Thursday, April 17, 2014

Report # 109 Sailing Towards Bridgetown, Barbados April 17, 2014 Thursday Partly cloudy, 73 degrees, cooler

Today begins the long trek across the Atlantic Ocean as the Amsterdam sails towards the Caribbean and the island of Barbados. It should take five full days at sea to get there. With all of the recent ports, we really need this time to take a break, and perhaps do as little as we want. Today was perfect for that.

It was a gray and overcast day this morning when we went to breakfast. And it never really improved as the day wore on. Did we mention that the clocks went back one hour last night? Despite getting tha extra hour of sleep, setting those clocks back still affect your routine. For some reason, you end up feeling much more tired towards the end of the day. Now that we are heading primarily westward, we will be doing more of these hours back, which will not give us any time to adjust. Bet this catches up with the crew as well. The only thing that they have over most all of us guess it..... youth. Works miracles.

It always give us a chuckle when the newsletter starts with the ship's fire drill as one of the main activities. We did see the fake smoke coming from somewhere down below us while we walked this morning. On another HAL ship last year, we did see what we thought was real smoke barreling out from under a closed door on the promenade deck. We were not aware that it was part of a drill at the time. When we saw some of the crew come running, we remembered it was a drill, thank goodness. In light of the recent accident in South Korea, we would not mind if these exercises were done on a daily basis.

Things to do and see in Bridgetown and Castries was the subject of Barbara H's talk. Even though we have visited these islands many times in the past, we always enjoy going there again. Even if there are other ships in port, it makes the visit more interesting. With many beaches and resorts, those that like the sand and water will be happy there. And there are always the tours that take you to the rum factories. Those are always fun, especially if there are tastings....and rum cake.

Finally, a new guest speaker has joined us. She will give a talk on the birth of the Atlantic Ocean, and what happened to separate Africa from South America. She is an expert on fossils as well.

For a welcome change, the Indonesian Crew Show was held in the Queen Lounge at 3pm. Usually, it is held late at night, like 11:30pm, when the crew is done with their work for the day. Although we did not attend in person, we did watch the show on TV later on. Unless you have front row seats, it is difficult to identify each performer. Much better to watch on the room TV, because you can get up close to see who is dancing or singing. Surprisingly, it can be your waiters or room stewards or stewardess, as we have a few ladies this year. The show was conducted with a lot of humor added, which may not have happened with our previous cruise director Bruce. For a change, it was better than most shows, according to our friends that attended.

The aft pool was mostly empty of sunbathers for two reasons. Very little sun, and packing, we suspect. Despite the cloudy skies, the sun did peek through occassionally, and when it did, it was intense. We are slowly heading southwesterly, which should improve the weather over the next few days.

Dinnertime was fun. Maureen, our friendly crafts teacher, joins us for dinner most nights, but sometimes leaves for special Debby Bacon singing games at 9pm. Since she is our trivia guru, she has been stumping us with some hard questions either before our meal or after. We all love to give some stupid silly answers as well as the real ones. Getting it right only happens about 50% of the time. Last night, Maureen said she would fire about half of us if we were on her team. Only kidding, of course. She has been a most welcomed addition to our family.

Tomorrow will be a busy day. Light breakfast, early brunch, cocktails with our travel group, and dinner in the Pinnacle Grill. And the best part, it is someone's birthday today.

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