Wednesday, November 30, 2022

After the Big Game

Yesterday was devoted to Soccer and Christmas shopping. 

Both were successful.

I was very happy that the United States played a great match against Iran and won, moving on to the Round of 16 at the World Cup. I was very impressed with the generally good sportsmanship shown by the players despite all of the geo-political swirl surrounding the game. 

Sadly, though, the results of the match could have dire consequences for the losers. 

Iranians face retribution after World Cup loss against USA - New York Post

Conversely, one media outlet reported something very different about the mood in Iran after the game:

Celebrations erupt in Iran after world cup loss, people wave - Mint (which I believe is an Indian news reporting organization)

The euphoria of the win is dampened by the injury report. Both the US players in the image of the goal being scored are injured. Pulisic, who scored, and Sargent were removed from the game. Their status for the Saturday match against heavily favored Netherlands is day-to-day.

For the evening, Chris and I went to the nearly deserted mall for some Christmas shopping. I had expected crowds and tight parking, but that was not the case at all. It was wide open parking lots and few holiday shoppers inside of Arundel Mills.  

-- Bob Doan, Odenton, MD

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Soccer, or is it Football?

 I love the World Cup! I even watch it when the U.S. is not playing, but I do enjoy it more when the U.S. has a team in the mix. 

Today's game is crucial! A must win. Failure to win means elimination from the tournament and another disappointing showing for the U.S. Mens National Team. 

Wait, and the match today is against Iran! The same country that our team upset by defacing their flag the other day resulting in Iran demanding that the U.S. be eliminated form the tournament. The issue was over Women's Rights.

Sadly, this game has almost become more important geo-politically that it is from a World Cup sporting view. The Iranian players have been threatened, of course they did not sing their national anthem prior to their match with England.

CNN reports the activities in the following report: Iran threatened families of national soccer team, according to security source

It could be a very rough and difficult game for many people not just on the athletic field of play. 

It is a must win for both teams. The winner advances to the elimination round and the loser heads home! 

Go USA! The game begins at 2 PM Eastern Time!

-- Bob Doan, Odenton, MD 

Monday, November 28, 2022

Monday Musings - November 28, 2022


1. The final Monday of November has arrived. Don't look now, but there remain only four more Mondays in 2022. 

Portion of Patrick and Jen's Snow Village Display
Glen Burnie, MD
November 27, 2022

2. Chris and I have been enjoying visiting and transforming homes for the Christmas season. Yesterday we assisted with setting-up another Snow Village, two Christmas trees, and house decorations.

3. Family NFL Report.

    Ravens (7-4) lost to Jaguars (4-7), 27-28

    Commanders (7-5) defeated Falcons (5-7), 19-13

    Cowboys (8-3) defeated Giants (7-4), 28-20

    Steelers (3-7) at Colts (4-6-1), Tonight!

4. I hope that you were not traveling yesterday as the storm delayed air travel and snarled thousands of flights.

5. The weather for the week ahead is expected to be very enjoyable, yet cold here in Maryland. Thursday will be cold with the high right now projected to be 41 degrees. I am missing the opportunity to enjoy Happy Hour on the beach, but I am definitely enjoying Happy Hours with family.

6. I believe there is Christmas shopping in my immediate future!

7. Today in History. November 28, 1520. After sailing through the dangerous straits below South America that now bear his name, Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan enters the Pacific Ocean with three ships, becoming the first European explorer to reach the Pacific from the Atlantic.

On September 20, 1519, Magellan set sail from Spain in an effort to find a western sea route to the rich Spice Islands of Indonesia. In command of five ships and 270 men, Magellan sailed to West Africa and then to Brazil, where he searched the South American coast for a strait that would take him to the Pacific. He searched the Rio de la Plata, a large estuary south of Brazil, for a way through; failing, he continued south along the coast of Patagonia. At the end of March 1520, the expedition set up winter quarters at Port St. Julian. On Easter day at midnight, the Spanish captains mutinied against their Portuguese captain, but Magellan crushed the revolt, executing one of the captains and leaving another ashore when his ship left St. Julian in August.

