February 9, 2017
Paul Groves

Unexpected Sea Day



Day 35 of 111. Saipan, Mariana Islands

No stop in Saipan today. The seas are too choppy to make a safe stop at Saipan, so we are simply moving on to Osaka, Japan. The staff here on board regrouped smoothly and there are classes and lectures to attend. We were able to attend a cooking demonstration with Chef Bertrand. Butternut Squash Risotto and Spinach Artichoke Dip with lots of cheese. Yum. I’m very pleased and impressed with how hard everyone works to keep things flowing. Those travelers with a lot of experience simply take missing a port in stride because this happens at least once during a trip.

February 9, 2017
Paul Groves

Guam


Day 34 of 111. Guam

Guam is the first island of the Mariana Islands and is above the deepest part of the ocean. One third of the island is owned by the US military. Guam is a strategically very important location and has been occupied by the Spanish, the Japanese, and currently the USA. We toured the southern end of Guam where there are several important military sites, visited Jeff’s Pirate Cove for fun, and then visited an outlet mall. The tour was interesting because we saw some guns and bunkers used by the Japanese when they occupied Guam as well as a monument to Magellan.

February 7, 2017
Paul Groves

Super Bowl on Ship


I am not a football fan, but I must say that the Holland America Line certainly knows how to put on an event… in this case, a Super Bowl Party. Because of our location and the fact that we have crossed the International Date Line, our Super Bowl Party took place at 9:00 a.m. on Monday. We only stopped in long enough to see the set-up and grab some finger food (excellent hot wings). For me, I went to Watercolor Class and had a little more elbow room.

February 7, 2017
Paul Groves

New Zealand Day



Day 33 of 111. Pacific Ocean nearing Guam

Today is New Zealand 🇳🇿 Day (Waitangi Treaty signing). There was a cook-off between two of the New Zealanders on board. The third “Kiwi” was one of the judges. The two dishes were Mussel Fritters and Lamb burgers with beets, a fried egg and sweet potato fries (the winner). Each cook was allowed to bring a second team member. Again, a fun and friendly competition.

I’m having fun with my watercolor and sketching classes. I thought this latest picture of a lighthouse came out well. We also had a fun day making little post cards of seahorses. To practice my drawing, I take photos of pictures on the ship (Groucho Marx, for example) and try to get the proportions correct on their faces. The bottom sketch was of a gymnast performer who posed for us (Lance Ringnald). We had 10 minutes to do the sketch. I feel that I’m making progress.

February 4, 2017
Paul Groves

Sea Days on our Way to Guam




Day 31 of 111. Pacific Ocean on our way to Guam

We have four sea days between the Marshall Islands and Guam. Sea days on our way to Guam mean a variety of onboard entertainers in the evening including singers, comedians, and an Olympic gymnast demonstrating and discussing his abilities. During the day there are cooking demonstrations, art lessons and informative history and biology lectures. Ron has been learning about Magellan and the real story of the Mutiny on the Bounty while Paul is painting and drawing. The sea is calm, but the weather is keeping everyone indoors. It is warm, humid and rainy outside.

Another food competition was presented today… a cupcake decorating competition between some of the very talented shipboard dancers. The singers were the judging panel. It was a lot of fun. Two of the dancers are from Russia, one from England and the other is from New York.

Here are some of the creative cupcakes from the onboard dancers.

One other interesting note (at least I think it is interesting) is that there will be a big Super Bowl Party with a live telecast of the game in the main theater. For us, however, the game is on Monday, not Sunday, because we have crossed the International Date Line a few days ago. Additionally, for us, the game begins at 8:30 a.m.!

Our latest watercolor project involves the tail of a whale. Coincidentally, the chefs at the sushi station made these great koi fish out of rice. Unfortunately, someone ate the orange fish’s tail.

February 4, 2017
Paul Groves

Visiting Majuro, Marshall Islands



Day 29 of 111. Majuro, Marshall Islands

We had a fun time walking around Majuro. The flag was designed by the First Lady of the Republic. One of the stripes represents the equator. The Marshall Islands are a little south of the equator. One of the products of the region are coconut husks from which they squeeze coconut oil. I found a bottle of Majuro Islands Coconut Oil in one of the variety stores. There were also rows and rows of flip-flops. It was really not surprising to see this considering the climate, but it took us by surprise.

There were pretty flowers and the people were very friendly and helpful. Woven objects and hangings were plentiful and tempting, but I only purchased a tiny example that I think was made as a Christmas ornament. The wall hanging in the restaurant where we had “second breakfast” is a traditional chart used by the elders to teach the next generation about navigation. The various lines represented currents, stars, and all of the clues that people needed to use to navigate the oceans before GPS. We learned a little about that sort of navigation from one of the interesting guest lecturers on board the ship.

While we enjoyed our time in town, the heat and humidity really drained me. I got back to the air conditioned ship and had to drink lots of water, take a cool shower, and lie down for awhile before I felt back to normal.

February 1, 2017
Paul Groves

Majuro, Marshall Islands


Day 29 of 111. The Marshall Islands

We got up early to go to the bow of the ship and watch as the ship entered the atoll. This is a circular ring of islands that formed from a coral reef that grew up around a volcano. The volcano is gone, but the atoll is left. There is one entrance in the northern part of the atoll and it is very narrow. We docked in the inside lagoon of the atoll. My big surprise was the amount of wind!! It was very windy and everyone’s shirts were lifting up as we stood around (reminiscent of Marilyn Monroe). We took a small shuttle bus into the town and then walked around. Our first stop was the Post Office. We wrote a couple of postcards, but they said it will take 45 days to get back to the USA. Pandanus is a local fruit and so we each had some pandanus waffles while we updated our apps.

The town is nice and the people are friendly.

February 1, 2017
Paul Groves

Sea Day in the Northern Pacific


Day 28 of 111. Somewhere in the Northern Pacific nearing Micronesia

My watercolor class is moving along. The current project is a Macaw.

We will be in Majuro, Marshall Islands, tomorrow. There are no special excursions, but we will walk into the town from the dock. The people are supposed to be friendly and the walk will be nice. If I can find wifi I will update my blog (Obviously, I found some).

The dishes were from a cooking class about the foods of the Marshall Islands. There were two dishes using barramundi fish. On one of the dishes, the chef demonstrated how to make a foam (molecular gastronomy) using soy lecithin added to any flavorful liquid, chicken stock in this case.

February 1, 2017
Paul Groves

A Beautiful Quilt


Day 27 Of 111. Northern Pacific between Hawaii and the Marshall Islands

One of the ladies we met on the ship makes quilts and honored us by giving us this beautiful quilt! The fabrics are Asian and the colors are wonderful. She made this one before the cruise, but is working on another one that is going to be totally hand stitched. Amazing!

January 31, 2017
Paul Groves

The Black and Silver Ball



Day 26 of 111. The Northern Pacific

Tonight was another Gala Night, but was followed by the Black and Silver Ball. There were special decorations in the dining room and the theater was rearranged to provide a dance floor for the ball. The bottom photo shows the Captain dancing the first dance with his wife. We stopped in to take pictures and then changed clothes and went to bed. This cruise is sort of step back in time to the days of big cruises and fancy dresses. It is all very nice.

More about the Black and Silver Ball… two pictures show more of the decorations in the dining room and the people dancing in the ballroom/theater. To make more room, the couples could dance on the stage as well. We were given a list of special events so we could have packed special outfits, but we were fine in our suits.