April 5th-7th
Still cruising the North Pacific

I woke about 7:30, coughing; feeling kinda rough.  I’m surprised my sinuses waited this long to react, considering how many low pressure systems having been dancing around this ship the last few days.  I usually start having sinus symptoms a week before a low pressure moves in at home.  I turned on the morning show; & Rick was announcing the cancellation of some shipboard activities.  He also said that if we had made our port call in Russia, the sea conditions would have been 3-4 times worse than they have been.   Even with a sinus clogged brain, I was able to answer the spellbider puzzle correctly.

In the Captain’s morning report, he said he expected rain most of the day & (a surprisingly warm) 60*.  We’re cruising at 18.5 knots (21 mph) in an east-northeast direction.  The winds are down some; but the seas are up.  We are south of the center of another low pressure system; & things should be a little calmer tonight.  As a precaution, there will be no Lido Buffet lunch service. His thought for the day...”The forest would be very quiet if only the best birds would sing.”

I took some sinus medicine; & went right back to sleep.  Liz woke me at 11:30 to see if I was okay or wanted anything.  A few minutes later, Rick came on & announced the closing of the gym & his plans to reshuffle all events for the rest of the day back down to the lower decks.

I threw myself together & went to the Bistro at noon to see what was going on.  Celeste was there working on her memoir writing homework. She said Bill was in bed, something he ate last night didn’t agree with him.  Pat came through to chat for a minute; & then Celeste & I went to the dining room for lunch.  We sat in Petar’s section.  Even though my taste buds are off, I was hungry.  For the third time I had the calamari adobo appetizer (sauteed with ginger soy sauce).

I followed that with cream of turnip soup with rye croutons & pancetta. My main course was a very unusual rendition of beef stroganoff.  It consisted of beef tips & mushrooms in a paprika cream sauce, topped with julienned red beets & pickles?  Alongside was a green pea rice pilaf. To be honest, I’m not sure how I felt about this combination.  I THINK I’m glad I couldn’t really taste it.

I had devil’s food cake with chocolate chip ice cream for dessert.  Very dense; too much, couldn’t eat it all.

After lunch, I went to the front desk to once again try to coordinate a dinner date with Jelena, Melanie, Johann & Leroy.  We still have scheduling conflicts. I had a haircut appointment with Rachael at 3:15.  I was surprised that it wasn’t as bad up on deck 13 as I expected.  By now, we’re sailing more northeasterly; & the winds are blowing on the port side at 20-25 knots.  I’m really tired of looking at the computer; so I took some more meds hoping to either stop the sinus pain and/or make the legs stop itching.  More meds led to another nap!  For those of you who are thinking that I’m sleeping my cruise away.......stop thinking!  I am so enjoying the luxury of being lazy.  All the rain, the rocking has had this same effect on all my friends (even without the extra medication). What we’re doing right now?  This is my kinda cruising!

I was napping when Liz knocked at 7:30.  She cleaned the bathroom, while her helper fetched dinner.  I had a lobster enchilada appetizer sitting on a bed of avocado & hearts of palm, topped with creme fraiche. It was so pretty on the plate; & what I could taste of it, was excellent.

Next I had an appetizer portion of angel hair pasta with olive oil, basil, garlic, parmesan & pine nuts.  Also very good.

My main course was seared mahi mahi on sweet potato mash with grilled vidalias, baby greens & citrus vinaigrette.  The fish was meaty, flaky & sweet.

I don’t know why I ordered dessert; but it sounded good & was very light.  It was mascarpone cream over chopped bananas, topped with cookie crumbles & chocolate.  It was just okay.

I worked on photos & the blog for quite a while.  The seas got a little calmer about 2 am.  I called it a night at 4 am.

Friday (Take 1):
I woke up briefly at 9 when I heard the Captain’s voice.  There’s another cold front out there (can my sinuses get a break, PLEASE?); & it’s going to get rough again tonight.  Surprisingly it’s 50*; & we’re moving right along at 18 knots (21 mph).  Captain’s thought for the day....”A journey is best measured in friends rather than miles.”

It’s so grey outside; raining off & on.  I fell right back to sleep until 11ish.  I found Celeste in the Bistro at 11:45, STILL editing her memoir homework.  I got some fruit & REAL coffee this morning; trying to wake up.  Over the next hour or so, the usual friends passed through to chat a bit.  Betty told me that the Lido buffet had a Filipino themed menu.  I went up to look about 1:15. Can’t believe I had the calamari adobo AGAIN; along with an egg roll & an interesting Filipino version of spaghetti bolognese (sort of spicy & sweet).  I sat down at the table with Elaine, Heann & John.  Hadn’t caught up with Elaine (or Peggy) in several days.

