Day 4: Wednesday Morning, 3AM

I have not been sleeping very well during the cruise.  I don’t know if that is because I am relaxing so much during the day, or what else it might be.  I certainly have not been lying awake worrying about… well, anything.  The cruise has been a nearly stress-free time, and I have always been able to sleep at sea before.  Weird.

Wednesday Morning we went ashore in Grand Cayman, and the sea around the island is truly magnificent.  I actually found myself taking pictures of water… see?

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What you are seeing in the blue is actually coral reefs that are thirty feet underwater.  Yes, the water is that clear.  Theresa signed us up for a shore excursion called a Sea Walk.  It was absolutely incredible – they picked us up from the dock at Hammerhead’s Bar & Grill, and took us out to the dive boat.  There we climbed into the water where they put a helmet on us that weighs seventy pounds (32kg) which above water is HEAVY on your shoulders, but underwater is quite manageable.  The helmet is attached by a hose to an air compressor that made sure that we were always able to breathe.  The weight of the helmet kept us on the sea floor, and we were able to walk about the coral reefs and play with the gorgeous tropical fish (primarily Sergeant-Major Fish, so named I am told because of their stripes).  It was amazing to be able to walk around on the sea floor, examine the coral reefs and the fish, and although we could only communicate with hand-signals, we even threw a ball around for a little while!

The picture below is of people far more attractive than our group (excepting my wife, who looks better than any of them in her bikini!) doing this activity, but as my camera is not waterproof (let alone at 30’) I had to take a stock photo from their website, and apologize for the theft… hopefully the huge thumbs-up I give them will appease them, and if you are in the Grand Cayman area check them out at http://www.seatrekcayman.com/.

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Theresa and I had lunch at Hammerheads, but then headed back to the ship and enjoyed the hot tub on the Lido deck.  We may have had a bit too much to drink, so Theresa went back to the cabin to rest.  I stayed in (or around) the hot tub until it was time for dinner, and had a great night… just talking to people, smoking a cigar or two, and decompressing.  I really think that is the keyword for the week… I have been so wound up with work and all that I needed to decompress, and while I generally only smoke a cigar every month, this week is a huge exception.  With every puff of smoke I exhale I can feel the stress leaving my body.

I should mention that we met some great people in the hot tub yesterday, but that is a bit untrue.  We had met them on an on-line forum before getting onto the ship, and spent two days playing telephone/message tag with them.  What are the odds that we would then get into the hot tub and POOF – they are there.  Jenna and Nick seem like the kind of people we can be friends with beyond the six days at sea.  The last time we cruised we did meet a nice couple who were much older than we were, but we spent a lot of time with them, under no delusion that we would become friends on shore.  Jenna is younger than we are, Nick is our age, and they are just the sweetest people you will ever meet.  They are engaged, living in Pittsburgh, and I wouldn’t be surprised if our friendship outlasted this voyage.  On vera.

It is strange what kinds of propositions you get at sea.  This afternoon I was in the hot tub with a group of kids – maybe 20-24 years old – and we were all joking around, when one of them asked me ‘So do you know Mary Jane?’  Now, while I am familiar with the codes I am absolutely against any form of illegal drugs (as so deemed by North American laws).  I thought it shocking that a teenager would see if I could ‘score some weed’ for her.  I asked her about it, and said that it was probably a bad idea to ask men twice her age if they could get drugs, to which she responded ‘What do you mean?  I am NOT fifteen years old!’  While I give her zero points for brains, I was quite flattered that she thought I was only thirty… of course, it is possible she was just REALLY bad at math.

It’s time to sleep but tomorrow we are waking up docked in sunny Jamaica where I will climb Dunn’s River Falls (and Theresa and her bad knees will not).  After that we’ll head to Paradise Beach, where I am told we will never want to leave!  Jenna and Nick are going to do some shopping and hit the beach, but we’ll see them back at Table 324 for dinner… I wonder who will have the most fun in Ocho Rios? 🙂

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