Thursday, December 4, 2008

San Diego

Tuesday September 30th ~We'd chosen an excursion that left the dock at 9:45am which meant we had to be off the ship at least by 9:30am. I'd put out an order for room service breakfast to save time getting ready. I'm one of those people that has to eat within about 30 minutes of getting up or I get a headache and generally feel awful. Well, that's fine at home but on the ship it means get up, get a shower, get dressed, get "my face on", dry my hair~it can't be done in 30 minutes. So the only way I've figured to make these early departures work is "Room Service." Bob, had a cup of the coffee I'd ordered and then went up to the Windjammer to the breakfast buffet. So I had time to do what I needed to do by myself.

My friend Judy from high school who lives in San Diego (but had to work this particular day) said "If you went to the Zoo last time, take the SEAL this time." So that's what we did. The SEAL is a boat and it's a bus. They have these things in San Francisco and also in Seattle. Perhaps other places too but those are the ones I know about for sure.

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We got a narrated tour thru San Diego before splashing down into the waters of San Diego Bay. We cruised past Navy ships, tugboats and fishing vessels. We saw hundreds of seals, birds and other marine life. We also passed by the area where the Navy trains dolphins for maneuvers. We could see the dolphins jumping in their large sea pens. The day was sunny and warm, the view of San Diego from the water was breath taking~it was a beautiful day.

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looking out across the harbor at the San Diego skylineEnsenada mexico Oct 200828

The following pictures were taken as we passed a huge bait/fuel dock. They all hang out here waiting for a handout.

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When we were through with our harbor cruise, the SEAL crawled up the boat ramp and became a street vehicle again. The Captain & the First Mate (the gal doing the narration) went down underneath the thing and pulled out the seaweed that had collected on the wheels as they were folded under the craft.

We had sort of planned on visiting the Midway Museum which was just across from where our ship was docked but it was so hot by the time we got back to the ship, neither one of us felt like walking over there so we just got back on board and got some lunch and then relaxed by the pool the rest of the afternoon. We would have only have had a couple hours at the museum~not enough time for sure. Ensenada mexico Oct 200835

The Midway Museum

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Cruisers soaking up the sun

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San Diego Skyline

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We got back in time to take in the Men's Sexy Leg Contest at poolside. This competition was a big hit with the crowd. (No, Bob didn't participate)

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I took this picture of the ship's bow while we were still at dockside in San Diego.

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Even on an 88* plus day folks will gather here

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the brave ones were climbing "The Wall"

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these guys were shooting some hoops

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this couple were playing ping pong.

From the ship we could see planes landing & taking off at the San Diego Airport. They say one lands or takes off every 90 seconds~after watching I believe it !!

When it was time to leave San Diego, we were at the railing as we pulled out of the harbor. Again we had San Diego Harbor Police and the Pilot boat guiding us out to sea. And a warm breeze blowing our hair.

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We left the Midway behind

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A Navy helicopter coming in

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The Pilot jumped back onto his little boat after we got out far enough.

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6:35pm the sun is setting off San Diego, CA

At 7pm the ship's Captain Rick Sullivan held a "Welcome Aboard" reception where he told us about the ship and introduced all the people in charge of the different areas of the ship. These big ships have a crew of around 400-500 people ( or more)working all thru out the ship. There are many department heads supervising them.

There is so much to do on these ships, if you did everything on the schedule you would never sleep. There are activities such as dancing into the wee hours of the morning.

But not for two old way!

(Note: if you click on they pictures they become almost full screen)

Wednesday ~ Catalina Island

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Just Here For The Weekend

When we arrived Friday night we knew we would just be here for a couple days, for right now anyway. On Saturday, Bob's grandson had a full day planned for the two of them. He had fine tuned his driving since our last visit and was anxious to show Papa Bob some places he'd discovered in his travels around the area. They had a great day, even drove out to Santa Monica, having lunch at the Pier. Papa Bob explained to this young man that you don't have to pay the $10 or $12 for public parking at the Pier. You merely park at Sears, walk the few blocks to the Pier, then make a purchase when you come back to Sears and show the receipt to the Sears Parking Attendant and you've got 2 hours free parking.

Sunday was a busy day. We had to drag our suitcases out from behind the front seat of the truck and get them in order for Monday's departure on Royal Caribbean's Monarch of the Seas. It was a day of ironing, making decisions about which clothes to take and which to leave behind, give one last pressing to those that need it, where are the Passports, the cruise documents, secure the proper tags on all the luggage, etc. etc. I decided to leave the shirts and blouses until Monday morning to be packed, then they'd only be in the suitcase a few hours.

Bob's Pasadena daughter is such a good cook. We had scrumptious meals everyday we were there. So our weekend dinners were to die for.

Monday morning it was the final packing, and loading the bags in the back of the car....and by noon we were heading out to San Pedro, CA and the Los Angeles Cruise Ship Center. It's about a 45 minute drive at that time of the day. Fortunately we'd just been there in March so we knew the way and remembered "don't go over the big bridge!" Ensenada mexico Oct 20081 They are so organized at these places. Hope pulled up to the curb, after hugs good bye, we got out and Bob unloaded our bags, there was a man right there with a big flat cart and onto the cart went our bags and away he went. You're given tags with your name and Cabin # on each ~so they can get your bags to your cabin with in a couple hours. With over 2,00o passengers on most of these ships~that's amazing.

