Shale's Cruise To Hawai'i Nov-Dec 2015

Discussion in 'Postcards from Planet Earth' started by Shale, Dec 13, 2015.

  1. Shale

    Shale ~

    Shale's Cruise to Hawai'i
    November 25 to December 10, 2015

    November 23, 2015

    I just got my Airline Boarding Pass for flight to San Francisco tomorrow. Then on the 25th I will Board a Princess Cruise ship for a five-day Pacific voyage to Hawaii. I was packed since Saturday, in the same two bags I used when traveling to Barcelona by ship in April and my 10-day stay in Italy in July. Been planning this trip since September 25th and it is finally here.

    Shale Packed & Ready to go Nov. 24, 2015

    I have been in San Francisco, so this will be my second time in that city, tho just passing thru for one day. As my visit to Milano was the second time I passed thru that city in 40 years, it will have been 45 since I was last in San Francisco.

    I got a room in downtown San Francisco for less than $90 at The Mosser Hotel. However, I share a bathroom. Haven't done that since my backpacking travels in Europe & Asia in the '70s. Also, here is a pic of the hotel. Looks 19th Century and I wondered how it survived the quake of 1906. It isn't that old - built in 1913 - a modern hotel.

    Mosser Hotel San Fran Nov. 25, 2015 (Mission St. side)

    Shale Room Mosser Hotel San Fran Nov. 25, 2015

    I walked around downtown San Francisco near my hotel and took some of my style of tourist pix. BTW, I live in South Florida and I don't care for cold weather, but really like cool weather. Apparently, ppl in San Francisco don't know the difference. Srsly, I was the only person not bundled up like it was freezing.

    Shale - only guy in Shorts San Fran Nov. 25, 2015
  2. Shale

    Shale ~

    Got some pix of the local Wall Art. Some of these graffiti artists are really talented and I have always admired their work. Not only have I recorded wall art in Miami & Miami Beach for decades but now have it from Nassau, Barcelona, Milano and San Francisco. The world is so full of creative young ppl.

    Wall Art San Fran Nov. 25, 2015

    Wall Art San Fran Nov. 25, 2015

    I found out which streetcar on Market street, one block away from the hotel to take to the Port so for a $2.50 fare, I again start my cruise on public transportation, just like in Miami. These streetcars are like the ones I rode growing up in St. Louis.

    F Streetcar Market St. San Francisco Nov. 25, 2015

    Shale in F Streetcar Market St. San Francisco Nov. 25, 2015
  3. Shale

    Shale ~

    Unlike Miami, there was only 1 cruise ship docked in port. Got some good views of San Francisco from the deck.

    Shale on Deck San Francisco Nov. 25, 2015

    San Francisco Skyline Daylight fm Ship Nov. 25, 2015

    We left San Francisco late - at 5 PM, so my anticipated fotos of the Golden Gate Bridge as we sailed under it did not happen. But, I got to see the San Francisco skyline lit up.

    San Francisco Skyline Dusk fm Ship Nov. 25, 2015

    Golden Gate Bridge fm Ship Nov. 25, 2015
  4. Shale

    Shale ~

    At Sea - Thursday, November 26, 2015

    The sea and wind were quite ruff, the ship was rolling a lot and since today is quite cold and cloudy I stayed in editing pix from yesterday.

    I paid for a very expensive bunch of minutes on the internet and plan to go on from my WIFI and load pix to share on facebook and e-mails. I will also write a travel blog when I get back.

    Shale on Internet Pacific Ocean Nov. 28, 2015

    At Sea
    Friday, November 27, 2015

    It may be a pool day. Went topside to an open deck at 7 AM in shorts & T-shirt and was cool but quite comfortable before sunrise. By 9 AM it was sunny and warmer – even other ppl not wearing parkas (but most wrapped in jackets).

    Yesterday for supper they had turkey & trimmings for Thanksgiving but not for me. And, today while walking to the Internet Café I passed by a deck with a sale packed with ppl. You can’t escape Black Friday even out in the Pacific Ocean.

    But, I am in my element of Blue at sea again – 3 days away from Hawaii.


    Shale in His Element Pacific Ocean Nov. 27, 2015

    At Sea
    Saturday, November 28, 2015

    Just a day at sea, walking around, exploring the ship. I guess from the recent sinking of that freighter in the hurricane you all know that ships have a “Black Box” like planes. (yeah, they’re orange – the black may refer to the mortality of their use). I came across this one on my walks around the ship.

    Ship "Black Box" Pacific Ocean Nov. 28, 2015

    I had one of my little luxury moments on board – a free slice of Pizza with a $6 Beer. They didn’t stock my usual, Corona so I went with Blue Moon (naturally), which was a good tasting wheat beer..

