Posted by: M.J. Bolstad | March 3, 2017

Another Dam Trip: Entry #6

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A very good view to wake up to!

Well, it was a gorgeous, wonderful day today in Sint Maarten, and I am tired and blissful just thinking about it.  It was an earlier start today than yesterday, since our shore excursion had a 9:15 meet up time, which meant DW and I had to get up at seven to have enough time for her yoga and my furniture rearrangement, breakfast, then getting ready to go. I woke up a little earlier than that because it was a bit rocky and I needed some time on the verandah to recalibrate, and so caught a beautiful rainbow as we sailed into Philipsburg. I had a light breakfast of fruit and a tiny teacup of muesli to start with my coffee and orange juice.  I wasn’t really ready for breakfast quite so close to having woken up, but I knew I needed to eat before heading off the boat for our adventure. I also had a sticky bun because delicious things are easier to eat even when you aren’t feeling particularly hungry, and Holland America’s are very, very good.

 

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The remains of a helicopter beneath the waves.

Our shore excursion had us getting off a very long pier with many cruise ships anchored to it, then heading to a large catamaran where we motored to our first location.  There were at least 60 people on our tour, so the first location, a snorkeling spot, was a bit crowded where the fish were, but it was still very cool.  One guide told us there we could see a sunken ship, cannonballs, and a helicopter.  We thought he was joking about the helicopter, but lo and behold, there on the bottom it was!  I’m very glad to have a camera that works above and underwater now. My snorkeling shots have improved quite a bit from the tiny, cheap one that ate batteries like candy I picked up in Hawaii years ago. That one could barely zoom and only help about 70 photos, of which maybe 10% were usable.  My Nikon AW1, however, is awesome and lots of fun to take in the water, even though people keep telling me they hope it is waterproof as I step into the sea.

 

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After finishing up at the snorkel spot, they hoisted the mast and we sailed up the coast for a while. I had a glass of rum punch, but just the one since I learned how strong rum punch is the hard way in Aruba, as we made our way to the second location, a lovely beach.  The guides moored the Golden Eagle and one made his way to shore with a cooler of drinks in the zodiac. I didn’t go all the way to shore but instead chose to float around in the ocean since it was so wonderful. Occasionally I drifted close enough to shore to feel the sand beneath my toes, but mostly I was just content to drift until it was time to head back to the ship. Once on board, we got sandwiches and more rum punch (which I let myself have another half glass of because I had a sandwich) and then a cup of sparkling wine.  I put a wrap around my shoulder so I wouldn’t burn and watched the sailboats. There were a lot on the water, and will be three times as many tomorrow, as it is the start of a race that lasts through until Sunday.  Basically it was pretty glorious.  The tour guides were great, too, and pretty funny. While we were making our way back to the boat, we came across a large raft shaped like a flamingo, adrift at sea. Not only did they slow the boat to rescue the giant floating, when he pulled it aboard, the guide pretended it attacked him, while another called out “dinner tonight”.

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One of the many sailboats on the water today.

Once back at the docks, DW headed back to the boat right away because she needed to use the rest rooms, while I had to stop in the duty free shop to replace my sunglasses, as a rim had snapped and the lens fell out. It meant I saw a chicken and her chicks just wandering freely, though! I didn’t linger long by the shops, though, as it was nearly time to sail again, and I was pretty hungry (the sandwich was just a small ham and cheese snack size). I ate in the Lido then went back to the room to shower off some of the salt and sunscreen while DW got a little more sun on the top deck. I say some, because even though I had a long shower and scrubbed twice with the soap, the stuff is hanging right in there in some spots.  I’m going to need a good exfoliating scrub when I get home, that’s for sure!

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Our towel creature of unknown species.

I did the trivia thing once again, reading in the Crow’s Nest and taking advantage of happy hour to have two glasses of sparkling Moscato while I read and waited for it to begin. The questions were harder today, but I still knew a few and felt useful.  Then it was time to drift downstairs and change for dinner, since DW and I have to get there before six if we are going to eat in the dining room, which we wanted to do.

It was much busier tonight than it has been, so DW and I didn’t get to eat alone this time, but we ended up sitting with a lovely and charming couple of 59 years, Bob and Carol.  We talked books instead of politics, and heard fun stories about when Bob’s grandfather was being taught to drive by his son in the twenties, and when he was told to stop, pulled on the steering wheel and said “Whoa!”. It was a delightful time, and the food was great too. I had a tuna carpaccio to start, with a steak salad (the steak perfectly done) as my entrée. I chose a strawberry shortcake for dessert which the waiter said he didn’t really recommend as it was just basically a “biscuit and whipped cream and strawberries.”  I think he has no idea what he was missing, because the cake part was perfect, the whipped cream a Chantilly cream that set off the strawberries perfectly, and basically it was everything strawberry shortcake should be.

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Needle nosed fishes!

After dinner, I wrote and mailed some postcards, lost a little more money at the casino ($10 only, I play more to kill time), then got a free piece of art randomly as I was walking back to my room. The art is… something else.  Jenny and Sean, if you are reading (and if I’m recalling whose story this belongs to correctly), it’s no three wolf moon, but it is definitely interesting.  Someone may get it in their stocking for Christmas, is all I’m saying.  Back at the room, I was greeted by our towel animal of the day.  DW and I aren’t sure what it is – perhaps a lobster or some kind of fish? – but it is pretty cute. Feel free to tell me what you think it is, if the picture conjures up a name! It also came with googly eyes like our elephant. I’m not sure what our stewards think of us, but I hope we are amusing them, because I stuck the first set to our mirror and now DW has put the new set above our peephole. Basically, we’re having a lot of fun.  Tomorrow is a sea day for us, so probably sun (though not too much for me, since I’m doing so well with the not burning and want to keep it that way!) and sleep and reading, reading, reading.  I’m looking forward to it, as today was wonderful, but all that fresh air and swimming against the current has made me a tired starfish!

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