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Published: January 21st 2017
Overlooking the harbor in Honolulu.
Everyone hears about what life is like on a cruise ship. You know--the food, bingo, bars, dancing, staterooms---but for us one of the most important aspects of cruising is the constant interaction with nature. The oceans, winds, stars and moons, sunrises, sunsets, currents, constellations, towering waves and glass flat water, storms, water spouts, green flashes, glaciers. And then there is the sea life: whales, dolphins, sharks, manatees, turtles, flying fish, jellyfish, baitfish, penguins, seagulls, frigates, albatross, gulls, terns. All that while at sea and then when going ashore seeing the unique flora and fauna of each country or island visited. We have been fortunate to see the most exotic animals and birdlife around the globe. Mountains and rivers, volcanoes and fjords, rice paddies and forests, swamps and deserts all are accessible by ship. Such are the joys of cruising and especially world cruising. And to add to all that richness, guest lecturers are on board to explain all these natural phenomena. We have learned so much from astronomers, oceanographers, botanists, ornithologists, marine biologists, seismologists, climatologists and geographers who are happy to share their knowledge and expertise. A world cruise is almost like a semester at sea. Darwin was one of the
first to write extensively about the incredible diversity he witnessed as he traveled around the globe. It is still all there to see, just jump on a ship and experience nature in all its magnificence.
We got a good dose of nature as we arrived in California just about the same time as a drought-busting atmospheric river deluged the Golden State. Fortunately, when we docked in San Francisco there was a short break in the downpours. We took a taxi over the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito to check on our boat, see a few friends and take care of some business. It was dry but very cold. The docks were covered with frost so we had to step lightly as we made our way to Mana. Several hours later we Ubered back to the ship and sailed out under the GG Bridge into a frothing sea. It took several days before the weather warmed up and the seas calmed down and then we made our first landfall at Hilo on the Big Island. It was amazing to be in the tropical warmth of Hawaii while looking up at a snow-covered Mauna Kea volcano.
MAUNA KEA MOUNTAIN
Snow capped peaks in the tropics.
everything about Hawaii from the Polynesian spirit (Mana) to the black sand beaches, the fragrant frangipani, the Asian influence, the lush hillsides, the volcanic peaks and the warm, blue water. Hilo seems to harken back to the Hawaii of old with its local farmer’s market and pre-war buildings. This is one of our first visits to the rainiest city in the United States when it didn’t actually rain.
The Silver Whisper dropped anchor off Lahania, Maui. Since this is whale season we could sit on our balcony and watch the humpbacks cavort and spout all around us while listening to the drumbeats from the luau taking place ashore.
In Honolulu, we docked at the historic Aloha Tower which is very convenient to Chinatown. Actually, it should be called Asia Town as it is filled with Filipino, Japanese and Vietnamese shops and restaurants alongside the Chinese markets. We got a delicious bowl of pho…which was just the right medicine for Kevin’s cold…pho for the soul! That evening we saw a stunning Hawaiian sunset off the fantail of the ship.
And now we are at sea for six days enroute to Samoa and Tonga. We love sea days especially
A Chinatown icon.
on the Silver Whisper.
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