Roger and Cheryl . Round the World on Black Watch travel blog



Panama canal



Panama canal

Saturday 14th January. Barbados. Air temperature 27deg C. Sea temperature same.

We arrived in Bridgetown at 2030 last night . We were watching the final show of the

Leg where the three main entertainers said their goodbyes. All three were very good

And we have three new ones for the next leg.

We were berthed next to a P and O ship , the Britannia , which was huge . I t looked like a block of flats . It made Black Watch look very small , but we would not have swapped. Too many people on board and , would you believe, children !

We had an early breakfast and walked into Bridgetown. It was about a mile from the ship and at 8 o'clock in the morning it was 29 degrees. We looked for shade all the time. The town was very ramshackle and not very clean. We bought a dress for C and a shirt for me , both to be worn at the Caribbean dance tonight.

Found a Burger King for the Wifi and a cold drink and wandered around.

We discovered the bus station and decided to look at the island by bus. 2 dollars each for a 3 hour ride halfway around the island and back to Bridgetown. It was a bumpy ride . Poor roads and an elderly bus combined to make it interesting. A

Mainly poor Island with pockets of opulence, but mainly wooden shack type buildings

With lots of people sitting around in the heat.

Back to the ship for afternoon tea and sandwiches [ we are getting quite used to the lifestyle now ] . Back into town and on the ship by nightfall at about 6.This evening

A steel band is playing and it is a calypso themed event. We wear our new gear and have a fantastic time dancing on the after deck. Then at 2230 the ship sailed and the ships band played us out of the harbour.

A really good day...

Sunday we are at sea on route to Bonaire , where will arrive tomorrow. A quiet day for us.. The ship was moving around a bit and Cheryl was not at her best. She stayed in the cabin until late afternoon when she came up to the Neptune lounge to watch two newly arrived speakers. The first was a practicing coroner who talked about his life working in the death industry. Excellent. The second was a man who had compiled a lot of strange facts together and presented them in an "amusing " way. unfortunately Cheryl and I differed on our view of the presentation. Anyway we can't always agree.

By now Cheryl is pretty much okay so we went to the gym and worked out--it was so hot--- my vest was soaking. Excellent dinner and the evening show was good with a magician.

Monday 16th January . Bonaire..

We arrived at Bonaire 1030 and went ashore . Very small town called Kralendjik is the capital and there is only room for one cruise liner. Much cleaner than Bridgetown. The island is part of the Dutch antilles and is a big diving centre mainly for the American market. Not much for us in the town. A short walk back to the ship for lunch

And out on a glass bottomed boat in the afternoon. Went to a small island and along the reef looking at the fish , but the highlight was to come.

Snorkelling a reef off Bonaire. Cheryl decided to give it a go and we had a great time .

Lots of different coloured fish and we both enjoyed ourselves. The boat we were on had been used by Jaque Cousteau in the 80's, for research.

Cheryl was amazing in the deep water. As we sailed back we had drinks and a barbecue with a veggie option.

Fish pie for dinner which was lovely and at the evening show we were entertained by a young male and female singing duo called " Bells and Baxter ". Very good. Early night as early start Tomorrow...

Tuesday 17th January. Still 27 deg .

Arrived " Aruba " 0700. Early breakfast and off the ship by 8. The capital is

"Oranjestad " and reminded Cheryl of Las Vegas. It was "very" American and the town is much bigger than Kralendjik . A tram operates around the town , and is free. We walk around looking at the shops and are back on the ship for a 1330 sailing. -- Next will be the Panama Canal which we will transit on Thursday.

The evening shows are really good and are never the same. Tonight a comedian called "Lloyd Davies" is very good . He has been doing cruises for many years.

Wednesday is a sea day and we go to talks on Jack the Ripper and a very interesting one on the Soviet Union in the Cold War , by an ex diplomat who was there.

Dancing continues . Slow progress , and we book a private lesson. The entertainment was a Spanish flautist and she was good .

Cheryl has got her sea legs and is really enjoying herself now. She has fallen for a 90 year old Jewish lady who lost family in the 2nd world war. We really are meeting some interesting people.

In the evening I catch a bug and have a poor night -- Throat , head and chest . Not feeling good at all , apparently a lot are suffering..

