Thursday, April 14, 2011

The rest of it........

We are home now and it's much easier to upload photo's and write about the rest of our trip!  Onboard ship I had just a few minutes each day to be on the internet due to the expense, time allotted, and time to think!

Following Nuka Hiva we had 6 wonderful, lazy, busy, glorious days at sea and we made the most of every one of the them...  Following are various candid shots that I had not had time to post before.....  I've tried to give a full caption to each one so you can follow along and experience some of our fun days on board the Rotterdam for 30 fabulous days.....

Taken in the main dining room one evening at dinner by our server..  We had chosen "open dining" versus the set times of either 5:00 or 8:00.... We usually went down to the dining room about 6:30 and thanks to the dining room manager he seen that we always had the same table

These are our servers....Butu on the left from Bali, and Matha Adi from Indonesia 
We were greeted each night by both of them, pulling our chairs out for seating and 
laying napkins in our lap.   They brought the menu's and changed the sliver after each course. 
Each course was served on time and hot or cold as it needed to be.  Dressings and
Sauces were poured for us, water glasses and coffee cups were kept filled.
They gave impeccable service and gave dining a whole new experience for us. 

This is Fernando our wine steward....He was excellent and very knowledgable.
We enjoyed learning from him and he knew his business!  

One of dinner meals a "filet of beef wellington", with 
an accompanying vegetable melee, and garlic mashed potatoes.
Every meal we had was delicious and beautifully plated and served.

Though you can't see any of us very well this is our table at one of the special luncheons with the captain for "suite guests only".   I chose this picture so you could see the sea and what a beautiful place it was to dine at any time.  The Captain was introduced and seated at the table across from us shortly after
This picture was taken.
 This is Jim and our Concierge Jennifer
Her office was located in the Neptune lounge
and she was such a help when there was anything
We needed to ask about.  She is a real sweety.
This is a picture of the Neptune lounge, throughout the day
 they set out wonderful little canape's for snacking.. 
 It had a large library table in it, lots of DVD movies 
to choose from, a good selection of books 
or CD's that we could take back to our room.   
Jim is standing back at Jennifer's desk asking
 about a tour location the next day.

Jim had requested a behind the scenes tour of the belly of the ship and engine room and the concierge said she would see what she could do.   Near the end of the cruise on our return to San Diego, there was a note left in our mail box that a time had been arranged for the requested tour and would Jim please meet a member of the crew at the front desk the following morning.   Jim and a few other guys were taken below for a show and tell of all the ship's workings....  He throughly enjoyed it.  Below are some of the pictures he took.

Diesel Electric Engine

Main control room

Engine room Lathe, Jim had a nice visit with the machinists

Ventilation tube and in the background you can see
one of the large drive shafts.....

I almost forgot to post pictures of our room!  It was so nice I could live in there forever....Deck #7, Deluxe Veranda Suite #7029 Below is just as we found it when we walked in. 
 I am standing beside the door.  The big double doors go out to the veranda

Below is looking from the bed to the couch area

The next picture is standing by the veranda doors looking towards the dressing room
They had laid a nice leather luggage pad on the bed for unpacking our suitcases

This is a picture of our bar.... we were given fresh fruit every day, replace as it was eaten
There is a mini refrigerator and liquor cabinet underneath

 This is the bottle of Champagne on ice waiting on us when we got there

Here is a picture of the dressing room, the mirrors are on the closet doors
The separate bathroom with tub/shower is on the left.

The coffee table with a glass of wine and some special bottled water given to us as a gift

This is a shot from one end of our veranda to the other....we laid on the lounge chairs a lot
You can see that the railing is plexiglass so you could still see the water when sitting or lying

 This is from the other end of the veranda....we ate breakfast out here in the mornings

This is a bowl of flowers kept on our coffee table, you can see a white orchid and a white rose.
They were changed just about every 5 days

For my girls - Mom did get brave enough
to wear almost everything you picked out for me....
even the glitter top!  (and I did get complements on it)

After we left Hawaii on our way south, our donation
group got together for a "work day" to sort all of 
the items brought for Fanning Island...

