M/V AMAZING GRACE|
Trinidad to Tahiti to Trinidad
An e-mail Journal by Harriet Williamson
In October 2002, the motor vessel Amazing Grace left the dock in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad for an epic journey to the other side of the world. Aboard the colorful old ship was a group of resolute passengers and a crew of thirty-seven. Their 93 day, 14,500 mile trip would take them from the Caribbean to Tahiti in the South Pacific and return with ports of call at some of the most exotic places in the world.
Posted from PAPEETE, TAHITI, November 23, 2002
We flew to Trinidad on October 28. Fair winds, following seas and 27 days later we have reached Tahiti. It wasn't all easy, although we had a wonderful sail across the Pacific Ocean. We left Trinidad on October 31.
We six passengers explored Trinidad and walked Port-of-Spain mornings and just hung out afternoons. One day we took an all day tour that included a beach stop.
Finally on that Thursday we sailed in the early evening. Four days later we reached the Panama Canal, but had to wait before getting clearance to sail through. It poured through the first half of the transit but our main delight came from watching the faces of the crew, most who had never been out of the Caribbean. It was a real experience for them.
Then came about 19 sea days. They were glorious. For a few days we had seas running about 8 feet but after that seas were relatively calm. We picked up another passenger in Balboa, Panama. She had been sick earlier, so had to board late. The 7 of us spent our days reading, taking naps, enjoying the food and socializing. What a way to spend a month. We all fell in love with the experience.
I'm almost out of time here. We'll be here in Tahiti for a week. Then come Moorea, Bora Bora, Fakarava and Mangareva. After that we head for Pitcairn and Easter Island.
I'll hunt for cyber cafes along the way. Please know that we're having the time of our lives and loving every minute of this cruise of a lifetime.
While we were in Tahiti, my husband, Bob and I were interviewed by a reporter from a French Polynesian newspaper. That story was published the next day and I bought the paper. It showed photos of the Amazing Grace, Capt. Pete, Bob and me. Here is the translation of that article from French to English:
"A breeze from the past blows on the dock of Papeete since the arrival of the cruise ship 'Amazing Grace', now almost one-half century old. The crew, composed of Caribbean natives, adds spice to this type of cruise, modeled on the old format the 'Wingsong', alone, has succeeded in preserving.
"First of all, as a taste for a trip 'a la Jules Verne'. Amazing Grace (which in French means 'extraordinary grace') was built a few years after the Second World War. Her delicate stern, which is extremely harmonious, and her steering gear, made of varnished wood, are perfect illustrations of the navy of yesteryear, in which beauty and efficiency went hand in hand.
"In the evening, leaving the dock to enter the dining room, one feels an atmosphere that would be at home in an Agatha Christie novel. The varnished paneled cabins, identified by bright brass numbers, bring back memories of a past century.
"The guests, deep in nostalgia, help to create a feeling that one is on a cruise in search of lost years. They are retired people, with silver hair, speaking with an American accent, perhaps Latin-American, who claim to be on an extraordinary trip.
"The wooden floors resound pleasantly in the hallways, under their cover of carpets or small rugs. The varnished wood panels and carvings provide a "cozy" atmosphere. This kind of cruise, somewhat old-fashioned, which appears in fact totally obsolete, is certainly successful. Its secret resides in the simplicity of the life that rules on board.
"There is no formality. One can come to dine in the salon wearing shorts. This is a strong inducement for Harriet, former American journalist and Bob, her husband, a retired teacher, who are enjoying their 21st trip on one of the ships of this unusual company, 'The Windjammer Barefoot Cruises'.
"The nature of the fleet of this Company is a rarity. For the most part, it is made up of old ships (5 out of 6 are sailing ships). Mostly, they roam the Caribbean Sea. This is the first trip for Amazing Grace, which will speed at eleven knots over the water of French Polynesia.
"All aboard, beginning with the master, Captain Pete Hall, express their happiness to travel on this amazing ship with its riveted hull, marked by nearly half a century of contact with waves and oceans.
"People with famous names have walked the hallways of Amazing Grace. Queen Elizabeth II of England was on it when it was called the 'Pharos', when it left its building site in Scotland (Caledonia Shipyard) in 1955. The Pharos was used at that time to maintain the lighthouses and the beacons on the dangerous North Sea coasts of England and Scotland.
