Monday, July 25, 2022

So Thankful!

 Grayden has always been healthy.  We both try to walk daily and eat healthy.  Of course there are no guarantees in life.

On Easter Sunday our son and our grandsons came to visit.  After dinner we all went outside and enjoyed the lovely weather.  Grayden and the grands started throwing the football.  Not playing football mind you, just passing it back and forth.  Grayden took a step to catch a pass and twisted his left knee.

After suffering several days with swelling and pain we visited the orthopedic doctor.  His x-ray showed no fractures.  The doctor gave him a cortizone injection and he felt much better soon.  We resumed our normal activities including walking each morning.  Then we had our big trip scheduled and off we went.  

When we returned home we had to play catch up in the yard.  He and I moved compost and placed it all around the beds.  We then noticed our neighbor's shrubs down in another compost pile so we both stood on the uneven surface and began pruning.  The uneven surface was not kind to Grayden's knee, so off we went to the doctor again.  He gave him another injection.

A week later his whole knee down to his toes began to swell.  We both became very concerned and visited our primary doctor's office.  She immediately sent us to get an ultra sound of his knee and a chest x-ray.

The tests showed blood clots in his leg and lungs!  They sent us to the ER and Grayden was admitted to the hospital.  There were many angels watching over him during these past few days.  I am so thankful he is back home now and with medication will continue to improve.  

We are both thankful for God's grace during this health scare.  There are many doctors and wonderful nurses we owe a debt of gratitude for the wonderful quick treatment he received.  My sweetheart is now doing better and we both look at life a little different now....



Monday, July 18, 2022

Our Transit Through the Panama Canal

The Panama Canal was named one of the seven wonders of the modern world by the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1994.  It is indeed a wonder to experience!  Grayden and I enjoyed the full transit of the Queen Elizabeth on our recent voyage.

Approaching the Atlantic Bridge we excitedly prepared to journey the marine shortcut that saves distance and time and costs to goods that are shipped around the world.  We will travel the route that connects the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans at the narrowest point of the Isthmus of Panama and the Americas!

The first effort to build a route through Panama was first began by the French in 1880.  Disease and financial issues forced them to give up their initiative.  When Panama consolidated its independence in 1903, they agreed to let the United States begin constrution on a canal.  The USA took full charge of the canal until 1999 when Panama assumed full operation of the canal.  The waterway is managed by the Panama Canal Authority as an autonomous government entity.

The canal operates through a series of locks, each with two lanes, which serve as water lifts that raise vessels to the level of the Gatun Lake that is 88 1/2 feet above sea level.  This allows the ship to cross the Central Mountain Range, and then lower it to sea level on the other side of the Isthmus!  Amazing!

Everyone is excited to view the sights that are before us.

The water that is used to raise and lower the vessels in each set of locks comes from the Gatun Lake.  Gravity pours the water through the locks from culverts.

The tracks you see on the sides of the canal are for the locomotives that pull the ships through the locks.  It's a fascinating process to observe!

Men in a boat attach a guide wire to the ship on each side and then the locomotives muscle their way to the opening of each lock.

After going through the Gatun locks we see Gatun Lake ahead.

The process of transiting the Panama Canal is an all day process as there are about 50 miles to cover along with the three sets of locks.  It's a lovely journey as we sail along the peaceful waters.


Sailing along we looked out for sea life.  We were told there are crocodiles that inhabit the area.  

We didn't see them on this transit.  I don't think we'll be swimming here!  Though there was a man that did transit the Panama Canal swimming!  Richard Halliburton paid 36 cents to swim the canal in 1928.  Ships pay a premium to transit the canal based on weight and number of passengers.

Soon we are approaching the San Miguel Locks.

As technical as the locks and this system appears, they are still using men in a row boat to connect the guide wires to the ship!

Sometimes the old ways are the best ways!

The last set of locks are the Miraflores Locks.  There is a grand stand viewing area to watch the workings of the canal if you are visiting Panama.

There were many folks viewing the Queen Elizabeth as she transited these locks.  It appeared to be school groups enjoying watching the lock system in action.  Engineering students would love learning and seeing this amazing process!

The Centennial Bridge is the second bridge that we view as we transit the canal. 

We were happy to see deer grazing in the grass along this area.

We are now entering the Pacific ocean as we pass under the Bridge of the Americas.