Iran calls for US to be kicked out of 2022 World Cup - CNN

Thousands of US flights delayed Sunday as major storm system hampers travel - CNN

What to know about the protests sweeping China - CNN

Trump hosted Holocaust denier at Mar-a-Lago a week after announcing 2024 run - CNN

Exclusive: U.S. weighs sending 100-mile strike weapon to Ukraine - Reuters

China tightens security after protests against COVID curbs - Reuters

China poses increasing threat in military space race, top U.S. general says - Reuters 

-- Bob Doan, Glen Burnie, MD

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Photo-bombing the Christmas Tree


Christmas Tree with Finnegan
Odenton, MD
November 26, 2022
We had the opportunity to transform another room and prepare it for Christmas by helping decorate a tree. We missed the opportunity to go Christmas Tree hunting (Be very very quiet, we are hunting Christmas Trees), but were able to help with the decorating. 

The freshly cut tree arrived in good shape and was quickly installed into the stand and the best side for viewing determined. Then the fun began. Decorating. The decorating was not done to Christmas music, but rather the Ohio State vs Michigan football game. Having the game on the TV was different, but it kept my interest. 

When the decorating was complete, it was time for pictures and without any prompting Finnegan moved in to photo-bomb the image. He sat right on the tree skirt as if to say, "Did someone say pictures?" It was really very funny. And it made for a good picture.

Merry Christmas and the season is in full swing!

Did anyone else notice that the Black Friday sales were not that spectacular?

-- Bob Doan, Odenton, MD

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Axis & Allies 2022


The annual Black Friday Axis & Allies WW2 game was a success yesterday. This is something the family does annually and each year we find new strategies as we change countries. This year I was responsible for Japan. 

Japan is in a tough position in the game in that it has to keep the U.S. out of the Pacific and put pressure on Russia to help the Axis ally, Germany. I successfully sent the U.S. and British carrier battle groups to the bottom of the ocean on three major occasions and was beginning to pressure Russia by clearing China. We ended the game so we could watch the USA vs England World Cup match. My ally, who was managing both Germany and Italy was doing a great job as well. 

When we ended the game, we determined that the game was still even with advantage to the Axis.

Actually, in thinking back, the World Cup match ended much the same way--even with advantage U.S.

-- Bob Doan, Odenton, MD

Friday, November 25, 2022

Woolly Worms and Predictions


Woolly Worm
Odenton, MD
November 23, 2022

Again this year I was confronted with an all black Woolly Worm, the predictor of a long and difficult winter.  Based upon recent experience and considering the terrible pre-Thanksgiving weather across the Great Lakes, I am guessing that this woolly worm is making an accurate prediction. 

It is interesting how we turn to animals to attempt to predict the upcoming weather patterns. As if they have any better idea than we about what is to come. We want to know the future, but are still surprised when it actually arrives. As an aside, officially and scientifically, an all black woolly worm does not really mean anything except it is possibly a different species. What a bummer. 

The weather he the past few days has actually been very nice and mild. I walked dogs outside without a coat on Thanksgiving morning. The sun was warm and enjoyable. I don't think the woolly worm predicted that nice weather. But I did enjoy it. 

Here is hoping that you had a nice Thanksgiving!

-- Bob Doan, Odenton, MD

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Thanksgiving 2022


As if it hadn't happened already, the holiday season is careening full speed into the end of the year. 

In the past, Thanksgiving marked the beginning of the Christmas Season, but that date moved earlier this year with Christmas shopping and Black Friday sales beginning immediately after Halloween.

Thanksgiving is a day designated for giving thanks and celebrating the bounty of the harvest with family and friends. We also commemorate the first Thanksgiving between the pilgrims and the Wampanoags. While the traditional Thanksgiving that we generally celebrate occurred during 1621, there was a Thanksgiving celebrated during 1619 in Virginia with the arrival of settlers along the James River, but that celebration did not mark an alliance with the native peoples. 

Today, much of the history gets lost, but hopefully being thankful continues as a tradition around the table. As we watch parades, dog shows, and football games while consuming quantities of food and beverage we need to pause and give thanks for our blessings.

We also must take a moment to honor and give thanks for the First Responders and the men and women of military forces. Many are away from their families on this holiday and possibly alone. I am thankful that our military forces are not actively engaged in combat operations this Thanksgiving, but they are ever vigilant. 

-- Bob Doan, Odenton, MD

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

A November Walk


Along the Unused Road
Odenton, MD
November 22, 2022

Although yesterday dawned cold, it warmed to a bearable 50-ish degrees by the mod morning due to the crystal blue skies and bright sun. 

