hubbard glacier

7.23.11

Because our room had no windows, it was pretty dark once the lights were turned off.  When we did get up, it was already quite bright out (sunrise was at 6:22).  We made our way to the dining deck where they had a wonderful spread for breakfast.  After getting our food we found our way to the stern, where they had nice outdoor seating.  So while we ate our breakfast we had a magnificent view of the ocean, spread out before us as we traveled to our next destination.  This was the one day we had sunshine (besides our journey to the cruise ship on the first day).  It was amazing to watch the wake left by the ship as we cut through the water.  While a cruise ship is large, it can move pretty fast and it was a little exhilarating to see how quickly we moved.  There was something so beautiful and relaxing about enjoying the sun and the sea amongst so many strangers, all of us enjoying the beauty of the moment.

After breakfast we decided to explore the ship, get a “lay of the land.”  We walked through the casino, saw a few jewelry shops, checked out the outdoor and indoor pool, sat in the bar/lounge area on the bow, and walked around the outside deck, where they had a walking/running track.  If we went to the starboard side, we could see nothing but ocean, though on the port side we were only miles from land.

One of my biggest fears is the open water, there are just too many unknowns under the surface, and it makes me shudder to imagine what dark creatures I’m not seeing.  I know there are a lot of beautiful things too and I really don’t mind the beloved sea creatures (dolphins, whales, turtles, etc.).   I have loved swimming from a young age, but if I go into a pool that has a very deep end, I grow fearful and weary of what might be lurking in the depths.  I know this is ridiculous, that there’s nothing in there that possesses sharp teeth or could do me any harm.  But I think it’s a slight phobia, and those are not rational.   All that being said, one of my “bucket list” items is to go into the middle of the ocean where I cannot see land in any direction.  I just need to do it once, and we just need to go far enough out that the land is no longer visible on the horizon.  I image what that would be like and am both a little apprehensive and a little awestruck.  I think the reason I want to do it is multifaceted.  I would like to, in a small way, concur my fear, though I would not be willing to go into the water at that point.  I also know that it would be so amazing to feel the smallness of myself amongst the vastness of the ocean.  I think it would be a nice change in perspective, to realize how small my problems, my life is in comparison.  It’s so easy to get caught up in the drama of day-to-day living and I know that I need wake up calls.  That’s not to say that those wake up calls aren’t possible without traveling to the middle of the ocean, I just think it would be a nice time of reflection.  Also, I know it would be a beautiful experience, if I could get past the fear of the moment.  We live in such beauty and the ocean is pretty magnificent.

Anyway, I was able to pretend starboard side, that I was nowhere near land.

Going to the same dining deck as dinner, we had a nice lunch with other cruisers where we sat at a long table and got to chat with people we didn’t know.  It was really neat to see and eat with people we wouldn’t have had the pleasure of meeting otherwise.  There were a lot of people milling around, always with the beautiful scenery out of the floor to ceiling windows.

As we approached the small bay we leisurely walked the length of the deck.  Jason and Micah found a shuffle board next to the walking track and we took lots of pictures as the ship pulled into the bay and got closer to the glacier wall.  It was amazing to see as the ice slipped off the face of the cliff and fell into the ocean.  We weren’t very far away but the delay in the sound of the crack and crash was unexpected.  The press of people against the railing made it difficult to see everything but eventually those people moved out and the view opened up.  We could see seals lounging on floating ice and would watch as they would lazily slip into the water if their ice got too agitated.

As the ship slowly turned to leave the bay, our group ventured up to the outdoor pool area to enjoy some of the activities going on (and the hot tub).  They had an ice sculpture demonstration and it was amazing to see how quickly the chunk of ice turned into recognizable shapes.  Afterwards they had a “polar bear plunge,” where they put ice into the pool and had people jump it, some were prepared, some jumped in with their clothes on.  It was fun to see the spectrum of ages that decided to join in.  Even our MC, Ian, ended up in the pool.

Before dinner we decided to take advantage of the movie theater and enjoyed Source Code with Jake Gyllenhaal.  The theater was cozy and not too crowded.  We ended up watching a movie every night the rest of the cruise.

This was a formal dinner night so Jason and I had to get ready, exchanging our t-shirts and jeans for a dress (for me) and button up and slacks (for Jason).  As we made our way to the dinner dining deck, we saw my aunt and uncle on the dance floor on the deck below.  A group of us gathered around the railing and watched as my cousin and his wife joined them.  It was fun to see how everyone dressed up and see the more elegant side.  We had fun at dinner and then took pictures on the beautiful curved staircase in the different family groups.

At 11 we went to the “Celebrity Theater” to watch a Broadway show called Simply Ballroom.  The dancing and the costumes were beautiful; it was wonderful to see the talent of each couple.

After the show a group of us decided we should get together and play cards.  Grandma enjoys a card game called Aggravation and so we agreed to meet in the small game room and play through a game.  We ended up staying up until about 2am and we had a great time playing and laughing together.  This ended up being a nightly ritual for the rest of the cruise and my favorite thing to do with the group.  We had a lot of the same people join every night though somewhere along the way my uncle and cousin joined.  Almost every night a few of the wait staff would come in to play with my cousin’s companion dog, Cody.  They would bring him meat from the kitchens and play with him, explaining that they don’t often see dogs on the ship and it was always a treat.  Another gentleman would come in and watch our game.  We think he was one of the night guards and while he never played with us, he understood the rules of the game and sometimes would point out options we couldn’t see.  Like I said, it was my favorite thing about the trip, being able to spend such quality time with each other, without the distraction of the food or the different activities available on and off the ship.

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