Trying to burn off all this wonderful shipboard credit, I made an appointment for a manicure at 2.  Since I no longer have NAILS, having a manicure is kind of redundant.  But I did enjoy a good hand massage & chat with Samantha, a lovely girl from Cape Town.  Later I went to the Avenue Saloon to listen to a talk by master photographer, David MacDonald.  He showed slides of some of his work; & also gave a few tips on the most flattering way to pose for casual photos.  After the talk, I chatted with him privately about editing techniques & shooting from the bus window on tours.  I let it slip that I shoot hundreds of photos a day; & he scolded me.  I MUST train myself to put the camera down, relax & LIVE in the moment.  He’s right; but I’m so convinced that I won’t remember things later, I feel compelled to capture it on ‘film’ so that I can always see it.

I went up to the Library to get my trivia prize; & then to the C.U. for some help with the iPad.  It’s good to have Jackie back from vacation. She spent about an hour going over basic iPad stuff with me.  Then she showed me her newest photos of Cassie (who is now 3½).  She has Jackie’s eyes; from the nose down she’s the spitting image of Clarke. She is an adorable little girl.

I went home at 5:30; & was not impressed with the dining room menu. So, I went right back up the Trident Grill for a cheeseburger to go.  (The burgers are so much better there than they are from room service.  And having them room temperature does not bother me a bit.)  When Liz came on duty at 6, I went over to the other side to tell her I was all set with my dinner; & would not need any service tonight.  There was a special event tonight called the ‘Around the World Cocktail Block Party’. We were encouraged to attend wearing items of clothing symbolic of the countries which we have visited.  As far as I know, all my friends were planning to attend; but I really wasn’t that interested.  I’m sure I’ll hear all about it tomorrow.

I went ahead & ran the clock forward another hour; played on the internet & ate half my burger.  The seas have picked up a little this evening.  And since I didn’t get my usual afternoon nap, I decided to turn in early (10 pm) to see what happens.

Friday (April 6.2):
Despite having to lose an hour each day for 7 straight days, another upside to staying on for the rest of the WC, is we get back that day we lost at the end of January.  So during the night we crossed the international date line again. And just like in the movie “Groundhog's Day”, we get a second chance at April 6th.  Elise has referred to it as the first April 6th & the second April 6th. I have dubbed them April 6.1 & 6.2.

I woke up at 2am; & couldn’t go back to sleep.  I was a little hungry, so I ate the rest of my burger.  Tossed & turned for a good while longer. Don’t know when I fell asleep; but I woke at 8:15.  And guess what? It’s raining??  I watched the morning show; & then got in the shower. There was no postponing this any longer.  I HAD to shave my legs; something I had been putting off because of the funky rash which now included some tiny blisters in addition to the red bumps.  They itch like crazy.  I can do some pretty good damage with what little fingernails I’ve got.  But a razor (with rolling seas); this was not pretty.  And I’ll leave it at that.....

I was out of the shower by the time the Captain made his morning announcement.  It’s 46*: & we’re currently cruising at 21 knots on 4 engines. We do have a little extra ‘in the pocket’; but we need to continue at this speed because there is another low pressure system ahead.  The thought for the day....”It’s because all of us are so different, that we are all so special.”

I took the computer up to the Bistro; & had some juice & a tart. There wasn’t much activity going on up there.  An hour later the ‘office girls’ came straggling in one by one.  Not only did they have too good a time last night; but the rain & the rocking made getting out of bed that much harder.  I think the last 2 segments of the cruise were hard on everybody; & we’ve become worthless slugs since Osaka.

I got the full run down on last night’s festivities.  Throughout the afternoon a steady stream of people came through the Bistro, everyone sitting to chat a while in between their comings & goings.  I fiddled with photos since it didn’t require any concentration.  I wasn’t really hungry at lunchtime. Finally about 3, I went up to the Grill to get a steak sandwich; & brought it back down to the Bistro.  Kris & Bill stopped to chat in the late afternoon.  It remained drizzly & choppy all day.  Sitting next to the window in the Bistro, there were times when the ship would roll so far to the port side, the sea came right up under the window sill.

