Monday, November 24, 2008

Shakespeare At Sea 2 - The Movie

Here's the 10-day cruise in a 5-minute movie. I had to delete the footage that showed me repelling a Caribbean pirate attack as I saved the ship, crew, and passengers from certain death, but the movie is already twice a long as I'd planned. Also, to keep the movie a reasonable length, I had to cut all the nude beach scenes and the shots of the UFO that hovered over our ship for three days. But I kept all the good stuff.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Atlantis Submarine Tour - The Movie

I've posted a short movie (2:17) of the Atlantis Submarine Tour we took in Barbados. I hope to add a few more short movies of the cruise this week.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

So Here We Are

After the farewell cocktail in the Crow's Nest, I ran to our room grabbed my GPS and laptop, then went back to the Crow's Nest where there are huge tilted windows, ideal for picking up a GPS signal. I launched my RouteBuddy software, then plugged the GPS into the laptop for a full screen map of our position in the Bahamas area. Unfortunately, I didn't download a detailed map of the Bahamas before I left home, but the screen shot below shows our exact location at 7:45 PM Sunday night.

The red circle is our location.

Detail of our location. It would look more interesting if we weren't in the middle of an ocean.

Half Moon Cay, Bahamas

About 8 AM we arrived at Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas. This is a private island owned by Holland America Cruise Lines. Here, you can take a launch from the ship to the island and have the beach all to yourself. All two thousand of you.

The beach is beautiful. Beautiful turquoise water. Beautiful fine, white sand. Robin stayed on the ship while I checked it out. It was so pretty that I decided to go back to the ship and convince Robin to come ashore. By the time I got back to the ship, the sun was so blazing hot that I decided to stay on the ship myself. However, as usual, I documented the day with some photographic evidence.

At 5 PM we're meeting pals Duane and Margie (from Ashland, OR) at the Ocean Bar (a piano bar on Deck 3), then we have a farewell cocktail party in the Crow's Nest bar on Deck 10. Finally, we have reservations at the Pinnacle Grill at 8:30 with Theresa, principal of InSight Cruises (organizers of this and other themed cruises, including MacMania Cruises).

Boarding the launch that will take me to the private paradise of Half Moon Cay. I wonder where all these other people are going?

A veiw of the cruise ship as I approach the private paradise beach. Hey, this isn't so bad. I wonder where everyone else went?

Oops. And this is with half the ship still heading this way.

I'm back on the ship, and most of the sunbathers are on the beach.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Shades of Macbeth and Hamlet

When I walked out to Deck 3 to take some photos, I turned abound to go back inside and saw a ghostly apparition staring back at me from the sea. It was fantastical hideous and fearsome, but I was able to snap a quick photo before I ran back inside to safety. Creepy.

Ghost at sea.

Leaving Tortola - Headed For Bahamas

We left Tortola at 5 PM, sailed all night, will sail all day today (Saturday) and arrive in Half Moon Cay tomorrow (our last stop before sailing to Ft. Lauderdale Monday morning).

Adios Tortola, as they say in the Mexican Navy.

A Pilot boat escorts us away from Tortola.

Robin gave a presentation this morning about Shakespeare's references to death, and the Elizabethan's ideas about death. It was a fascinating and illuminating session.

Robin leads a discussion about death in the Shakespeare plays.

Unfortunately, I missed part of it because I had to go to Deck 10 and shoot a few baskets on the outdoor basketball court, but I made it back in plenty of time to hear Hamlet's take on death (To be or not to be), and other notable quotes.

The ship's outdoor basketball court. It was blazing hot, which might explain why I was the only one there.

Friday, November 14, 2008

More Tortola Photos

After touring the mountainous roads of Tortola, we head down to the other side of the island to visit a beach, the popular Cane Garden Bay.

A closer look at Cane Garden Bay.

An even closer look at Cane Garden Bay. The two young girls in the turquoise bathing suit are actually the same girl. I used Photoshop to merge two photos together. The young girl ran towards the beach between shots.

Road Town, Tortola

After leaving Martinique late yesterday afternoon, we sailed all night in a northwesterly direction to the British Virgin Islands (BVI), which are just east of Puerto Rico.

BVI has more islands than any other Caribbean country. Tortola is the largest island, and Road Town is the largest city.

I'd hoped to catch a boat to Virgin Gorda, a neighboring island famous for a stretch of beach called The Baths (with caves created by spectacularly huge boulders at the edge of the water), but a semi-late start made us miss the first scheduled boat there. Since Robin wanted to be back on ship by 2 PM to prepare for her next presentation (the frequently mentioned humours in the Shakespeare plays), we decided to walk to town with some friends (Jerry and Kate from the Philadelphia area, and Theresa the head of InSight Cruises (the creators and organizers of the Shakespeare At Sea Cruises).

