I am posting this on November 10 since I tried for quite a while yesterday. The internet service was really bad and I couldn’t even get the site to come up to do posting! But today it seems better (fingers crossed), so I will cover both our repeat visit to Colombo and a bit of info about the cruise in general and our upcoming visit to Seychelles.
I mentioned that we were going to miss the Maldives due to the political situation on the islands. We did sail right through the Maldives on our way to the Seychelles, so our enrichment lecturer, John Freedman, says we can now say we have been there!
We had the return trip to Sri Lanka, and since we had seen most of what we were interested in the first time around, we joined with Marilyn and Charlie who are on the world cruise with us to hire a cab to take us around to see some of the other areas of Colombo, and to do some shopping. It turned out to be a pretty good idea, because it was a Sunday and the shops are mostly closed on Sundays. But the embassies of Australia, Canada and the US called some of the prominent stores to ask them to open due to our ship making an unexpected return visit. And our driver knew just which ones.
Marilyn is a great shopper, so we had some fun in jewelry stores and in some of the other shops. I bought some of the local cotton garments and a piece of jewelry to wear with my omega necklace.So here are some of the sights we saw with our cab driver as a guide.
Every segment of the world cruise includes a cocktail party to honor returning guests, and Oceania Insignia has a large number – in fact, they have had to divide into two parties to accomodate all the returning guests. Usually about 440 of about 600 are returning. The captain always greets us and speaks and they have lots of drinks and appetizers. We get to go every segment!
We have had pretty good weather while sailing the Indian Ocean. On Monday, November 9, there were a few cloudbursts, and Norm spotted this waterspout from our balcony. It is the first time we have seen one so close, and he noticed the choppy sea before seeing the waterspout form. For those who have never seen one, it is essentially a tornado that forms over water. We have seen them at the NJ shore but not close enough to see the churning water like you see here.
I am posting this on the morning of 11/11, and we are now 9 hours ahead of eastern standard time. In the past few days we have moved our clocks back 3 hours and I am getting up very early! Today would have been my mother’s 86th birthday and I am thinking of her and what she would have thought about this great adventure we are on. I am grateful to her for nurturing the spirit that helped to form my curiosity.
We are on day 127 now and the new people who get on each segment ask lots of questions about how we like it. The answer always is that we love it. We have not been bored for a second, even on these sea days. We do treat it like home in that if we feel like staying on the balcony and reading for several hours, that’s what we do! Of course, when we get home I am afraid we will get up after eating in a restaurant and forget that we have to pay.
Today we will cross the equator, and at 11 AM there will be a crossing the line ceremoy known as the “Order of the Shellback”. Originally, the tradition was created by seasoned sailors as a test of handling long, arduous times at sea (much like the Arctic Circle crossing I described in an earlier post.) Sailors who have already crossed the equator are called (Trusty) Shellbacks or Sons of Neptune, while those who have not crossed are called (Slimy) Polywogs or Wogs.
We have previously crossed the equator both on land and at sea and we do remember the ceremony on the sea – King Neptune actually shows up and initiates the Slimy Polywogs into the Order of the Trusty Shellback. So we will see what the Insignia has in store. I do know that the orchestra will be on deck and that they will be serving “Equator Crossing Cocktails”!
This is very different from the line crossing ceremonies of the 19th century and earlier (thank goodness), it was quite a brutal event often involving beating the pollywogs and sometimes throwing them over the side of the ship and dragging them in the surf from the stern. Sailors were reported to have been killed while participating in these old line crossing ceremonies. Beginning in the 1980s, all forms of hazing are being strictly controlled. Today’s line crossing ceremonies are relatively tame and have become a popular tradition, even on cruise ships.
We are still enjoying the enrichment lectures. John will be with us until Miami and he is really terrific. His wife Tina has now joined him and we had dinner with them a few nights ago. We heard about the origins and history of some of our favorite foods (lots come from South America, originally), and yesterday we learned all about the Seychelles where we are spending the better part of 3 days starting tomorrow. They are the only oceanic granitic islands in the world and consist of 115 islands. We have been to Virgin Gorda and many say that the huge boulders there are much like what we will see in the Seychelles. The beaches and the snorkeling are said to be excellent so we are looking forward to that.
And the Seychelles are considered to be part of Africa, so we will now be in our next continent, before we reach the mainland of Africa. Lots of adventures to come!
In the US, today is Veteran’s Day, and in the UK, they celebrate “remembrance day” by wearing the poppy in their lapels. Eric, one of the cruise staff, is from the UK and was wearing the poppy. Here’s the quote that accompanies it:
“When you go home and tell them of usand say: for your tomorrow we gave our today”.
Very meaningful and appropriate for our US Veteran’s Day. May we always remember.