"The members of the crew add to the charm of this old-fashioned vessel. They come from the Caribbean countries whose names make one dream of adventure: Columbia, Panama, Guyana, Jamaica.
"The sailors are puzzled by the islands of French Polynesia. They seem so out of place in the middle of the immensity of the Pacific Ocean. The next ports of call give an idea of this unusual odyssey. They are Moorea, Bora Bora, Fakarava, Mangareva, Pitcairn, Easter Island, Chili, Aruba, Bonaire and Venezuela, before coming back to her home port and its cacao perfumed air: Trinidad and Tobago."
From a Cyber Cafe in BORA BORA, December 3, 2002
A slew of additional passengers has joined us, making the count 85 and we are underway. We original seven passengers spent a week in Papeete, Tahiti, and it was everything I was told it would be; dirty, polluted, crowded and noisy. We spent our time touring to get out of the city and also over to Tahiti Iti and into the mountains. But in Papeete we went to the huge market filled with food, handicrafts and joyful people meeting, greeting and buying things. We also spent a Sunday morning outside a renowned church whose claim to fame is the decorative hats the ladies wear to attend services. The hats were large and flowery and often bore decorations made from the same fabrics used in their dresses. Quite a sight.
Then, on November 30th we sailed for Moorea and spent 1˝ days there. We arrived late afternoon but Capt. Pete ran launches ashore so we could explore. Several of us were smart enough to go in bathing suits and managed to spend some time in the sea. While we awaited a return launch, we joined the natives in some hot dancing. Hey, you give this old lady some good dancing music and she will boogie with the best of them. That next day Bob and I, along with another couple, went to the Sheraton Hotel for snorkeling. Good viewing.
Then we headed for Bora Bora and encountered serious rolling. It made for a very interesting dinner. Dishes and glasses flew. One serving table fell over, dumping place settings for the next seating. That night it was hard to stay in the bunk. I don't get seasick. Bob doesn't either. But the rolling was really something memorable. All part of the adventure.
We have been on Bora Bora for two days but will leave tonight. Yesterday Bob and I went on an island tour that was quite interesting. Today we took Le Truk (local bus transportation) to the Bora Bora Hotel and had excellent snorkeling.
We will be at sea all day tomorrow before reaching Fakarava where I will be leading a gaggle of shipmates to visit the pearl farmer to make him richer. Then it's three days at sea before reaching Mangareva. That will be the last of the French Polynesian Islands. We'll then head to Pitcairn and Easter.
This is an exciting voyage - a real adventure.
Our mix aboard ship is good. Most are older. No surprise there - for such a long trip. We have 10 Brits, 8 Kiwis (New Zealanders), several Canadians, 1 French woman and the rest from the U.S.
Our weather had been good until a system caught up with us. We have had heavy rain at times for the last several days but since it is so hot here, it really doesn't matter much.
We learned of the fire aboard the Windsong when it was at Tahaa, about 100 miles from us in Bora Bora. They sent out a distress call but we were out of range. Those people were evacuated and returned to Tahiti via ferry - but not until after they had spent 4 hours in lifeboats. Yikes. Today Capt. Pete disputed their statement that they have the fastest responding crew at sea. He said: "We own that distinction." We agreed.
E-Mailed from VALPARAISO, CHILE, December 30, 2002
After leaving Bora Bora way back when, we had a sea day and then reached Fakarava in the Tuamotus where I had an appointment with a pearl farmer whom I had met through an internet friend. I had told him I would be extending an invitation to my shipmates to visit his place. I was delighted that about 65 passengers wanted to walk the mile along the dirt road to visit him.
The farmer, Joachim, demonstrated how black pearls are harvested, and gave a talk on the business of growing, harvesting and then determining which are keepers. Those are then divided into four categories depending on worth. Only two percent are real good ones. That's why black pearls are so expensive. Then he showed his wares and sold a bunch of pearls to us. One of his better customers was Capt. Pete. That afternoon several of us swam and snorkeled in pouring rain. Well, the fish were still there.
Then we headed out to sea again. Next stop was Mangareva in the Gambiers. What a gorgeous island. Some of the people had planned private tours to yet another pearl farmer, but I just walked the road and offered my Bonjours to the people I met. Luckily, I found an English speaking, French Vietnamese woman who volunteered to take me around the island. Wow. It was great. One of the places she took me to was a craft school where they carve mother-of-pearl jewelry and shells. I bought some things and then told as many passengers as I met up with, so that they too could avail themselves of the indigenous works.
