Day 98

It rained some early this morning before we got up and the seas were rolling a little more than expected, but still OK for us seasoned travelers. Now I wonder how we will be when we get back on solid ground after the cruise. I caught a picture of Pat doing the laundry, like she does every morning.

Terry’s morning presentation was on his favorite explorer, “Ernest Shackleton – A Man of Destiny and Endurance.” Terry covered his early years, education, and his joining of the merchant marine at age 16. At 25, Ernest joined his friend’s Antarctic Discovery Expedition to find the South Pole. After three months, he was sent home due to ill health. Six years later in 1908, he joined the Nimrod Expedition and trekked further south than anyone ever had but still did not reach the South Pole. Edward VII knighted him and he received gold medals and other awards across England based on his notoriety. But in the spring of 1912, Norwegian Amundsen reached the South Pole first. In 1914, Shackleton still had a yearning to go south. He raised funds from the government and private investors for a Trans-Antarctic Expedition to walk across the ice continent. Their ship got trapped in ice on January 19, 1915 and they drifted until November 21, 1915 when the ship sank. They stayed two months on the ice flow until that broke up and they got into their lifeboats and sailed to Elephant Island. By this time, they had been 497 days on ice. For a few more months, they lived in a shelter of rocks and canvas until April 24, 1916, when Shackleton and five others left in the lifeboat to get help from South Georgia Island. Fifteen days later, they reached the island on the back side and had to walk 32 miles over the snow-covered mountain range in 36 hours to the settlement on the other side. He still had to rescue the men he left behind on Elephant Island. He got a rescue ship in Chile and returned with all his men on September 3, 1916. No one died in all this. He tried one more time to go south in 1920 and planned to circumnavigate the Antarctic, but in Buenos Aires, Shackleton had a heart attack, died January 5, 1922, and was buried on South Georgia Island.

Chef Michael Meyepa and soup specialist John Balido presented a cooking program entitled “All About Delicious Soup.” Michael and John demonstrated how to make chicken soup stock, and then Cream of Chicken soup, Minestrone soup, and Seafood and Coconut Laksa. They chopped ingredients and cooked them in front of us on electric burners. These recipes are multiplied many times over to provide the 12 different kinds of soup that are made from scratch every day. We both ate the cream of chicken soup at lunch. I also had the cold plum soup, and Mac had the seafood laksa soup at dinner.  They were all excellent.

The cooking demonstration overran until after 12:15, but Jamie still let us play the noontime games. I won 2 points. Mac played ping pong with Art for about an hour and then we had lunch. It had stopped raining by now and the sun was trying to come out.

I went to card-making taught by Julie, who showed us how to make her version of decoupage. We all got to pick our card pattern. I chose an early 20th century woman. The cutting took longer than the actual assembly, but it came out nicely, as did all the others.

Michael spoke this afternoon on “Tristan da Cunha, – the One that Got Away.” He explained something about the history of the island, and how the few families who lived here intermarried so that most of the 254 people presently living here have only seven different last names. He showed pictures of the 1961 volcano event that lead to the full evacuation of the island’s 153 residents to England. All but five returned the following year. He had recent pictures from his 2011 visit. There are new buildings, churches, hospital, and school for the now 254 residents.

We did well in our five question mensa quiz, but finished out of point range in trivia. We attended a 5PM screening of the movie, Waterloo, a DVD in the possession of a fellow cruiser, but paused it at 6:30 to be continued tomorrow before dinner. We are up to the actual battle. Rod Steiger is Napoleon and Christopher Plummer is Wellington in the movie.

Tonight, we had an alumni dinner of our original 10-person table the first night at the Beverly Wiltshire Hotel. Gwen and Dean set this up and included Deb and Dave, Jean and Ed, Jeannie, Jamie (the girl, not the cruise director), and Mac and I. We reminisced on how we all first met at that initial cocktail party and dinner, and how it is now 99 days later. We had a lot of laughs. It was great fun.

This evening’s program was “Broadway in Concert” by the Regent Singers. They do a nice job, but we have seen it 5 times already. I sneaked into the theater with 15 minutes until the end to see and hear their super medley from Les Miserables. That was the best part of this show for me.

We set our clocks back another hour tonight. We will be only 3 hours ahead of East Coast time tomorrow.

Yours in travel,

Pat & Mac