Back in New Mexico.
The deer know they are safe in town. Of course nothing is safe from a car but otherwise safe because hunting is outlawed in the village limits and the state park.
And of course a few pretty sunsets.
We will be in Logan through January.
Vancouver, BC End of cruise.
Up and going early to be off the ship. Thank goodness we are in the hotel right above the cruise port so no long walks or frantic taxi hailing. We just have to gather our luggage and walk to an elevator to take us up to check in to the hotel.
Foggy and misty cool day in Vancover.
Back in the big city.
We grabbed a couple of meals at the nearby food court, played cards, relaxed, grabbed some Tim Horton’s pastries for breakfast tomorrow.
It always amazes me how wasteful people in large cities are especially with the fake environmentalism and finger pointing at rural areas as being polluters. Floor on floor of buildings fully lit and they stay that way 24 hours a day 365 days a year. I have seen the same thing in other cities especially NYC. Even at 8pm the lights are still on. I looked out before we went to bed later and it was exactly the same.
Our tenth (last) day at sea.
Shawna slept in and I was not up till 7am. Breakfast with Betty and then I brought coffee back for Shawna.
After Shawna had breakfast, she and Betty are off to the Mineral Spa and I am going to the gym for a few minutes.
Lots of relaxing and playing cards together today.
Packing and getting suitcases ready to be put out in the hall for pickup tonight.
Our last dinner at the dining room tonight. After dinner, there was a Chocolate Dessert event.
Our last chance to enjoying the final performances in the music clubs.
Our ninth day at sea.
I went to the Coffee chat and the guest was Ed Alonzo and was surprised at how diverse his acting and magic career was. He not only worked on several tv shows like Murphy Brown and Modern Family but he was a friend of David Copperfield and helped him with some of his biggest tricks like making the Statue of Liberty disappear. He also was working with Michael Jackson on the day before he died. He was preparing some illusions and practicing with him that day.
After the talk, we spoke for a couple of minutes and I thanked him for his magic performance the night before. He was amazing.
The last Mixology class. We met a nice couple from England. It turns our Mark is a huge D&D fan and writes and designs gaming systems. He and I got deep into conversion. It was a big surprise but nice to reminisce over the old days of gaming.
Dinner was the Pinnacle tonight. Very nice. Much better than the last cruise. We are still more impressed with the Tamarind.
The comedian was great. He was funny and his jokes were just what we needed.
A bit of BBKings and the Rock and Roll band then off to bed. We lose another hour tonight.
Our eighth day at sea.
Another day where we lose an hour. We made it to breakfast about 8am. Later than normal for us on a cruise.
Up to the Crow's Nest to play cards and then off to lunch.
The naturalist was speaking on Stanley Park which is a huge park right outside Vancouver. Very popular with the city residents and has a lot of different types of wildlife. Owls, eagles, great herons, and a lot of others. Animals like seal, otter, beaver, raccoons, squirls, and some dangerous coyotes. She told us that the coyotes in the park have started to attack people. They have become used to people feeding them and now attack people for food. They tried catching some and removing them but that has not changed the problem at all so now they may have to remove all of them. Replacements may be brought in but people will have to not feed them or the same problem will start again.
The crew decided to show off their skills at making towel animals. Impressive!
Back up to the Crow's Nest for some puzzle work.
Mixology this afternoon.
Dressy dinner tonight.
The Magician. Ed Alonzo, was great! Betty, Shawna, and I really enjoyed the show. It turns out he has been on the TV show Saved By the Bell playing Max? Ok I never watched the show. In Men in Black, he was the puppeteer for several characters including the "worms". He had a big stage show in Las Vegas and for a while had Britney Spears in his magic show where he would “cut” her in half. He was hilarious.
Shawna and I stopped in to the B. B. King's Club for a while before going up to the Crow's Nest to relax before bed.
Our seventh day at sea.
After breakfast, both Betty and Shawna were off to get massages and I went to the gym.
The naturalist will speaking on whales. That should be fun.
After our Mixology class and a nice dinner, Betty headed back to her room.
We went to hear in the new comedian Kermit Apio. As you can imagine there were frog jokes among other subjects. He was very funny.
We ended the day by relaxing in the Crow's Nest.
Our sixth day at sea.
A quick breakfast. Later in the morning, we went to hear the Naturalist speak on her encounter with bears and what to look forward to when we approach land in Vancouver area.
In the afternoon, our Mixology Class started again.
Dinner at the Tamarind. Wonderful as always. We were overlooking the aft of the ship and the water in that pool was sloshing over the sides on to the deck. I think it is going to be a rocky night.
Tonight we listened to the piano players in Billboard Onboard. They were both a bit “green” and dealing with some sea sickness.
Nawiliwili, Kauai Hawaii
We have been on the island of Kauai several times so we did not sign up for any excursions. Instead, we walked to a shopping area near the port.
Off ship for a little shopping. We made the required purchase at the ABC store along with a couple of other stores. ABC stores are jokingly called "All Blocks Covered" because they are everywhere in tourist cities in the islands. Then we went back to the ship for lunch.
The park next to the shopping area was nice.
Time to leave the Hawaiian Islands and head back across the open ocean toward Vancouver.
We did get a pretty sunset.
We missed the eruption of Mauna Loa by just over a month. Wow, bad timing on our part. Like we could have timed being there on time. I don't think so.
The show on the main-stage was Humanity. Wow! It was fantastic. We are not supposed to take photos or video of any of the Main Stage shows but I did find a couple of pictures from the dance companies site to show what we watched.
Warning History ahead:
I guess it is about time for me to inject a bit of history into the posts on our visit to Hawaii.