It turned into a beautiful afternoon for a walk in the woods along a scenic portion of unused road. It was a November walk to remember. It was just Finnegan and I out for a stroll. There remained leaves on some of the trees which reminded me of the autumnal beauty of the area. The blue sky was stunning. Finnegan was not too excited about the walk because Chris did not accompany us and all he wanted to do was head back to the house where he would wait for her return from a short trip. 

Pine Tree and Airliner
Odenton, MD
November 22, 2022

I enjoyed the blue sky and found a pine tree to capture using the sky as a backdrop. I also, if you look closely, caught an airliner flying overhead. The airliner is the small, very small, white dot just above the tree in the image. It was the contrast between the green tree with brown pinecones against the vibrant blue background that caught my eye. 

It was a beautiful, if cold, day. I am glad that I got to enjoy it, but I do miss having palm trees in my view.

-- Bob Doan, Odenton, MD

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Difference of two weeks


What a difference two weeks makes.

Two weeks ago I was on a cruise ship in the Caribbean enjoying 80 degree temperatures and moderate seas while a hurricane was headed directly for Tequesta, which veered north and mostly missed my home.

This morning finds me back in Maryland enjoying the warmth of family while the temperature outside is 27 degrees. At least it is supposed to be sunny again today. We did find our winter clothes and dressed appropriately.

A few words about the trip. We did it! Actually the trip was smooth until the very end when we became entangled in Northern Virginia/D.C. traffic beginning about Dumfries, VA. We lost about 45 minutes threading our way through two accidents and witnessing many more almost accidents. Impatient people are to blame for many of the accidents I believe.

But we made it to Odenton and are safely in place for Thanksgiving!

-- Bob Doan, Odenton, MD

Monday, November 21, 2022

Heading North

 On the road and already in South Carolina at 6:09 AM. One gas and one coffee complete and we should be good until well after dawn. 

We found some incredible gas prices in Georgia. It was $2.99 per gallon in Brunswick. It only cost $66 to fill the truck. 

The temperature has dropped significantly from 72 degrees in Tequesta to 39 degrees in wherever we just stopped for coffee in South Carolina. 

Happy Holidays. 

Due to travel there will be no Monday Musings today. 

— Bob Doan, somewhere on I95 in South Carolina 

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Deck the Halls!

Christmas Tree with Colored Lights
Tequesta, FL
November 20, 2022

The days have become cooler here, in the 70s. That made Chris and I realize that when we return from our trip north to celebrate Thanksgiving, it will be just weeks before Christmas. 
Christmas Tree with White Lights
Tequesta, FL
November 20, 2022

In keeping with the season of goodwill, I relented yesterday and fetched the Christmas decorations from the storage room, saying goodbye to Elmer, my large turkey and the rest of our Thanksgiving decorations. 

The house has been Christmasfied. 

Yes, the Christmas decorations are up in the house before Thanksgiving, but that means we will be in the spirit when we return from our trip to the frozen northern wastelands. The transformation has taken two trips to the storage room and had caused the garage to become cluttered. And then there was the new tree that had to be purchased as we disposed of our old ones when we moved believing that we would not have a tree in Florida--I knew that was a dream, but our trees were old and shedding more needles than a real tree does at the end of the season.

Nativity Scene in TV Stand
Tequesta, FL
November 19, 2022

It was hard to find a Christmas tree that was not pre-lit! We have lights and we have really cool lights that we can set to white, color, or have them switch between color and white. 

The decor has changed in the house from our preferred coastal to a more traditional Christmas scene and all of the wall hangings were swapped out for the Christmas theme. Even Chris felt that we had brought our home from Maryland south when we finished late yesterday. 

I am usually a stickler for the display of seasonal decorations. Halloween cannot be displayed before October and precisely on November 1st, the Thanksgiving decorations replace Halloween. Following that Christmas must not appear before Thanksgiving; however, this year is a special case and my guidelines needed to be adapted to the situation.

Tomorrow the trip north begins! It is 28 degrees there this morning and we will certainly be in the frozen Christmas spirit when we arrive! Did I mention that it is 75 degrees here this morning?

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL

Saturday, November 19, 2022

The Line-up


Pelican Line-up
Jupiter, FL
November 16, 2022

The other evening, Chris and I meandered off to our local watering hole, The Square Grouper, to enjoy the waning afternoon sun and a few adult beverages. It is a great place to meet, situated along the banks of the Loxahatchee River with a view of the Jupiter Inlet and Jupiter Lighthouse. 

