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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Never Say Never

You’d think I’d have learned after all the things I’ve gotten myself into. 

Coming off our wonderful Disney cruise, we made it back to the J. Strom Thurmond Corps of Engineers project, rested and raring to go.  We love doing the boundary line (pin hunting) work and were looking forward to getting out into the woods and hiking around while doing some constructive work. 

Alas, it was not to be.  There were higher priority projects out there that we ending up doing.

When I was getting our house ready to sell back in 2011, I painted almost every room and promised myself I’d never again pick up a paintbrush.  What a silly fool I am.

Seems that all the high priority projects have been…you guessed it.  Painting.

I have a set of clothes and shoes that I keep aside for dirty projects, like changing the oil in the Journey or jobs like that.  Look at those clothes now.

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They are nicely adorned with every color of paint that I’ve used.  And before you ask, yes, I did get most of the paint on the things I was painting.  I swear I did…

At the COE Volunteer Village, we have a wonderful group meeting house that we use for get togethers, pot luck dinners, meetings and hobbies, as well as the laundry room.  We painted it inside and out, top to bottom.

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I can’t take credit for doing all the painting by myself, several other couples pitched in, too, to give us a hand with the project.  It made the time spent a lot of fun, much laughter accompanied the swish of the paintbrushes.  It’s one of the benefits of having other volunteers to work with, shared work becomes very enjoyable.  Even if I can’t get all the paint on the walls.

Now that there is no more painting on the horizon for the foreseeable future, you’d think we’d be heading out to look for more pins.  Nope.

We’re back on the Water Safety Program task, getting everything lined up for taking the training to all the schools surrounding Thurmond Lake.  Last year, over 6000 primary and elementary school kids went through the program and it was a great success.  This year we’re looking to refresh the program a bit and also reach out to the high school aged kids.  Hopefully it will be just as much of a success as last year.

We know the pins will wait for us, they aren’t going anywhere.  :c)

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.

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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Fantasy Wildlife

Judy, Nancy, Sherry and of course Al are some of the best wildlife photographers you’ll ever see out in Blog Land. 

Not to be outdone, I’ve had the chance to reach their level of expertise while on our cruise on the Disney Fantasy.  Looking around the ship, I found all kinds of amazing creatures, like these seagulls overlooking one of the buffets.

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Outside of one of the kid’s areas was this colorful parrot.

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Strange as it may seem, there was even an assortment of wildlife waiting to welcome us to bed each evening.

A swan.

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An Elephant.

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A Peacock.

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Even a Lobster.

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Not to be outdone by the talented housekeeper who made these amazing creations by using towels and blankets, I came up with this Boa Constrictor.

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Looks like Donald Duck had better keep his movements to walking instead of flying.

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Now that I’m all “Cruised Out”, I can get back to RV posts.  :c)

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Should Have Missed The Boat Here

If there ever was an island to be marooned on, this one was it:  Disney’s Castaway Cay. 

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It is a private island owned by Disney and a final stop on most of the Caribbean cruises.  The ship is backed up to the pier.

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A short walk down the pier and you hop on a tram to take you to several of the beaches, including an adult only beach.

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Running down the middle of the island is a runway built during WWII, a great place to ride a rental bike.

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Not only can you rent a bike,

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Disney even has beach wheelchairs for the physically challenged to enjoy the sand and water.

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Flowers abound all around the island.

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What would an island be without palm trees?

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We enjoyed the beach and the sugar white sand.

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The only incident that marred our perfect day was this drunk that staggered down the beach.

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I don’t know why, but women seemed to be attracted to him for some reason.

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The water was cool, but once we got in, it was wonderful.  There were little fish and conch shells (with live occupants) all over.  We practically had the ocean to ourselves.

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Around the island, there are several eateries serving all you could (possibly) eat BBQ style food.  It was delicious and free, included in the price of the cruise.  There are all kinds of fun things for kids and families to do.  Boats, jets skis, water bikes for rent.  Water slides and all kinds of things for kids to play in, on and around in the crystal blue water.

There are interesting sights around the island, too.

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Since the island is in the Bahamas, there is a post office where you can send a letter or a postcard with a Bahamian stamp.  The office had an interesting fellow out front.  Marti didn’t see me snap a picture of her giving him a kiss.  Should I be jealous?

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It was a wonderful, too short day.  We had to be back on the ship in time for dinner.  The day was, however, long enough to have the maintenance workers scrub the ship while we were gone.  Even Dumbo pitched in and was giving some finishing touches to the stern.

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It was a great time on a real island paradise.  If I could get a job working there, I’d gladly go back to work!

After the Fantasy got underway for our final night and headed back towards Port Canaveral, we sat out on our veranda and enjoyed an amazing sunset.

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Now you can understand why we’ve already booked another cruise for January 2016.  We keep asking ourselves “Why did we wait so long?”

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Lost Track Of Time

Cruising is so pleasant that the days begin to merge into each other.  Thank goodness the cruise lines have put ports of call into the schedule or one wouldn’t know what day it is.

Our next stop was San Juan, Puerto Rico.  I spent a long period of time on Puerto Rico during my career and fell in love with the island.  During my stay, I wandered all over the island and was amazed at its beauty and variety of climates, from sunny cliff side beaches in the north, mountains and a genuine rainforest through the mid section and desert lands (complete with cacti) to the south.  All this wrapped up on an island no bigger than the state of Connecticut.

I was excited to visit again and show Marti a few of the sights to give her a taste of the island.  Because we only had one short day in port, we chose a tour of new and old San Juan.

Sadly, it was a pretty poor tour. Yes there were some good stops, but the tour didn’t live up to the description it advertised.

We drove in a small bus around the city, which for the most part looked just like any city.  Not too impressive.  We did stop for a brief, 15 minutes at one of the beaches, it was really beautiful.

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Marti had a great time sticking her feet in the wonderful warm water.

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We stopped at the Puerto Rico capitol building, it had a beautiful dome inside and many interesting paintings depicting Puerto Rico’s history.

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From the capitol building, we moved on to tour the famous Castillo San Cristobal, built by the Spanish starting in 1634 and construction continued until 1783.  It is now a National Historic Site run by the National Park Service.

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It was an interesting tour, but should have been a stand alone tour.  Since the fort was about five minutes from the ship, many of the folks on the tour bailed out and walked back to the ship.  We started the tour with 23 people and only 11 were left at the end. 

There were some terrific views of San Juan and the ocean.

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Inside the fort, there was a dungeon, where a captured officer drew pictures on the wall with pieces of charcoal from a torch.  The drawings were dated to the late 1600s and were protected by a glass covering.

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On the lawn of the castle, I finally got a (long range) picture of one of the many iguanas running around.  Too bad this one wasn’t as colorful the iguanas on St. Maarten.

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We left the fort and had a fifteen minute block of too short time to wander around the city.

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One thing that the Fantasy crew was adamant about was the return time to the ship.  4:45 pm was the time, for the ship would sail without you if you didn’t make it back by then.

Guess what happened next.

Totally the tour guide’s fault, she didn’t keep track of time and due to the massive traffic jam caused by five cruise ships being in port at the same time, 4:45 came and went.  Frantically she made some phone calls and her boss somehow got the ship to wait.  We finally rolled up at about 5pm and were rushed through security to the ship.  Later we found out there was an even later tour bus behind us.  Thankfully, the ship waited for us (and them!).

5:15 pm we undocked and pulled out of the harbor heading for our next destination.  As we headed out, we passed the Coast Guard base where I had spent a lot of time at, even underway on a couple of the patrol boats homeported there.  Good memories.

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Next stop:  Castaway Cay!

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.

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