Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Tuesday's Fly Day: TPA-ORD-SEA-BLI

We returned our nice Hyundai Elantra to Alamo, checked our heavy bags with American, and spent some time in a pleasant Admirals Club Lounge before taking exit row seats on the AA flight to Chicago. It was fairly bumpy for a chunk of the flight, close at times to what pilots call moderate chop.

There a brisk walk got us to the Alaska gate where our flight to Seattle was boarding - in fact they were preboarding and Brian thought they were boarding First, so we sidled by a number of people  surrounding the gate also waiting to board in F - don't you hate people like us?!?

Still, it's the famously named "gate lice" who foul the boarding process up for everybody.

We were comfy in Row 1 and enjoyed the four-hour flight to Seattle. The difference between American in Economy and Alaska in First is as pronounced as one could expect- so many happy Alaska  flight attendants.

Before we knew it, we were viewing Seattle from the air: I-90, bridges, I-5, Boeing Field, that boxy Boeing building near SEA, and then a smooth landing and quick taxi to the gate.

And now we have a couple of hours to relax in both Alaska Lounge sites before boarding our short flight to Bellingham and home.

Busch Gardens Bust

Count us among the few who didn't really enjoy it.

The highlight for us by far was the free concert by Lee Greenwood. We're not country fans but this 74-year-old was outstanding!

No bad seats among the 1300 or so in a semicircular arrangement.

As to the rest of the day, we don't do extreme roller coasters. That's a major feature. We rode the train (lots of waiting) and saw some animals- the park has an African theme.

We rode the gondola across the park and, after lunch, decided we had to ride SOMETHING.

We chose the river rapids. The signs warn that it's possible to get wet. We got soaked!

This is our last time dry at Busch Gardens.

Make that our last time at Busch Gardens. To each his own.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Versatile Businessmen of Florida

One-stop shopping for pest control, cell phone repair, and furniture and accessories in Port Richey...

Back on Dry Land in Florida

We did enjoy our first cruise on Marina.

We disembarked Saturday morning, and drove about 300 miles to Port Richey, north of Tampa, after a pleasing lunch with Tom and Ellyn in Naples.

We're staying two nights in a lovely Homewood Suites by Hilton.

Today (Sunday) we drove over, first to Fred Howard County Park, a great spot to wander idly, chatting with fishermen and gazing at wind surfers.

Birds, birds, and more birds...

We then proceeded to Tarpon Springs, a cute little town on the water peopled by Greek sponge divers.

Greeks and Greek restaurants still abound, and we lucked in to prime seating at one of the better ones, Dimitri's.

It seemed like everyone and her dog was there.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Caribbean Cruising Season

We've seen Celebrity, Carnival, Seabourn and more.

This morning alone we're anchored near large RCCL and NCL ships at Roatan Honduras.

Oceania Marina: Eggs Benedict

We usually don't go to breakfast until the morning we disembark - will power and all that - but we made an exception this morning.

Oceania Marina: Dinner in Jacques

Back aboard we experienced a crazily triumphant afternoon. Brian won about 13 consecutive table tennis games against as many opponents in a silly "challenge the winner" competition, becoming very hot and sweaty by the end.

We then went to Team Trivia, where our team tied for first. (What does a "bardalater" worship? Shakespeare. What radar measures the movement of rain? Doppler.)

After that, we used our spa credits to get haircuts, and capped off the day with dinner in Jacques.

Kathy's favorite appetizer: sautéed foie gras complemented by grilled pineapple.

The scallops were beautifully cooked.

Here we are.

We even left room for dessert.

Harvest Caye Wildlife Boat Tour

We used our shipboard credit to sign up for a 90-minute boat tour that turned out to be very pleasant.

The tiny island itself belongs to Nirwegian Cruise Lines, and they must have spent a shipload of money to develop it into a destination. It just opened a couple of months ago.

We boarded the smaller boat on the right 
with about 30 other passengers.

We first went looking for the local colony of manatees, those gentle vegetarian mammals that stick their snouts out of the water to breathe.

We could see their shadowy forms in the shallow water (they weigh up to 1300 pounds!) and once or twice they surfaced, but the only photos we got were of snouts.

After that we cruised toward the mainland to observe pelicans and cormorants in the mangrove trees.

A termite mound in a mangrove tree...

The guides brought a starfish and a jellyfish aboard for us to gawk at.

The jellyfish was safe in a bucket - no passing it around...

A pleasant and low-key tour.