As we were sitting there an interesting sight happened on the next pier down river. A large group of pelicans landed and formed what appeared to be a police style line-up along the pier. I'm not sure which of the pelicans was the aggrieved party, but they remained for a long while also enjoying the waning afternoon sun. 

Zebra Butterfly
Tequesta, FL
November 18, 2022

Following this, yesterday as Chris and I were walking Finnegan we rounded a corner and were confronted by a group (do butterflies flock?) of Zebra butterflies. I am not sure what number constitutes a flock. And as I researched it, there is not just one name for a group of butterflies, there are many. I like kaleidoscope, but according to the article I found, What's A Group of Butterflies Called, "Other names include flight, swarm, army, wing, rabble, flock, roost, and bivouac."

I don't want to rub it in, but I am surely enjoying November in Florida. Yesterday the high was only in the 70s and it seemed cool. I rode 16 miles on my bike and thoroughly enjoyed both the weather and the ride.  I will miss the warm weather next week as we sojourn to Maryland for Thanksgiving. 

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL

Friday, November 18, 2022

November Golf Outing


Hole 10 from the Blue Tees
Jupiter Dunes Golf Course, Jupiter, FL
November 17, 2022
It was a cool November day, well for South Florida. The temperature was in the low 70s and it was overcast. There was a variable wind, which made some shots interesting, but Chris and I decided to head off to out local golf course to whack at the little ball.

We had a great time. 

We enjoy playing on a par 3 course because we can play 18 holes in just over two hours. And it is a tough course because the greens are small and it provides some nasty water hazards. And bunkers!

Chris Putting on the 10th
Jupiter Dunes Golf Course, Jupiter, FL
November 17, 2022
I had a rough day as I was playing from the beach (from out of the bunkers) much of the day. At one point I told Chris that I was unsure whether it was the wind or my poor shot selection that caused me to wind up in the bunkers, as I did on this hole. She said it was a bit of both.

Chris had a good day and straightened out her drive and began to get some lift to carry hazards. She was especially creative by taking her shot around, rather than over, a water hazard on one hole. It was funny to watch--but effectively accomplished. 

The golf was fun and fast, mostly because we wound up being the only golfers in sight on the course, probably because of the weather. I much prefer golf when no one slowing me down or pushing me to play faster. 

We think we are going to make golf our regularly scheduled Thursday activity. It will be a planned day off from biking.

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Cruise Reflections


I have been going through the hundreds, literally, of images collected during the cruise. I want to share some of the ones that capture the week at sea on the Nieuw Amsterdam and four ports.

Table 30
Nieuw Amsterdam, Holland America Line
November 6, 2022

First, our dinner table. We chose early dinner, 5:30 PM, so that we could enjoy the evening entertainment on the ship. We were assigned the best table on the ship for dinner every night. Tight at the stern looking out at the sea beyond. And since it was early, we had daylight for the beginning portion of the dinner. 

With the Penguin
Nieuw Amsterdam, Holland America Line
November 6, 2022

Chris and Mary decided to pose with the statue on the Lido Deck. I didn't think the penguin was that cute. 

Gala Dress-up Night
Nieuw Amsterdam, Holland America Line
November 7, 2022

Chris and I on our first dress up night on the ship. We were having a very good time enjoying the after dinner lack of decent entertainment. 

Our Ship at Half Moon Cay
Nieuw Amsterdam, Holland America Line
November 7, 2022

The ship was launched in 2010 and is beginning to show its age, but it is a good looking vessel. Half Moon Cay is one of two stops where we had to be tendered into shore. That is an experience and I much prefer ports where the ship ties-up and we can essentially come and go as we please. The tendering operation takes at least 30 minutes and can really cut into a shore day if something is needed form the ship. The other port where we had to tender in was George Town, Grand Cayman.

Riding in the Sea
November 9, 2022

Ocho Rios, Jamaica, marked the first time that either Chris or I had visited Jamaica. We enjoyed the island and that is where we rode horses into the Caribbean Sea and enjoyed much of the day. We also did a bit of shopping. It was a beautiful day and we thoroughly enjoyed the activity. We were disappointed in the condition of the beach that we rode along. While the view out to sea was stunning, the litter on the beach was less than appealing. 

Well, that is all for now, this is getting a bit long. More later.

