Sunday, October 30, 2011
Hawaii Cruise - Day
Today started early when the room service steward knocked on the door 15 minutes early. Fortunately we were already awake and I answered the door and brought in my breakfast. I had decided to order breakfast in the room to save time since we had to be ashore at 8:15 to catch our tour. I had ordered "Mueslix"' thinking that it was the Kellog's cereal. It was actually Swedish Muesli that had been soaking overnight. It was good, but not quite what I had expected. Rachel had gone up to the Lido to get breakfast and then on to her morning stretch class.
The advantage to staying in the room is that I get to see us pull into port, which I always enjoy. Today we are in Nawiliwili on the island of Kauai. This was yet another huge contrast with yesterday's docking in Honolulu. Instead of urban sprawl, we pulled into a small harbor surrounded by mountains covered in lush green. It is a spectacular place!
We went ashore and quickly found the sign for today's tour: the Zipline Adventure Iki Mua. We had done ziplines in Mexico on our last cruise, and we certainly didn't believe that this could even come close to that. So, rather than compare the 2, we both decided that they were different, and that we were determined to have a great time on this one. There were 12 people on this tour, including a very nice couple from Austin - Paula and Parker (it was Paula's 60th birthday), and a couple of Rondas. They both thought it funny that there were 2 Rondas, and each assumed that the other had an "h" in her name, but neither did. After loading us into a 15 passenger van, we headed up the road to the Kipu Ranch, It had, of course, been a sugar plantation, but was now a cattle ranch. The short drive to the ranch was beautiful, and Rachel and I agreed that we'll come back and spend more time on Kauai in the future.
After getting outfitted with helmets and harnesses, we took a short walk to the first zipline. In Puerto Vallarta, we had only a waist/seat harness, but today they added a shoulder harness for reasons that will become clear.
Cory, one of the guides, gave us the safety briefing at the first line. He told us that he really, really needed our full attention, as he was about to push us off a cliff! In Mexico, thee ziplines were a double rope, while here they were a single cable. We were given gloves in Mexico and could control our speed by pulling down on the top rope. Here, we were further from the cable and told not to touch it - just enjoy the ride. And, we did. It was a fairly short zip over a canyon, and we landed up a hill on the other side. We then hiked back up to do the same line again. This was actually kind of nice since you knew what to expect the second time and could relax and enjoy it a bit more. It was a blast!
We then moved on to the "Zippel", a cross between a zipline and a rappel. After rappelling down some steep stairs, we were suspended by the zip line, and were able to control our speed to the bottom using the rappel line. It was OK, but I prefer real rappelling down a cliff face. The final zip was a tandem line with a lot of slack so that you shot down the first side, and then up the second side. You'd then slide back and forth a couple of times and come to rest at the lowest point. It was here that the guides would push a very tall orchard ladder up to you, and unhook you so that you can climb down. Because there was no actual landing, they encouraged us to fly inverted (hence the full harness). I did it the first time and it was great. The second time, I shot video as I went down (Rachel went next to me on the other line). I stayed upright, but got great footage or Rachel flying upside down.
After this, we got out of our gear and made the short (but very bumpy) ride back to the ship. We got back around 11:30, and had our usual sit-down lunch in the dinning room. We ate with a very nice older couple from Wisconsin. The husband had some memory problems, and his wife had ordered for him. She told him what he was getting, but every time the food arrived, he'd ask "did I order this?" She took very good care of him, and they were fun to eat with.
After lunch we got off again and walked over to Nawiliwili Park. We walked out to the end of the breakwater across from the ship and enjoyed the view. Just as we were getting read to leave, a huge tour bus pulled up and people started getting off. We were getting ready to walk back when both Mama and Aunt Merna got off the bus! There were on a quick 5 minute photo stop. We chatted briefly and took their picture with the ship in the background. They re-boarded their bus, and we walked over toward the beach. We sat and watched the surfers for a while. We also enjoyed watching a small catamaran sailing around. Finally, the cat joined the surfers, and caught a wave into the shore - it looked like quite a ride!
Finally, we walked to the shopping area and bought a couple of souvenirs before heading back to the ship. It was great to get out and walk for a while.
The ship departed slightly early, so Rachel and I got to watch us sail out of the harbor from our vantage point on deck 9 forward,We passed by the breakwater and past a couple of picturesque lighthouses before heading for a clear horizon. How I love the feeling of setting out onto the open ocean!
At dinner, they were serving liver and onions, so Rachel ordered that and ate it all. It's one of the few foods that she really likes that I don't, so she has it whenever she gets the chance. I had a tasty bit of haddock - the fish as been consistently great so far. The 4 of us shared a delicious bottle of Conundrum - a Napa Valley white wine blend.
After dinner we went topside to enjoy the amazing clear skies. The crescent moon was sinking in the west, shining on the water. The problem was that the wind was blowing at about 35 mph, so we didn't stay long. After a quick trip back to our cabin to recover from the wind in our hair, we parked ourselves in the Crow's lounge to listen to Chris for about an hour and a half. He was great, as usual. At about 10:00 we went to hear a virtuoso harmonica performance. It was Bernie Fields backed by the Halcats (6 piece stage band). I thought he was magnificent, but Rachel had to leave in the middle because she couldn't stand it. Oh well.
After the show I enjoyed the stars for a few minutes more from our verandah before retiring. Tomorrow is our last port of call, so this may be my last blog post until the end of the trip since we're going away from our home (free) internet. Radio silence will probably last until Saturday. Tune in then for more...