A shot I took with my iPhone in July of 2013 as we cruised past on a Celebrity cruise liner. A different look of the mountains from what we are used to as we see them from the Alberta side daily. Very stark contrast as they rise out of the ocean as compared to the foothills and prairie on our side.
A Throwback Thursday post from 2011, a cruise out of New Orleans .
I am thinking I should have named this what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, but this ain’t Vegas. We are cruising into international waters on the NCL Spirit. We departed at 5:00, but first we had to meet up with Gord and Cheryl, who arrived in New Orleans at midnight on the 19th. We had our breakfast, made contact and headed off for our ship. Arrived at about 11, were processed by noon and on board by 1. The day ended in Y so it was time for a drink. We found the pool, and made friends very quickly with one of the servers and proceeded to explore the beer menu. It was extensive. One bucket of Red Stripe (buy 5, get 1 free) later, Gord came up with a suggestion. There is a pub crawl tomorrow, let’s do that. (I’m thinkin’ Gord likes drinkin’). After 6 beer, that sounded great, sign me up. As all things do, the day was moving on and it appeared that it was time to find our staterooms and get ready for dinner.
The beauty of NCL is the freestyle dining. Casual dress, no schedule, eat when you want from a large and varied menu. The food was excellent throughout the trip. Prior to dinner though, it was deck time to do the traditional wave to all the people on shore who could care less (probably thinking we are bunch of saps) that we are leaving. Yes the ship was leaving. And leaving, and leaving, and leaving. Apparently, it takes a while to reach the Gulf of Mexico from New Orleans. This got fairly old in a hurry, this leaving stuff, so we left the leaving. Suppertime.
As we sat for supper in the Windows dining room, we could look out the aforementioned windows and marvel at the scene. We were still leaving. We ate, had dessert, chatted, got up and left. It was now 4 hours after we had left, and, believe it or not, we were still leaving. Apparently it takes one heck of a long time to reach the gulf.
One more stroll on deck, then a show. Predictably, the show was really the cruise lines version of the Home Shopping Channel, but we were there, and some people like listening to Cruise Director’s talk about how great the shopping is on board. After an hour of excruciating pre-shopping , it ended. We decided to head back on deck to check things out, and we were pleased to see that we were no longer leaving, we had reached open water. Feeling satisfied, we headed off for bed.
When Lori and I were perusing possible excursions, we came across one in Belize that looked a bit different. River tubing through caves. I don’t believe there are to many places in the world that this combination would exist, so, we had to try it. We book excursions for 1 main reason, not missing the ship’s s departure. Apparently they will wait for late returning excursions if booked through them, but will not for people who book independently. The reason being they have no idea where you are on a private excursion, but know when you book their system. Basically cheap insurance.
We arrived in Belize City and were surprised to learn that the cruise ships cannot dock there. Not a problem in any way, just interesting. Shuttle boats took us to shore, about a 5 mile run.
This week’s challenge, One Love. As a recent love, we are into sailing, the sheer joy of being at the whims of the wind, and the acquiring of an ancient skill. No noise except the wind in the sails and the water moving along your waterline. The picture I have chosen is of our first solo sail on Kootenay Lake in British Columbia, Canada.
As the title implies, we are going to fill you in on our maiden voyage as sailors, and how we got to here (the video) from basically nowhere. Check out the video (and subscribe to the channel, I’ll get better as I do more, I promise) and I’ll tell the tale below.
I hope you enjoyed that, it was a great time. I promised you a story though, so here goes.
The premise of our various sites is to give the scoop on what we are doing, have done and are working on doing on the path to retirement. A few years back, 2011 to be exact, we shared an epiphany. We were looking for a way to combine many wants and wishes into a fairly neat package. Lori came up with, “Why not a sailboat?”. We want to see things, and in retirement we wish to do so without dragging our suitcases. The thinking with a boat was that it doubles as your home! All your stuff goes with you and you never have to pack. A home away from home so to speak. A;so somewhere to store all the touristy crap that someone I know buys at every opportunity.
This all well and good, except for one tiny detail, not knowing how to sail. The ocean is a pretty big place and a 40 foot boat requires a bit of know how, especially the part about not killing oneself. That drove us to begin researching and the the end result of that was that we needed certification and some hands on training, culminating in the purchase of an actual boat.
Once we figured that part out, we then had the question of where and with who, not even thinking about what we could, or should buy.. The answer ended up being reasonably easy, combine it with a vacation. Thus we discovered the Miramar Sailing School on the island of Antigua. We registered in the Royal Yachting Associations course for rookies, Competent Crew. We would be live-aboard on a 40 foot Beneteau sailing vessel, SV Miramar, for 5 terrific days of intense learning in the beautiful Caribbean.
That settled, we booked our flights, accommodations and the course and then anxiously awaited our departure date.
To be continued. (My apologies for this, got tired).
When one envisions sailing, one thinks the Caribbean or the Mediterranean. This is something both very different and very special. A beautiful and eerie sail through the ice and snow of Antarctica. Pretty amazing stuff. A helpful tip, watch in full screen.
One of, if not the first, around the world, single hand sailing race is returning in 2018. The one and only race was run in 1968, ending in 1969. Nine started, 6 retired at various stages, 1 sank, 1 committed suicide and 1 finished. The winner, Robin Knox-Johnston.
How safe is the Caribbean. Saw this video on Yahoo, and the headline had some immediate value to me. Coincidentally, Barbados and St Lucia are two places on the itinerary for our next adventure. Timely? I think so.
In reality, we have never felt anything but safe anywhere we have been. Likely a combination of naivety and good practices. Every little bit helps.
I ran across this article a few months ago and wanted to share it. It outlines the many benefits associated to sailing. The link can be found here.
The maiden post for this site will have to be the maiden voyage of the newly purchased 25 foot O’Day sailboat. The boat was formerly owned by some very good friends in Saskatchewan. They delivered the vessel to our location near Balfour BC on Kootenay Lake in the Canadian Rockies. Took a quick video as we did a shakedown sail on Sunshine Bay.
The sailing is something we will touch on quite often, as this is something Lori and I have tossed around for several years now as a potential retirement thing, or at worst, a leisure activity.