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Published: July 28th 2018
Greenland checked off a new country visited for both of us. Today, we do some scenic cruising through Prince Christian Sound (ice bergs permitting) and on to Iceland (another new country for me). All of us have pondered the unique relationship between these two islands: How Greenland has more ice than Iceland; and, Iceland has more green than Greenland. The captain had promised some beautiful photo opportunities, provided of course that the weather allows us to navigate the sound; and, there are no rogue icebergs that block our passage. We learned that a sound is a waterway that has two (or more) openings to the open sea. The weather seemed to be threatening fog all night. Duncan had conceded that one of the disadvantages of having a cabin on the Navigation Deck is that you get to enjoy the booming sound of the fog horn all night long on those fog nights at sea. We had enjoyed dinner in the Rotterdam Dining Room one evening earlier in the crew, and Sharon told them how we were treating ourselves to a Pinnacle Suite on our next Alaskan Cruise. Duncan chuckled. He conceded that he’d decided to treat Pam to a Pinnacle Suite
as well on one of their cruises. The problem is, now neither of them are willing to go back. As for us, we weren’t disturbed by the fog horn at all, not that I would have noticed.
We went up to the Lido for breakfast, and I got an omelet from the omelet station. Sharon found another large chocolate croissant and some toast and some scrambled eggs and potatoes. I stopped by the front desk to get the sudoku sheet on the way back to the cabin. It was nearing the start of the scenic cruising, and the excursion team narration would begin in about thirty minutes. We went aft on the Main Deck and exited to the stern. We’d already passed through the entrance to the sound. Mountains rose from the seas about us, and the channel that we were passing through seemed to be narrowing. The port side seemed very close to the ship. The fog hung in the sky along side our ship, and seemed to run as two ribbons off into the distance. It gave an ethereal view of the rocks that had been formed by fire and carved by ice. There were no trees
to be found on these rocks. In fact, only lichens seemed to be able to thrive in these stark conditions. And there were green ones and black ones and white ones who managed a finger-like hold on their rocky home.
There were tiny rivulets streaming towards the sea down the rocky cliffs. Sharon called me over to take a picture of a larger cascade of water. The lichens are the only life that thrive in the sound on land; but, in the sea schools of fish are abundant. Outside the sound whales can be found but we haven’t seen any. The outside narration had started; but, was not audible on the Main Deck Stern. We took the outside stairs up to the Lower Promenade and took some more pictures. The sound is home to a number of No-Name-Glaciers, essentially plenty to go around, I guess. We may have been a bit underdressed for the weather and wind, and decided to go up to the Crow’s Nest for further viewing and to listen to the narration. It was much warmer, and quite a few folding chairs had been setup for us to use. For those needing to be warmed up,
hot chocolate and split pea soup was being offered; but, Sharon and I did not take advantage of that amenity. The narration had noted that the only community in the sound would be coming up on the port side in about ten minutes. We went out on the Sports Deck and took some pictures. And that’s when the fog horn literally took our breath’s away! It sounded long and LOUD. Shortly thereafter came two short blasts from the foghorn. This is normal practice in foggy conditions. I will need to remember to ask Duncan if this occurred every two minutes, which I guess is normal.
We spotted a much smaller vessel coming the other way around a bend in the sound. It was a Danish military vessel and we were told that it was mapping the channel. And yes, I did get a picture of the Danish flag it was hailing; and, suddenly it made sense to me why the Greenland flag is red and white. Greenland is a province of Denmark; whose, flag is also red and white. Behind the Danish craft a filled to capacity zodiac was speeding along in its wake and it was apparent that
this must be what passes for fun in Greenland. Everybody on the zodiac seemed to have big smiles on their faces and were waving wildly at us. The small town was coming into view and I took some pictures. I was getting cold, so I gave Sharon the camera, and she took even more pictures. She met me back in the Crow’s Nest. We went back to the cabin to drop off the camera. As we turned down the hallway the first thing that I noticed was there was no balloon serving as reference on the cabin next ours door. We checked both ways. Nope, the balloon was definitely gone.
They were serving roast turkey again; but, this time they also had a large hunk of dark meat. We both got turkey. Sharon got the roast potatoes and I got the twice baked potato. And I also got a bowl of the very tasty split pea soup that they’d been serving on the viewing decks. After lunch, we headed towards the bow; and, then walked up one flight to the Crow’s Nest.
Team Trivia today is being held in the MIX on the Upper Promenade; because of the
crowd’s up in the Crow’s Nest doing scenic viewing. We found a suitable table; only, today Tino is hosting Team Trivia. We got our score sheets and pencils. The captain had noted over the PA during lunch that there are still new cases of intestinal discomfort being reported; but, evidently not at a level that would trigger a “Red Alert”. Tino began, “According to an urban legend in the 1970’s, who invented the modern bra?” We thought that we’d come up with a pretty good answer, perhaps because we didn’t pay enough attention to the “urban legend” that Linda did emphasize. We came up with “Howard Hughes”. The urban legend Nino was awarding one point for was “Otto Titslinger”. “Who is the only performer to be awarded FOUR Oscars in a starring role?” I wrote down “Kate Hep” for my vote; but, was overruled by the consensus of Meryl Streep. It was indeed Katherine Hepburn. Sharon is probably going to tout me as the “Tennis Expert” since I’ve now blown another tennis question: “Who played in the Men’s Final at Wimbledon for the first time at the age of 19; and, for the final time at the age of 39?”
