A New Perspective on an old acquaintance

I was up early – dressed and out the door by 7:10. I had my iPod and my earphones and it was lovely – sun was just coming up, and I could see the lights of the fishing boats further out to sea. Our stateroom is on the starboard (right) side of the ship, which means we get to look at miles and miles of ocean, since heading south, that’s the side that is facing away from the land. We’re on Deck 8, high up, so I take the elevator down to the promenade deck and walk out the door that’s right there, turn left and head toward the bow (front) of the ship. Then walk around and around and around, trying to remember how many circuits I’ve made. Knowing how fast I walk helps, as long as I remember to check the time as I begin my circuit.

Walked at a moderate pace and for about twenty minutes shared the entire promenade deck with one other person who was just ahead of me. That was wonderful. Then, at 7:30, people started appearing. It was obviously a case of everybody determined to not gain weight on this voyage. We needed lanes and stop signs and traffic cops to direct the crowds! Some walked clockwise, most walked counter clockwise and it got hairy sometimes with some of us booting it, some running, some jogging, some strolling and some determined to stop in the middle of the deck and take photos (of what I’m not sure – it was nothing but ocean, and the sun was on the other side of the ship!). Just before most of the crowd showed up, I found a bird – swallow sized, huddled by the bow bulkhead. Picked him/her up but it was just stunned and fluttered out of my hands back to the deck, so herded it out of the way of traffic. When I came back around it had gone, so I’m hoping it flew off and could find its way back to land – it wasn’t a water bird at all. Brown with a greyish beige belly and chest – long wings that crossed on its back and a seed or insect eating bill. I suspect a swallow, but it was the wrong colour – brown, not blue and slate grey.

I got half my hour’s walk in (6 laps) then we went for breakfast, then did 3 more laps. We saw whale spume on this round, as did a number of other passengers who were out walking. They were too far away to get photos of – the blows we saw were almost on the horizon, but that didn’t stop people from trying.

We got into Astoria at noon. Astoria actually isn’t the attraction for me. I drive through it every year on my way to the Orthodox writer’s week at the beach, and I usually drive over the massive bridge at the mouth of the river. THAT’S what excited me, the idea of going under the same bridge I drive over each summer and seeing part of my route from a different perspective. (Yeah, okay, I’m weird – we know that.)


Big Bridge, long trip on it.

Big Bridge, long trip on it.

Except we didn’t pass under the bridge. Astoria obviously hasn’t been in cruise tourism long, because we tethered at an industrial pier immediately before the bridge that was normally used to load logs and fish. Bird watching was the order of the day. We didn’t go ashore. For one thing, it would be a walk through an ugly industrial area to get to the town, and for another, we’d have to navigate, on foot, the bridge ramps where they flow into highway 101 and 30. Not something that attracted either of us. And finally, there’s just not that much to do in Astoria (I thought – turned out they were having a beer festival. Given the state of some of the passengers when they boarded after the afternoon in town, I’m kind of glad I didn’t go.)


Fish Cannery - gulls were gathered in their hundreds

Fish Cannery – gulls were gathered in their hundreds

That’s the area, above, where we were docked.

We got our correct table at dinner, met our new wine steward and waiters (yes, we get two waiters: a waiter and an assistant.) But Renaldo didn’t forget us – he stopped and chatted with us and introduced us to Jay, the new wine guy. Like Renaldo, Jay’s from Manila, in the Philippines. Both really nice men.

The ship left the port at 6 pm and by the time dinner was finished, we were pretty much out at sea again. Got lots of work done – I’ve started a new story, a midgrade, and was poking around at the Akathist some amount, and got the last of my 4 miles walking finished. Actually, with the amount of walking you can do on the ship, getting from one thing to another, you can easily put on a couple of miles a day with no trouble.

Al was busy with his work – he’s programming a board game for computer, and cleaning up his programming toolbox.

And this was just an interesting light pattern on the ship docked ahead of us:


Tomorrow is an at sea day and we learn about some wines.


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