Grayden and I decide to go topside to view the Bridge of the Americas!  

Don't worry, our Captain is a pro!  

Goodness, here we go!

Looking back at The Bridge of the Americas we see the moon peeking through the clouds.  We enjoyed a lovely day traveling along these unique shores and marveling at the amazing Panama Canal.  It truly is a wonder of the modern world!

As we travel along the Pacific Panama City rises into view.

Thank you for coming along with us to the Panama Canal.  We will now be sailing along the Pacific toward Costa Rica.  I hope you will join me on our next adventure on our voyage. 



Sunday, July 10, 2022

Stopping in Aruba

Sailing down to Aruba from Grand Turk we enjoyed seeing all the birds that flew alongside the Queen Elizabeth.  We both love birds and are always up for identifying them when we can.  There was a Naturalist onboard that held lectures that helped me to identify our views of different sights.

The Brown Booby was accompanying us for many miles soaring above the beautiful blue Caribbean.  Growing up going to the ocean, all seabirds were called "seagulls".  So in my old age it's nice to identify the many, many birds that cross our paths.  I have learned that the Brown Booby never sits on the water, but only roosts on solid surfaces.  They only nest on the ground.  They dive into the water and scoop up small fish.  Grayden and I saw many of them do this and they left a blue tube in the water as they fished.

When onboard every passenger must get tested in order to keep the ship healthy from Covid.  Grayden and I were tested four days after boarding and we were thankful to learn we were negative.  

The Queen Elizabeth pulled into Oranjestad, Aruba early in the morning.  Oranjestad is the capital city and is the largest city on the island that is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

We have visited Aruba several times.  It is quite a varied island filled with diversity of flora and fauna and gorgeous beaches.  We didn't take an excursion this time, but decided to walk around town and enjoy the local shops and local sights.

As we wondered around town we looked at the varied architecture and pretty tropical plants.  Pink is the color of choice on buildings everywhere on the island and looks so lovely with handmade tiles all around.

The sky was quite threatening, but we were happy that rain waited until later.

In the shopping district and all throughout town there are statues of blue horses.  Each one has a name and a post with its name.

There are eight blue horse statues throughout the city.  The project began in 2015 as a tribute to Paardenbaai (Horse Bay).  This was the original name of the city in the 17th century when horses were sold to Europeans.

It was fun taking in the sights of Oranjestad, Aruba and so nice for us to learn more about this amazing island.

Next we transit the amazing Panama Canal!  Join us as we go from the Atlantic to the Pacific ocean.  


Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Vacation on Queen Elizabeth

On May 14, 2022 Grayden and I flew down to Ft. Lauderdale to board the Queen Elizabeth.  Our grandson took us to the airport bright and early.  Thank you, Samuel!  The last couple of years have put the breaks on our travel wishes.  As I've mentioned before, our most recent trip was canceled.  Not due to Covid, but the world situation.  So we happily booked a trip closer to home.  We both are four times vaccinated and tested negative 2 days prior to our embarcation as is required by Cunard.  We both always wear masks inside of stores, etc.  So masked up we landed in Ft. Lauderdale and in a few hours later boarded the beautiful Queen Elizabeth!

 We/I really love traveling onboard a ship.  I was really looking forward to no cooking, no cleaning, no worries for 30 days.  Every passenger was required to wear a mask inside of the ship.  This certainly made us both feel safer to travel now.

The Queen Elizabeth is a lovely ship that is practically identical to Queen Victoria.  So we immediately felt at home and began enjoying all the wonderful relaxing times onboard.

Our first port of call was Grand Turk in the beautiful blue Caribbean.  We decided to take an excursion to enjoy a day at the beach.


The warm water was refreshing on this very hot day in spite of the coral that filled the shoreline.

A lovely barbeque was included in our excursion. 


In 1962 Astronaut John Glenn splashed down near the island of Grand Turk after orbiting the earth three times during the Mercury-Atlas 6 mission aboard the Friendship 7 spacecraft he named.  He was rescued by the USS Noa that was in the area.

There are many wild donkeys and horses on Grand Turk.  They used to be used in the salt industry on the island.  We saw them everywhere!

Heading back to the ship we see that islanders pay a premium for gasoline.

Grayden and I enjoyed our time visiting Grand Turk.  

Thank you for coming along with us as we remember our trip on Queen Elizabeth.  Our next port of call is Aruba.  Do join me!