A little after 5, Latin dance music cranked up down in the Cove.  It was so loud, we could hardly hear ourselves talk.  So we parted ways.  When I arrived back at the cabin, there was a notice stating that our shipboard accounts had been credited for the Russian port charges; & that we must pick up our passports in preparation for U.S. Immigration in Dutch Harbor.  I laid down with the Kindle; but fell asleep instead.

I woke up with a start about 8:30.  Without my even knowing it, Liz had knocked earlier & come in to see if I was in there.  I must have been in a deep sleep, cause I usually hear everything.  I wrote up my dinner order; & paged her to let her know it was out there.  She came back with it about 9:15.  I started with roasted sweet corn soup with leeks.  It was awesome.

Next came an appetizer portion of fusilli pasta with plum tomato sauce, roasted sweet peppers, zucchini, artichokes, olives & pecorino.  I never met a pasta I didn’t love!

My main course was rack of roasted Kurobuta pork with apricots, spinach & pistachio strudel & julienne steamed veggies.  The pork looked tantalizing; but it didn’t have that much flavor, so only ate a few bites. The best part was the strudel.

I ran the clock forward; & then settled down to do some more work. Internet is a little spotty tonight, possibly due to our position so far north.  I called it a night at 1:30.


I overslept a bit; & woke up when Capt. Glenn spoke.  It’s 35*; & he says it’s going to get very windy late this afternoon due to that low pressure. We’ve got ‘too much in the pocket’, so we’ve slowed to 16 knots on 3 engines.  He said the forecast calls for rain mixed with snow.  Yipeeeee! His thought for the day....”You aren’t learning much when your mouth is moving.”

I watched the replay of the morning show; & when I turned it on, Rick was in the middle of a dialog about how hurt he was about a comment made on a certain social media forum.  Although I knew what he was referring to, I was super shocked that he had caught wind of it this quickly.  And I was even more surprised that he chose to talk about it on the show.  For someone who would never intentionally be rude to anyone & who does an outstanding job as C.D., this must have felt like a pretty low blow.  I felt so bad for him.  And this served as a ‘wake up call’ for me.....every word that comes out of my mouth or that I put on ‘paper’, could come back to haunt me someday.  Yes, I have the right to speak my mind; even at the expense of others.  But will my conscience be able to accept the consequences?  Finally, he lightened the mood with a comment about (ShorEx Mgr.) James getting engaged.  (James’ girlfriend is onboard for this last segment.)  Unfortunately, I took it as gospel; & didn’t learn until later, (after I put my foot in my mouth in front of James) that it was meant to be a practical joke.  Albeit one, that was meant to prod James to propose.

I hadn’t been awake an hour yet; & it was already turning into a strange day. I kinda threw myself together & tried to go (incognito) down to Reception to pick up my passport & to the Bistro to pick up cappuccino to go.  Who should I run into there?  The one person who always looks perfectly made up & no hair out of place....Betty.  She had her computer set up at our regular table.  I sat with her for a little while.  Che came in for a morning snack.  I fixed a plate with meats, cheese & a croissant; & took it back to the cabin for a lite lunch later.

I tested the internet connection; & it was pretty good.  So, I focused on the blog today.  I got a good bit uploaded.  It started raining heavily mid afternoon; & by 4, I could barely keep my eyes open.  So, I took a nice siesta. After I woke up, I wondered what Celeste had been up to today. So, I gave her a call.  Liz brought dinner at 8:15; & it was a fabulous meal.

I started with king crab salad on melon carpaccio with orange-black pepper emulsion.  The presentation was beautiful, as they had made the ‘carpaccio’ out of thin squares of the cantaloupe & honeydew melon.  It tasted as good as it looked.

My next course was cream of salsify soup with truffle oil & wheat croutons.  I admit it....I had no idea what salsify was; but I was willing to gamble on it. Thanks to the internet, I learned that it means roasted vegetables.  It was really good.

My main course was sauteed tiger prawns on parmesan grits with applewood smoked bacon, broccoli florets, creamed corn in a tortilla cup. It came with some BBQ sauce for dipping.  I would have never dreamed of prawns, bacon & BBQ sauce; but don’t knock it til you’ve tried it.  It was outstanding!

I was watching the temperature on the navigation channel.  It was 32*; & since it had been raining all afternoon, I expected it to turn to snow. I kept going out to check; but it had not by the time I went to bed at 1:15. The motion of the water felt different tonight.  It’s a familiar feeling when you’re sailing alongside an archipelago.  The channels in between each island creates a rush of water.  It goes from still to bouncy; & that’s what's rocking me to sleep tonight.

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