Posted by: M.J. Bolstad | April 26, 2013

Luck Be A Lady: The Birthday Cruise Day Two

It’s the eve of my birthday, and I am sitting in the cabin of my stateroom, writing my blog. I likely won’t post it until after I am back, because the internet is expensive and I’m feeling cheap today. I reserve the right to change my mind at any time, of course.

I slept fairly well last night, though I did wake up a few times thanks to one too many big glasses of water during the course of the day. DW and I went for breakfast, and I had a delicious waffle and surprisingly did not take bacon.  As ever, the food selection is fantastic on the cruise, and I am hard pressed to pick what to eat.

Up close and personal with a sting ray!

Up close and personal with a sting ray!

After breakfast, DW and I packed up and went to catch our tender to the Half Moon Cay, a private island the cruise ship is too big to get to. We had a bit of a wait before our adventure was to begin, so we took a stroll down the beach. The water was a little colder than I expected, though a far cry from what I could expect back home.  After a short while walking and getting some sun, we scampered off to our excursion.

Today was the stingray adventure, and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t afraid. I think when I signed up for it, I forgot the sting part of the ray. But I decided to push myself and brave it, and I’m glad I did.  The guide gave us some instructions, such as to shuffle your feet on the ground when you are standing instead of snorkeling, to make sure you don’t step on a stingray.  Also, since we were going to feed them, she told us how to hold the little squids with our thumbs tucked in so they wouldn’t get a “stingray hickie”.  Some of the co-adventurers were being annoyingly obnoxious (an unfortunate theme of our day, as it turns out) and talking over the guide as well as making jokes about Steve Irwin (the crocodile hunter who was fatally stung by a ray), which ramped up my fear, but I pushed through.  DW, however, decided she very badly needed her thumbs and stayed on the shore to take pictures.

We are getting ready to feed the stingrays!

We are getting ready to feed the stingrays!

I was pretty afraid for the first half, sticking close to the others and praying a stingray would not touch me. They swim right under you, and when you stand up, they sometimes curl right around you.  I began to relax a little after one brushed against my legs, since it didn’t feel anything like I thought (or like anything to worry about). It’s like silk, almost. Wet, slimy silk. But soft nonetheless.

I didn’t chicken out on the feeding (though it turns out the little squids we feed them are alive, gross!) and it was weird but cool. The stingrays swim up and over the guide, who helps you put your hand with the food in. The stingray, with its vacuum mouth, sucks its treat right out of your hand. It has a lot of power to it!

After the stingray adventure, we went back to the beach for a barbecue lunch, then some lounging in the sun, a dip in the ocean, and a short dry off in the sun again. We had to move once to get away from loud, annoying beach users (inappropriate comments, anyone?). It was a bit cloudy, so we had cooler moments, but when that sun was out, it was incredibly strong.  I could practically feel myself cooking beneath the sunscreen. And yes, I wore lots and lots.


The beaches in the Bahamas are beautiful! (How's that for alliteration?)

The beaches in the Bahamas are beautiful! (How’s that for alliteration?)

DW and I then took the second to last tender back, wishing we could stay in the Bahamas forever.  Once on the boat, I took advantage of the thermal suite package I once again indulged in. In addition to letting me take a shower (complete with aromatherapy mist) and wash the salt water off, I got to spend some quiet time in the heated chairs before spending some time in the sauna. I then took a dip in the hydropool that comes with the thermal suite package. I felt almost as noodly as I did after the massage!

DW and I puttered about the stateroom for a while, trying desperately not to fall asleep with limited success. We went down for an early dinner, hoping to catch a show at eight o’clock.  Two thirds of our dinner companions were delightful. Unfortunately, the other third fell into our theme, and made uncomfortable, biting comments at one another, when the male half wasn’t trying to patronizingly tell everyone why Obama was a communist.  Fortunately, the food was delicious. I started with the kiwi and lychee salad, while DW had an eggplant dish I’d also been eyeing. For the next course, she had a salad, while I tried a guanabana chilled soup. It was good, like bananas and coconut.  I had the jerk chicken for my entrée, which I knew would be spicy but I was pleased to be able to handle it.  DW had a delicious-looking salmon dish.  For dessert, I was tempted by the key lime pie but decided to stick with the Carribbean theme and had the pound cake with coconut and rum sauce.

The dining room was busy, so it was nearly eight before the dinner was done with, and the show was packed, so we decided we’d push ourselves to behave our age (read: not go to bed at nine) and catch the ten o’clock showing.    We read in the Queen’s Lounge for a while then watched some karaoke, but figured we should sneak out early enough that we did not miss our ten o’clock, so I didn’t manage to work up the brave to sing. (This is despite drinking the karaoke bar’s “Superstar” cocktail, which was rather large.)

We did get great seat for the ten o’clock show, which was the acrobats Ilia and Valerie, a married couple who used to perform with Cirque du Soleil. It was pretty incredible to watch, though the show started out slow. The feats of strength were quite fantastic, and there was some spinning of this metal cube that was quite cool. Then there was the ribbon suspended from the ceiling they did tricks on, which is always a favourite of mine. They finished by bringing out their son to do some tricks of his own, then by doing a final feat of strength with the cruise director, which was quite humourous. His costume consisted of an apron that had bare abs on it, like he had the torso of a Jersey Shore cast member over his own.

But now it is late, and I am ready to head to bed, even though I’m sleeping in and doing whatever I want tomorrow because it is my birthday. I’m looking forward to spoiling myself, possibly with a spa treatment. And definitely with some total relaxation.

Towel animal of the day: A stingray. How a propos!

Rockstar of the Day: Definitely me, for getting in the water with stingrays and touching them!

Drink of the Day: Bahama Mama

Gratitude of the Day: I am very thankful for gorgeous sun and sand, and the opportunity to lie out amid both.




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