Monday, May 12, 2008

Monday, May 5, 2008, Tuesday, May 6, 2008 and Wednesday, May 7, 2008
The next 3 days were at sea in our quest for Hawaii. We started each day with breakfast, then some sun, then maybe we played some 4 handed cribbage with Naomi and Rebecca. Then lunch, perhaps a massage at the spa (one of the days). Some more sun in the afternoon and then a bunch of us joined up at the hot tub for drinks at 5:00pm. Even Mr. Ferguson has been known to buy the first drink in the afternoon and hop in the hot tub. I absolutely love this! We then will have dinner either by ourselves or with the women from Ottawa. Just some lovely times!

Thursday, May 8, 2008
Today we were in Honolulu and had a great day. We got off the ship early and walked around the port looking for souvenirs but found none. Or at least none that we wanted to purchase. I did find a few options for Lori for the matron of honor dress. Lori, you are gonna luv them! We got on our tour bus and headed out to Pearl Harbor and the Arizona memorial. Even though we have been here before we thought it might be worth a second look. You often see things you did not on your first visit. Thank goodness we had been here before because it was very crowded and hard to see things. We did still get a god seat on the launch and lots of great photos of the memorial. All in all it was a good trip. After Pearl Harbor we did a ride around the island and got some great shots of beautiful vistas and waves, etc.

When we got back to the dock we did not have enough time to go to Hilo Hattie’s, which has the absolute best Hawaiian shirts and stuff. Oh well, save my pennies for more better stuff! I don’t need good English I am on vacation.

We did have a little sail away party in our cabin. Rebecca, Naomi, Sue, John, Andrew and Susan all showed up with champagne, some from Tasmania and around the world. Not a bad evening. We had great fun and stayed up late and laughed and missed dinner and who could care less. Great times here. After the party we went up to the buffet and grabbed a bite to eat and then headed back to the cabin and went to bed. Tomorrow is the last stop on our trip and probably the one tour we have both been looking forward to the most!

Friday, May 9, 2008
Today we are on the big Island of Hawaii in the 2nd largest city of Hilo. Actually there are only 2 cities in the entire state of Hawaii so of course Hilo is number 2 because Honolulu is number 1. A very small port and very unassuming. Basically enough amenities to service cargo and oil ships that deliver what they need to survive. Obviously we have not been home for almost 2 months and it appears that prices, especially on gas have sky rocketed. Oh well, we’ll deal with that when we do get home. Our day started off with a short drive to the Royal Botanical Gardens which were most likely the best gardens we saw on the entire trip. The orchids and so many exotic flowers we had never seen before growing outside in rainforest type conditions or by the sea shore or in the open sun. We only had about an hour and a half and we were not the only folks who wanted a bit more time. I have so many pictures from here that I must come up with a cool way to display. Perhaps a piece of artwork……

We left the gardens around noon and headed back to the ship. Once there we grabbed a quick bite and then off to our final tour of the trip. A helicopter ride over and active volcano! Man was this cool or what! After a short safety briefing and weighing in, we boarded our helicopters and took off. We were in the air for a god 45 minutes which is how long they said it would be. We left the airport and flew over some small town type areas and then hit the lava fields.

It was amazing to see how the lava flows go. In one instance all you see is the harden lava and destroyed forest then you come across a 10x10 foot patch o f land with green lush trees growing. Incredible! As we got closer to the crater the sulphur spewing out of the volcano was quite intense and of course we could not fly through it. We did pretty close and Raja got some great shots. After we circled the edge of the volcano we went over to the shore line and actually got to see lava flowing into the ocean and forming ne land mass. Pretty spectacular I’d say. Our pilot, Hank, then flew us over an opening in the lava flow that will eventually be a tunnel. What we saw was the most amazing deep orange red color. Hank said that the temperature on there would be around 2900 degrees Fahrenheit.

We flew over an abandoned area due to the lava flows. There would be a road going past a few homes and of course a street sign and a stop sign and trees and then there would be nothing! The lava just cut off the entire area from the rest of the island population. Hank did say that they had filmed an episode of “Lost” in this area and I can see why it would work well. Kind of eerie to see all of those abandoned homes. Well the flight was too short, he did swing by some cool waterfalls and we got some great aerial photos of the cruise ship as we headed back to the airport. We did purchase the DVD that they film on each flight so we get to hear the commentary Hank was making during our flight. I understand there is also footage of them strapping us into our seats. Looking forward to watching that!

