Trivia Triumph in Tracy Arm

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North America » United States » Alaska
September 5th 2011
Published: September 6th 2011EDIT THIS ENTRY

We awoke at 7:30AM, with no clue as to the time because we’re both used to be awaken by the sun, and while the lighting (when on) gives the impression of an outside birth with its daylight peeking through the curtain, it really does little to wake you in the morning when the lights are off. Sharon rushed off to mass sans John, who caught up with her for the sharing “Peace be with You” part (including the kissing your wife part).

We then headed to the Dining Room for Breakfast and joined a table with an older gentleman from Florida and a man from Columbus (not too far from us) and a woman from Belgium. We enjoyed the conversation about the different areas of the world we had all traveled. The healthy choice garden fresh frittata, caught my eye this morning, and I made it even better by adding the hash brown cake and sausage. Sharon went back to her old stand-by American breakfast with bacon and white toast. After breakfast we finished and posted yesterday’s blog.

We were then off to trivia in what we thought was plenty of time to find a seat or join a team. The whole explorer’s lounge was pretty much staked out, but one couple in the back eventually got up and left and Sharon and I sat down. We invited a pair of sisters from Vancouver to join us, Heather and Sigrid. And before the game started we rounded out our team with Celia and Bob, a couple from Portland. The tough question was to name the first names of the original Jackson Five… We got four, but couldn’t come up with Marlon. Close, but no cigar. We also missed the question on the actor who had been in the most box office successes from 1968 – 1984. I originally wrote down Clint Eastwood but was sure that wasn’t right since I’d heard the question recently. We finally settled on Sean Connery but it was Clint. Not off to a good start. Then there was the name and state of the city featured in “Gunsmoke”. Now the sad thing is I’ve recently been watching episodes of Gunsmoke on Netflix, but switched to “The Virginian”, and if they’d asked about that I could have come up with Medicine Bow, Wyoming. But I did manage to come up with Dodge City and Bob knew it was in Kansas, and that was all we needed to come up with eleven points altogether and the win. And the cruise director was ecstatic about extolling the virtues of the fine prize being offered, down to the genuine accessory souvenir box our plastic “Made in China” HAL coasters came in. I think Sharon is just glad to chalk up a win, finally, it’s been a while.

It was time for lunch, and I had the fried shrimp and seafood pastry, creamy tomato basil soup with sour cream and Indian chicken chumba with rice. Sharon ordered the banana soup (a cold soup made with cream, vanilla ice cream and a jigger of dark rum) for me, but she tried it and I think she might have liked it. It sounded strange but it was very good. Sharon got a hamburger, plain, and today her lunch came without mustard so she was pretty happy about that. We both had the brownie/ Blondie brownie with vanilla ice cream, which was very good too. We ate with the CC couple from Kansas City we’d eaten with a few days ago and a couple from New Zealand.

Today’s itinerary featured
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Glacier near th end but we couldn't see much
scenic viewing on an entirely “sea day”. We traversed a bit slowly up the Tracy Arm fjord, seeking the glaciers at the end. During lunch we began noticing small ice flows, or to use Sharon’s “ice therapy” vernacular: bergies. We started on the lower promenade for viewing, first on the starboard windward side, but as the ship began a 90-degree left turn up the fjord, we switched to the port side to see the ice flows ahead, and appreciated the additional protection from the wind. The ice flow “bergies” were getting bigger, and the overcast skies created deep iridescent blues and aqua coloration in the ice, really very spectacular. Receding glaciers could be seen high on the steep sides of the fjord walls, with streams of tiny melt-off cascading water to the sea below. Some of the cliffs extended upwards to 2000 feet. The captain had to maneuver the cruise ship through a series of turns and S-turns, and the ice flow density increased around each corner. On the high precipice in front of us, with its bare rock exposed at the pinnacle, we saw what we were told was “termination dust”, the first snow of the season beginning to
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I think it looks like a chicken
stick to the rocks, and a harbinger for the end of summer. With one turn left some distance in front of us, before the glaciers we sought would be in full view, the ice flows were simply two thick to continue. Later during the show, from the cruise director we learned the decision was almost made to turn back earlier. But before that final bend there was simply no getting by, and the captain made the one hour long maneuver to rotate the ship for the journey back out the fjord. By this time we had made our way to the Crow’s Nest, first for viewing on the deck, and when the rain began to come, inside, where I enjoyed some complimentary salmon chowder. On our way back down we stopped in the Explorer’s Lounge and tried our luck at the daily Sudoku puzzles. Neither of us had been able to finish the hard one yesterday, but today’s were quite easy.