Donna and I filling bags for Fanning Island

Faye & Ken & Jim waiting on the Nurse on Fanning Island

Mary & Donna, one of the fun friends I met

At the pool the day of the equator crossing ceremony

Another formal night and another funny self portrait

Jim ready for dinner

Mary ready for dinner

And a beautiful evening at sea

I was lucky enough to hit the jackpot on a 
"quick hit" casino slot machine.....

How Fun!  Everyone came running over, the bells & whistles went off and all the 
casino hosts gathered around to congratulate me....

I won two thousand sixty one dollars and forty four cents!

Our night at the old Lahaina Luau

Formal night

caught in the elevator

Our luggage in the hall waiting to be picked up
the night before debarkation

I caught this rainbow off the veranda on our return a few nights before we hit San Diego
What a perfect ending to a perfect trip.....

Thank you all for your comments and attention to the entries on this blog.  I've had a lot of fun going back over all the pictures and hope I gave you a good sample of some of the wonderful things
we seen and did..

I brought some of the South Pacific home with me 
and it will remain forever in my heart.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Nuka Hiva - March 27th

Nuka Hiva, Marquesas Islands....March 27th....Our last stop in the South Pacific.   Such an odd but beautiful island.....  It’s fairly large with medium sized peaks, very rocky cliffs with small beach areas dotted here and there along the coast line we can see from our side of the ship......  The mountains are covered with trees but very few coconut trees compared to the other islands we have visited.    

Approaching Nuka Hiva

Coming into the Pier on the tender

A close up of the "flat top" a sacred mound on the island

It’s inhabitants are mostly locals who speak very little English but were so nice.  There has been a lot of archeological work done on  this island with many discoveries of it’s first visitors and a lot of the old traditions are still practiced here.   There has also been several important herbicidal medicines found here.    We had no scheduled tours here, the only one available was a 4wd 2 hour ride up the hill and back and I didn’t think my back could take it......  Instead, we slept late, walked around the promenade deck, then took the tender to shore about 1:00.  There were a few shops selling hand made items but everything was very expensive.....  Jim purchased one item, we chose a rock that was carved out from one of the peaks.   Beautiful and healing......

Inside one of the market shops

a pretty shot of the Rotterdam from the Pier

It was very hot and extremely humid so we were back to the ship by 2:30.....While on the ship we were fortunate enough to have seen one of the "sea shepard" vessels anchored off shore.... the "Gojira".  You can read more about the sea shepard fleet at  They do an amazing job of protecting our seas all over the world.

The Gojira

Sea Shepard anchored off Nuka Hiva

Last night was a formal  night and we ate at the Pinnacle Grill then went to the casino for a while.   Tonight is regular dining at 7:00 and we have no plans for the evening
The ship will leave Nuka Hiva at 5:00 p.m. and we will start our way back to San Diego, coming back into harbor on April 3rd.....   Our journey is coming to an end much too soon.......

The Island of Nuka Hiva at dusk

Jim on the Veranda

As we were pulling away from the islands of Nuka Hiva

One of our last views of the South Pacific Islands

I have very little time remaining on my internet package so I may not be able to post much on our remaining 6 days at sea. If there is not much to read in a few days, be assured that I will catch you all up and post some pictures when we get back home........  It's been fun sharing all of this with you but I promise to make it more complete when I have better internet connections at home.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Rangiroa March 25th

Not all South Pacific islands are outstanding in their beauty..... Almost hidden to the human eye, we anchored out of Rangiroa on March 25th nearly before we knew there was an island directly in front of us.....   Lying fairly flat in the ocean, Rangiroa has no magnificent towering peaks, and not even an abundance of foliage like most of the other islands we have visited.   Even though it is encircled by more than 630 square miles of lagoon, it only has 15 square miles of land!   There are only 750 residents on the island.   