After all of the day’s events we returned to the ship and it started to pour. We just cleaned up and went and had dinner and a show and turned in for the night.

Saturday, May 10, 2008
Another 4 days in a row at sea. Food, sun, pools, hot tubs, drinks, cribbage, puzzles, I got turned onto Sudoku’s so another obsession is in place. We did have a wonderful group of performers who boarded the ship somewhere in between Tahiti and Hawaii. They are called the Westender’s and they are 6 performers and their musical director. They all met in the West End’s production of “Les Miserabes”. They formed this group and they do all Broadway music and they are very good. What a treat to get talent of this caliber on a cruise ship. They are scheduled to perform another new show on 5/12 so we of course are looking forward to that. Great fun

Sunday, May 11, 2008
Mother’s Day today. Just more of the same, relaxing and eating and drinking and sunning and swimming and hot tubing. Tonight was our last formal and we had 9 people for dinner. We drank Champagne and laughed and again missed the show because we were having too much fun. Never a problem to miss a show when we are having such a good time.

Monday, May 12, 2008
Today Raja and I are having our last massage of the cruise. I would like to bring our masseuse home; I believe every household needs one. We will probably catch the show we missed last night, watch the passenger talent show and see the navigational chart of our trip auctioned off. It is very cool but I am sure it will go for a tidy sum of money. After all of this will head to the hot tub at 5:00pm. Then we have reservations at the steak house for dinner to celebrate my birthday with the ladies from Ottawa. We’ll all go see the Westenders after that. Should be a great day!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008
This will be our final day of the cruise and I am sure I will be sending as much time in the sun as possible. It has been getting a little chilly though as we get closer to LA. This trip has been amazing and wonderful and I still can’t believe we have been so fortunate enough to experience it! Looking forward to seeing everyone upon our return!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Today we will disembark in LA and board a 1:30pm flight back to Boston. The trip is complete!

Until our Next Great Adventure!
Chris & Roger

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Today we are in Rarotonga which is part of the Cook Islands and actually a republic (?)of New Zealand. We did a 4wheel drive tour into the forest and our vehicle had some problems and something got bent, like the drive shaft or axel. Our driver was pretty nervous about it because he stopped several times. We got to one of the scheduled stops and we went off to look at some waterfalls and when we returned all of the drivers were fixing the car. It appeared that some of them were lifting the car while the rest were on the ground bending the broken piece of car. Before we stopped the car/jeep was making a sound that none of us had ever heard before.

We did see some amazing scenery beautiful landscapes it just keeps getting better. Everyone keeps telling us to wait for Bora Bora and Tahiti because they are even more beautiful than what we have seen to date. We did get a chance to stop at one of the many gorgeous beaches. You could walk out several hundred if not thousand yards and it was only up to your knees or thighs. The water was on the warm side, easy to get in. Clear and you can see so many fish and shellfish, lots of crabs too! The island has very beautiful scenery and flowers and trees and mountains. Just another good one!

Back to the ship for sail away which we did from the hot tub on the stern of the ship with the ladies and long island iced teas! The only way to travel folks! After that we got cleaned up and ready for dinner and had another fun night.

Thursday, May 1, 2008
A day at sea. I started off my day with s deep tissue massage from Reggie. He is quite good and I feel amazing afterwards. Spent the day by the pool and reading and watching movies and walking at least 2 miles around the promenade. (This is our attempt at exercising when we are not off trekking thru rain forests or walking on beaches). We played some 4 handed cribbage, had cocktails and dinner. I am getting quite used to all of this.

