like a Victorian residence – a style that is popular here.  Again, the views from the large lanai are spectacular. 

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This is the large kahili, a feathered staff used in processions with former Hawaiian royalty.  They were up to 30 feet high.  In Hawaiian culture if you stepped on the king’s shadow you were killed immediately.

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These are handcrafted hats – beautiful displays of many handicrafts in this B & B.

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So what did we have to eat here? It was lunch.The chips are made on the island with potatoes imported from Idaho!  They were really good.  There was chicken macadamia salad in a papaya and an organic green salad with pineapple and pita chips and a sesame ginger vinaigrette dressing.  We had passion fruit iced tea to drink.

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Then it was on to the last house for dessert.  This home also has a beautiful view.  It is a 5300 square foot home with just Bernie, his wife and his dog Morgan living there. The beach just below his house is a big surfing destination and we enjoyed watching them while eating our dessert.

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Here we had a bread pudding, a coconut macaroon, lilikoi (passion fruit) mousse, apple banana, fresh pineapple and this fruit called rambutan. The part you eat is inside that fuzzy stuff and it is much like lychee.

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Norm and Jim have a chat.

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On our way back to the ship we saw the beautiful African tulip trees, a monkey pod tree and also this small lighthouse which has marks for the height of the water in the two major tsunamis in 1946 and 1960.

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During the tsunamis the railroad tracks were completely demolished and that was the end of the sugar cane industry here since there was no way to transport the sugar cane.  Beverly’s house stands on former sugar cane fields and you still see some growing along some of the roads here.

Speaking of roads, there was a lot of work being done and the road is only one lane each way.  Their law is that 100 cars pass each way with a flagman stopping the opposite traffic.   Needless to say that delays the trip.

It was a wonderful day with just the small group, the great guides, the homes and the fabulous views and the food.

Later we went to the Terrace for the opah fish and again, we were not disappointed.

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I am writing this on Friday – we had a “welcome home” party for fellow traveler Sukey at 11 today – we met her on the 2015 world cruise.  She broke her leg in Mexico, got back on the ship, was seen by the ship doctor and one in Mexico, left the ship in Los Angeles for surgery and came back in Honolulu to finish the world cruise with us.  What better place to recuperate.

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The party had free flowing mimosas and bloody marys as well as delicious appetizers.

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Norm and Karen with GM Damien.  He says we will do anything for a party!


Posted in Excursions, February, Food, World Cruise 3 | 1 Comment