After a quick tour of Road Town, Jerry, Kate, Robin, and I jumped on a Safari bus to take a tour of the island. It's a beautiful, mountainous island. The windy roads would ordinarily have made me very motion-sick, but being on the ship for a week has obviously improved my tolerance for screaming around steep mountain roads in the rear seat of a small tour bus.

One of the views of the Road Town port from a local road.

Lots of Safari-style busses for the tourists at one of our photo-op stops.

Another view of Road Town from a tour stop up the mountain.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

More photos from Port de France

While I post a few more photos, Robin is directing a reading of As You Like it in the Hudson Room.

I just wish they could dock the ship a little closer to town. How hard could that be?

I'm not sure what they have against windows here, but if they like the faux-window look, it works just
fine for me.

I really like this clock. It kind of makes you stop and think. About what the bleep happened to the rest of the clock's numbers.

These people are Agents de Urban Mediators. That's what it says on the back of their bright orange shirts. If you need some urban mediation (like if the numerals on your clock are missing), these agents will handle it. I'm just guessing.

Port de France on Martinique

Columbus was here in the early 1500s. It says so on the cruise ship daily newsletter. As far as I can tell, the island is predominantly French now. All signs are in French and there's a French flag flying over the port city, which happens to be named Port de France.

From the ship, it's a beautifully charming island paradise with gayly colored homes and buildings covering the steep hillsides (below). Ah, those carefree creole islanders really know how to live. By the way, if you zoom in close with your camera on those gayly colored hillside homes of carefree island natives (2nd photo down below), they sometimes lose just a smidgen of their charm. But hey, the important thing is they look good from the ship, especially if you need glasses - like most of us on the ship do.

The charming town of Port de France.

A closer view of Port de France.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Cruising Is The Way To Go


This is the swimming pool on Deck 10 at the bow of our cruise ship.

If you look carefully along the right side of the pool, you can see several senior citizens who have obviously dropped dead. It was nice that the other sunbathers didn't panic and seemed content to finish their swim and sunbathing before calling for the ship's doctor. It looks like maybe the survivors might have even propped up a body or two into a sitting position so other sunbathers won't be upset.

Just some of the interesting stuff you see on a cruise, I guess.

Tragedy of Typographic Proportions In The Caribbean


We're docked in the Barbados port of Bridgetown, along with a Carnival cruise ship named Carnival Victory.

Sweet Swan of Avon! I've never seen typographic butchery on the side of a cruise ship as bad as this. OK, I know it's not easy to cut letters out of metal, but if it can be cut perfectly in 6-point type, why can't it be cut out semi-decently in letters 15-feet tall?

Or maybe the new Carnival corporate identity is a grunge font that uses different weights and fonts. Ugly fonts. Is it just me, or was the "n" ripped off another cruise ship and welded onto the Carnival ship?

I could go on, but that might make it look like I'm a typography complainer/whiner. And I'm not. No way. HEY! Is that an "inch" sign being used for quotation marks in the Noordam daily newsletter?! AARRRGGGH!


Founded in 1629, Barbados became a self-governing democracy in 1966.

Graves are unmarked, because of the Quaker proviso that only God should know one's final resting place.

Local authorities prohibit the wearing of any type of camouflage clothing. Anyone wearing camouflage is not allowed ashore.

At 8 AM we took a shuttle to the dock area, then hopped on a bus to Atlantis Submarine headquarters in the same area. A 10-15 minute boat ride took us to the 36-seat submarine bobbing on the surface.

The water was fairly murky, but we saw tons of fish and plant life, and a sunken ship. The best shots I took are on video, but I did grab a few still shots (below).

The Atlantis pilot sits in the nose of the sub. The red depth indicator says 121 feet.

Some of the other crew members.

Not a very good fish photo, but I have some pretty good video clips.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Robin's Authorship Question Presentation

We're back in the Crow's Nest bar for a crow's eye view of our departure from St. Lucia under the influence of a full moon and a Bloody Mary. Shiver me timbers, aarrrgh, etcetera.

Robin's presentation on the Shakespeare Authorship Question went great. Some Mary Sidney converts walked down the aisle during the invitation. Just kidding (about walking down the aisle, not about the converts), and everyone seemed pretty dang fascinated by the Mary Sidney story.

Robin gives a presentation about The Authorship Question in The Hudson Room.

St. Lucia bids us a bon voyage with a rainbow.

As we leave St. Lucia, from the Crow's Nest Bar we can barely see the last landmark before we head out to sea.

