Little Citizens of the World


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Half Moon Cay, Bahamas

We anchored off Half Moon Cay early this morning.  The kids ate breakfast in the window and watched as we slowly made our way to the anchoring point.  We had to sail around a few little islands to get there, and they made lovely breakfast viewing.  Our window is pretty dirty by now so everything has a salty hue, but it looks worse through the camera lens than it did in actuality.

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Bagels while we moor up

Half Moon Cay was originally called Little San Salvador Island, and it was very popular with pirates during the days of the real life pirates of the Caribbean.

Pirates!

Pirates!

We definitely had beach day on our minds, but I had planned a shore excursion first thing.  So at about 8am, we headed to the showroom to wait for our colour to be called for the tender boat.  When we were all on board, we cruised off into the little harbour that reminded me very much of the lagoon on Gilligan’s Island.  We got on our “bus” and headed off to the Stingray Adventure!  I know some people will think I’m nuts, but how cool is it to swim with stingrays?!  The kids got into wet suits and we all put on water shoes, donned masks and climbed down the stairs into the stingray area.  It’s actually open to the sea, so the rays can come and go as they please, (which I love!!) but they always come around in the mornings because they know there’s food.

They are stunning

They are stunning

The kids were both super nervous because of the waves and because the water at the bottom of the stairs was up to my chest.  As they can’t swim, I had to carry them back in to the shallows.  After some minor freaking out, I got Sky into the shallow water.  Sparrow was a bit more of an issue, she got a little panicky and decided she didn’t want to do it, not because of the rays, but because of the deep water.  It was slightly overcast, so the water looked cloudy and deep, I can see where she was coming from.  Anyway, a very nice passenger offered to lower her down to me from the pier which was about 2 feet above my head.  That worked and as soon as she was in the water, she was perfectly happy.

Gorgeous!

Gorgeous!

Most people on the excursion were swimming about, as I was with the kiddos, I was waiting for the rays to come to us.  Well they did!  They were everywhere!  It was so cool!!  Everyone was given a squid, which the girls found completely fascinating, and we waited our turn for the lady to help us hold it properly.  Sparrow decided she didn’t want to get that close but Sky rocked it!  She did great and I am so proud.

This sweet lady helped them get over their jitters

This sweet lady helped them get over their jitters

The kids took some warming up before they would touch them

The kids took some warming up before they would touch them.

 

At Sky's feet

At Sparrow’s feet

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Showing their smile

 

Great job Sky!!

Great job Sky!!

After the stingray adventure, we got back in our open air “bus” and headed back to the beach.  It takes about 6 minutes.  We spent the rest of the day lounging and it was magic.  I rented a cabana for $15, it’s just a big half moon umbrella that comes with 2 lounge chairs.  Yes, I was in heaven.

Playing in the sand

Playing in the sand

 

Maasdam (rt) and Noordam

Maasdam (rt) and the much larger Noordam

We stayed on the beach until about 1:30 and then headed back for lunch.  It was a fantastic day and a great and relaxing end to a very long and exciting trip.  Tomorrow, we disembark in Fort Lauderdale and catch a taxi to the train station where we’ll get the overnight to Washington DC and transfer to an overnight to Boston.  It’s about 25 degrees in Boston right now, so that should be interesting.  Amtrak, as I mentioned in an earlier post, does not have any internet access, so I’ll post when we get to Boston.

 

 

 

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Hanukkah, oh Hanukkah, come light the menorah

So we’re on the ship for Hanukkah!  That’s kind of neat!  We have a very nice Rabbi who’s name escapes me, (I really need to take notes) and a very full room every evening.  Although, that could be because the kitchen brings trays full of latkes, and donuts every night.   We will be onboard for all 8 days, so it’s really nice to be able to share in the entire holiday with our fellow passengers.  They love it too, since many will be away from their grandchildren, so they love to fawn over Sparrow and Sky.  We’ve had conversations with many of the congregation in passing over the weeks, but when we walked in on the first night of Hanukkah, their faces lit up, I think it made them feel a little more like Bubbe’s and Zayde’s.  Of course, everyone was invited to celebrate, no matter their affiliation, and there were a few people that came simply to be a part of the festivities.

So here’s the thing about lighting the light’s when it comes to cruising.  Candles are not allowed on the ship, for obvious reasons, so the menorah was electric and the girls took turns each night twisting the bulb.  Still a lot of fun for them, and everyone enjoyed watching them do it.  On the last night, they even cheered!  A lovely group to share the Festival of Lights with.

"lighting" the menorah on the first night

“lighting” the menorah

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The seventh night…although it looks as though all the lights are lit.

I found the biggest gelt ever in Gibraltar and saved it for the last night.

I found the biggest gelt ever in Gibraltar and saved it for the last night.


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Is it really December?

As a New Englander, I find it very difficult to get into the Christmas spirit when it’s 75 degrees outside.  We’ve gone just over 2,000km from Madeira and we have just over 1,000km to go before we get to Fort Lauderdale, or was that the Bahamas?

I LOVE the lead up to Christmas and normally, I would never rush it, but I feel like I’m missing it all!  They don’t decorate the ship until the week of Christmas, and because we only have a few satellite channels, there’s no Family Channel 25 Days of Christmas.  There are specials on almost every night (I’ve checked online) and I even miss the commercials.  You know that one with the Hershey’s Kisses that ring, ‘We Wish You A Merry Christmas’?  That’s a sure sign of the Christmas season.

We’re 3 days from Half Moon Cay, Bahamas and 4 days from Fort Lauderdale.  We get right on the train after disembarking and head up to DC to change trains, and arrive in Boston on December 8th at 8am.  If all goes well, and it usually doesn’t, we will catch an early bus and be home by afternoon.

Have I mentioned that the kids want to keep this trip a secret?  Yeah, that’s been a nightmare!  My mom wanted to Skype on Thanksgiving and everyone’s desperate for an address to send the kids presents to.  If we were going to be any later than the 8th, I’d have to tell them, but so far so good.

A beautiful rainbow in the middle of the sea.

A beautiful rainbow in the middle of the sea.

And a sunset that looks like the sky's on fire.

And a sunset that looks like the sky’s on fire.