High on the Sea

(And no: it’s not what you think!)

On Wednesday I enjoyed a first full day at sea. This included waking before dawn (what a surprise, right?). Later I took a ride on the North Star, a gondola that is raised over 300 feet above the sea to provide incredible views.

Earlier in the day I heard “Alpha! Alpha! Alpha!” blaring from the Public Address system, followed by additional information, including a cabin number. As I suspected, this signaled a very serious medical emergency as a result of which we turned around and headed for Kona, on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Then the captain announced that we weren’t headed for Kona but actually all the way back to Honolulu, arriving at about 3 am to transfer the stricken passenger to an ambulance and the needed medical care.

One of the TV channels displays our progress. The image above from late Wednesday night shows how we’ve done a U-turn. As a result, we’ll be skipping Moorea, one of the islands in French Polynesia. In exchange, we get an extra day at sea. As the cruise already includes about a dozen of these, I think I’d prefer to stop in Moorea. I’m glad, of course, that the captain and Royal Caribbean takes their responsibility for passengers’ health so seriously.

I may not have much to share until our first port, now scheduled to be Bora Bora on Tuesday–almost a week away!

Last Day in Hawaii

Although I boarded the Ovation of the Seas on Monday, we didn’t actually sail from Honolulu until 10 pm on Tuesday. I originally booked a sunrise photographic tour for Tuesday. (If you’ve been reading my posts, you are quite well aware of my fondness for sunrise photos. Someday I’ll remember how to sleep in!)

Then I learned that my tour needed to be cancelled. Seems I was the only one interested in a tour starting at 5:15 am. Weird, right? So I joined a later tour that began at 2 and concluded just after sunset. Only two other people were on the tour, and we had a most enjoyable tour with a local. Ironically (for a photo tour, at least), I was the only one who brought a camera other than the one on a smart phone.

Be that as it may, we saw some glorious sites on the island of Oahu including an unexpected double rainbow. The couple pictured above in silhouette were my companions on the tour. Andrea, our guide with Blue Hawaii Photo Tours, was friendly, informative, and most gracious.

Holy in Honolulu

Monday morning I spent a little time wandering the streets of downtown Honolulu. Not far from my hotel was St. Andrew’s Cathedral. I always enjoy the chance to peek in at an Episcopal church, and the doors of this cathedral stood open to welcome all visitors. This means that as you enter and then look back at the magnificent stained glass you also see the world beyond — in which and to which we are all called to share a bit of God’s love.

Standing before the Hawaii legislature is a stature of Fr. Damien. I like how he keeps a watchful eye over those who approach. Standing in front of the Supreme Court is a statute of King Kamehameha, credited with uniting the islands under a single monarchy. Finally I also saw Iolani Palace, once the royal palace.

Later in the day I boarded the Ovation of the Seas, the ship that will bear me over a 19-day journey ending in Sydney, Australia. But not just yet. We remain docked in Honolulu only leaving at 10 pm on our second day. This will give me an opportunity to join a photographic tour later today. I had signed up for a sunrise tour but was switched to the later tour when apparently I was the only person interested in beginning an activity at 5 in the morning.