About Dave

Surfer, Marine Biologist and Technologist = The ingredients of writing the perfect Sci-Fi

Bora Bora (continued)

We’re a couple of days behind here. Yesterday was a busy day, starting with torrential rains, which cancelled most of the morning excursions, but my planned dive was still intact. However, with some very large waves breaking on the reef (where’s a board when you need one) we had to stay inside the atoll. It was good to get under the water again to release my inner marine biologist.

I have added more images to the previous post (Bora Bora) from one day ago.

Bora Bora

From previously: Yesterday was a sea day, traveling from Nuku Hiva, so I did not post anything–it was, as we say, handicap maintenance day.

I have been told by some that you are not receiving email alerts. Go back in and sign up and do not forget to check the two boxes for receiving alerts and replies to alerts.

As we arrived in Bora Bora this morning, the weather was quite overcast with pockets of heavy rains, but still, any sailors seeing this island atoll for the first time would think they had arrived in heaven, for it rises up from the ocean like a gem, surrounded by an impossible to replicate turquoise green water inside the reef. When Captain James Cook arrived here, more than 200 years ago, he wrote in his diary: “Scarcely a spot in the universe affords a more luxurious prospect.”

We have an excursion today to see the island’s highlights and we will remain in port overnight. Tomorrow I am diving (scuba) the reef. Meredith will walk the beaches and hopefully snorkel. We look forward to some shopping this evening.

More pixs later.

Nuku Hiva, Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia

LATITUDE: 8.89939 S , LONGITUDE: 139.93959 W

Having been at sea for seven days, Nuku Hiva came into view at dawn this morning, hovering on the horizon, its vertical 4,500 foot cliffs jutting out from the ocean. As the sun rose, color and depth were added to the slopes and a prominent feature caught my eye– almost as a warning– because it looked like the bust of an ancient God meant to turn away those who venture upon its shores

This volcanic island shows no coastal roads or foot trails, and for the exception of a spill of sand here and there, no accessible beaches, by road.

But those brave enough to enter Taiohae Bay, Nuku Hiva reveals its hidden beauty.

Taiohae Bay

This perfectly intact crab molt

7 Dayz @ C

We have been at sea now for seven days, rocking slowly back and forth through the long period swells. Yet we were never bored and the time flew by because of Crystal keeping you busy, having time for everything but sleep.

By the way, If anyone ever asks you, what is the most popular fish in the ocean? Flying Fish!” They are amazing to watch at just how far they can fly (100yds+).

Today was the crew’s Tug-Of-War, with every department being represented like the paraded countries. Is is so nice to cheer them on– they work tirelessly and can not do enough for you.

The Stateroom Butlers— in heels no less. They won their first heat

The Engineers who keep the electric drives purring.

All the DJs and well… not sure about these guys, but they were rock’n the gold pants.

These guys were a riot! But don’t ask me where they came from….

The first match: Housekeeping vs food services… the girls in heels crushed them!

Up on the Sky Deck with guests and crew, cheering from above

The Mod Squad vs. the Engineers — the Engineers powering through to a win

The Medical team taking the win from the Engineers.

At the end of the day, it was the Specialty Restaurant personnel who prevailed over the Medical team for the overall win.

1of 3 entries in the photography competition

2 of 3 entries in the photography competition

3 of 3 entries in the photography competition

After 7 days at sea, we arrive tomorrow morning in French Polynesia – Nuku Hiva.

It’s All About One’s Latitude When Cruising

We interrupt this program with an important announcement– we have crossed the Equator which marks the first time we have visited the Southern Hemisphere.

The celebration started at noon in the Palm Court, with a court, held by his majesty, King Neptune. The proceedings were conducted by his magistrate, Rick Spath, Captain Birger and the cast of mermaids, seamen, pollywogs, etc– speaking of which, a Pollywog is someone crossing the equator for the first time, and in doing so, must kiss the ceremonial fish.

His Magistrate – Cruise Director, Rick Spath

When a Marine Biologist Meets A Mermaid

The Infamous Crystal Band

He most incredible drummer on the high seas

The Pollywogs

Everyone crossing the equator the 1st time must kiss the fish

Captain Birger

Countdown to the equator

Then onto the World Cruise Games where Meredith and I were entered into the putting event. I made it to the final round, but once again was blown out to a no medal…

The World Cruise Games

Just to let you know.. Jonathan started the event with shoes

Can I Get A Drink Around Here!

For obvious reasons, it starts in the stateroom, but your choices are not limited. Whatever spirits, wines, beers, soft drinks or infusion bags they serve onboard are not off limits to your stateroom.

