Naked in Seattle
One of the things I think we do well when we travel is mix up our modes of transport. We drag our bags around on planes, trains, buses and into motels for a bit, and then swap to something where we our stuff stays — like the cruise and the motorhome. Staying with friends/family also gives us a “home” for a while, and visiting Suei, Gemma and our little Blue-man has been one of the highlights.
United Airlines lived up to its reputation and lost ALL our luggage and, despite promising to deliver it later that night, it turned up about 26 hours after we did…and only because we made numerous phone calls. It was really extra handy we were staying somewhere where we could sit around in someone else’s clothes while ours washed and dried.
Back to my nephew (and Seattle). That little guy is the happiest, most engaging little man I’ve met and it was pure joy to spend time with him. Suei took us to see the sights and taste the flavours of Seattle. It’s a beautiful city and we toured part of it from a duck, and then looked down on it from the Space Needle. I love the city’s connection with the water and the fringes of houseboats that line the lakes. We also managed a quick trip through the Experience Music Project (EMP), which was fantastic. That night we had the yummiest dinner at Nick and Art’s beautiful home. Talk about a 5-star meal! The next day we were off to see the lock and fish ladder. We were in luck, as the lock was filling with boats so we got to see the whole process which was fascinating. The fish ladder viewing was a first for us too so much excitement there. We also had a brief glimpse of a harbour seal (or a swimming earless dog). The next day was a much-anticipated tour around Microsoft, a drive to pick up our camper, a shopping trip to stock the camper, and another much-anticipated visit…to Cabela’s. That night we packed all our clothes and food into the camper for our roadtrip the next day.
We boarded the cruise in Miami after Geronimo and Noah, Joan’s son and grandson, met us at the airport and looked after us for a few hours. The yacht class we were booked into was certainly fancy and we didn’t have to wait in line to board. Our butler took us from the drop off point in the carpark, through customs and to our room. Very spoilt! Our room was fantastic too. Right at the front of the ship with floor to ceiling glass. We had free rein of parts of the ship that weren’t available to others so we never had to fight the crowd for a swim, drink, meal etc. Like last time, we made friends with heaps of the staff and, thankfully, our little bit of Italian was helpful with the restaurant staff on this trip. We also learned a bit of Indonesian as many of the wait staff were from there. Others were from Madagascar and Mauritius.
The first stop on our cruise was Falmouth in Jamaica. Terry has booked a private trip on a gameboat. We left the ship (when we damn well felt like it) and grabbed a car to take us to the boat. The drive was very interesting and the driver told us that many people spend 15+ years building their homes. They start with the first floor, but allow for subsequent floors and extensions in the design. In reality, they all kind of looked half done. We drove through Montego Bay (woo-ooo-ooo-ooo-o-o-o give me Mon, give me Montego Bay – Terry didn’t believe this was actually a song) and onto or boat. Despite the best plans, the fishing was very quiet with only one hit, and the waves were quite big from winds of 15-20 knots. After 4 hours we were pretty happy to return to land. It was a stunning day but the fishing wasn’t the best –- but that’s fishing.
Our second stop on the cruise was at the Cayman Island, particularly, Grand Cayman. Again, Terry had organised a tour separate to the cruise company so we jumped in a taxi and headed to Camana Bay where we met Richard and his 28 foot long boat, the ‘Flying Scotsman’. We headed out, passing the overcrowded boats filled with others from the cruise. First stop was Stingray Cay where we hopped out of the boat into crystal clear water and were surrounded by Southern Atlantic stingrays. We could handle them and they came up around us for a look. It was amazing. Because we were with our own guide, we were away from the crowds and, after all the other boats turned up, we choofed off to snorkel along North Wall. After that, Richard took us to Starfish Point where we snorkelled in the seagrass for starfish. Next it was around the corner to a private little restaurant at Kaibo where we sat right on the beach and had drinks and lunch. There were no other people there and it was divine! On the trip back, it poured rain so we got nicely rinsed. We saw iguanas in the trees on the way back into the marina which was too cool. We saw more than 6 in one tree alone!