Tim and I spent Saturday night in Dillingham and then flew to Anchorage on Sunday morning. We were able to leave Anchorage on an early flight, so we got into Seattle a few hours earlier than expected. This was a nice treat because it meant we got to spend part of the evening with Carm and Jer and their girls. It was so good to see family. Thanks Carm and Jer for entertaining us for the evening! We made it back to the airport just in time for our 10:00 pm flight to Miami.
Tim and I arrived in Miami, Florida at 7:00 am on Monday morning. To us it felt like 3:00 am. Needless to say, we were pretty tired. We had to wait until 10:30 to catch a bus to our cruise ship. We tried to get some sleep in the airport, but it just didn’t work very well. We were trying to fight the urge of acting like cranky zombies and act like happy travelers instead.
I would be lying if I said the transition from village life to crowds of people was easy. There were so many people getting on that cruise ship. I kept telling myself that this was really cool and trying to fight the thought going through my head that I we were all being herded around like cattle. It only took me about 2 days to adjust to all the people, lines, and waiting.
Our stateroom wasn’t available until 1:00 pm, so Tim and I took some time to explore the ship and eat some lunch. As soon as 1:00 pm rolled around we were in that stateroom taking a nap. A nap has never felt better. We didn’t wake up until the ship’s captain came over the speakers to announce that we were all required to participate in an emergency drill before setting sail.
Tim and I went to the top of the ship as we left Miami. It was a lot of fun to wave goodbye to the passengers on the other ships and watch the Miami skyline be left behind.
That night, Tim and I experienced our first cruise dinner. It was a bit awkward at first. We were assigned to a table with another couple. We sat in awkward silence for several minutes until finally Tim struck up a conversation. We sat with some honeymooners from Alabama. Tim and I both agreed by the end of the cruise that dinner was one of the highlights of the cruise. It was just fun to look forward to the fancy dining experience.
Our first port of call was Nassau, Bahamas. I don’t ever feel the need to return to Nassau. There were 5 ships in port when we arrived and there were thousands and thousands of people everywhere. I couldn’t wait to get away from the dock and the first few streets in town. In Nassau, everyone on the streets tries to get you to buy things and they don’t take no for an answer. I felt claustrophobic and harassed. One guy kept trying to get us to rent a scooter, which actually sounded nice, because a scooter can drive you away from all the people. We didn’t have anything scheduled for the day, so why not rent a scooter, drive around the island, find a remote beach, and go swimming. Sounded like an excellent plan to me. After a 1-minute training, Tim and I were off. We fought through the traffic and made it about ½ mile away from the rental shop when the scooter just stopped, right in the middle of the road. Tim tried to start it again but without luck. We pulled the scooter to the side of the road, took note of the street name and starting walking back.
We were a bit nervous about the reaction of the company when we told them we left there scooter, but they did not seemed surprised at all. In fact, we didn’t even have to tell them what happened. They saw us walking up and said, “It broke down on you, huh,” like it happens all the time . . . not a good sign. Within a minute or two they had us on another scooter. Tim and I were off once again. Not 500 feet away, the scooter was out of control. The back tire had come off the rim and was completely flat. Struggling through the traffic we tried to make it back without hitting someone or getting hit ourselves.
We were given scooter #3 and were off again. This time determined to get out of the crowds as quickly as we could. As we got farther and farther from the crowds, we grew more and more nervous. This was scooter #3. How could we trust it not to break down also? We pulled over at a little remote beach, but Tim was too nervous to shut the scooter off for fear it wouldn’t start again. Instead we headed back to town and that’s when it started raining. We stopped at Atlantis on Paradise Island to wait out the rain. This is a tourist attraction was built as if the city of Atlantis was found. We didn’t pay see Atlantis, but just wondered around the casino a bit while waiting for the rain to die down.
We got back on the scooter a continued heading back to the ship. It was barely sprinkling . . . when we first left Atlantis. Soon it was pouring rain. I don’t believe I’ve ever been in a heavier rainfall in my life. Some areas of the street were covered in inches of water. Tim and I were soaked through. We couldn’t wait to get rid of that scooter. We returned it and went back onboard to get some dry clothes and eat some lunch. My advice: if you ever visit Nassau, do not rent the scooters.
When we got off the ship again, we decided to stay on foot. We visited Parliament square and the library, which used to be a jail. Tim asked for a library card, but they said no. Darn it. We wondered in and out of shops and through the straw market. If you paused or looked at anything at all, people were hassling you about what it was that you were going to buy.
Tim and I went to a show and some games on the ship that night. We also spent some time just sitting up on the top deck watching the ocean go by.
Wednesday we stopped in CocoCay. This island is really called little stirrup cay and is owned by the cruise line. No one lives there. There aren’t shops. It was basically just a beach day. This was Tim’s favorite stop and mine as well. We was overcast and sprinkled a little here and there, but we had pretty good weather overall. Tim and I went kayaking. We discovered that we work best in a kayak with me in the front being the power of the boat and Tim in the back steering. Tim paddled in front on the way out and I paddled in front on the way back. Poor Tim probably had to paddle about 3 times as much on the way out as I did on the way in because I couldn’t keep the kayak going straight. We got to our destination by going in a zigzag fashion. We stopped in some shallows near great stirrup cay and waded around looking at starfish and crabs.
