Monday, March 25, 2013

Mar 24 - Traveling home - the end of the journey

Today is the last day of Sam’s journey. He went to LaGuardia airport in New York for a scheduled 10 a.m. flight. Sam checked in, went through security, and found the gate. The plane was loaded and waiting at the gate when the captain announced that due to a mechanical problem the flight was being cancelled. At that point, all the passengers (200+) had to get off the plane and go to customer service to try to find another plane. Sam was eventually scheduled to leave at 4 p.m. to go to Chicago. That plane left on time, without problems.

Once in Chicago, Sam tried to find another way to Cedar Rapids rather than being stand-by on the last flight out at 9:30 p.m. The representative at the service center said that there was no other way to fly today and that because of other cancellations today, there wasn’t even another option on Monday. He said it would be Tuesday before Sam would get home if he wasn’t able to get a seat on the 9:30 flight. Sam was very relieved when it was announced that there was room on the plane!

When Sam finally got home, he was surprised by welcome home greetings, streamers and balloons! Some of his young blog-followers decorated the living room.

This is the end of Sam’s South America adventure. He hopes that you enjoyed all the stories and pictures that he shared with you. He is also glad that there is still some “winter-weather” in Iowa even though the calendar says it is spring!!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Mar 23 New York, NY USA

The ship sailed into New York this morning. Sam saw the Statue of Liberty and the New York skyline. It was early, before the sun was up, so Sam did not get in a picture with the statue. It is about 32 degrees this morning and the wind is blowing….. Sam loves it!!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Mar 20-22 Sea Days

Sam has been on the ship since leaving Antigua. The captain is taking the ship to New York. Sam is sailing in the Atlantic Ocean. Yesterday was a rough day. The captain had to sail around a storm (there was thunder and lightning!!). Last night was the worst since Sam left Los Angeles. The ship was rocking, rolling, things fell off the counter, and the wind was blowing. Today the captain reported that he was dealing with 60+ mph.  winds and 20 foot waves during the night!!  It is better today but the ship is still rocking. Waves look to be about 10-12 foot high. The sun is trying to break through the clouds.
In the morning the ship will be sailing into New York. Sam wants to be out of bed early enough to see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. He is not sure if he will have time to see anything while he is in New York.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Mar 19 Antigua, West Indies

The ship was originally scheduled to be at sea today and stop at the island of Grand Cayman tomorrow. A few days ago, the captain notified everyone that there would be a change in our schedule because there was a problem in Grand Cayman and several cruise lines were cancelling stops at this time until the problem is resolved.

So he arranged that we would stop on the island of Antigua. Sam is excited because the excursion that he picked for today is riding an ATV!! There were only passengers that selected this excursion – it was a surprise to Sam that it wasn’t cancelled!  Sam really liked riding on the ATV. He got to sit in the front. The tour included riding on main roads, rocky paths, dirt paths, and country roads. There were a lot of bumps, dips, turns, ups and downs. Because this is the last part of the dry season, there was a lot of dust. Sam got really dirty!

On the way back to the ship, Sam had his picture taken with a steel drum band. He filled the sink with ice and water and then washed off all the dirt from the ATV ride.

Mar 18 Barbados, West Indies

Yeah! Today was a chance to get off the ship. Sam is on the island of Barbados in the West Indies. Bardados was a colony of Great Britain (England) until 1966 when it was given its independence. They are still part of the British Commonwealth. Barbados has the same temperature year-round (low 80’s mainly) even during the rainy season. It is not a volcanic island so there are no earthquakes or volcanic eruptions, there hasn’t been a hurricane hit the island since 1955. There are some really high-priced resort areas and a nice golf course. This is the island where Tiger Woods was married. One of the hotels was host to Oprah Winfrey and her show for a week.

Sam had his picture taken with a pirate that he saw in the terminal at the port.  

The excursion that Sam went on today was riding a Segway around the northern part of the island. Sam got to ride in the front of the Segway in the bag.  It was fun!


Barbados is surrounded by the Caribbean Ocean on the west and south and the Atlantic Ocean on the east and north. Sam liked seeing the Atlantic Ocean on the north coast.


There was another nice sunset today.   


Mar 15-17 Sea Days

There were three sea days in a row once the ship left Brazil. Sam crossed the equator again. This time he went from the southern hemisphere to the northern hemisphere. The temperatures near the equator were in the 90’s.

During sea days, Sam likes to watch the ocean water, the waves, the sun on the water, watching for flying fish, birds, and dolphins.  There are activities throughout the day all around the ship. Sam tried charades. He was part of the winning team! There is also a lot of food on the ship. Sam’s favorite thing is ice cream! He can have an ice cream cone or a dish of ice cream anytime of the day (or night!).

There was a lot of green on the ship on St Patrick's Day. Some of the passengers had costumes!

As the ship travels north, Sam’s portside cabin provides views of the sunset each night. Here is a sample of one during these sea days. 

Mar 14 - Fortaleza, Brazil

Today the ship was to dock in Fortaleza, Brazil. There was a problem, with the waves and wind. Another ship that had tried to dock pulled one of the dock anchors out of the pier as the ocean rocked the ship. The Splendor is bigger than that ship. The captain tried to get close to the pier, but the water kept raising and lowering and pulling him into and away from the pier.

Even though the captain decided that we would not stay in Fortaleza, there was a passenger that had fallen in their cabin and broke a hip. That person needed to be taken from the ship and taken to a hospital. As the crew prepared to get the passenger off the ship, there was an accident on the pier. One of the large ropes used to secure the ship to the dock (about 3” diameter) snapped and struck a dock worker. The ambulance that was waiting for our passenger had to take the injured worker to the hospital. The crew managed to get our passenger off the ship. The stretcher had to be put in the back of a pickup truck to wait for another ambulance to come to the pier.

Sam did see some of the town from the deck of the ship……….