Outside of your personal quarters, you can be anywhere in the ship and request a libation where you are. For example: should I decide to sit on the bottom step of the internal staircase across from the elevator bank and wait for a Crystal staff member to pass by–

“Excuse me… but can I get a drink?”

“Yes sir. What may I get you?”

“How about a, Long flight of stairs?”

“Excellent sir… but may I ask why you are sitting on these steps?”

“Well.. This is my first World Cruise and I bumped into one of the other guests earlier, who said I should be in a twelve step program… at the looks of it, there appear to be eleven more behind me.” Bu-dum-dum-dum….

However, should you feel you need a more conventional place to drink, here are a few, but mind you, there is no particular place you need to be.

The Market Place is for both casual breakfast and lunch, but Mimosas are quite popular

This bar services both the Trident Grill and Silk — opened for lunch and dinner

The Palm Court, located in the bow of the ship. Bloody Mary’s are popular here

The Concierge Club, cigars and single malt scotch are the focus.

The Crystal Lounge — great meeting place to figure out the night’s strategy

The Avenue Saloon — Late night cabaret, Smokey lighting and wandering eyes.

So you can see, there are plenty of great places to meet up or just slip away into the day or night.

I will wrap up this series tomorrow with the Serenity’s amenities… but I’m not sure I can say that three times fast after visiting all of this bars..

Just Add Water

To put a ship like this into perspective, think about the finest, full-service, apartment buildings in Manhattan, then just add water.

In the first of this three part series of posts, I hope to showcase a sampling of the dining onboard. To completely document everything Crystal Serenity has to offer would take days, if not weeks.

Our day starts early, around 7:00 AM, waking up to the sound of surf and the sun streaming through the deck sliders. Our first order of the day is to head down to The Bistro for freshly brewed coffee of one’s choice, be it a French Press, Cappuccino, Latte or just sit staring out the picture windows as the long period swells lift and settle beneath the hull. There are always freshly baked croissants and an assortments of other breads and pastries, sliced meats, cheese and a spread of freshly cut fruit and cereals for the early risers.

The always smiling guys behind the espresso bar

After breakfast we walk 4 laps around the promenade deck (1.3 miles), then attend the 10:00 AM and 11:00 AM lectures. At noon we race up to the Palm Court for triva…. our team has been sliding down hill the last two days(questions are quite obscure). One more day in this run, but I don’t think we have a chance…..

Next on the schedule is lunch. We usually remain on the Lido deck, dining at Market Place, which has almost anything and everything to please one’s desires. But today they had a showcase of their talents in the Crystal Lounge, so we headed there.

Assortment of fine French cheeses

Then it’s off to the third lecture of the day, a gentleman we had the privilege of listening to during our last cruise with Crystal, three years ago– Owen Ullmann, who was a press correspondent to several administrations as well as editor of USA Today.

Then our day diverges: Meredith is off to Bridge and I head up to the Palm Court to write, listening to some great tunes through my noise cancelling headphones, while they serve afternoon tea.

Afternoon tea, accompanied by piano and violin

At 4:30, we met up in our stateroom, drop off our gear and hit the promenade deck for another four laps (1.3 miles). Each day we walk at least 10K steps (5.5 miles on average). We trudge back up to our stateroom and catch up on the news (BBC) have a cocktail on the deck, shower and get dressed for the evening.

Which brings us around to dinner…. the night before we met up with a delightful couple from Sydney who have traveled extensively, many times on Serenity. We started talking about Indian food one night and made arrangements with the head waiter and they specially prepared a wonderful dinner for us.

A lovely evening at Waterside with Leonie and Alan from Sydney.

Curry Prawns

Butter Chicken

Lamb Vindaloo, naan and sides

Getting back to this evening, however, we returned to…… well… let’s just say it is one door away from heaven…

Soft shell crab and spicy tuna rolls

Udon Noodles and shrimp tempura

Lobster tempura

Green tea ice cream and tapioca

From here we are off for an after dinner drink, which will be the subject of tomorrow’s post.

A Quick Get Away And A Not So Olympic Day

We had the fastest in and out of any cruise ship in Cabo San Lucas, ever! As I posted yesterday, there was a medical emergency onboard which required us to redirect our route to Cabo to drop off a guest– and as it turned out later that night– another guest also needed a medical evac. We are told that both are doing fine and that they were served margaritas and had their pictures taken next to the Crystal Sea horses….