Going in on the tender

The little pier with a few vendors at their tables to greet us

This is not to say it’s not beautiful.....  There were miles of white sand beaches, and there are over 250 small motu’s, or islands within the lagoon.   Inland, the coconut trees are bountiful as well as other trees and flowering bushes.   There is one main road and two small towns.  Most of Rangiroa’s residents live a very quiet lifestyle, a great place to get away from the tourism activity of the other islands.  Because of the size of the lagoon it’s a great location for scuba divers, and snorkeling is easy in it’s quiet, shallow waters.

Taken from the bus on our way to the Pearl farm

We chose to take a tour to the Pearl farm, as Rangiroa has one of the largest of all the islands we have visited, again because of it’s lagoon size and rich sea life the industry thrives here...    It was really interesting to watch as the workers go through all of the steps required to implant millions of oysters which will produce the beautiful black pearls the south sea islands are so famous for.  The employees range from those who bring the oysters up the pier to the implant station in wheel barrows, to those a little further up the scale who do the actual implants and grafting.  

We were first given a demonstration of each step
This is a picture of how the oysters are hung after
implantation... They will hang for up to two years 
or more before being x-rayed to see if the implant 
was successful, they depending on the size they
may hang for another year or more

Part of the implant process as the seed is put into the oyster
The implants come from the Mississippi River in the U.S.

In the store that sets along side the farm we seen loose pearls of all sizes, classes, and colors, along with jewelry sets... priced from $10 to $50,000.   

It was stifling hot and very humid so it didn’t take long to start “melting in the sun”.   After the pearl farm tour was over at 10:00 we were more than ready to return to the ship for a break, cool off, and later had a club sandwich for an early lunch in our room.  Then at 12:30 we tendered back and went on another tour....  This time we boarded a glass bottom boat......  It was a short tour, only an hour but we rode the small boat further out in the lagoon where he cut the motors and we floated for a good distance, seeing many beautiful fish, sharks, and huge mounds of coral.  

This was a funny tour, the first picture is the "Captain of our boat.... Little did we know that she had hired a diver to bring the fish to us..  Not quite natural settings but we did get to see a lot of fish......

Our Captain

The "diver" feeding the fish to get them close to the boat
He would attach bait on the end of the spear you see
next to him in the water, and stick it under the boat
by the glass in the bottom.  We laughed over his
antics to make sure their passengers got to see many fish! :)

Sharks and other smaller fish as seen through the glass bottom

Colorful smaller fish through the glass bottom

It was a beautiful, calm day at sea and we did float over beautiful Coral gardens and seen many of the large clams through the water

I can't say enough about how great the guys were that run our tenders at each port we could not dock at.   They were very professional and quite good sailors taking good care of us in all sorts of conditions.   I took this picture of the tender crew as we were waiting on some of the other passengers to return for another trip back to the ship.  

Returning back to Pier our tender crew was waiting
to take us back to the ship.

This is a picture of one of the tender boats that is carried on the side of the ship.   They were lowered at each tender stop, and the guys spent all day taking passengers back and forth.   The second picture is taken from inside the tender boat as we came along side the ship.  We had to step from the tender boat to the ship platform on arrival...  Some of the "steps" was more like a jump when the waves were big and the weather was rough like it was on Fanning Island.

Tender boat

Back on board early in the afternoon we decided it was a good chance to capture some quiet time for a nap......
Leaving the lazy little island of Rangiroa at 5:00, our dinner at 7:00 was wonderful.  we were served a delicious meal of pear & roasted red pepper salad, prime rib, baked potatoes & vegetables, ....topped off with a strawberry sunday with mounds of whipped cream and nuts and strawberries that were almost too big to fit in the sunday glass! 

Below is another picture of Jim and Mary "dressed for dinner". We took this as a self portrait setting the camera to do it's own thing, then running into position as it went off.  If I look like I just finished a marathon and posed, that's why... :) 

We are “at sea” today on our way to Nuka Hiva, where we will dock on the 27th.  Sad to say It will be the last island we will visit.   Today we have another cooking class scheduled, and will probably just wander around the ship to see what we can find after that.  We did get a notice in our mail box that one of the on board stores is having a tee shirt sale so I might have to check that out.....  It’s nice to have a slow day with not many events.