We'd completed the on-line check in but still needed to get in line and step up to the counter to show our Passports and complete the process. Which included each of us getting our Sea Pass. The Sea Pass is your personal ID on the cruise, it's linked to a credit or debit card for on-board purchases and also identifies you as you depart and re-enter the ship.

Sea Pass1

As we proceeded to the ship, we handed our Sea Pass to a man, he puts it in a machine, you stand on a line and look into a camera affair & they take your picture~your face is now attached to your Sea Pass. When you go ashore, you have to have your Sea Pass handy and they pop it in the machine and look to be sure it's really you. Even the little ones do this.

By the time we got all checked in and on board we headed to our cabin and found my bags already in the cabin & Bob's showed up about 15 minutes later. The first thing I like to do is pick my drawers & get everything unpacked. We are "home" now for the next four days so lets make it look like home. We stow the suitcases in the closet and head up to the "Welcome Aboard" buffet. Lunch ~ yummy!! They have so many good things to eat, it's hard to choose. After eating lunch we headed up to the pool deck. The "Sail Away" festivities were in full swing and there were lots of people already splashing about in the big beautiful pool, some even in the hot tub. Ensenada mexico Oct 20084

Ensenada mexico Oct 20085 (a lesson in line dancing)

This is a very beautiful port and once again the weather was gorgeous. Sun, gentle breeze, we're on board a beautiful cruise ship. Ahhhh this is the life.

At 4pm everyone dons their life vest and heads to their assigned Muster Stations. This is a mandatory activity and all passengers must participate. I understand if you decide to skip out on this they come looking for you later & you still have to do it. They did mark each of us off by cabin number as we entered the deck area where the drill was held. The ship does not leave the dock until this drill is over. We always hope that this will be the only time we have to put those life vests on........Ensenada mexico Oct 20082

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Shortly after 5pm we slowly pulled away from the dock. The Port Police had a boat on each side of us and of course there was the Pilot boat. Ensenada mexico Oct 20088

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As we headed out to sea, people along the waterway waved goodbye & we waved back. Ensenada mexico Oct 200812 Ensenada mexico Oct 200813

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Soon the Port Police boats turned and went back and shortly after that the Pilot boat pulled up close and the Pilot jumped off the ship onto the deck of the Pilot boat. We were own our own heading out to sea. Ensenada mexico Oct 200820

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We sat on the deck for an hour or so, watching the people and since we had a late dinner seating (8pm) we had some time to re-explore the ship. We were just on the Monarch in March, so it was pretty easy to find our way around. After looking over the excursions list, we headed to the appropriate desk and got signed up for an excursion in each of the ports we would be visiting this week.

We eventually went back to the cabin where we met our cabin attendant for the first time. He was such a nice fellow~I chuckled each time he called Bob "Mr. Robert." We freshened up for dinner and took off down to Claude's Dining Room ~ table 440. That first dinner you always feel a little apprehensive....most of the tables in the large dining rooms are for 6 or 8 people so you never know who you're going to be eating with. Once again we were blessed to have 2 couples who were delightful dinner companions for the week. Allen & Kathi from Pennsylvania and Howard and Grace from Vancouver, BC shared our table. Every evening with these 4 other people was delightful!

Tuesday morning, we'll be in San Diego~

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Will We Get To Pasadena By This Evening?

After a delicious pancake breakfast at Mc Donald's, we continued south on Highway 101. After awhile we came to beautiful Pismo Beach. It was so beautiful, we pulled into the public parking area, Bob put enough money into the slot for us to have 90 minutes on the pier or on the beach. It was absolutely beautiful there. Sit back, relax and imagine the warm sun, a slight breeze, the beauty of the Pacific ocean ~ sand & surf, the seagulls, the surfers, the people playing on the beach.....just let your mind take you away and you'll know what sort of day it was.

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There's such a beautiful sloping beach here at Pismo Beach.

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Those dark spots are not seals~those are surfers, waiting for the perfect wave.

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This little place is about mid-way on the pier. You can rent a fishing rod, get a snack, even a postcard here.

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There is now a fine for feeding the pigeons and seagulls at Pismo Beach. They produce hundreds of pounds of waste which causes diseases and ruins the wood pier.

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This pretty little church is on the National Historic Registry.

We reluctantly walk back to the truck and get back on the freeway. I had been looking for my sunglasses all day so when we got to Oxnard we pulled off the freeway and went into Wal Mart so I could get some new clip on sunglasses that fit my glasses. They are so expensive~I think they were $16 and would you believe I later found my old ones. Oh well, now I have two pair so should never be without them.

Meanwhile, we're in rush hour traffic and the going is so slow. I think we saw the first Pasadena sign ~

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but it would be two hours before we actually got to the home of Bob's daughter & family.

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It was good to be off the freeway and heading up the tree lined streets toward their house.

We pulled up to the gate and called for them to open it at about 7pm.

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It was so good to see everyone, they came running out and there were hugs all around. Bob's daughter, Hope had some dinner ready and we gladly sat down to feed our faces.

We checked our mileage....we'd driven 1,380 miles since we left my house in Washington state.