Day 8 – Sea Day and the Magic of Dolphins

Hi,

Today was a day at sea while we are steaming 550 nautical miles towards the Equator and Ecuador.  I woke up feeling ever so much better today.  The sun was shining and the water was sparkling blue.  I couldn’t tell looking out the porthole how warm it was, but it looked pretty darned wonderful.  George and Emma were both still in slumberland.  I put on my gym clothes and made the trek to the top of the ship.

I was going to head for the gym, but when I popped out by the pool, it was so warm and lovely that I decided to walk the track.  It was about 7:30 a.m. and already there were a number of people sunbathing.  Mostly the old prunes, I mean aged sun-lovers, the same group who always seem to be there.  Maybe they sleep there – or they died on the first day and nobody has noticed yet.  If I was a pool attendant, I’d sure pretend not to notice.

Everybody was smiling broadly, and I thought this was an awfully jolly group.  Then I quickly checked to make sure there wasn’t a stream of toilet paper hanging out the back of my pants.  Last time I saw smiles this happy, I had a big streamer of Charmin’ following me.

The smiles, however, were for the dolphins.  Oh my goodness, there were hundreds of dolphins all around the ship.  They were cavorting in the waves and followed the ship the entire morning.  It was pure magic and totally mesmerizing.  I ran to a phone and called George and Emma to look out the window.  Emma was thrilled because they were jumping right outside our room.  I didn’t know anything could get Emma out of bed that early, but in short order she was topside with George.

I’m not sure what is so magical about jumping dolphins, but the whole world stopped to watch them.  Crew and passengers alike, we all stared with dopey grins.  I didn’t know so many dolphins would group at the same time.  Some were ahead of the ship, like they were leading us through the sea.  Others raced alongside, then would spin around and head out to sea, only to come racing back.  They were on both sides of the ship, so the view was spectacular for everyone.  It was like King Neptune himself had sent them up to greet our day.  If it had been a Disney cruise, I would have expected Ariel to surface and start singing.

I tried taking pictures, but my camera couldn’t capture the magic.  We were too high (altitude and filled with endolphin chemicals coursing through our bodies).  Rather than post a picture, use your imagination – then double it.

Now, I ask you, how can you have a rough day after a magical start like that?  I got a good walk in, had some breakfast and walked some more.  I had five miles in before the day had hardly started.

There is a ton of non-fat yogurt on this ship.  The wonderful weight loss company that I work for aren’t the only people to discover the many uses of it.  It sure makes it easy for those of us who count non-fat plain yogurt as zero points, however!  I decided I wasn’t getting enough whole grains in, so I have had some museli added to non-fat yogurt and then stirred in some fresh bananas and grapes.  Topped with a few walnuts and it is really tasty.  They also always seem to have some yogurt dips and sauces to add to dishes.  With just a bit of thought, it is easy to feel on top of healthy eating.  And I am not feeling a bit deprived.  Here’s another breakfast I have been enjoying:

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Scrambled eggs with salmon lox and sauteed mushrooms, with a grilled tomato. I love mushrooms, so I had an extra side of those next to the eggs.

 

For me, if I don’t start – I don’t miss it.  I decided to skip the desserts this trip, and so far it is working fine.  But I also know if I have one, then I’m going to be fighting the urge to try them all for the entire trip.  And now, because I’m superstitious, I’m going to have to spin three times in a circle and toss salt over my shoulder – just so I don’t fall into the cheesecake.

Speaking of food falling today, we had lunch at the buffet.  I love to “cruise” the entire buffet and try to create an interesting plate.  If I take a dab of this and add a dash of something else, I can make up some new dishes.    Suddenly this really tall guy whacked into me.  He probably didn’t see me, my eyes were level with his armpits.  Anyway, he managed to knock my plate high into the air and the entire plate flew in an arc across the floor.  Miraculously, the food didn’t land on me, but I couldn’t say the same for bystanders and the floor.  I caught the plate mid-air, but all the food sailed away.  Nice guy, he said “Sorry” and walked on.  He disappeared so quickly that it made me look like I had flung my food on the floor.  

There is something to be said about a good buffet, because all these people just started tromping through the food on the floor, eyes intent on the dessert station.  I had to physically stop one woman who was grinding my polenta into the carpet, while she oohed and aahed over the desserts.  She hadn’t even noticed!  I finally got an attendant who rushed over with a caution sign.  Of course, I kept apologizing, even though it wasn’t my fault, and it even sounded like a lie to myself when I explained a man had knocked the plate from my hand.

Cruise Buffet Lunch
I built this full plate from various food stations. Roasted cherry tomatoes, broccoli and green beans over beans, cucumber-radish salad, cauliflower salad, grilled fish with mushrooms. Called it a 3 point meal for the oils. All foods are zero. Left room for the formal dinner later!