Thursday 19th January.

Today is Panama Canal day so I had to be on deck for that . It was amazing . You cannot overstate the massive effort that went into building it. We enter at 0900 and exit at 1800. A day to remember for us both. Words cannot do it justice . We see our first crocodile in the canal It is dark when we leave the canal and we go to the Observatory lounge , which is on deck 9 at the front with forward views. Cheryl has a strawberry milkshake and I have a Guinness {yes I know} .We were hot and we really enjoyed the experience.

We are now en-route to Manta in Ecuador , which is the second smallest country in South America , and we are in the Pacific Ocean . The first time for both of us..

I am feeling lousy so I have an early night and Cheryl goes to the show by herself.

The show is by the ships own entertainment company and was enjoyed.

Friday 20th. 28deg.

I stay in bed all day and Cheryl brings me food. She is so good. I need to improve by tomorrow, as we have a trip booked.. We cross the equator early tomorrow morning and a ceremony was held on the after deck today . Many staff were thrown into the pool starting with the Captain. It was fun and Fish and chips were the order of the day, which did cheer me up a bit..

Cheryl sunbathed today and went to See the Black Watch community choir which she enjoyed and the magic show in the evening. The choir is drawn from the passengers and unfortunately Cheryl just missed the cut.

Saturday 21st January.. We are now 5 hours behind UK time.

Weather is hot 26 deg and sea is calm. We arrive at Manta at Lunchtime and our trip leaves at 1400. We board coach to visit an Ecuadorean rain forest in. The climate here is really strange to us. Where the ship is docked it is hot , dry , dusty and arid. One hour by road away we are in a rain forest with 85% humidity . Everywhere is wet but no rain. We see howler monkeys and many different birds including owls . A tarantula was seen by some [thankfully not by Cheryl} The trees and flora are so different from anything we had seen before. We walked about 2 K and at the end everyone was wet from the humidity. Some were finding it difficult to cope with the weather and there was a delay waiting for the stragglers. We both agreed it was a worthwhile trip. Back on board for 6 and a shower to remove the insect repellent. Dinner was good , with plenty of choice , as usual and we danced until the show at 2045. Boy and girl singers were very good . Went to cinema to see Marine 4--moving target. I lasted 10 minutes and Cheryl watched it through. {utter rubbish I thought]

I am gradually getting better. There are people on the ship being treated for sunburn would you believe. We saw dolphins for the first time today ,lots of them , swimming alongside the ship.

Sunday 22nd. We are 4 deg south of the equator at noon. Air temperature 27 sea temperature 26.

Cheryl puts bikini on for first time today and sunbathes for a short while . We are relaxing today and have a dancing lesson at 1630.

We have not run for a few days because I am poorly and it is so hot, but will get back when we feel up to it. We are due to arrive. In Callao early Tuesday morning.

This morning Cheryl saw her first whale spout water in the air. We have searched since , but only one sighting.

Monday 23rd 27deg. Course 143 speed 13 knots . 6478 nautical miles since Southampton.

We had our first private dance lesson last evening. It went well and Cheryl has a new pair of dance shoes ! Also last night was a formal night , with the option of dressing up, which we did. Champagne was served at breakfast and the Captain held a cocktail party for the passengers who are leaving the ship at Callao. We quite enjoyed the evening and , with our new found courage, we were first on the dance floor for a waltz. I feel a lot better but a lot of people are coughing. Anyway today is lovely and we see our first whale up close.... Wow... Never to be forgotten. There were several whales about but only one came close. It made our day.

We ran 5 k at teatime around the deck. It took 32 minutes and we were pleased.

We watched 2 sopranos this afternoon and they were excellent. Tonight the comedian is back and tomorrow we are in Callao , so I will post this blog. The entertainment changes again and on Wednesday we are going for a guided bike ride for 5 hours.

Tuesday 24th January. 24deg and cloudy.

We arrived in Callao 0500 this morning . I meant to get up and watch arrival but slept through it.. We discovered last night that we should have booked tickets to go into Lima by coach as it is not allowed any other way due to security and safety reasons.

Anyway we managed to book on the 1100 coach so will post this shortly.

Love to all .

Cheryl and Roger :) :):)

Next post will probably be from New Zealand on about 16th February.

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