    Pizza & Blue Moon Beer Pacific Ocean Nov. 28, 2015

    Notes from Yesterday’s Journal:

    The glow of the rising sun was just showing on the horizon at 7:15 A.M., the full moon showing brightly high in the sky on the other side. There were no stars showing but two planets were over the east, I assume Venus (the brighter) and Mars. There was an Asian man with cam fotografing the sunrise and I asked if he knew astronomy. He knew fotografy, the same as I did from the days of film. So Dave and I talked of fotografy, of box cameras, Brownies, large format bellows cams, glass negatives, developing and printing film – all the things we had in common with fotografy.

    I realized on this cruise with older ppl, that there are so many things of my long and varied experience that I share in common with so many others.

    In the dining room a man in his 80s was talking with the Filipino waiter about the fact that he had a Hispanic name but did not speak Spanish (something I have long known about Filipinos – has to do with their history as a U.S. Territory). I mentioned once having a coin of my birth year 1944 that had Philippine Republic on one side and United States of America on the other. Turns out this guy was once a coin dealer which was something in common with my teenage coin collecting. We talked for quite a while about coins, old cars, military, memory loss and other facts of ageing. His wife who had a German accent joined us for a while.

    After they left, another, younger couple joined me for dessert. Our commonality was that they were from Ocala Florida and my wife and I lived for a while in Gainesville. Robert was in the Army during Vietnam. We talked of military stuff and wild Florida animals both foreign & domestic. I also talked with his wife who was a nurse about our common experiences in that field.

    It was almost a sun deck day yesterday but a cloudbank came in and stopped that. Maybe today. The Pool Deck in the early morning today. I watched a movie on that large screen last nite, reclining on a deck lounge under a blanket.

    We set clocks back an hour last nite – two days away from Hawaii.
  5. Shale

    Shale ~


    At Sea
    Sunday, November 29, 2015

    I awoke early this morning but had 5 hours sleep and decided to stay up. We set the clocks back another hour tonite so going to get accustomed to it since I have to be ready to go on a day-long excursion on Hawaii at 8:30 a.m. tomorrow.

    So, I went topside and watched the sun come up in the Pacific.

    Sunrise Pacific Ocean Nov. 29, 2015

    Talked again to Dave, my fotografer acquaintance who is Chinese and confirmed that many Chinese, especially older do drink hot water as a beverage. I had seen this in the dining room several times when Asian passengers ordered hot water and not for tea. Reminded me of a scene in an old movie “The Good Earth” set in China.

    I then went in and had breakfast. I was surprised to see they had grits on the serving line. This is very much a Southern regional food that is not available in many restaurants in the U.S. It is interesting seeing the eating traditions of other ppl. The serving line has the Western foods: Eggs, Bacon, Sausage, Pancakes, French Toast, Oatmeal, Dry Cereal, Fruit etc. but here there was Swiss Chard & Shallots, Grilled Tomatoes and even Salad.

    Egg & Grits Pacific Ocean Nov. 29, 2015

    YES, today was a sundeck day, although I only spent an hour in the sun. We may be further south than Miami because the sun felt more intense.

    Shale on Sundeck Pacific Ocean Nov. 29, 2015

    That’s all happening in my little spot in the Pacific Ocean. Will write more after tomorrow. I plan to take a trip up Mauna Kea Volcano – to the top (13,800 Feet), weather permitting.


    November 30, 2015

    I awoke at 4:30 this morning with 6 hours of sleep. The ship is moving smoothly toward Hilo, where we should dock at 8 AM. I will disembark at 8:50 and go on an excursion up Mauna Kea volcano.

    I went topside at 5 AM and got a cup of coffee. Just a dozen ppl here, quietly waking up with coffee in the dining room. I love the pre-dawn quiet, whether walking the mostly empty decks while crewmen swab them or my pre-dawn walks on the streets of Bombay, stepping carefully among whole families sleeping on the sidewalks or having that first quiet cup of coffee on the steps of the group home of disturbed, rowdy boys, innocently sleeping until I wake them for the morning pandemonium.

    Note: As I write this at 5:20 the power went out and the quiet hum of the engines is now silent. At 5:25 a Public Address call for Response Team to Deck 4 Port side. At 5:30 the Captain announced on all speakers of a small fire outside the engine room and a power failure. By 5:35 he gave an update that the small electrical fire was under control but there was no propulsion so the ship is slowing and eventually will stop with increased rolling.

    By 5:55 the Capt reported that generators for the hotel were working but still no propulsion and by 6:30 he reported that half the propulsion was working, we were doing 8 to 10 knots and that we would be late getting to Hilo.

    Power was returned to most of the ship and we actually were not that late getting to Hilo but the problem was we could not navigate inside the port without port-side thruster and the tugs were not big enuf to use so the Coast Guard would not let the ship in.

