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Published: January 25th 2019
FLAMINGO IN MEXICO
And all my life I thought these were just plastic birds in the neighbor's yard!
There was a weather front stationed over the Caribbean which brought pretty high winds and cool temperatures…well cool for the Caribbean but hot for the South Dakotans on board. Our next port of call was to be Cozumel, Mexico. Unfortunately, due to the weather front, the Voyager was not able to run its tender operations to get passengers ashore. All the available docks were occupied by other cruise ships. Our Virtuoso group was scheduled for an excursion in Cozumel to visit San Gervasio, a sacred Mayan archeological site, and also to tour the village of San Miguel de Cozumel. But instead we had a fine day at sea.
We took our group on a galley tour. Executive Chef Kelly explained the inner workings of the galley. A complex operation which serves 700 guests in four restaurants, an outdoor grill and 24-hour room service. Chef Kelly has a staff of 87 personnel spread out over six galleys which includes preparing food for 450 officers and crew. The two things that strike you when first entering the main galley is the astounding noise level and the absolute spotlessness. It is a remarkable beehive of activity and the culinary results are even more
CAPTAIN STANISLAUS DE LACOMBE
Tested on his first voyage as Master of the Mariner
We had a reception for our Virtuoso group and invited Captain Stanislas de Lacombe to speak about an experience we shared with him in 2009 while cruising the South Pacific. On Skipper Stan’s first official day as Captain on the Regent Mariner, he had to divert our ship 300 miles south into a raging storm to aid a solo sailor in distress. It was a very dangerous rescue operation given the weather conditions. It all ended well and Captain Stan and his staff were hailed as heroes by the New Zealand newspaper and television organizations. It was very exciting to watch the whole event unfold and the ship was abuzz for days. If you would like to read about the rescue, here are the links to those blogs: https://www.travelblog.org/Oceans-and-Seas/Pacific/Tasman-Sea/blog-455636.html https://www.travelblog.org/Oceania/New-Zealand/South-Island/Fiordland- National-Park/Milford-Sound/blog-457057.html
Our next port was Roatan, Honduras where we had the opportunity to interact with wild dolphins. We took a boat to Bailey’s Key where we met up with a career dolphin trainer. The program is run by the Roatan Institute for Marine Sciences, which is vitally concerned with the welfare of the dolphins and their habitat. Each trainer works with just several dolphins and
they become buddies. After a briefing, we entered the water and were introduced to Ronnie…a 350-pound male dolphin who can swim at 20-30 mph either on his belly or his back. Dolphins “talk” through their blowholes to communicate with their trainers. The staff is very knowledgeable and hold the dolphins in high regard and it shows in all of their interactions. The dolphins go out into the open ocean every day and stay out as long as they wish but always return in the evening…the food and accommodations must be very good! Recently a wild dolphin followed the regulars back in and has stayed with the group ever since. We thoroughly enjoyed our up-close encounter with these beautiful, social animals. Just hearing their squeaks of glee and watching their swimming skills was worth the price of admission.
In Belize we docked at Harvest Caye and took a snorkeling tour on the Barrier Reef. This 560-mile reef is considered the largest “living” reef in the world. The Australian Great Barrier Reef is actually bigger but much of that reef suffers from coral bleaching due to warming water temperatures which kills off the coral. We took a small boat out to
the reef and were quite impressed with the thorough safety briefing we received. There was a diver guide assigned to each group of 5 swimmers and there is a doctor aboard in case of any emergency. The living coral was beautiful and the colorful fish were plentiful. We did a drift dive and the boat picked us up about an hour later. The weather was perfect for snorkeling, the best of the cruise.
Our last port on this cruise was Costa Maya. This is a village that has been built to cater to the cruise ship passengers. When the Voyager docked, we were beside the Allure of the Sea, the largest ship afloat with a capacity of 6,296 passengers plus a crew of about 2200. That’s a lot of folks in a small village. After a quick walk around, we retreated back to the serenity of the Voyager. Besides it was time to pack up and bid farewell to our Virtuoso guests. This was the shortest cruise we have been on in years, but it certainly was an interesting and delightful sojourn through the Caribbean .
Tot: 1.278s; Tpl: 0.024s; cc: 9; qc: 39; dbt: 0.0133s; 1; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 1;
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