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Published: January 25th 2011
Photo by Alan Burns
It was a dark and stormy night…well actually it was a cool and rainy morning when we sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge. As we made our approach to land we could see the towers of the bridge glowing in the distance. We hit the ground running since we wanted to spend some time on our boat and had a number of errands to do at home in Sausalito. We picked up our rental car and drove over the bridge we had just passed under. Even in the rain, our boat, Mana, looked beautiful bobbing in her slip. Our tenant, Aine, was out of town for the day but told us we could visit our home. We saw some of our neighbors, took luggage to storage, met up with Adele at our favorite Chinese restaurant and got our mail. Then it was time to get back to the ship in order to welcome our newly boarding passengers and get ready for the Bon Voyage Gala. Many of the former world cruise regulars are on a circumnavigation of South America this year, so we have a small group of “rounders” on this voyage but many more passengers are on for one or
Carol and Susan
Novato CS Staff
two segments. The evening festivities began with a cocktail party hosted by the ship’s officers and Regent’s top brass. Mark Conroy welcomed all of us and mentioned that this would be the most profitable world cruise yet. After a special dinner we were entertained by Joel Grey and comedian Norm Crosby. Joel is a great showman and is as nimble as an acrobat. Of course he is most famous as the MC at the tawdry KitKat Cabaret in prewar Berlin and he performed his signature songs flawlessly.
It was so neat to wake up the next morning and look out the window and see the Bay Bridge. We are used to seeing it from the back of our boat when we stay at the Giant’s Baseball Park marina. We had a party for our group where everyone introduced themselves and Greg Nacco, Cruise Specialists VP, welcomed our cruisers aboard. We left port on a sunny afternoon, cruised by Alcatraz and reached the Gate just as streams of fog were enveloping the iconic bridge. Alan Burns, a friend of Ken and Shirley, had visited the ship that morning. After he left, he went to Ft Point and took a beautiful
picture of our ship heading under the Golden Gate Bridge into the mist. We bid a silent farewell to our home as we began our journey across the vast Pacific Ocean.
The four sea days it takes to get to Hawaii allows the passengers time to unpack, get settled in, meet their new cruise mates and to adjust to the rhythm of shipboard life. We renewed our acquaintance with Terry Waite, the humanitarian, hostage negotiator and former captive who was held for five years in Lebanon. He is a very inspirational speaker and coincidentally a friend of my brother-in-law, Tom. We dined with Harry Chittick, another guest lecturer who is a noted news journalist in the United States. On board there is an arts and crafts program, bridge lessons, sports games, yoga and exercise programs along with a vast array of interesting speakers and talented entertainers. So there is plenty to do to wile away the sea days not to mention watching the football playoff games or getting lost in a favorite book or movie or maybe just watching the ocean slide by mile after nautical mile.
We made landfall in Hilo, Hawaii and spent part of the
day checking out the local medical system. Kevin was having a problem with his left eye so we saw a few specialists and was given a clean bill of health—much to our relief. We love downtown Hilo as it has a vibrant city center teeming with locals and tourists alike. Their farmer and craft market is thriving. Upon departure, we cruised by the lava spewing Kilauea Volcano which unfortunately was shrouded in clouds.
We rounded Diamond Head the next morning and docked at historic Aloha Tower in downtown Honolulu. Cruising friends, Bobbi and Madeline picked us up, presented us with beautiful leis and took us to their beach club, the Outrigger Canoe Club on the shores of Waikiki. It is so nice to be back in Hawaii as it is one of our favorite places in the world. After a wonderful lunch they took us on a driving tour of Diamond Head and Kahala on the windward side of Oahu.
There was a special event for the world cruisers held at the Iolani Palace—America’s only royal residence which was built in 1882. We saw a changing of the guard ceremony and some local entertainment on the palace grounds.
Henry and Tessa
Sailing out of SF Bay
It was a lovely tropical evening with a gentle breeze fragrant with exotic flowers and the soft cooing of the mourning doves.
We bought a new Fuji camera the next day and spent the morning in Chinatown exploring its markets and temples and trying out some of the excellent cuisine. It seems that the Polynesian and Asian cultures blend very well in Hawaii. On our last night in Honolulu the ship had a deck party and it was a perfect night for dining alfresco while listening to some favorite Hawaiian melodies. Upon our 11pm departure we cruised along the Waikiki waterfront. It is a beautiful site from sea with the lighted residential areas covering the ridge tops framed by the dark valleys reaching up the mountain sides.
The ship anchored in front of Lahaina, Maui where we decided to go surfing. We took a lesson and then hit the water. There was some pretty large surf but most of us were able to catch a wave and get up on the big boards. Warm water surfing is the only way to go for us. Kevin had a close encounter with a coral head without too much damage to
John R. and Luis
CS Bon Voyage Party
him or the coral. But Duke Kahanamoku would have admired his fine surfing style.
When we sailed away from Maui we were surrounded by dozens of whales spouting and breaching in the tropical waters. We watched the old Elvis movie, “Blue Hawaii.” It was amazing to see shots from the 1960s of Oahu and Kauai when there were just a few hotels and very little development. But even as much as it has changed in the past 50 years Hawaii is still a land of beauty, romance and enchantment. Aloha!
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