The pearls of Mangareva were even nicer - sporting hues of green, rose, blue and champagne gold. Again, Capt. Pete's purchases set the rest of us to shame.
That afternoon I joined about 40 others who hoofed it about a mile to a swimming hole. It was another stroke of luck because I found it to be among the best snorkeling I have ever seen in my life. It was incredible. What was most astonishing was that I had never before seen most of those fish. Too bad I hadn't had the foresight to have bought a fish book from Barnes and Noble on fish of the South Pacific. But it was nice nonetheless.
After more sea days we reached Pitcairn Island. Oh my goodness, it was awesome. Because the seas were running high, Capt. Pete said we couldn't go ashore that first day. Passengers accepted his decision because we knew it was based on his concern for our safety.
So, the Pitcairners (there only 42 of them)came to us on their longboat and brought aboard their carvings, weavings and, of course, the ever-present T-shirts. It was raining hard by then. Capt. Pete invited them to stay for swizzles and dinner. It was a delight having them aboard.
After lunch Capt. Pete changed his mind and permitted those of us hardy enough to go ashore. I was among the intrepid. You may only go ashore on Pitcairn via their longboats. No other whaleboats or launch boats are allowed. So, about 40 of us made the trip. Then we transferred to the backs of ATVs for the absolutely hairy ride to the top of the mountain in very deep mud. It was something.
We then walked in the mud to visit Fletcher Christian's house and all the other memorable things related to the mutineers of the HMS Bounty. We saw the anchor from the Bounty - one of its cannons too. Incredible stuff. Back down at the end of the afternoon, we used the ATVs again and it was truly scary. There are no guard rails along the steep cliffs.
On our return to the ship aboard the Pitcairn longboat we experienced an extremely terrifying boarding. Wow. That boat was rising and dropping horrendously. But between the Pitcairn crew and the Amazing Grace one, we all got back aboard safely. When the sea rose, it did so in such dramatic fashion that one of the Pitcairners smashed his head against the bottom of our launch boat that was fastened well above the sea. Adventure. Getting back aboard the Amazing Grace was hairy and rattling. We had to jump. The crews of their vessel and ours held on to each one of us and then threw us aboard into the arms of yet more crewmen. I finally landed in the captain's arms. That was the best part.
Anyhow, the mud still existed by the second day but wasn't quite as difficult to slog through. At least our feet were able to be pulled back out of it. The first day, that part was tough. The islanders put on a fish lunch in their town square and those who attended had a grand time.
We had the islanders aboard for lunch one day and dinner the next. They are a hardy bunch. They have to be. They live under special hardships. They are visited about 40 times a year by freighters. That's it. That is their link with the outside world.
Their generators run during the morning and evening hours - none else. That means that the 8 kids who live on the island don't spend their afternoons watching TV. They can't. There's no power.
We were awed by Pitcairn. Visiting Pitcairn Island was probably the most exciting, historic thing I have ever done. I know I'll never forget it.
Carvings sold there are made by descendants of the mutineers from the ill-fated HMS Bounty that sailed from England in the late 1780s en route to Tahiti to gather breadfruit trees to be transported to the West Indies to feed the colonial slaves there. At the helm of the Bounty was the infamous Captain Bligh, known for his unusual cruelty to his men - although history later redeemed him and pointed to statistics that proved he didn't engage in more floggings than other captains did during those days.
When Bounty reached Tahiti, the men were greeted by beautiful and loving native women. The officers and crew became enchanted and were later reluctant to leave Tahiti. Bligh insisted and heaped his wrath on the men as never before. Some jumped ship right then and returned to Tahiti to hide in the hills. They were later found and killed.
As Bounty set sail and the crew became increasingly more despondent at the whippings and unjust, unreasonable treatment by Bligh, it was decided by Executive Officer Fletcher Christian there would be a mutiny. Christian insisted Bligh not be killed but instead put into a whaleboat with an assortment of necessary crew and be put adrift. Little did Christian know that Bligh would eventually make land and still later return to England on another ship, at which time he pressed charges against the mutineers.
In the meantime, Christian and the other mutineers headed back to Tahiti. They were not welcomed as before. That ruling king said he had done his part towards supplying them with all the breadfruit they wanted. He said keeping them now would incur the wrath of the king of England, so they ran them off. At least one crewman was killed as they escaped.
