We drove down to Miami on Wednesday; six hour drives and boarding call for the ship at noon would have meant getting on the road at 04:00, much less getting out of bed. Stayed overnight at a place which allows me to build up frequent flier points, which in turn means one of these jaunts will eventually be paid for in advance. *heh*
Board ship, get oriented, start taking photographs with the brand, spanking new D70s; sweet camera. I used more than simply "Auto" mode, at least in experimentation, including night-time scenic, portrait, and aperature priority (select an F-stop, shutter speed is automatic). Very much like working with a 35mm film SLR, and I'm looking forward to more work with this one.
Very smooth motoring between Miami and Key West, and a lot of fun in Key West. The tour ships use the Navy wharf, so no walking to and from the ship, must use the shuttle bus, but that service is provided in the cruise fee. Do pay attention to time; we heeded our "beep" notice on my Palm Tungsten to head for the shuttle stop, and arrived at the time the ship personnel said the last shuttle would be leaving... to discover it actually left 15 minutes earlier. Caught a cab to the security gate, which is where we caught the very last shuttle through the gate, and made the ship on time.
The Gulf proved not quite so smooth, but seas ran only 4 - 6 feet, not bad and particularly not in such a big ship. Some of the passengers did feel it was "rocky"... I did not. (It did lead to the feeling that the earth moved when we went ashore, though. *G*) Cozumel is... interesting. I expected to find many ways and people using them to seperate the touristas from their dinero, and my faith is reassured. I even indulged in some of them. Purchased some fine silver jewelery for Ruthie as well as myself (some of which will be photo properties). Some of that jewelery is even birthday present material for SWMBO. She bought me a gorgious pair of Sexy Boots. Dress-up time, oh yeah! We also saw a lot of fish and the nearby reefs, via boat rather than snorkeling. Here, again, the D70 showed up the point-and-shoot digital in terms of response time. Ruthann would try taking photos of fish, but the unco-operative piscines would not wait politely for the shutter to trip. D70 snagged them.
One full day at sea returning; being of fair complexion I quite generously applied sun screen while spending time around the pool and did not become excessively red. Well... with one exception. I wore a hat most times, but didn't for a part of the time pool-side. Nor did I put any sun screen on the top of my cabeza, where the hair is thinning.
Made port early on Monday morning, disembarked without any problems (other than we did forget to pick up one small bag, which is being shipped to us). This includes Customs, which Department kindly did not charge us duty on our purchases exceeding $800. They simply wanted to be sure that the boots were indeed both made in, and purchased in Mexico, likewise with the silver jewelery. The drive home got us there about 16:00.
Here's where the down-side discoveries were made. First, about the small bag, while still on the road but much closer to home than to the port of Miami. Second, Smudge waited to greet us as we pulled into our drive. Big deal, you say, your dog is waiting for you...
The Boys generally live in a kennel when unsupervised, and both Smudge and Houdini in sub-divided roofed housing. Because both of them will clear the kennel fence if something looks interesting (Smudge), or one brother leaves (Houdini will follow Smudge, Squrrel is the only one who remains in the kennel when this occurs), or the weather becomes quite serious (Houdini comes looking for me).
Our friends who watched the ranch mis-interpreted the written instructions regarding the Boys. I'm still sorting through this a bit; these are very long-term and very close friends. I've known them nearly 30 years. Rather than letting the Boys out to stretch their legs, then putting them "home" again, they left them out in the kennel in the morning, and "home" in the evening.
Friday, a very severe thunderstorm covered the area. Friday evening, Squrrel was the only dog in the kennel. I figure Houdini cleared the fence and came looking for me, and Smudge followed him. Smudge showed up for dinner on Saturday.
Houdini, though, is missing.
I really didn't want another hole in my life (third in nine months), and nothing is definite yet. We've put out notices to the neighbors, and no border collies were picked up by County Animal Control. I didn't expect there would be any from our area, we are far too rural for Animal Control to come pick up reported animals, unless they are already contained. So far, though, no response from either the fliers or from walk-about calling.
And, while it works now, the second phone line for the computer dial-up wasn't working when we got home. We're too far out for DSL, haven't opted for sky Internet yet, so two phones are needed. It's unusual for both to be out (the hurricanes did do that), but not unusual for one line to drop off due to very severe weather.
That's the trip in a nutshell... or at least from a nut's point of view.