    Ship Holding Pattern Hilo Nov. 30, 2015

    It made the news

    The engineers worked on it but could not get it running as we circled outside the Port of Hilo. At 10:45 AM the Capt said we were not going to Hilo but continue on to Honolulu where tugs could get the ship into port and specialists would work on the problem.

    To say I am disappointed is an understatement. The main reason for this trip to Hawaii was this island; to see Mauna Kea volcano where my Uncle Bob crashed in a C-47 military transport and died in Feb 1952.

    Attached Files:

  6. Shale

    Shale ~

    Now, as we limp along the island chain to Honolulu, it is just another cruise. I suppose I will enjoy the time at sea surrounded by blue and touring another city but this missed island has kinda bummed me out.

    Hawai'i from Offshore Nov. 30, 2015

    Blue Pacific Nov. 30, 2015 Ship Bow


    December 1, 2015

    We arrived on time at Honolulu and the 3 tug boats were waiting to dock us.

    Tugs Push Ship Honolulu Harbor Dec 1, 2015

    Shale Entering Honolulu Harbor Dec 1, 2015
  7. Shale

    Shale ~

    I took one of those “Hop On – Hop Off” Trolleys into Honolulu, which I found out is quite small compared to Waikiki.

    Tourist Shale by Waikiki Trolley Dec. 1, 2015[​IMG]

    Considering that I live in a subtropical, winter tourist destination, where the same plants are now flowering in December, you’d think I would not be impressed but I have to admit that Miami Beach is not even in the competition. Today started out totally cloudless with blue skies and the clouds that came in the afternoon were not stormy. The air was cool all day with none of that stifling humidity. In addition, there is scenery here, not just flat and the ocean is blue, clear and has waves.

    Waikiki Surf Dec. 1, 2015

    Diamond Head (Green) Dec. 1, 2015

    Pacific from Oahu, Hawaii Dec. 1, 2015
  8. Shale

    Shale ~

    I did some walking today looking for a Tattoo Artist to ink my Anchor tat for sailing the Pacific for over 10 days & 4K miles. I found Kevin at Sacred Art Tattoos in Waikiki. I like it.

    Kevin Inks Shale's Pacific Anchor Tat Waikiki Dec 1, 2015

    Shale's Pacific Anchor Tat Waikiki Dec 1, 2015

    Shale's Anchor Tats in Flip Flops Dec 2, 2015

    As for the ship, the Captain just announced that they managed to fix most of the engine problems but we lack full propulsion in one engine, so we are going to cut out one of the island stops and head back on Thursday instead of Friday. There should be some compensation coming for our disappointment.
  9. Shale

    Shale ~

    December 2, 2015 - Honolulu

    When I awoke at 6:30 this morning and did not feel the ship moving I thot it strange since we were due to dock at Kauai at 8AM. I went topside and my first view was of Honolulu – we never left last nite. By 8AM the Captain announced that the Coast Guard did not clear the ship to sail until 4AM. It was decided to leave Honolulu tonite and start our 4-day crossing of the Pacific. Since we missed 3 islands on this cruise we will get full refunds and discounts on a future cruise. So, in my best Arnold voice; “AH’LL BE BACK!

    Yep, gonna try again to get to Hawai’i Big Island and see Mauna Kea. IDK when yet but soon I hope.

    Today was a good day to walk around downtown Honolulu. Tho partly cloudy, it didn’t rain and I took pix of the old buildings in Chinatown and the new hi-rises of modern & unique architecture. I went over to the Aloha Tower, the tallest structure in Hawai’i when built in 1926. I got a good view of the Port & city and our ship from its observation balconies.

    Here are some of my Honolulu Tourist Pix

    Port of Honolulu from Ship Dec. 2, 2015

    Grand Princess from Side Dec. 2, 2015

    Aloha Tower, Honolulu Dec. 2, 2015

    Modern Bldg Honolulu Dec. 2, 2015 Blue Glass
  10. Shale

    Shale ~

    Modern Bldg Honolulu Dec. 2, 2015 Inset Glass Walls

    Yokohama Bank 1908 Honolulu Dec. 2, 2015

    Kamehameha V Post Office 1870 Honolulu Dec. 2, 2015

    Perry Block 1888 Honolulu Dec. 2, 2015
  11. Shale

    Shale ~

    AT SEA
    December 3, 2015

    We left Honolulu around 6:30 PM yesterday heading out to sea for the next 5 days before reaching Ensenada, Mexico. Out of the 4 islands I was supposed to see, O’ahu was the only one. There was a lot to see here but Mauna Kea was my objective for coming and there are other things to see on that island. A passenger I talked with yesterday said it is possible to fly directly to Big Island Hawai’i, so that is the plan I will be working on for a return trip.