They sailed to another South Pacific island, Tubaui, but were run off there, also. In fact, they were stoned and darned near killed. Christian had heard of Pitcairn because Capt. Cook had discovered it, and set sail for it. Several more crew died. The ship finally came within sight of Pitcairn but by now the crew was reduced to nine men from the Bounty, six Tahitian men and 12 Tahitian women to look after them and be their consorts. They reached Pitcairn on January 23, 1790 and as soon as they reached land and unloaded supplies, Christian insisted they burn the Bounty to the water line so it could not be spotted by passing ships. Thus, Christian and five other mutineers sealed their fate. They knew they would never leave Pitcairn Island. Christian later spent many days brooding in a cave near the top of Pitcairn's rugged mountains.
Each mutineer mated with the Polynesian women and produced heirs. Christian himself was murdered four years later - probably by the Tahitian men who had been reduced to servitude and made to share their women. All but one of the other mutineers died over the years. The remaining crewman, John Adams (no relation to our second president), was eventually discovered by a British ship that landed at Pitcairn but it was decided he was then too old to be brought back to England for trial.
Meanwhile, Bligh had been tried and acquitted of crimes of cruelty, abandonment of his ship and not maintaining reign over his ship. The Crew who returned to England with him were also tried. Three were found guilty and were hanged despite proof of their loyalty to Bligh. Bligh later gained command of another ship that sailed to the South Pacific and was noted as being just as cruel as ever. No charges were brought to bear.
Back on Pitcairn, there was a lot of crossbreeding. Oddly enough, it did not produce any peculiar offspring - no Downs Syndrome or others with mental impairment. It was later opined that bloodlines were so pure and genes so good that it didn't matter. Still later, other Polynesians and New Zealanders came to the island, married and enriched the bloodline.
So, all the offspring and their children, children's children, etc. etc etc. are today descendants of the original nine Bounty mutineers, Christian, Adams, Young, Mills, Brown, Martin, Williams, McCoy and Quintal.
Pitcairn Island is a British possession ruled by a New Zealand governor but it maintains its own island government. The people grow what they can and place needed food and supply orders with freighter shipping companies that have ships passing through that area of the ocean. The island is visited about 40 times a year by freighters that transfer mail and supplies. Typically, passengers are not permitted on the island. Ditto for the occasional luxury liner, although passengers are sometimes permitted as far as the boat landing. That's why we were privileged to not only be permitted on island but to visit Pitcairn for two consecutive days, a first for Pitcairn.
The islanders have electricity for four hours each morning and five hours each evening. That's for cooking and producing the carvings. The miro wood carvings largely make up the economy of the island. They are sold to passengers on passing ships. During afternoons, people make do without power. Kids learn to play outside.
The island is rugged and forbidding - very mountainous. I saw Fletcher Christian's house and that of his son, all of which is amazing because we're talking about wooden houses that are more than 200 years old. I saw the anchor from the Bounty, one of its cannons, the cave where Christian sat and brooded about his banished plight, and the Bible that had been aboard. I visited the school, the cemetery, the community building, the church and several other buildings. We were transported to and from the island via the Pitcairn longboat. None others are permitted. It was an incredibly wild and adventurous trip. Seas were running 10 to 12 feet and we really got tossed around.
When a number of the Pitcairners joined us for dinner aboard ship that first night, we found them to be personable, bright and very friendly. The children were very well behaved. The next day, after all the touring and visiting, the islanders once again came aboard and shared cocktail hour with us before returning to the island. Before they left, they sang their traditional three farewell songs. Most passengers did not remain dry-eyed.
There are 42 people who live on Pitcairn - not quite enough to fill a city bus. Some 38 of them are direct descendants of the mutineers of the HMS Bounty. Of the remaining four, two are married to descendants. The other two are applying to live on Pitcairn. To do that, they must live on Pitcairn for four years without leaving for anything other than a medical emergency.
Then came 4 more sea days and then our destination, Easter Island. Another "Oh my" here. Most of us determined that 3 days was not long enough there and we'd return in a New York minute. What a marvelous place.
It was enchanting. You remember that's where those ancient Polynesian statues exist. They are called moais and they began being carved in around 700 A.D. and stopped about 500 years ago. They are carved of stone and bear red topknots of red clay, which are thought to duplicate how the native men, Rapa Nuis, wore their hair centuries ago. How it was dyed is still a mystery.