We stopped in the casino, and Sharon had an itch to try her luck. I sat down at the end regular blackjack table, which interestingly had been swapped for the inactive “fun blackjack” table that pretty much played “Spanish-21” rules but with less favorable odds payoffs. Sharon lost her stake for the session, and I thought I was slightly ahead, but cashed in $20 down after the dealer began pulling 21’s out of the hat.

It was Sharon’s turn to buy the bingo cards, and I got to stand, but not for long. Besides playing the compulsory normal bingo (or the 4-corners), they also featured the Crazy-T, any bingo plus the four corners, and the final game is always the blackout. It was fun getting away from the “small-picture” frame that doesn’t use any “B”s or “O”s. Sharon got to stand for the bingo plus the four corners when she got her final corner, and had four different single number possibilities to win, but someone called bingo. Then it turned out to be a false-bingo and things looked really good for Sharon. But four calls later someone else got their bingo and we were shut-out again, coming within a couple numbers in the blackout. I started out well, getting the first 7 numbers on one card in the blackout, but then I hit a dry spell. On our way back to the cabin we submitted our shoe sizes for an upcoming excursion, and added a request for the gold-panning/salmon bake for tomorrow’s tour in Juneau to replace our canceled dog sledding.

I had a very nice cheese soufflé at dinner for my appetizer, followed by the vegetable puree soup, and the Chinese duck with noodles and veggies, and chocolate decadence cake for desert. I accompanied this with a pinot noir. Sharon had the chicken soup and “everyday-menu” sirloin with a baked potato, and of course that same chocolate decadence cake. I tried the Italian Stallion cordial, consisting of green crème de mint, amaretto, and Kahlua. I was the only male at the table as we joined 3 friends from Albany and a woman from LA joined the table last. We stopped back to the stateroom after dinner to drop off my shot glass, you get to keep them when you get the daily cordial, so I have a collection of three now, with blue, green and now red bubbles in the bottom. They’re really quite attractive. And my mother seems to think I have a need for shot glasses because she sent me one earlier this year.

Finding it almost 7PM, and we finished dinner early tonight, we had time to make our way back to the Crow’s Nest for a Name that tune trivia. We weren’t able to join any other team, or find anyone from our team that afternoon, so we decided to rely on Sharon’s ear. DJ Mike announced that we had a choice of hard rap or Elvis. Needless to say, we did Elvis. Sharon’s ear needed a little tuning, and we got only 7 points (well really 8 points), but nowhere near the three teams at the top with 14. Actually we were surprised to get more than a couple answers since Elvis is slightly before our time. We had to rush down for the 8PM show.

We finally made it to the showroom, featuring the HAL performers in H20. This ensemble presentation featured songs with a definite water theme: Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head, Singing in the Rain and ending with a rousing rendition of Proud Mary. Okay, after the opening, I found myself getting a quite sleepy, until things picked up with some Beach Boys’ tunes. The singing and dancing was quite good though. I’m sure it was the wine and cordial.

Afterward Sharon dragged me kicking and screaming back to the casino that had taken my $20 earlier that day. I had to wait to get a seat at the blackjack table, but finally joined in, and things went okay, not good or bad, not winning a lot of hands in a row, but not losing a lot of hands in a row either. But there were some really bad players at the table, one quite drunk lady hit a soft-eighteen, which caused the dealer to confirm her hit, which she did, and got an ace for a soft-nineteen, which she hit, which caused the dealer to re-confirm her hit, which she did, and she got another ace for a soft-twenty, which she hit, which caused the dealer to re-confirm her hit, which she did, at which point the dealer couldn’t take it anymore and said “Lady, you have 20, are you sure you want to hit?” She decided to stay. If she had hit she would have gotten another ace! But I’m betting she would have hit that too! Sharon came by twice, but didn’t bring me luck either time like she normally does. But she had lost her limit so she went back to the room. I played on and when it got to be about 10PM I cashed in, up $25 for the table, and up for the day.

Our towel animal for the day was a Turkey. Previous days we had a lobster and an octopus (or squid we’re not sure). Wonder what we’ll get in Juneau tomorrow.


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