To Hummingbirds and Honey Eaters
To Snail Kites
To Black Vultures, etc.
Western Caribbean then Eastern Caribbean
Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Key West, Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Thomas, Half Moon Cay
The weather was terrific, 82 to 86 degrees every day with sun every day.
Day 1 - Saturday, March 15, 2014 - Englewood and Ft. Lauderdale
getting ready for our trip, packing the suitcase!
and I drove to Englewood, Florida to visit and go out to eat with Dan and Missy. Seated next to the water was perfect and enjoyed our time with them catching up on things, during an excellent lunch of melt in your mouth Grouper Rubin dinner at a local restaurant.
Continuing on to Fort Lauderdale (it was Spring Break time), we stayed the night at Rodeway Inn & Suites (954-792-8181). It is just on the west end of the bridge before going over to the island where the cruise ship port is. The "Stay, Park and Cruise" package that they have is great! They even had breakfast and a lift over to the port and back when we got home on the 30th. The night's stay was noisy due to the AC running, but heck, the room was essentially free as we were going to park there for 15 days - the port cost for parking was that expensive!
Day 2 - Sunday, March 16 - Ft. Lauderdale and at sea.
serve yourself breakfast and out to the very busy hotel front. People and
luggage were scattered everywhere waiting to be called to their shuttle to get
to the correct Ship! We got to the Eurodam in time to meet Andrea on the
When Andrea was finished photographing on the gangway (above), we met in the Lido, an almost unimaginable vast array of meats, sushi, salads, vegetables and desserts, for lunch on the ship at noon. Our first of MANY great meals on the Eurodam. At 3:15 we did the lifeboat drill - always exciting. People packed on the decks, underneath lifeboats of which they are still wondering how 100 people could actually fit in there :).
Unpacking was fun and then off to eat and then to the night's entertainment. We were off on our cruise. The ship sailed through the night but we slept well, rocked to sleep.
Our cabin was on the 4th deck, food on the Lido was on the 9th deck. We did not use the elevator, five flights of stairs kept us busy! Dining was however was on Deck 2, so we only had one flight to get there, That night we met the most interesting couple, he was a wood turner of custom Pool Cues!
Day 3 - Monday, March 17 St. Patrick's Day - at sea
Moon Cay. The ship arrived at the island first thing in the morning but the wind
was too strong to anchor, tender boats were bobbing like toys, so we waved
goodbye. Breakfast with Andrea on the Lido Deck. Thus, we had a sea day on the
way to Jamaica.
Cuba.................................................. taking photos of Cuba on the way by!
Checked out several of the venues: the Cafe's, Bars, and the Casino. Stuffing ourselves at the Lido again and Afternoon Tea at 3pm, consisting of luscious little desserts of lemon meringue cakes, pink cakes of strawberry mousse, scones, chocolates, etc.!
that night was most elegant, waited upon by attentive waiters that soon became
our friends. Two of the photographers played about the dining room, catching
a photo of us and a St. Patties Day figure, then went on to the next
Andrea met us at 9:45 in the Crow's nest, a very stately library, game room, bar, coffeehouse of huge windows spanning the very front of the boat and down both sides of the room. Then went down to see the Recycled Percussion show at the beautiful main stage, above. These guys were quite energetic!
We kept up the five flights of stair climbing all day!
Day 4 - Tuesday, March 18 - at sea
breakfast, then Kitchen Tour.
Andrea caught us on video as we went by! We then went to the Queen's Lounge to Dance With The Stars, we danced the Cha Cha, a lot of fun.
Andrea invited us to see the ships bridge!!!!!!!!!! What a treat!
down through the glass floor on the ends of the bridge......................the
the CAPTAIN's chair!