We arrived late afternoon and anchored out. A bunch of us took the launch boat ashore and walked the mile or so into town to explore.
The next day Bob and I went on separate tours. His involved less walking. Mine visited moais, the statues, a huge volcano and the ancient Birdman`s village that has huts hundreds of years old.
The following day two passengers and I went on a private tour in the back of a pickup truck. It was a hoot. The driver's first stop was to his home to get his sofa cushions to make our ride more comfortable. We then visited and climbed the quarry where the statues were carved. Hundreds still exist there. Many are still imbedded in the stone walls. Some are toppled over. I should have mentioned that warring tribes routinely toppled each other's statues to destroy the perceived mana or power emanating from them.
We had islanders aboard for a dance and folkloric show that was most enjoyable. We also visited another moai site and the one gorgeous beach on the island. We all fell in love with Easter Island and would cheerfully go back.
Another week of days at sea followed. Just fun. No fights. The activities mate kept things lively so that they who wanted to be busy could, and the others slept. Movies nightly. Games. Documentaries. Tai chi. Yoga. Caroling.
After leaving Easter Island, we had about 4 days at sea and then made an unscheduled stop at Selkirk Island, which is part of the Robinson Crusoe archipelago. It was rugged, forbidding and altogether awesome. We passed a village of about 7 or 8 houses. And that's it. Not another thing on the island. We sent a launch boat there to reconnoiter a landing spot but that mission was unsuccessful. The surf was too treacherous and there were no sandy spots. The captain said we couldn't go ashore. We did anchor there, however, and had a wonderful Boxing Day barbecue on the top deck. That day is a British celebratory one marking the day the affluent gave to the poor - the day after Christmas. That next day Capt. Pete sent two seal watching launches out in the rain. They saw more rain than seals but seemed to enjoy the adventure. Bob and I stayed aboard.
After another day at sea we reached Juan Fernandez Island now officially called Robinson Crusoe Island and spent two days there. It was incredible. Sporting about 500 residents, it was rugged, muddy and lovely. Unlike Pitcairn Island, it did have paved sidewalks, so getting around wasn't so messy except when crossing the street. I explored a lot each day. Other passengers did hiking and climbing. There was plenty of that available. We also saw the plaque marking the spot where the Dresden sank in World War I. I think the date was 1915. And we saw an artillery shell buried in the rocky cliff. Real interesting.
That was followed by another day at sea during which we experienced 8, 10 and 12-foot seas. Lots of tables falling over, etc. It all goes with the territory. We, personally, had no problems with the rolling seas.
On a different day another passenger went out on a charter at Easter Island with a skipper in a 17-foot skiff. He landed a 12-and-a-half foot, 500-pound blue marlin. It was the talk of the ship and the island. Everything that could go wrong did. His harness broke, as did the one of the skipper. His pole holder and that of the skipper also broke. And when they finally got the fish alongside - with the help of another fishing boat - the gaff broke. They lashed the fish to the side of the small boat and hauled it to shore. Our passenger was praying it wouldn't be a repeat of Hemingway's "Old Man and the Sea." No sharks appeared and the boat and fish reached shore safely. After much picture taking, the fish was filleted and distributed among the islanders.
Then came Robinson Crusoe Island. The first night, I awoke about 4 AM. and looked out my porthole and to my astonishment saw hundreds of big fish ranging in size from 3 to 5 feet. I learned later they were tuna that were chasing flying fish that had been attracted by our ship's lights. They created quite a commotion and many passengers witnessed the unusual grouping.
The next night our fishing passengers and practically our total crew were ready. Lines were tossed and the tuna started piling in. They entire bow was given over to caught fish that were flopping all over the place. It was incredible. Our crew caught at least 100 tuna that night. Not to be outdone, several islanders came out in their fishing boats to join in the fun. They, too, caught their ample share of tuna. They said they had never before seen a school of tuna so close to shore. The flying fish were jumping and flying all over the place including into the fishing boats. In one case, a tuna followed a flying fish into a fishing boat where it was promptly gaffed. We had never seen anything like that before. Great stuff.
On another subject, the ship has been all dolled up for Christmas. Many of the passengers decorated a tree and also adorned the dining saloon with garland and other stuff. Ditto for the bar. The ship looks real nice.