I was trying to recall who was still competitive and settled on “Agassi” although I thought he retired before that age. As I suspected the answer involved some who started before the Open Era. It was “Ken Rosewell.” We don’t know about Tino’s Bonus Questions; but, he did have a good story to go with it. “What is the world record (timed) for chicken flight (in seconds)?” The answer is “13 seconds.” I even checked it on Google, so it must be right. Tino said that he never had any team come up with the right answer, until one person not only got the answer right; but, knew that he’d gotten it right. He confided that he worked at the KFC Headquarters in Louisville and they have a wall with all sorts of uncommon chicken facts on it. We’re again just barely breaking the 50% threshold, getting 10 out of a possible 17 points. It only took 13 points to win, and we definitely left some points on the table. Jim is probably still kicking himself; because, he claims he knew the Otto-Question.
I headed back to the cabin and this time when I turned the corner, the red
balloon had returned so we had the beacon back for neighbor’s door. Sharon went to round up some buffaloes. She was playing next to a very nice lady who seamed to really get into the buffalo them, and when she could get them to stampede, she’d be shouting “Ride’m Cowboy”. No big winnings today though.
Sharon also stopped in to try her hand at a crafts class. It was held in one of the Lido seating areas. She got there in time to get a “kit” and with a group of 5 other women. The instructions were a bit unclear at first as people tried to start before they were really ready. The woman across from Sharon decided she didn’t like what they were going to make so said she’d make something else with it at home and left with her kit. They were supposed to make 9 beaded drops and 1 drop with a “silver” Viking ship and then attach these to a completed necklace in the kit. The hard part was closing up the jump rings. Sharon decided hers was ok after adding 6 of the beaded drops. She came back to the cabin with her just-made
We arrived at dinner when they opened and there were just a couple couples ahead of us. We ate with another couple, and one man travelling alone and one widow also travelling alone. The couple ordered some wine, and when the steward inquired if the widow wished any, she replied, “Oh, I haven’t had a drink in 40 years.” Sharon claimed to be able to top that, and claimed, “I haven’t had a drink in fifty-five years!” I asked her, “So, you had a drink when you were 10?” She claims that my hearing is bad and that she said 65. I had the carpaccio of beef tenderloin and the scallop & crab gratin as my appetizers. Sharon again wasn’t eating appetizers and so was left with the bread. I didn’t realize that the couple and the widow had ordered a third appetizer, and with all of the talking, I thought that they would never finish their third course. I could see the steward hoovering nearby, eager to clear the table for the next meal, when one of them who hadn’t taken a bite in five minutes would take another bite. It must have been agony for
Sharon who again didn’t have the benefit of a chocolate chip cookie to tide her through the afternoon. I will say, that after a rocky three or four days, they seemed to have gotten the hang of it in the Dining Room and things have been running much more smoothly, people seemed to be getting seated promptly. I think that part of the problem is that there were a lot of new dining stewards, and they were still learning the table number system that HAL uses. We heard of one steward that had flights lasting 27 hours to get to Boston, and then had to work the Dinner Service less than 5 hours after getting on the ship. I thought that we would have no problem making the 8PM Showtime; but, I was beginning to wonder the way that third course dragged on. The third course was eventually cleared and the entrees were served immediately. I had the braised short rib which was very tasty; but, Sharon’s Pork Tenderloin was served with a tomatoey garnish that smothered the meat. She tried to scrape it off; but, this is not going to make her Top-Ten list of favorite HAL meals. She
did enjoy the Black Forest Cake and I had the Banana Crisp.
I decided to skip the Show and play some blackjack. Sharon decided to watch a new performance by The Emperors of Soul which she said was pretty good. I again opened the table, and a man sat down to play with me. But it was another dismal start for me, and I didn’t know if I would be able to win a hand. It wasn’t long before the man thought that he’d had enough; as, he wasn’t doing much better than me. But, the cards did improve. I still have not strung together any long winning streaks which is one of the problems with Fun-21. Using some of the rules such as “Surrender” it makes it more difficult. I had a couple good double downs, and then split aces to eventually yield four hands, and each of them got a ten for an automatic winner in Fun-21. Because it’s a split, these Ace-Ten pairs are not a blackjack; but, in Fun-21 any 21 is paid regardless of what the dealer has! I got back to even and decided to call it a night. I was headed back
to the cabin when I bumped into Sharon. She talked me into going to the Piano Bar where Barry From Boston was about to start playing. He was featuring Burt Bacharach and Neil Sedaka. We stayed for most of the Burt Bacharach section which was really good and mostly songs even I had heard of. The surprising one is that he wrote Liberty Valance which is from one of my favorite movies.
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