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Clearing the Palms


Palm Debris in a Truck
Tequesta, FL
November 15, 2022

Last week's hurricane prompted the management company to get our palm trees trimmed of excess fonds and the bumper crop of nearly mature coconuts.

It was too little, too late. 

Only a few of the palms were able to be trimmed in advance of the storm and the rest were finished yesterday. 

Fortunately, there was no damage caused by falling palm debris or coconuts from the storm as the worst of it missed spurt community. 

I was amazed at the amount of trimming the palms required. In the image, the trimmed palms are in the background and some of the debris is in the truck. I know that at least four truckloads were removed and probably more from the community. It was a mess for most of the day with large piles of fonds and coconuts lying everywhere. It is a huge project especially since our palms are very tall. 

Sunset on the Intracoastal Waterway 
Jupiter, FL
November 15, 2022

To celebrate the end of the day, Chris and I went to our favorite beach. There we found that the bottom of the stairs across the dunes had been washed out and so we found a spot on the Intracoastal Waterway to watch the sunset.

It was a stunning sunset. 

I had planned to get up during the middle of the night to see the Artemis 1 launch, but in checking the weather before bed I was concerned about cloud cover and so I slept through the successful launch. And that mission is underway. 

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

The Fall--A Valuable Biking Lesson


Yesterday I took a significant fall with my bike. 

Rest Spot on Loxahatchee River Bridge
Tequesta, FL
February 19, 2022

I headed out for a 15 mile or so ride and was cruising at about the 2.5 mile mark in Tequesta headed over the Loxahatchee River bridge when the fall happened. I love that bridge and usually stop at a spot to look at the river and get a sip of water. 

Yesterday there was a crew power washing the bridge and the rest area. They were using a highly chlorinated solution to cleanse the concrete. As I approached they did pause spraying the noxious mixture, but what I had not considered was the power-washing hose which had been carelessly run for well over 100 feet from the truck on the side of the street diagonally across the wet sidewalk to the other side where the crew was doing the work. As it turned out, it was a recipe for disaster that I did not recognize. 

As I started riding down the bridge, I ran out of room to remain on one side of the hose--and here is where I made a nearly catastrophic mistake, I aimed my bike over the hose, but given the length of the hose and the angle across the sidewalk, it was a shallow angle of attack. As I crossed the hose both tires were swept from under me and I crashed into the side rail with my shoulder, back, and elbow; finally landing on the sidewalk on my knee--which has a nice, and at the time bloody, scrape. 

Blood? Yes there was blood. Pain--not so much! The most painful injury was one finger which managed to get a piece of glass imbedded into it. I always wear a helmet and so I do not know if my head hit anything on the way down. 

I got up, shook myself off and considered ending my ride by either returning home or calling Chris to come and fetch me, but being a "guy" and after determining that my bike was undamaged except that the chain had come off, I decided to ride a for bit and check things out--both me and my bike. 

In the end I continued my ride although I shortened it to 11 miles. When I arrived home Chris tended to my wounds and discovered the damage to my back. All-in-all I am not much worse for the fall, which could have been much more serious. 

The lesson learned? Don't ride over hoses with a shallow angle of attack.

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL

Monday, November 14, 2022

Monday Musings - November 14, 2022


1. November is racing by and today is the second of four Mondays in the month. There are, get this, just six Mondays remaining in 2022!

2. Thanksgiving is next week! Get your travel plans in place.

Moon over the Caribbean
November 12, 2022

3. Having returned from the cruise, Chris and I are now preparing to head to Maryland for Thanksgiving. The moon over the Caribbean on our last night of the cruise was stunning. And there was a cruise ship in the distance. We have so many memories of the cruise.

Wine Tasting
Nieuw Amsterdam, Holland America Line
November 12, 2022

4. While on the cruise, we experienced the most extensive wine tasting experience we have never enjoyed. There is something exciting about sitting down to the tasting table and being confronted with 12 glasses--some of which contained items other than wine such as pepper, rosemary, coffee, and cinnamon. On top of that there was a plate with many different food items in front of us as well. 

5. Getting off the cruise ship Nieuw Amsterdam was one of the smoothest processes we have experienced. We started down the gangway about 8:05 AM and were in our car driving home before 9:00 AM. Wow! And we were in a parking lot a few miles from the port! We arrived home by 10:00 AM. We were home before many of our fellow cruisers had even departed from the Ft Lauderdale airport.