Looking out over the ocean.
one of the many computer screens. This ship works all by itself, except for
docking! We went on the private tour of the bridge as Andrea snagged us a
tour with the crew to see the huge bridge! I asked about the reason we failed to
stop at Half Moon Cay - "the winds were so strong that the anchor would not
have held" was the answer. We discussed the grounding of the ship Concordia
- "that ship had drifted to shore, not motored there, the captain of that
ship should be going to jail for thirty years for his actions" was the
Lunch at 11:30 was a Collectors Voyage Lunch, then at 3PM the Royal Dutch Tea! Evening meal was formal with new friends, then down to the night's entertainment: Tableaux.
Again we kept up the five flights of stair climbing all day!
Day 5 - Wednesday, March 19 - Jamaica
kept us busy first thing mounting the photos that she had developed the night
Then exited the ship in Jamaica!!
PROSPECT PLANTATION, CAMEL SAFARI and DUNN'S RIVER FALLS!!!
tour of Prospect Plantation included a stop at the main house. In front of the
house is a mahogany tree planted by Winston Churchill!
I asked the security guard if we could find a branch that I could use to make a pen out of. We looked around and did not find any. So, the security guard climbed up on the wagon and broke off a branch! He then sat down on the ground and trimmed off the small twigs with his knife for me. I now can make a pen from the tree! Below is me holding the branch and on the right is the resultant pen!
then had a fun experience, a native was demonstrating how to climb up a coconut tree and asked for a volunteer to try it.
volNow the Jamaican started up the tree, placing his feet perfectly in front of him, upon the tree's trunk and braced his hands upon the other side, making a V to increase the force of his feet on the tree. Immediately he shimmied up the tall Coconut Palm tree with agile speed.
Next we went to where they kept camels! The guide told us that there used to be camels in Jamaica 200 years ago but they had died out.
guide said that he went to the airplane to accept the 20 camels that they had
shipped over a few years ago.
baby (lower camel) wanted in on everything!
camels were looking at the camera!
Dunn's River Falls
Andrea took us down to the ocean, then we started up the falls.
My left foot went down into a 3 foot deep hole and I skinned my right knee, but continued. Andrea was very agile and scampered up the falls, I was more cautious and was slower. It was great fun though .
Back to the ship for a shower and a great meal, dancing and entertainment - a magician!
We only did three flights of stair climbing this day, too tired after such an active day!
6 - Thursday, March 20 - Georgetown, Grand Cayman
STINGRAY CITY SANDBAR CRUISE and HELL
and I caught a bus to the north side of the island. We got onto a boat and set
off for Stingray City lying a few miles off of the north coast. As soon as we
got anchored, off the stern we went. The sting rays were all around us! They
brushed against our legs as they cruised past. We were able to pet them when the
boat captain and mate picked them up. I also held one for a while! The plastered
them up on us! The water was as clear as glass.
After playing for a while we climbed aboard for the ride back. As we approached the dock, the captain pointed out that there were iguana's on the banks! They were all over!
I decided to grab a cab to go see the town of Hell as Andrea needed to go back to work. The cab we selected had a wonderful lady driver that took us up to the town and told us stories of living there in Grand Cayman, and bringing up her kids there.
There were no other tourists when we got to Hell, so we played around a bit, I picked up a stick from which to make more pens...on the right the pen from Hell!
Then back to the shops.
A cabin with a window had become free on Deck 1! More stairs now! Eight flights to climb for meals!
I tried the "Casino Vault", a game where you try to move a "key" to the point where it would go through a hole and you win $500. I usually only spend $20 when I go to a casino but I only spent $17 before giving up. They have it rigged I think.
Entertainment was great!
We dressed for dinner too!
Day 7 - Friday, March 21 - at sea
we met Andrea for breakfast, then went to the "Dancing with the Stars at
Sea" and learned the Samba.
In the afternoon we went to the "Indonesian Tea Ceremony"!
had tea and deserts as well as some food.
Back to hiking the stairs most of the time. I ate only seafood almost every meal all week, but we both felt that we had put on weight - ice cream and cookies or other deserts four times a day!
