Special Sub-Topic: The Magical Porthole: Tropical Islands
|Sunday: Our limo pulls up at the pier in Port Everglades for our round-the-world cruise. We board our cruise ship, the Supreme Eternal Magnificent Monarch of the Seas, and we arrive at our cabin. The view through our porthole is beautiful. We are looking out at a famous city:|
Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Lots of cruise ships leave every Sunday from Port Everglades, on the Intracoastal Waterway in Fort Lauderdale. The same is true of the Port of Miami. Most of these cruises go to the Caribbean and the Panama Canal.
|Our ship leaves during our extravagant bon voyage party. When we're out on the ocean a few miles, we look out our porthole and see a small boat come alongside our ship, and a few people step onto it from our ship. This seems a bit strange at first. Were stowaways detected? But then we remember that one of those people is a person who is crucial to the operation of the ship and that he or she has to leave to return to the port. This person's job title is |
pilot. Every ship has to be guided into and out of port by a pilot who is thoroughly familiar with that port and with whatever hazards or difficulties are involved in entering and docking or in casting off and leaving port. What we saw was the pilot boat which comes out to take the pilot off and return him or her to port to be available for the next job.
|Monday: On our second day we look out our porthole and see some islands we're passing. They're in the Atlantic and the name of this country which consists of a group of islands is a version of the Spanish for "low sea." What is their name?|
Bahamas. The original Spanish is "baja mar," which refers to the shallowness of the Atlantic Ocean around many of the Bahama Islands. We were actually passing Great Abaco and Eleuthera Islands.
|Later that same day, after dance lessons, trivia, and a gut-busting lunch, we look out our magical porthole to see a group of beautiful tropical islands including Providenciales, Salt Cay and Ambergris Cays. To what island group do these isles belong?|
Turks and Caicos. Two of the other islands are West Caicos and Grand Turk. John Glenn splashed down near Grand Turk at the end of his famous flight in 1962. The Turks and Caicos Islands are a part of the United Kingdom as they are an overseas territory. Plans were made for the islands to become independent in the same way The Bahamas and Jamaica had, but that idea was shelved.
|Tuesday: Last night's tropical fiesta did us in and we just barely manage to drag ourselves out of bed to watch the ship's news on our TV. We look out our porthole and see that we are passing a large island, one of the biggest in the Caribbean. It consists of two countries that have sent a lot of immigrants to the US. What is the name of the island?|
Hispaniola. Haiti is the western part of Hispaniola, the Dominican Republic the eastern part. Haitian Creole is the language of Haiti.
|Later the same day we're dressing for formal night and we peek out the window and see the lights on the coast of a big island that has provinces like Granma and Cienfuegos. What is the name of the island?|
Cuba. The United States once dominated Cuba and still has a naval base at Guantanamo in the southeastern corner of Cuba. Much of recent American history is bound up with that of Cuba, including the Bay of Pigs invasion, the Cuban Missile crisis, and possibly the JFK assassination.
|Wednesday: We wake up and look out our porthole to find that we're in a port that's very close to the famous Dunn's River Falls. What country are we in?|
Jamaica. Tour guides lead groups hand-in-hand up the steep slope of the stream to the famous falls. Chickens like me can just climb the stairs.
|Still at anchor, our port near Dunn's River Falls has a name of Spanish origin. What is it?|
Ocho Rios. That's Spanish for eight rivers, but I didn't see any!
|Thursday: Our next port is the beautiful Cayman Islands. The three major islands are Grand Cayman, Little Cayman, and ___________.|
Cayman Brac. The Caymans provide numbered bank accounts for international customers, and the banks tend not to ask a lot of embarrassing questions about where the money comes from. This results in a country that's wealthy, at least by Caribbean standards. This practice led John Grisham to set "The Firm" partly on Grand Cayman.
|Part of our brief stay in the Caymans is a thrilling trip to a place in the sea not far offshore where, like a lot of tourists, we can have close contact with sea creatures we might either never see or be afraid of if we did see them. What kind of creatures are these?|
sting rays. At Sting Ray City, you can play with these creatures you wouldn't normally go near. They've gotten so used to people they're no threat as long as you treat them right.
Did you find these entries particularly interesting, or do you have comments / corrections to make? Let the author know!
Send the author a thank you or
Submit a correction