6. Today in History. November 14, 1851. Moby-Dick is now considered a great classic of American literature and contains one of the most famous opening lines in fiction: “Call me Ishmael.” Initially, though, the book about Captain Ahab and his quest to catch a giant white whale was a flop.

Its author, Herman Melville was born in New York City in 1819. As a young man, he spent time in the merchant marines, the U.S. Navy and on a whaling ship in the South Seas. In 1846, he published his first novel, Typee, a romantic adventure based on his experiences in Polynesia. The book was a success and a sequel, Omoo, was published in 1847. Three more novels followed, with mixed critical and commercial results. 

Manhunt underway for student after 3 people shot dead and 2 wounded at University of Virginia - CNN

6 dead after a pair of vintage military aircraft collided at a Texas air show - CNN

At a high-stakes meeting with China's Xi, Biden laid out what he hopes to gain - CNN

Coffee Market Goes Cold as Brazilian Weather Normalizes - The Wall Street Journal

Russia Eyes Gains in Ukraine’s East After Kherson Withdrawal - The Wall Street Journal

Dozens of Americans Are Barred From Leaving China, Adding to Tensions - The Wall Street Journal

Biden, Xi stress need to work together as they meet for talks - Reuters

U.S. may skirt recession in 2023, Europe not so lucky - Morgan Stanley - Reuters

Exclusive: Russian software disguised as American finds its way into U.S. Army, CDC apps - Reuters

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Ashore One Last Time

Chris and Mary
Cozumel, Mexico
November 11, 2022


Our last shore day of the cruise was in Cozumel, Mexico. Having been in Cozumel more than a few times,  Chris and I do not find it all that exotic a port. Yesterday was most interesting, however, in that there were six cruise ships in port. Most of the major cruise lines were represented: Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Norwegian, and MSC in addition to Holland America which is the line we are sailing with on this voyage. I was able to get four of the ships into one photo, the other two were further down the port. 

4 of the Cruise Ships in Port
Cozumel, Mexico
November 11, 2022

It was a hot day away from the water in the markets. We explored tourist areas looking for some trinkets and gifts. It was enjoyable to wander around, but the aggressiveness of the shop keepers was a bit off-putting. But, that is how it is in a cruise port town. We decided not to take an excursion and we also determined that we were not going to head off to a beach for the day. We just wanted to be off the ship for a while doing our own thing.

Our day was relaxing and enjoyable. That is how a cruise day should be. 

Sunrise over the Caribbean
November 12, 2022

This morning I was greeted to a magnificent sunrise over the Caribbean Sea as our ship makes it way to homeport. We arrive tomorrow morning and our November vacation will be complete. It will be back to our regular lives. 

And as for regular lives, there is more travel in our future. We are heading to Maryland for Thanksgiving and a reunion with our family and friends. It is hard to believe that Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away. 

Caribbean Sunrise Part 2
November 12, 2022

-- Bob Doan, somewhere in the Caribbean Sea (222543N 845956W)

Friday, November 11, 2022

Seven Miles of Beach


Mary and Chris Arriving in George Town
Grand Cayman
November 10, 2022

If it was Thursday, Chris and I must have been in Grand Cayman. And we were! 

Blessed again with beautiful weather we headed out for the famous Seven Mile Beach upon landing in George Town. Upon researching the options we decided upon a section of the beach known as Cemetery Beach--and upon arriving we understood the name as the beach is guarded by a large cemetery. We chose this section of the beach for the snorkeling opportunities.

And the snorkeling was in fact good, but the wind, current, waves, and distance from the shore to the good snorkeling made it a day for expert swimmers. The waters were full of small almost transparent jellyfish which because I wore a swim shirt did not affect my time in the water. I receive a small sting on my leg, but it was of no consequence. Chris was not so lucky. When we were headed out, and after seeing a very nice sized barracuda, she had one of the jellyfish roll down her arm stinging her the entire way. That ended her excursion into the water after only a few minutes. 

Lunch in George Town
Grand Cayman
November 10, 2022

We rode the public bus back to town and enjoyed a fried chicken lunch at a local establishment apparently not well known to tourists. We were the only ones there. It was good because we also got our first and only Country Music fix since departing Ft. Lauderdale. Country music is not played on the ship. It was a fun stop and we enjoyed a local beer, White Tip, which is named for a shark. 