We were running on 5 of 6 generators all the way there and arrived in Cabo this morning around 5:00 AM, dropped the tender, loaded the patients, ferrying them to shore and by the time the tender returned the Captain had spun the ship in place and the next thing we knew we were running flat out to Tahiti. I believe the entire event was 15 minutes. As the Captain said during his daily noon announcements,

“We took off like we stole this ship”

We have been at sea a day since leaving LA and there are six sea days ahead of us so we better get used to the view


Today marked the first day of the Olympic Games and while Meredith was off to lunch and a lecture and bridge, I had a table tennis match at 1:00 PM.

It all started coming back to me, the spin, the forehand smash– Countless hours spent in college with a major in table-tennis and a minor in my apartment! (couldn’t resist the Henny Youngman joke) . I won my first three matches but got blown out and missed the bronze…. it was awesome playing table-tennis on my way to Tahiti …. yes.. I feel your sympathy…

I did get a cool Tee-Shirt out of it. Tomorrow is Darts and I hope I do better there. Then Meredith and I have a golf putting competition in a day or two.

Tonight the chef is preparing us an Indian dinner which we will share with a wonderful couple we met from Sydney. They are both golfers and her handicap is 11. We should invite them to our couples member/guest. Until tomorrow.

A Zig… A Zag…

After leaving LA we were headed southwest, but overnight into the early morning hours we came about hard to port, a slight change of plans, back to Cabo San Lucas, Mex. due to a medical emergency onboard. We remained on ship time because of the confusion it would have caused everyone onboard, crossing back and forth through a time zone, then back through it to Cabo and then back once we continued our original course into the South Pacific. This turnabout does mean missing a scheduled port (Rangiroa) to make up for the extra day, which is too bad for we had a snorkeling excursion planned, but all of us onboard feel the same and hope the passenger will be fine, because for us traveling, one day is as beautiful as another with no time or destination in mind. We expect to arrive in Cabo around 4 this morning. They will anchor and launch a tender and the passenger will be transported to shore and after the transfer is completed we will be on our way.

We have had a series of great lectures yesterday and today: Jennifer Chandler- Olympic Gold Medalist in diving (1976); Professor Adrian Vickers – The Marquesas Islands , Herman Melville and the outliers of Polynesia (many islands); Captain John Creighton – Navy Pilot, Space Shuttle Commander; Neil Leifer – Sports most decorated photographer. You see them at lunch or dinner, at shows or just chilling out somewhere on deck and happy to talk to you.

Today is the opening ceremony of the Crystal Olympics, being that Japan is hosting this year’s summer games. The events were kicked off by Jennifer Chandler, 1976 Gold Medalist. Here are our participating entries: Darts (David); Golf Putting (Meredith, David); Table Tennis (David); Tricia (David, Meredith and our noon team of the Fab-8)

Jennifer Chandler opening the games , reading the Olympic Oath

The Parade Of Flags

Jennifer Chandler lighting the Olympic Flame

The band and dancers singing Queen: We Are The Champions & We Will Rock You

Closing fireworks


First and foremost I must apologize for the delay of this post, which was due to a technical glitch in that alcohol consumption does not pair well with anything technical. We arrived in the Port of Los Angeles– the first leg of our journey complete– and surprised to learn that 650 guests were getting off, but another 700 guests were taking their places. We thru-cruisers need to learn and remember all these new names and faces…. bringing light as to why Scott Bornstein was brought onboard for the first leg of our journey (the memory guy).

Port of LA in San Pedro

Our friends who live in LA arrived in style at noon, dressed in large hats and cruise wear, the crew taking notice of both Suzan and Michael, surely wondering if they were our entertainers for the next leg of the cruise. Had they played their cards correctly, they could have remained with us…..

Suzan and Michael

The beauty and bountiful of this ship is that you are immediately served Champagne whenever you board, or awaken for that matter. There is simply no reason needed… “Thank you…. but could you please direct me to the restrooms…”

When Linda arrived we toured the ship and then settled down to a wonderful lunch on the Lido Deck where the more Champagne seemed to evaporate from our glasses…. I will need to discuss this with the sommelier….

Linda Prinn, David, Meredith, Suzan Hanson & Michael Sopkiw

After plenty of hugs and kisses we waved goodby to our dear friends and casually made our way (ran) to the Palm Court, located in the upper bow, to see our ship pull away from the pier and watched as San Pedro slipped under a beautiful sunset toward the horizon.

With the start of the second leg ahead of us, we turned in our seats and listened to silky jazz of the lounge wondering what incredible experiences are yet to come.

At 8:00 PM, balloons rained down in the Crystal Lounge to the sounds of the Crystal band and the ship was brought to life by those just joining and those already here.

The picture of our time with the Captain at dinner last night finally arrived today…. it was a lovely evening…

Captain’s Dinner

Time to head south west for the next six days toward the equator and the South Pacific to Nuku Hiva.