Today was another installment of the Beyond the Podium lecture series.  The woman explorer talked about what it takes to be an arctic explorer.  Interesting factoids:

  1. If you have to go to the restroom while on skis, don’t do it with a tailwind.  You may find yourself covering ground, while you are….
  2. Upwind or downwind, when hanging out body parts to go potty – do it very quickly.  In 20 degree below zero temperatures, body parts freeze – and you don’t want anything snapping off, or getting stuck.
  3. In the arctic, you can go the bathroom and leave it there.  In the Antarctic, you have to take it with you and dispose of it after the expedition.  Now that has to be a lot of fun.
  4. Clothes are not changed – same clothes worn for a month.
  5. The only way for your toothpaste not to freeze is to sleep with it in your sleeping bag.  Same thing for your food items like candy bars.  Frozen chocolate can break your teeth.  You also get to use one disposable body wipe (also kept in the sleeping bag) every three days.  

Now, doesn’t this all make you want to ski across the North Pole?

It turns out the race car driver speaker is married to the explorer lady.  Now that is efficient!  They both get paid to go on a cruise.  Maybe George and I should explore this career option.  I could talk about weight loss (there would be six people attending) and he could discuss bankruptcy law (zero attendance).  Boy, talk about a cruise killer.  Actually, I think it would be wonderful to have an opportunity to talk about all the great food choices on the cruise and how to live it up and not gain a ton of weight.  It would need some forceful advertising, however.  Bankruptcy?  Now that might take a bit more creativity….

Tonight was dress up night and Emma and I wore our best finery.  It only took Emma 90 minutes to get her make-up perfect.  Since I forgot my make-up, it took me about 60 seconds.  But we looked pretty good, if I do say so.  We even gussied up George and partook in an elegant meal in the dining room.  Emma and George had lobster over pasta, which looked amazing.  Afterwards, we went to the nightly show, which was another spectacular treat.

I am determined to get a nice family picture of the three of us.  Well, it isn’t happening on this trip – look how our photo turned out:

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George looks like he just was caught escaping from the nursing home; I look like my panty hose is caught in the tablecloth, and Emma appears to have reconciled herself to traveling with the elderly and is yearning for arrival in Ft Lauderdale.

Tomorrow, we will see the sights of Manta, Ecuador.  George just watched a YouTube video about Manta, which may not have been a good idea.  It sounds like we should have a great time if we don’t eat, drink or walk on the tropical sands inhabited by criminals.  Apparently, Manta has the highest crime rate in all of Ecuador.  Woo Hoo!  Other than that, it sounds like a really amazing place!  He had to pick the one video by a disgruntled visitor.  Oh well, an adventure awaits!

Author: Traveling Grandma

As an aging mother of six and grandma to seven, travel was always a dream. Diapers, work and an eccentric high-maintenance husband just seemed to keep those trips a distant desire. Eventually, however, the kids potty trained, lived through the teenage angst years and left the nest to start their own families. Work still gets in the way, but it does help pay for the trips! Can't do much about the eccentric, high-maintenance husband; after 36 years I have reconciled that he will never pick up his underwear. He's my partner for life, travel companion and can always be counted on to do something totally odd. It makes for a good story, and besides - without his major financial contribution, we would sitting at home year after year, watching yet another rerun of NCIS. I work for a national weight-loss company and LOVE to cook. My love of food, and birthing those babies, led to an 85 pound weight gain. After joining a weight loss program, I shed the weight and found a new career. For me, it is a dream job. How many people can say they love their job? I get to work together with people to help them live a healthy lifestyle, and lose weight. And it changed the way I cook! Instead of coating foods with fat and/or sugar, I've learned to bring out the real flavor in foods and keep them healthy. It's a joy to travel the world and explore new foods. I'm always on the lookout for different foods and willing to try almost anything. George, my husband, is always aghast at my choices. He's looking for a McDonald's while I'm trying to find the best local eatery. Checking out grocery stores and food forums in different countries is endless fun. Bringing back cooking ingredients keeps the memories alive every time they are used in a recipe back home. Paprika from Budapest, Sumac from Turkey, dried squid from Japan....what a lucky person I am to experience it all. Life is interesting everywhere, and there is always something humorous to be found. I love to journal and people have been telling me for years to become a writer. With Medicare looming in my near future, I figured this was as good a time as any. If I don't do it now, I'll be writing stories about my neighbors in the nursing home. A big trip will probably be whacking along in my walker to the day room to watch the Travel Channel. I take heart that Colonel Sanders started his finger lickin' fortune late in life because he wasn't afraid to try something new. So here I go!

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