Evening meal was formal with new friends.
down to the night's entertainment: Sound Stage. The light panels they have are
Day 8 - Saturday, March 22 - Key West
thing in the morning Andrea and I had
a wonderful breakfast together, then we went down to hang the night's production
Then off to see the town. Andrea wanted to take us to some costume shops and out to lunch a a real Cuban cafe.
wanted to go to the Hemingway house, so off we went to see the town. First to
pose at the southern end of US 1.
The Hemingway home was the same as ever, especially the huge pool. I had not seen the loft where he wrote, it was very, very nice.
We then went off to the shops,
costumes were awesome.
shop we met Paul Watson of The Sea Shepherds -
"ECO-WARRIORS", Eco Terrorist? Eco Pirate? Whatever, they have
several films out regarding their exploits, we watched one, he surely is
aggressive. Paul is wanted by Interpol, but he did not seem to be
worried. He purchased a girl's costume and had his photo taken with the
owner of the store. Click below to see more about Paul:
took us to lunch at Ochi Cafe (124 DUVAL STREET) where we had
a great meal of pork and plantains
photographs of an interesting cat with the greenest eyes.
It was not a six toed cat like those at the Hemingway House. Andrea went back to work.
purchased a glass figurine from the glass blower in the market there.
to the ship for dinner
and the show: Dancing with the Stars at Sea Finale They had quite a show spotlighting seven passengers dancing, the judges were so funny!
Day 9 - Sunday, March 23 - Fort Lauderdale
ended our 2019 mile Western Caribbean cruise in Ft. Lauderdale and began Eastern
Caribbean cruise. BB King Blues Club came aboard.
The Mainstage was set up with food and drinks for us and we stayed there for an hour while they cleared the ship, then went to the Lido for lunch with Andrea.
At 3:15 we had the mandatory lifeboat drill.
We went up on deck to see what was going on onshore.
The casino was undergoing some changes, sensors under the Blackjack table tops?????
Underway again, and off to another adventure. I noticed the clouds in the sky out the cabin window were going the wrong way about 6 PM. Captain Henk Keijer came over the loudspeaker soon after to say that a jet ski was sighted with a person in the water, we were turning around to assist. Got a shot of one of the two boats in the vicinity that were headed away from us.
Photos showed what looked like a person in the water wearing a life vest, but we looked carefully at the photos, it was a bunch of balloons!
was another bunch of balloons flying by at the same time! I think that the
balloons spelled out Happy Birthday, one part not shown was the Happy part, the
photo above was of the BIRTHDAY (the "R", "Y" and
"H" are easily visible with the "I" sticking out and other
letters in the clump). Nothing else was found and we went on our way.
Dinner was excellent as usual, and then on to the evening's entertainment, a lady comedian from Portland, Maine : Julie Barr.
Day 10 - Monday, March 24 - At sea
in the mist from the waves created by the wake of the ship on this beautiful
Andrea working hard.
ate treats at afternoon tea.
a couple of pieces for Andrea.
the library to do some research on the next islands we were going to. Then
getting dressed for formal night at dinner.
Day 11 - Tuesday, March 25 - Grand Turk
the sun, we are off to snorkel!
found a spot!
way back we saw several of the horses and mules that run loose around the
onboard ship we changed clothes!
night's entertainment was a juggler extraordinaire!
is a juggler in there somewhere!
what Mike does click below!
12 - Wednesday, March 26 - Puerto Rico
motored along toward Puerto Rico, the ship scared up flying fish. The Masked
Boobie and the Brown Boobie used this to help them get a free meal!
Boobie got this one!
The Brown Booby (Sula leucogaster) is a large
seabird of the booby family, Sulidae. The Booby's head and upper body (back) is
covered in dark brown or black, with the remainder (belly) being a contrasting
white. The juvenile form is gray-brown with darkening on the head, wings and
tail. While these birds are typically silent, bird watchers have reported
occasional sounds similar to grunting or quacking. Their beaks are quite sharp
and contain many jagged edges. They have short wings and long, tapered tails.
They also are spectacular divers, plunging into the ocean at high speed. They
mainly eat small fish or squid which gather in groups near the surface and may
catch leaping fish while skimming the surface. We had fun photographing them!
