I’m having to do two updates in one day because packing up our cabin took much longer than expected and we very nearly missed the 10:30pm bag deadline! Day 8 was our day at sea, which is very relaxing after three straight days of activity. We hit some open ocean and the boat started rocking so I was not feeling great. I wasn’t pukey but I get a really bad headache when I get motion sickness, which puts me in a delightful mood. More delightful than usual if you can believe it. My dearest youngest daughter lost our sea bands, and I wasn’t about to spend $15 for yet another pair, so I just hoped and prayed the captain would turn inland which he mercifully did shortly after breakfast.
After breakfast, I joined the other senior citizens on the cruise for a naturalist talk on whales that was absolutely fascinating. Apparently they now believe some whales live 200 years! They found a 150 year old harpoon in one recently. Orcas are the kings of the ocean – in a fight between an orca and a great white shark, the orca wins. Orcas are also the most widely distributed mammals except humans across the globe – who knew? The humpbacks go from Alaska to Hawaii each year – most of them anyway. The males sing a song. All the males sing the same song, but the song varies from year to year. It was fascinating to listen to.
While I was in the naturalist talk, Doug was having second breakfast and reading while Elisabeth and Charlotte competed (and won) in a pasta and play dough house building competition.
We all had lunch and then parked ourselves on the deck because the SUN made an appearance! It was so great to feel warm sun after nearly a week of cold cloudy intermittent rain. The kids went swimming and we just basked. Then the wind started up and I went to the cabin to rest, pack, and look out the window for orca whales. The day at sea was our best chance to see orcas according to the captain and naturalist. It was also the day that had perhaps the most beautiful views – which is hard to say because really every day was full of gorgeous views.
Elisabeth and I then went to a family-friendly comedy show where the comedian pulled her onstage and tried to arrange her marriage to a little 10 year old boy who was far more horrified than anyone else about the situation. Elisabeth hammed it up with the comedian… luckily we were able to avoid a marriage and Doug wasn’t there so he didn’t have to dress in a tutu with a wand and a wig and dance around to Let It Go like the other dads.
I went back up to the basking deck only to find out that Charlotte got to see an orca breaching repeatedly right off of the port side of the boat! I couldn’t believe I missed it, but she was so excited – so I couldn’t be too mad. About that time we looked ahead of us and saw this massive blanket of fog heading our way. It was so neat to see coming and then to enter. You couldn’t see from the front of the boat to the back of the boat, the fog was so thick. Eventually we exited the fog, but there were still thick blankets off in the distance that made for some amazing views.
We had dinner in the fancy dining room last night. No one could really decide on a dessert so somehow between 4 adults, we had 9 desserts. And I only ate one because there was only one gluten free one. Our server didn’t like that we failed to order baked Alaska so she brought two of those (which apparently did get eaten).
After dinner I planted myself on deck, determined to find an orca. The sun was not warm and lovely anymore, but the lighting was beautiful. I stood there for half an hour, freezing. I mean whole body shivering cold. These two cute kids came over after thirty minutes and the 4 year old points and hollers “look a shark!!” and the big brother says, “ugh that’s not a shark, there aren’t sharks here, it was a wave.” He might have even called his brother stupid. So the little boy goes running in to find his mom and the big boy goes running after him, obviously aware that he’s about to get in trouble for being mean to the little one. And thirty seconds later a whole pod of orcas started to breach right in front of me. They got out of the water enough that I could see their body up to their dorsal fins. There were probably 7 or 8 in front of me. It was amazing. And then they left and 3 seconds later that little boy hauled his mom out there to see the shark. I felt so bad for them!!
I always have my camera ready, but I was SO excited by the orcas that I took zero pictures. Not a single shutter click. I did, however, squeal and physically grab the one other person on deck, who was not whale watching at all, because I was so excited. I made her come look. I think I even jumped up and down if my memory serves me right. I might not be the best wildlife photographer…
I headed over to the other side of the boat to see if there were any orcas over there and apparently missed a pod by a few minutes. But I did find the moon rising over mountains and a red to blue sky. It was so beautiful. I froze something awful, but the beauty was well worth it.
The night time broadway show, where the rest of the family was, ended at 9:30 and we quickly ran to get our picture package and then to finish throwing our stuff into suitcases to set them out to get them off of the boat. It was 11pm by the time we went to sleep, and the alarm was set for 6:30, so I didn’t write a trip entry.
This morning we had a 7am breakfast time followed by getting off the boat at about 8:45. We were all – ALL, even the adults – really sad to get off of the boat. It was so relaxing and having all of your meals taken care of for an entire week is something I know I couldn’t appreciate until I was a parent. But, I suppose they wouldn’t actually let us live on the boat without working so since I would make a terrible server and I don’t think they’d let me wear the fancy officer suit on day 1, we got off the boat and headed to Vancouver airport to pick up our rental car and drive to Seattle.
It took us over an hour to cross the border into the US. I don’t have much more to say about that except that it was really frustrating. Grr.
We had absolutely no idea what time we’d be getting into the Seattle area given the uncertainty of disembarking, getting to the airport, clearing customs, getting a rental car, getting over the border, traffic, etc. We fortuitously (for me) had about 45 minutes to kill in one of my very favorite cities – Seattle! I love the mix of people and the vibrancy of the parks. We went straight for Pike Place which makes me a total tourist, I’m sure, but it is one of my very favorite places. We parked a few blocks away and walked through some parks with ping pong tables, chess boards, and even this cool waterfall-on-both-sides bridge thing that got Charlotte nice and wet. I hope locals go to Pike Place because if I lived here, I would go often. I love the energy and cheap beautiful flowers and the cool little side streets – LOVE.
We didn’t have much time to spend here, though, before we got to our hotel, Doug went for a sweltering hot run, we grabbed dinner and now it is high time for bed because our shuttle to the airport leaves at five am! Woo hoo!
I have to admit that I am excited to sleep in my own bed tomorrow night. However, this Disney Cruise vacation has been more fun than I even imagined. I thought I would be over-Disneyed, but I am not. They do a great job of not overwhelming you with Disney everything. It was just the perfect amount of activity and relaxation. We each had a great time. I’m not super interested in a Disney Caribbean cruise, but I would certainly do another Disney cruise to a more interesting location in the future. It is SO easy with kids. Definitely something for everyone.
So, until our next bloggable vacation (which will hopefully be spring 2015)… TOODLES! (That’s for you Ryan and Melissa… who do I owe the dollar to?)