We had an optional gift exchange and that, too, was fun. There were Christmas games and plenty of fun. On Christmas night we had a passenger and crew talent show that was one of the best we had ever seen aboard the Windjammer vessels. There was plenty of talent and the show lasted a good 2 hours. Most of the stuff was really hilarious. The crew danced and sang. Of course, they were wonderful. They always are. That show was followed by a party and dancing. The dining saloon got so hot that the action was scheduled to move to the open deck topside. However, most passengers made it as far as the bar and parked there. All that dancing called for liquid refreshment.
In Valparaiso. Chile about 15 will disembark (5 already did at Easter Island for assorted reasons). We'll pick up about 20 new passengers and start up the west coast of South America, calling in Chile, Peru and Ecuador before transiting the Panama Canal and heading for the islands of Venezuela plus Aruba and Bonaire. We finish up at Trinidad.
Our trip has been wonderful - a high adventure for these two seniors. It is our hope that Windjammer will think about basing the Amazing Grace in Tahiti - at least during the summer months. There is a market for cruises in the South Pacific.
And so we reached Valparaiso-Santiago, Chile early this morning. Bob and I elected not to go on a ship's tour and instead gambled we'd find an English-speaking guide. We lucked out and were joined by 4 other passengers on a 3-hour tour of Valparaiso that included a ride on a 100-year-old funicular (elevator going up the mountainside). It wasn't the oldest funicular in the city. The tour was outstanding and we really got to see the city, including going way up into the hills. A treat.
We'll be here 2 more days. About a dozen or so passengers will disembark tomorrow. Then 22 new ones will come aboard to join us for the next 30 days. Tonight is Captain's Dinner. That means a clean T-shirt.
On New Year's Eve, we had a big party onboard ship. Oh, we had been required to leave dockside and anchor out in preparation for the huge fireworks display to be conducted later. That started at three minutes past midnight - after all the boat horns and vehicle horns settled down. The show was magnificent and large. An enormous cable had been stretched across the harbor opening. It connected six other sites to the main source of fireworks. So, when a big red and blue burst occurred, it happened at 7 sites simultaneously across the 10-mile waterfront. Incredible.
Our party was in full swing by then and included the crew, who were dancing up a storm and hugging everybody. What fun.
At exactly 3:08 AM, there was another fireworks display. This one was to remember 36 firemen who had died fighting a fire at precisely that time of morning 50 years earlier. They had fought a blaze in a factory and had it under control but didn't know there was dynamite stored in the basement. It blew. They died. The fireworks service began with the sounding of all the fire alarms throughout the city. Then there were 36 flares and 36 separate fireworks display. Very moving. Tears were shed. Many of us were reminded of our many firemen who died in the World Trade Center attacks.
New Year's Day was our last day in Valparaiso. We visited the craft shops where I was able to get some terrific gifts for our grandchildren. Chilean things are truly creative.
We sailed at about 6 PM and the passengers were more than ready for some sea days to rest up. We had been hitting it hot and heavily for three days in the city. Some took a full day tour to Santiago. Since Bob and I had done that several years earlier, we opted to hang around Valparaiso.
Security was the tightest we had ever seen anywhere, including the Caribbean, Europe, the South Pacific and earlier in South America. The port was heavily guarded. Even getting into the city was somewhat complicated. We had to get on a free shuttle bus to the terminal about a mile or so away. Then we took a train back to where we had just left. But we got the hang of it and became pros in a day or so.
I can't say enough about how super our crew is. They are a joy. Capt. Pete Hall is a big, lovable teddy bear. He takes a fair amount of ribbing from the passengers and there is one woman generously in her 70s who pulls all kinds of capers in pretense of a torrid love affair with the captain. Her antics bring big laughs to morning Story Time.
All the crew is very accommodating and pleasant. Ditto for the officers. Camilo, Jesus and Roberto could make willing additions to the households of most of the women aboard. Ah, those Latins.
We're looking forward to our next leg of the voyage. We'll have a bunch of sea days and then 3-day stops in Peru and then Ecuador for optional tour excursions to Machu Picchu and the Galapagos. I'll be going to both. Bob won't.
Bob and I haven't regretted one minute of this trip. We love this old ship and have grinned over her occasional burps and glitches. The crew is wonderful to a man. The officers are super. What a great group. Rusty is a tremendous purser and Amanda is doing remarkable considering it's her first cruise with Windjammer - and especially when considering that she's dealing with mostly seniors, some of whom can be damned crotchety at times (myself excepted, of course). Our trip has been wonderful - a high adventure for these two seniors.
Continue to Part II
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