The islands are a system of eruption flows that are known as the Honolulu Volcanic Series. The chain is much longer than just the islands we can see with many older ones that have sunken back under the oceans surface all the way back to Midway island over 1,500 miles from the current islands
Hawaii is a string of volcanic islands of that series still above sea level. The islands are moving northwest away from a Pacific plate tectonic hotspot where lava comes up from deep in the earth and creates the islands.
The next island is growing. The Lö’ihi Seamount it about 20 miles off shore of the Big Island but still well below the surface at over 3000 feet but is growing steadily. Don't expect to visit or even see the new island any time soon. It is estimated that it will start to break the surface for thousands of years.
The first people to arrive on the islands were from Polynesia around 1,500 years ago. That is right. The islands had NO people until about 300 to 600AD. They brought their native seeds and plants, like taro and sugar cane, along with animals, including pigs and chickens. There was no contact from outside of the islands for well over 1000 years.
There is a debate on if a British expedition captained by James Cook or a Spanish ship was the first Europeans to find the islands. At that time the Hawaiian's had explored all the islands and lived on each. The population of the islands was over 300,000 people at that time. The Hawaiian people had kings, queens, leaders of areas or individual islands. There were even wars between groups for power and lands.
Hawaiian society was organized in what they called Ahupuaʻa for organizing the society, economy, geology and climatic division of land. Each island had its own Ahupua'a and was organized to meet the needs of the local population with an excess which was used for tribute to the rulers and for trade with the other islands.
The Hawaiians never wanted to be part of the United States and always wanted to remain an independent country. They were forced to become a state. Near the end of the 1800's the US government supported a "Sugar Baron" to subdue the people and maximize profits. Hawaii only became a state in 1959.
Honolulu, Oahu Hawaii
Shawna and I were off this morning to hike Diamond Head Crater. The volcano stands over Kahanamoku Beach and the city. The crater formed long ago and has been dormant/dead from long before the first people came to the islands.
A little bit of history:
Diamond Head, named Le'Ahi by the Hawaiians, is a volcanic tuff cone and was formed in a single brief but violent eruption.. The Hawaiian name is most likely because the shape of the ridgeline resembles the shape of a tuna's dorsal fin and Le'Ahi means ridge of a tuna. Its English name was given by British sailors in the 1800s, who named it for the calcite crystals on the adjacent beach and on the sides of the cone which they first thought were diamonds. Wow, they were disappointed.
Our tour guide drove us through Honolulu to Diamond Head and through the one way tunnel to the state park entrance in the caldera.
The hike is from the crater floor to the ridge where a military emplacement called Fort Ruger was installed to protect the island during WWII. Above you can see the emplacement to where we will hike.
When we started our climb it was smooth and only a small incline but soon turned rough and steep.
As we hiked up the walls of the interior of the volcano were interesting. This is a very ancient volcano and the walls are made-up of layers of fine and very large grain ash. This made digging for the emplacement very dangerous.
Beyond the many switchbacks was the 225 foot tunnel.
A few more steps and then the Lookout.
More stairs to the emplacement at the volcano rim.
From the Outlook, we got a view of Waikiki beach, Honolulu, and even the sub.
The emplacement is pretty interesting. Of course, it has been changed from military to "State park" configuration. It still is a bit of a challenge at points.
Next the LONG 99 step drop back down. Looking back up is even more impressive.
We were pretty tired when we got back to the ship. Time for a shower, lunch, and a drink at the Crow's Nest. Next is playing cards with Betty and watch a sunset.
Honolulu was shining for us and the Aloha clock tower was lit in the evening. It was not technically a lighthouse but at 10 floors tall it did guide ships into the harbor as it could be seen at night from 15 miles off shore. For decades, passenger ships and seaplanes would stop here after the long sea voyage from the mainland.
Honolulu, Oahu Hawaii
We have arrived in Honolulu. The old volcano Diamond Head greeted us to port.
Off to ride in a Submarine! Really! We even saw the sub being towed out this morning to open sea where we would be boarding later today.
We took a bus from the cruise ship to Waikiki beach where a boat that would ferry us out to the Atlantis Submarine.
Before we boarded the ferry, we saw a sea turtle swimming near by.
The sub was off shore in deep water.
The Atlantis is the largest in the fleet of subs the company owns with a max of 64 passengers, 100 feet in length, and a max approved diving depth of 150 feet below the surface. With only electric propulsion, the top speed is 2.5 knots. View ports for each passenger are large and 4 inches thick. Our first view of the sub was it surfacing.
I almost didn't get a picture of the sub coming up and blowing it's tanks. Cool!
Our sub has arrived. This is going to be fun.
After the current passengers leave the sub, we board. We got seats right up front. That works to our advantage later.
Soon after we dove everything looked green. The reason is that blue light is filtered out by the sea water.
We dove to just over 100 feet in depth. The entire time we kept surface pressure so there was no need to clear our ears at all. The tour guide told us that we were now members of a limited number of people in the world that have been that far below the surface. Only some scuba divers and military submarines go deeper. Neat!
The sub had huge windows for us to look through. Each of us had our own to look through. We saw lots of fish some that were very big and some green sea turtles. The company placed several ships, a couple of planes, and some reef structures that we passed very close to and gave us great pictures. The largest structure was fishing ship that was over 100 feet in length.
We all loved the trip and would have done it again if we could. This submarine trip was great.
After that, we had a couple of hours to shop near the shore and have some lunch. It is amazing to me that even a hole in the wall food vendor will place a pretty flower on your plate. We did shop at the "required" tourist shopping location, the ABC stores. Locals say this means All Blocks Covered. They are everywhere. The stores have lots of tourist stuff along with some convenience store items, like food and liquor, wine, beer… The strangest thing was Tuna and Wahoo Jerky.
We are a couple who have started on a new adventure...