Friday, May 2, 2008
Bora Bora. Oh my Gawd!!!!!!!!!! The best Island to date. It was absolutely beautiful. We were able to get into the little village prior to our afternoon tour. Bora Bora is small enough and that means no dock so we have to tender in to shore from the ship. We did a bit of walking and saw some of the little village which seems to do a lot of fishing. The ocean is great but almost too warm to swim in. We did stop into a very beautiful shop/art gallery where we bought a very unique vase. It has a fairly unique shape and the artist painted the inside. Such amazing colors and a pattern unlike anything we had seen. Of course we bought this one, no 3 for $10 tee shirts for us! It’s only money. We decided to take the vase back to the ship before our afternoon tour so we did and then grabbed some lunch and headed back to shore. Our tour took us up the mountains on some muddy roads. We did see some 7inch guns that were put in place by the Americans in 1942 to shoot at the Japanese. They were still in pretty good shape. Of course we had to take some photos with them. The cool part is that we were at the top of one of the mountains and could see both sides of the island. That of course is why 2 guns were placed there for a good look out position. The roads to get there were steep, filled with mud ruts, rocky, bumpy, I thought I was going to die! Not really, it was a blast; we even got a bit of mud on us from it splashing up. Our driver, Carin, was a transplant who was half Italian and half Spanish, quite a combo and just lots of fun. She reminded me of Kendall with a great accent who spoke French!

We stopped at a very nice jewelry store where they sold basically black pearls. We did get to see how the pearls are made. I believe these would have been cultured, black water pearls. We did look in the store and I saw a few nice necklaces for me. One of the clerks noticed my necklace and commented on how beautiful it was. Of course I was able to say it was made by my jeweler, Miss Ginny of Alexandria. Ginny I am always looking for sales opportunities for you! You have now been seen in Bora Bora, Tahiti! Can you put that on your website?

There was just amazing great scenery during the ride! We had a great guide! It just ended too quickly. We tendered back to the ship. We did had Rebecca, Naomi and Sue to the cabin for a sail away party. We got some wine, whisky and munchies. They arrived with wine, beer and munchies too! Very funny. We had a great time and they loved the suite and our big balcony. Once out to sea we all went to dinner. A good day all around!

Saturday, May 3, 2008
Papeete, French Polynesia
This port was quite a bit more built up than any of the other Islands, but still very clean. We again had an afternoon tour so we walked around the capital city for a bit and got some tee shirts. They did have this huge market which we thought would be all tacky souvenirs but it turned out to be that and their food market. We saw some of the freshest fish you will ever see at an open market. Tuna, swordfish, sashimi, sushi! It just was amazing. Unfortunately it was a bit difficult to get the conversion from francs to dollars so we did not buy too much. Being Saturday there were a lot of street vendors and mostly locals walking around and shopping. I liked that.

One fact that was a bit sad and interesting. Prior to 2001 they enjoyed about 240,000 visitors a year. After 9/11 it dropped to only 150,000. 2007 was the first year they broke 200,000. Now in an effort to keep all Tahitians employed the government is targeting a goal of 300,000 visitors a year. Sp folks save your pennies and come to Tahiti! You can rent a 2 bedroom apt furnished for about $12 to $1400 US a month. I think our next long trip?

We had some lunch and then went on another 4x4 adventurer. This one had only 6 people in back and they took off the canvas roof so we could stand up, once we got off road. We drove thru some valleys and went up some good hills, but because there had been very little rain the dirt roads were hard and really bumpy, felt each and every one! We did make it to a spot by the river where we went swimming and had some fresh pineapple and coconut for an afternoon snack. The water was quite clean and very refreshing! I was the only one from out jeep that went swimming until our driver jumped in too! He was a blond haired native whose mother was Polynesian and his father was Swedish. He was funny and did give a bit of history as we drove thru the mountains. We also had a really good group of folks with us so we had fun and just laughed a lot.

When we got back to the ship we headed up to the pool and hot tubs for another sail away party. Raja ordered 2 more long Island iced teas for us and the girls joined us and we had a great time!.. Time to get cleaned up and then we met for some more 4 handed cribbage and then dinner. It was an early night. I think all of the thrashing around in the back of the jeep today exhausted me! That’s ok though, I don’t have anything else I need to do.

Sunday, May 4, 2008
This is the first of 4 days at sea before we get to Hawaii. I of course have updated the blog. Now I am going to head to the pool then lunch and then more pool and sun. Then we’ll get ready for dinner and go see the big floor show tonight which is a salute to Broadway. I promise I’ll be kind in my review. I do get pretty mellow on vacation. Will bring the last update to you in about 6 days after we leave Hawaii and are on our final leg of this incredible journey!

Take care
Chris & Roger