A taste of St. Lucia

The woman at the cruise ship Shore Excursions desk tried to discourage our friends Duane and Margie from going into town or doing any touring not officially offered by the cruise ship. Too dangerous, she said. So, naturally, that made the four of us want to go on a tour not officially offered by the cruise ship.

Duane and Margie are experienced travelers, used to taking off on their own. Plus, my travel pal from Santa Fe, JohnG, has sailed in his own boat to St. Lucia several times and he recommended leaving the beaten path that's preferred by cruise ships. Unfortunately, we had to be back on ship by 2:30 PM, but at least we were able to hire a taxi to show us as much of the island as there was time for.

It's a really beautiful island. We drove to the highest point on this side. At the top are several schools and a community college. The local vendors were pretty disappointed that the cruise ship was going to leave by mid-afternoon. Our taxi driver was dismayed that the ship told passengers that downtown was dangerous.

In about an hour, Robin gives a presentation on the Shakespeare Authorship Question. Can't wait for that one, even though I've seen it quite a few times.

St. Lucia from CrowsNest bar.jpg
Robin enjoys the view of St. Lucia from the Crow's Nest bar on the ship.

A local club on a local road.

A cove tucked away on St. Lucia.

Margie, Duane, and Robin at the highest point of this part of the island.

The cruise ship from a local road.

Monday, November 10, 2008

More photos of Philipsburg, St. Maarten

Front Street of Philipsburg runs along the beach.

A view of the beach from where we had lunch.

It's a 5-10 minute water-taxi ride from town to the cruise ship.

Our ship is on the right.

Obama and me in St. Maarten.

Philipsburg, St. Maarten

When we awoke Monday morning we were docked at Philipsburg. We cancelled our planned rental car with friends Duane and Margie because Robin was worn out from her busy schedule of presentations the first several days of the cruise. But we did leave the boat late-morning, took a water-taxi to Philipsburg, and strolled around town for a couple of hours.

A pretty little town. Very hot and humid. This is the Dutch side of the island. You can take a taxi or rental car to the French side, where bathing suits are optional on the beaches. Sounds fun, but we decided we'd already seen enough topless action while walking down Front Street (below).

Topless joint on Front Street.

Robin enjoys a view of St. Maarten while using the Wi-Fi connection in the Crow's Nest bar on our ship.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Another Day At Sea

Robin gave two presentations today; one about Macbeth and another about All's Well That Ends Well. The Macbeth presentation was very interesting. Since I'd helped with a practice run-through of the All's Well presentation back in Santa Fe, I wandered around the ship with my iPod blasting some Trans-Siberian Orchestra while I shot video of stuff like sun-worshipers who shouldn't be wearing bathing suits in public, and people snoring in deck chairs. You can't get footage like this just anywhere.

I also sat in on an interesting presentation about the history of pirates in the Caribbean.

At 5 PM we went to a two-person "Macbeth" performance by John Tufts and Christine Albright, Oregon Shakespeare Festival actors. They're the two fairies, Puck and Titania, that have been successfully passing themselves off as mortals for years now. The performance was in the form of a deeply disturbed Macbeth talking to his psychiatrist. Very interesting.

Tomorrow, or sometime during the night, we arrive at St. Maarten. We'll dock there for the day. We're going to rent a car with friends Duane and Margie from Ashland, Oregon, and explore the island, rather than take one of the regular tourist tours. Details tomorrow.

Robin teaching Macbeth.

John Tufts and Christine Albright answer questions after their Macbeth performance.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Now Is The Seasickness Of Our Discontent Made Glorious Summer By This Pill Of Meclizine

The seas were a bit rough this morning. Enough so that I left breakfast without eating, and slept through Robin's first presentation of Why Read Shakespeare? After a two-hour nap and a magic pill I felt great the rest of the day, even before the seas calmed down.

I forgot to bring the cable that connects my Garmin GPS to my laptop, so below is a pretty bad shot of the GPS device showing our position at the moment (7 PM Saturday night). We're scheduled to sail all night and all day tomorrow before we get to our first port of call (St. Maarten on Monday, November 10).

Trusty GPS. The white triangle is us. The red line is a track from last year's cruise. The small red dot behing the white triangle is a track from yesterday.

The ship's Atrium.

Puck Is Here!

Once again, I'm not kidding. John Tufts, the actor who fabulously played Puck (also known as Robin Goodfellow) in this summer's Oregon Shakespeare Festival production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, is here and I spoke with him.

For me, he defined the role of Puck. So now it's like he's actually disguising himself as a mortal so he can walk around undetected. And it doesn't help that the woman who played Titania, Queen of the fairies, is with him (using the cruise-ship alias and disguise of Christine Albright).

Puck and Titania sometimes disguise themselves as John Tufts and Christine Albright, or even as Romeo and Juliet, as shown above.