Rainbow over Cruise Ship 
Grand Cayman
November 10, 2022

After lunch it was back to the ship. We had a mandatory 3:30 pm back on board time and it was about 2:30 when we returned after an enjoyable time in Grand Cayman. As the ship was preparing to depart its anchorage, a rainstorm arrived and I was greeted to an end-to-end rainbow which appeared to pass over one of the other cruise ships at anchor. 

It was a fun day and a great evening about our trusty ship.

Important Note: It is Veteran's Day. Thank a Veteran for their service to our nation!

-- Bob Doan, Caribbean Sea headed to Cozumel

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Jamaica from Horseback


Moon over the Caribbean
From the Nieuw Amsterdam
November 8, 2022

This morning finds Chris and I on our way to George Town, Grand Cayman. This ship will drop anchor in a few hours and we will once again explore the island and hopefully find some satisfying snorkeling along the Seven Mile Beach. Dawn is breaking behind the ship and I can see the lights of Grand Cayman in the distance. We continue to hope that our friends and neighbors back in Tequesta are surviving the hurricane without major damage.

Wine Tasting Event
Nieuw Amsterdam in the Caribbean
November 8, 2022

During a relaxing sea day on Tuesday, we enjoyed a wine tasting focused upon wines from the Northwest portion of the U.S. The wines were from California, Oregon, and Washington. The wines were excellent and we learned some important things about wine and food pairings. Yes, there is a lemon on the plate! It was an amazing pairing with the Riesling.

Chris and I on the Horses
November 10, 2022

Yesterday saw Chris and I in Jamaica for our first time ever. We decided to take a horseback ride to explore the countryside and the Caribbean Sea. The ride was very enjoyable and we got to see Jamaica first hand. I have to admit, some of it is not pretty. The horses and guides were great as was the ride down the path into the sea. We were not impressed, however, with the debris along the shoreline. There was not much of a beach, but the horses knew the route. We enjoyed chatting with our guides along the way and our trip was thoroughly documented in video and images. The day a perfect with clear skies and a nice breeze. After the riding experience we dod some obligatory shopping and I may have bought Chris a dress from one of the shops. Once back on the ship it was time for food, relaxation, and enjoyment. 

Thus far the trip has been blessed with near perfect weather! We avoided the storm and are enjoying relatively calm seas and light winds! Grand Cayman is coming into sight and we are expecting to drop anchor in just over an hour for another adventure!

-- Bob Doan, from the Caribbean Sea near Grand Cayman

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Sailing, Storms, Sun


I was reminded that it is still November and that Hurricane Season does not end until the last day of the month. There is a potential hurricane headed for the area of Florida in which we reside and Chris and I are on a cruise ship in the Caribbean enjoying time away, yet very concerned about the possible hurricane. 

Yesterday we made our first visit to Half Moon Cay, a Holland America Line island in the Bahamas. It was an enjoyable day on the beach. It was bright and sunny. We dragged our snorkeling gear along to hopefully see some fish and ocean creatures, but the waters off the beach were devoid of life. As it turned out, we were snorkeling on the wrong side of the island. Of course, we found that out after returning to the ship. 

Chris on the Tender next to the Ship
Hold Moon Cay, Bahamas
November 7, 2022

We had to be tendered to the island, as the Nieuw Amsterdam is too large to to dock. That was a fun experience, one which we had not done in a few years. We were able to get a picture of Chris on the Tender and able to touch the hull of the Nieuw Amsterdam. I actually did touch the hull of the ship just before we pulled away for our day in the sun on the island. 

Chris with the Nieuw Amsterdam
Half Moon Cay
November 7, 2022

Thus far the trip has been enjoyable. We have an "At Sea Day" today which will allow us to further explore the ship and I am planning on hitting the gym this morning. We may enjoy a wine tasting this afternoon and then of course dinner and the night life. 

The ship did bring in the Ravens game last evening and I watched some of the 4th Quarter in my stateroom before turning in for the night. I was happy to see the Ravens managed to hold onto the victory. 

Regarding developing Tropical Storm Nicole, the course of the ship is to the south of the disturbance. We had some rough seas during the first night, but the Captain has avoided the storm and our track to our next port of call, Jamaica, is not being affected by the storm. Looking off my balcony, the seas are relatively calm as morning breaks over the Caribbean. 

There always has to be drama when we travel! I hope that the storm does not develop into a hurricane and that my well-prepared fellow Floridians can ride it out as it makes landfall in a couple of days. 

-- Bob Doan, somewhere in the Caribbean

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