Day 109 April 22 (Hamilton, Bermuda)

I was up about 7:30 AM. Gotta love these 25 hour days. It really makes a difference. I wonder if the earth is slowing down enough that we could have them all the time. I suppose not. Hmmm.

We were all taking one giant ferry to shore instead of multiple tender trips to ferry us in. The ferry held about 700-800. So the first one was leaving at 9 and most of us were on it. The only ones who waited were people who didn't have an excursion. When we arrived at the dock we transferred to the Restless Native Catamaran. There were 22 of us. I suspect the time of year scared (cold water?) others off or they just wanted to see Bermuda. Anyway we were a good group and the trip was a lot of fun. The Catamaran crew consisted of a pilot, a hostess(?) and an older guy they called Pops who provided background lecture on the way to the snorkeling area. Maureen (the hostess?) actually did a number of things. She prepared the homemade-baked-on-board cookies and the juice and water we had throughout the voyage. She also gave a presentation on the marine life we would likely encounter and at one point helped with sail rigging. So calling her a hostess is not really accurate. These three obviously work together all the time and have fun jobs. Apparently the boat is owned by Pops' son - I'm not sure but he may have been the pilot. After Maureen's marine life lecture Pops gave us a briefing on the equipment and procedures. Those of us who were Scuba divers or had snorkeling experience didn't need this but it was helpful for the newbies. Such things as how to get water out of your mask or snorkel are important skills. Also, the admonition to take the snorkel out of your mouth before hollering for help might have been important. Fortunately nobody needed to do that as far as I know and we did return with the same number of people we left with.

The water was supposed to be 70ยบ F and that isn't in my comfort zone at the beach in NC but I put my tootsie in and decided to try to snorkel without using my wetsuit. I'm not sure whether it was the fun of the adventure or perhaps I was trying to impress one of the ladies on the trip but I actually got into the water without any squealing and didn't get back out for my wet suit (I had brought it just in case). It was definitely on the cool side but not bad. Perhaps the fact that I buddied with Daphne (just had her 79th Birthday remember) was my motivation to stay in the water. I'm not sure but we actually were part of the last few to get out.

After the dive we were given Rum Swizzlers and crackers with cheese and banana peppers. We had a very nice time and the fish and coral were good enough. Not up to Caribbean standards but not bad at all.

After our catamaran returned us to the dock area we had about an hour before the ferry (the last one of the day) sailed for the Amsterdam. Carol (Jane's friend and the watercolor instructor for the cruise) and I decided to go on a bit of a walk to look around and take some photos. I have one of me standing in the famous "birdcage" pretending to direct traffic. This is the scene you see in movies, etc. where Bermuda is depicted during high traffic times. This cage sits on a pedestal in the center of an intersection. I'll try to attach it to this email. Oh, I didn't have to mug a cop to get into the stand. It was empty at this time of day. Not enough traffic to warrant a policeman standing there I guess. Carol and I strolled a nice garden area and took some street scenes to fill the time.

On the ferry on the way back to the ship crankiness broke out. Seriously, some of these people behaved like 5 year olds at the end of a long trip. They were jockeying for position to leave the ferry like being in the front would win a prize or something. I heard one person ask, "Where did he come from?" And then the angry reply, "I've been here!" It was obvious they were headed for trouble so being the shy retiring type that I am I said loudly, "Children, children, behave! The trip is almost over, let's not spoil it." Amazingly they settled down and behaved. I guess I've still got it. I'm not sure what it is, but I've got it. Might be my years as a parent of two sometimes rambunctious kids or my years as a teacher/coach. Not sure but whatever it was it worked.

Actually, before the near fight, another incident happened which amused me. I was standing against a railing near the exit (I was one of the last ones on - I had a bit of an epiphany today. If you are the last one in line you win several ways. First you don't stand in line as long, second you can stand near the exit because you won't be in the way of others coming on and third you will be one of the first ones off!). Anyway, standing there I became aware of creeping passengers. These started to show up as we approached the ship (about a 20 minute ride from the dock). This one woman slowly inched in front of me as if she was expecting a protest or something. Then after she had achieved her desired primo spot she turned to her husband who was somewhere behind me. She encouraged him to move to where she was. He was reluctant at first but she got a bit bitchy and he did as she asked. I watched the little scenario with amusement that she seemed to think she had achieved some sort of important advantage from her manuevering. I had a wry look on my face and just shook my head trying to understand how getting off the ferry a few minutes ahead of others could be so important when I heard a woman to my left laughing. I looked in her direction and she was looking at me. I asked her, "You read my mind didn't you?" She said yes and we both had a laugh together at the little play we had just witnessed. Not everyone onboard is losing their sense of humor. Some are apparently getting cranky just like kids. Something new to be aware of I suppose.

It had been a long day and the ferry was 45 minutes late so those who stood in line early were no doubt really tired. My friends and I realized that we could go sit on a bench and watch the line (and the harbor and other pretty things) while the others stood. We got up and walked to the line after most of it was onboard and enjoyed ourselves much more. I think there may be an entire book in this somewhere about line psychology and game theory or something. Hmmm.

The show after dinner was perhaps the best our singers and dancers have produced. The singing was almost flawless and the costuming and staging was awesome. For the first time they had the band involved as well as the singers and dancers. The two pianos were placed on special platforms over the stairways on either side of the stage and the other musicians were in blackened windows across the back of the stage. The stage was used to its maximum. Not sure if I have described it but there is a large section of it which rotates and also turns into elevated risers. There were amazing lighting effects as well. They really pulled out all the stops. Bob Mackey was the costume designer and he did his usual great job. Fantastic!

We lost Broadway Music Trivia later in the Piano Bar. We missed winning by one song. We're getting silly about the prizes at trivia just like the pillow gifts. Lizzy was the host and after she announced we would win key chains and we all pretended to be excited she brought one around holding it like a Price is Right model. We all ooohed and aaahed like we were delighted. Buddy, the piano player, allowed as how the prizes had just been brought from the Captain's vault. We are just about ready for the trip to be over I think!

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