Saturday, October 26, 2013

Sea Days

I think I've had a love affair with the ocean for as long as I can remember, and my earliest memory is that of a baby-going-on-toddler sitting in my high chair in the kitchen of our Key West home, sunlight streaming through the open window, with a small dachshund named Snorkel taking a bite out of one of my toes!  He was a bad-ass little dog, from what I hear.

Anyway, maybe I channeled Ernest Hemingway when he wrote The Old Man and the Sea, or perhaps it was the mysterious comings and goings of my father who counted 22 years in the service of the United Staes Navy, I don't know.  All I do know, is that I've loved everything water since the get-go. I loved taking baths, I loved swimming, and I joined the Mariners within the Girl Scouts.  Climbing a mountain has no interest for me, but sailing upon the open sea brings out the joy in me.

I am drawn to the ocean like a moth to light.  It awakens a deep, visceral energy in me. God speaks to me when I am on the sea. While some may see the celestial result of galaxies, planets and gravity, I see God's imagination take form.  Water is everything. The Big Bang is my God's answer to the question "what is beauty?".

We've had but three sea days on this cruise.  Not nearly enough for a two week journey.  But the ports I've visited have been lovely, and I do not regret a single one.  Still, I ache a little, for more sea days.  There's no Internet at sea, no cell phones ringing. No email to check, no traffic jams, no alarms to wake you at ungodly hours. Only sky and water, as far as the eye can see.

My perfect, last sea day has gone like this:

6:40 AM -- unknown cabin steward FLINGS open the ice room door directly across from my cabin and proceeds to shovel ice into his cart. One eye of mine opens, slowly, like a lizard....I see soon-to-be blue sky outside and decide to finally forgive that damn steward for his daily transgressions against my sleepy stupor.

7:00 AM -- yawn, stretch, get out of bed, stumble into a hot shower. Languish amid soapy bubbles and a steady stream of blissful hot water.

7:30 AM -- dressed for a day at sea, in palazzo pants and purple tank, I make my way to the Lido for a morning breakfast of scrambled eggs, fruit plate, that absurdly delicious triangle of hash browns, and a blissfully divine cup of hot, strong, coffee, perfectly creamed and sugared.

8:00 AM -- A stroll around the promenade deck, feeling the now warmer temperatures of the Atlantic, as we sail ever nearer towards Florida.

9:00 AM -- attend Culinary Arts demonstration of how they make their incredibly tasting Thai Coconut Soup.  I abscond with the recipe (well, not really....they were handing out the recipe on little cards) and enjoy how the executive chef prepares the dish.  At the end, we get to taste, and I swoon with delight at the flavor of this soup).  I ask the chef how to convert this to a vegetarian version and he takes the time to give me pointers and directions. Thank you Chef!

10:00 AM -- Back to cabin to relax, and update my blog.

11:00 AM -- Enjoy special Mariner's Champagne Luncheon. Sit with new friends from Cruise Critic website. 

12:00 to 2:00 -- relax on my verandah enjoying this beautiful, 80 degree day with light breezes and a calm ocean.  Blue skies and white puffy clouds accompany us along the way, along with a sudden appearance of a school of dolphins, keeping time with the ship's cadence.

2:00 PM -- special around the world wine tasting, accompanied with a variety of cheese and other delectable appetizers.  

3:00 PM -- return mostly read books to the library. Take a walk around the ship.  Make a reservation for the Asian restaurant Tamarind, for an early dinner.

4:00 PM -- return to cabin. Sit on verandah. Enjoy breeze, blue skies, gentle swell of waves, as the shop slices through the calm waters of the Atlantic, towards her final destination. 

5:00 PM -- an early last supper.  Asian food of the Tamarind. Seafood wonton soup.  Saki.  Shrimp tempura.  Red panang curry with jasmine rice. Tamarind's version of the chocolate volcano. It's a culinary orgasm.

7:00 PM -- another walk around the deck, enjoying the last gasp of sun and approaching nightfall.  

8:00 PM -- last entertainment show - Celtic fiddler and goofy puppeteer co,Edina encore. Not perfect, but sweet and entertaining.

9:00 PM -- back in cabin. Time to pack. Suitcase outside door. Finish the night with a stroll through the decks, one last time. 

10:00 PM -- sit on balcony, recall everywhere I've been, take it all in, commit to memory.

11:00 -- goodnight,

I shall close this chapter of my travels.


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