    AT SEA
    December 4, 2015

    We set clocks ahead one-hour last nite so I got up at 7 this morning. I slept well despite the loud crashing thumps that shook the bulkhead whenever we hit a wave. (My room is in the bow). I used earplugs and slept across the double bed at the foot, away from the wall.

    Attended a lecture about the Pacific Ocean and it is just the constant wind in one direction that causes these waves. The sea on a calm day can have such huge swells caused only by its vastness – this incredibly deep & wide body of water with a constant wind pushing on it.

    I got some pix of this but they don’t convey the beauty of a 5-foot swell on a calm day – only the beauty of the blue. BTW, a waiter at lunch mentioned that I must like blue. They’re getting to know me.

    After lunch I went to the sundeck for an hour or so. Intermittent sun & clouds. Then they played a movie on deck that looked interesting so I stayed to watch “The Italian Job” (2003) with Mark Wahlberg, Jason Statham & Charlize Theron. Even got a $6 Dos XX like a grown up.

    Going to supper, then might watch Jurassic World if it doesn’t rain. Second day at sea – three mas to go before Ensenada Mexico.

    AT SEA
    December 7, 2015
    Not much to write about today – It was not a Sun deck day. It was cloudy and the air so cool that I am about to call it cold and go put on more clothes.

    I pretty much stayed in the dining room all day. After breakfast I was talking to a couple from California about my age who had a lot of things in common with me so we talked almost to lunch. Conversation about the recklessness of our youth and eating brownies ;) Then another guy joined them and who was into restoring old cars and the conversation went to auto mechanix and I had common experience with that (I did actually take my first car’s engine apart, put it back together and it ran).

    Yesterday I had long dinner conversation with another couple who were a decade younger but being Californians, experienced the Hippy days. We talked well past eating. Friending Bix & Terree on facebook.

    I mentioned earlier how so many ppl with so much life history can have common experience – especially if they have lived a varied life as I have. BTW, all my new acquaintances have had or still have motorcycles.

    At 2 PM I went to a gathering of Veterans and the room was packed. Considering that men my age and older were subject to the draft, most of us are veterans. There were a few who served in WWII, a few more in Korea and a lot from the Vietnam era. We all took the mic and introduced ourselves and branch of service & years. I met a Marine as well as a man from the Army who were in the same security service as I was in the Air Force, under NSA. This being Dec 7, got a few emotional responses, as many did visit Pearl Harbor while in Honolulu.

    Did I mention a varied life history?

    December 8, 2015

    I spent a lot of the morning in the dining room talking to acquaintances I have met over the days at sea.

    While at sea this morning I saw the splashing of a whale behind the ship. When getting close to the coast of Mexico this afternoon, I saw the backs of them clearing the water as they sounded and blew a spout of water vapor.

    It has been a PERFECT SUNDECK DAY. Bright sun and a gentle, cool breeze.

    I left the ship in Ensenada, Mexico but went no further than the in-port store. They didn’t have ballpoint pens so I came back to the ship (after going thru 2 ridiculous airport style screenings).

    Took some pix in the waning evening lite of some noisy seals on the shore and a Carnival ship on which I have previously cruised.

    December 9, 2015

    We left Ensenada last nite and are heading north to San Francisco. A pic of me watching a movie on deck (“The Proposal”) this morning.

    Shale Watching Movies on Deck Dec. 9, 2015 11AM

    Yesterday was the perfect Sundeck day – today is NOT. The sea is ruf with large swells and whitecaps and there is a cold wind. Sailing into the Winter Reality I must endure tomorrow before getting back to Miami. I may even have to put on clothes if it gets much colder.

    It’s 1:15 PM and I just printed my boarding passes for flights tomorrow. There was a short line to get on the computers when I got to the Internet Café at 12:55 but it only took 7 minutes after logging on. Still amazed at the technology that allows me to do this from a ship at sea. And, I could even call someone, anywhere in the world if I wanted to for only $5 per minute. (I’ll Pass).

    We are heading North, the sea is still ruf and the air is getting colder. I put on my long sleeve shirt and went to watch the Movie on Deck wrapped in a towel. The cold was biting on my face. Actually got a little less cold when going thru a fog bank. Ships horn blows periodically now.

    Shale Watching Movies on Deck Dec. 9, 2015 4PM

    December 10, 2015
    San Francisco

    We came into San Francisco in the dark and docked by 7, when the sun was just lighting the place. It was an interesting time at sea, disappointing due to the mishap in Hawai'i but overall a nice trip.

    San Fran Skyline from Deck of Grand Princess Dec. 10, 2015 7AM

    I met a lot of ppl on these days at sea, learned a few things about cultural differences and the many commonalities I share with others of my generation. Even connected with a couple whom we hope to meet up again.

    Bix-Shale-Terree Dec. 10, 2015

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