We came back to the island for some lunch and then went out snorkeling. It wasn’t quite as cool as snorkeling in Hawaii, but it was pretty cool. We saw a lionfish, which I thought was cool. Later, I learned that lionfish are not native to the area and that they are a nuisance because they eat many other fish and don’t have predators themselves. Anyone spotting a lionfish is supposed to report it. Oops. I guess I’ll know for next time.
Tim and I returned to the ship on the very last tender. We took advantage of our beach day. We still had plenty of time to get ready for formal night. Formal night was a lot less formal than I was expecting. Which is good I guess because Tim didn’t have suit jacket or a tie. There were a lot of people dressed up, but there were a lot a people who were just barely above casual as well.
Wednesday evening Tim and I went to a comic variety show. It was really funny and entertaining. The entertainer was a juggler who mixed in comedy as well. He juggled 5 balls at a time like it was nothing. Later he juggled 7 balls. At one point in time he juggled a bowling ball, an egg, and a garden hoe at once. He even juggled ping pong balls with his mouth instead of his hands.
Thursday we stopped in Key West. We weren’t really sure what to do, but we went out for fun anyway. We took a “hop-on, hop-off” trolley tour of Key West. It took us on a 1-hour narrated tour of Key West with 8 stops. You were able to get off at any of the stops, explore and see what there was to see and then board another trolley. We got on the first trolley and enjoyed our tour guide so much that we didn’t want to get off, so we rode the whole loop straight and then rode again to get off at the stops. We got off near a beach with the intention of going snorkeling, but a thunderstorm started up about the same time. We were considered snorkeling anyway, but we asked the advice of a local and they said they didn’t think it was a great idea. So we went to the next stop.
We visited the southernmost point on the continental United States. Although, I wonder why the island of Key West is considered the continental US and Alaska isn’t. How is an island continental? At that point we were 4,401 miles from home as the crow flies.
Our tour guide told us that when he was in middle school they had some really cold weather, so cold that the temperatures dropped to the upper 50s. None of them owned cold weather clothing and they didn’t have any heat in the school building. They were all freezing. All the teachers were calling the principal asking what should be done. They ended up sending all the kids home. They also canceled school the next day because it was only going to be in the lower 60s. How different from school in Togiak! I had kids wearing shorts to school when the temperature rose up to 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
Tim and I spent Thursday evening at the farewell show. It was a dancing and singing performance. However, it was all 70s music that Tim and I were not familiar with. It probably would have been a lot more enjoyable had we been familiar were the songs.
Friday morning we had to wake up bright and early. We were going to be some of the first passengers off the ship because we were going on an everglades tour that morning. We were off the ship before 7:00 am. Our tour guide was a little crazy. He said we arrived early, so on the way to the everglades we stopped in the city and rode the metro. Later we pulled over on the side of the highway so he could run into the woods, clearly labeled no trespassing, to get some plant life for us to look at. He was a good tour guide. One of the plants he showed us was saw grass, which really is very sharp.
Tim and I really enjoyed our everglades tour. When we got to the tour spot, we got onto an airboat with another tour guide. He had a really raspy voice and would yell out of the boat “little Lily where are you little girl . . . little Lily . . . little girl . . . are you up yet . . . little girl.” He called to all the alligators like that. He had names for all of them and could tell us how many years they had had babies. As well as alligators, we also saw some turtles and a lot of birds.
When we returned from the airboat ride another guide showed us a scorpion and a baby alligator before wrestling a 7-foot alligator himself. It was totally a cool tour. I’m really glad that we did it.
After the tour, Tim and I headed to our hotel and took a nap, before going to the Lion King. We just noticed when we came into Miami that the Lion King was playing, so we got tickets. It was a bit of a splurge, but it was really cool. Not only was it fun to watch the play it was also fun to people watch. There were people in formal attire and casual attire. There were families there with 6 children and couples. There were people with fancy cars using valet parking and people (like us) taking taxis. The singing of the performers was awesome. The costumes and set was amazing. I just couldn’t stop staring at the costumes and set. I wonder how long it took to prepare and how much it cost. It was pretty elaborate.
Today is Saturday and we are headed to Idaho. I must admit I am really excited to go to Idaho and see family and friends. It’s been 2.5 years since I’ve seen you Spencer!! Tim and I were up early again this morning to go to the airport. We have a 5 hour 40 minute flight to Seattle and then another flight to Boise. Then we get to drive from Boise to Rexburg. After that, I want to stay off of a plane for at least a couple of weeks. (Tim and I had to ride on 3 different planes before we were out of the state of Alaska and then a fourth plane to get to Miami.)
Wanna see some more pictures? Go to the Bahamas Cruise page.