The Juvenile Brown Boobie is the darker one.
Masked Booby (Sula dactylatra) is a large seabird of the booby family, Sulidae.
his dive...................................................splash and swim down
pops, missed that time:
time he got a flying
here he tosses it!
Boobies hunt fish by diving from a height into
the sea and pursuing their prey underwater. They have a number of adaptations
which enable them to do this:
Boobies can dive from a height of 100 feet,
achieving speeds of 60 mph as they strike the water, enabling them to catch fish
much deeper than most airborne birds.
11:30 we went in for the Collectors Lunch and received two more clay tiles!
pilot boat came out to guide us in by the fort in Puerto Rico.
town of San Juan. The city/port was originally called the Port of Rico - Puerto
Rico but the ambiguous use of San Juan Bautista and Puerto Rico for both the
city and the island led to a reversal in practical use by most inhabitants: by
1746, the name for the city (Puerto Rico) had become that of the entire island,
while the name for the Island (San Juan Bautista) had become the name for the
off the ship to see the Fort at Puerto Rico!
Andrea had fun!
took us to a neat place for dinner across the street from this:
of plantain instead of pasta in lasagna!
the walk back to the ship.
Day 13 - Thursday, March 27 - St. Thomas
the way into port we saw this frigate bird!
decided to take the Sky Ride to the top of the mountain instead of walking or
taking a cab..
this fantastic photo of a Green-Throated Carib Hummingbird (on the left) and my
photo of the Antillean Crested Hummingbird (right):
had never seen a hummingbird with a crest before, he was so fast it was hard to
get any photo of him!
are honey eaters!
best daiquiris in the world, the one and only drink we had on the trip!!
on the ground we hailed a taxi to take us to town, the driver recommended
Gladys' Cafe for lunch.
we had goat, macaroni and cheese, rice, plantains, and white sweet potato!
to the ship for dinner.
King Crew was the entertainment.
Day 14 - Friday, March 28 - At sea
12 noon we were invited to a Mariner Society Lunch, but decided to eat with Andrea on the Lido Deck.
tea as usual and had a quiet day.
is one of the many cabana's that people can rent:
evening at dinner.
companion at night:
Day 15 - Saturday, March 29 - Half Moon Cay
got to play chess with another passenger, I won!
Day 16 - Sunday, March 30 - Fort Lauderdale - Everglades City and
off of the ship and waiting for our ride back to the hotel.
Stopped to have lunch on US 41
on the way home, alligator bites!!
A fantastic airboat ride!
Snail Kite with a snail for lunch .
Snail Kite is a locally endangered species in the Florida Everglades,
with a population of less than 400 breeding pairs, we were lucky to see this one
I guess. The changing elevations of the water have messed up the amount of
snails: as the snails go, so do the birds.
Great Blue out over the Everglades.
series of huts out on the Everglades.
A Great Blue looking around!
on the road, the sign says "Wildlife on the
Road"...................and here they were, fighting over a scrap of meat!
are photos taken along the edge of US41! There is a canal all along the road,
animals and birds galore.
also saw an unfortunate 8 foot alligator, the Black Vultures now have enough
food for the summer here.
I cried out "The studio of
Clyde Butcher!" and I have
always admired the work of "today's Ansel Adams" but we never expected
to see Clyde Butcher himself!
Butcher is seldom at his studio, but on the day we passed by he happened to be
there giving an interview out in the Everglades!
spent time viewing his amazing work, then walked through his small piece of the
Everglades behind his studio.
Clyde Butcher appeared!
purchased some of his art and he autographed it!
left and continued through the Everglades. Another Kite! This was a
Swallow-tailed Kite. It was eating a mouse (below left) while he was flying
around! It slowly disappeared down his gullet.
Isis is said in Ancient Egyptian mythology to have taken the form of a kite in various situations in order to resurrect the dead. I do not think that the mouse is coming back though.
And I then "flew" on home, having had an exciting,
wonderful, refreshing, delightful, unexpected, restful, thrilling vacation!