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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I'M AN OLD SEA SALT Written By Christine

 Dawn Princess 1990
I remember our first cruise, the seas were as smooth as glass. The water in our drinking glasses never even jiggled or rippled and yet as a newbie to cruising I was sensitive to any motion whatsoever. I wasn't seasick, who could be, it was as still as a parked car, but any tiny winy, tiny whiney motion and I would look at Eddie and say "Did you feel that?" I suppose that's part of the excitement of being a newbie at sea, you notice all the little things like that, the ever-so-slight motion. I'm sure any of the old salts around us who heard me making my comments about the "motion" must have smiled to themselves, because I know that's what I do now. In fact, sometimes now I don't even notice any motion until someone points it out, and then I smile.
I tend to be sensitive to motion, and I do wear the pressure bands, but it is strange how I don't really notice the movement anymore. Someone asked me once how many cruises it took before I wasn't so aware of the ship's motion, or if it just happened so gradually that I really can't remember how many cruises it took. Ah yes, I remember... I remember the cruise where I graduated to an old sea salt and got a beautiful diploma of a pair of sea legs. Perhaps not every cruiser remembers when their sea legs came along, but I do. In fact I'll never forget. We were sailing down the Mexican Rivera having ourselves a grand ol' time, one of our best times. We were everywhere on that ship, at every game, and we killed ourselves with the fitness coach from boot-camp just to win some free T-shirts. As we finished our day in Puerto Vallarta and boarded the ship for our 2 day at sea journey back to our dembarkation port, we were informed that we were going to encounter some bad weather, and some rough seas. Oh man! I love cruising, but I'm so sensitive to the slightest motion, that I was a little concerned for myself. I gave Eddie that look that says "AAAAHHH" and he reassured me that I'd be fine. This was our 4th cruise and I probably had my sea legs now. I looked down at my legs, they didn't seem any different. I bent my knees a few times up and down, side to side, all the while trying to figure out if they seemed sturdy....bummer, I couldn't tell....well, maybe, yeah, yeah, I think I noticed a little more "umf" to them, well that's good.
Hummm, the ship started having a little motion, we were eating dinner and there were ripples in my water. I told Eddie that I couldn't stop thinking about it, he said to lift my feet off the floor so maybe I wouldn't feel it so much. That sounded good, so I did that and tried to get engrossed in the dinner conversation, however the dinner conversation seemed to be around the motion. Now the captain came on the speaker, he announced that we were going to be sailing into some 30 foot sea swells. Oh, I wondered how big of swells we had before when the drinking water started to ripple....maybe we were already in the 20's, so maybe we wouldn't notice much difference to 30. Then the ship started feeling like it was heading up a mountain, and then down the mountain. Waves were crashing on the dining room windows, the waiters were having trouble standing and I decided at that very moment that we would not take cruises during hurricane season again.
It was the strangest sensation of gravity, one minute you felt as light as a feather as if you were going to fly right out of your chair and the next minute you felt like you were wearing rocks in your hat, clothes and shoes. You felt so heavy and weighted down you could hardly move. Eddie was having the adventure of a life time and took his smile out on the deck to try his gravity walking in the forceful winds. He was smiling ear to ear like a kid at Disneyland for the first time. Our friend Mike joined him in their unending fun of fighting all the natural forces. I, however, was ready to be off this rollercoaster ride, was starting to feel queasy and headed back inside the ship. As I started heading down the stairs with my face turning green, my forehead with beads of sweat, holding on the railing for dear life and starting to panic as I needed to find a bathroom quick. Then I saw her, Diane, at the bottom of the stairs looking like a airport flag person, she was staring at me, my face said it all, and with words unspoken and using both her arms and hands as arrows pointing fanatically towards the nearest bathroom. Wow, was she a sight for sore eyes, she saved me the embarrassment of losing it in the stairwell. I rushed in the bathroom looked at the round porcelain fish tank and fed the fish.
 We spent 2 days in the storm, me feeding the fish and Eddie having the time of his life on his new favorite ride. Everytime the big dip would come he'd look at me with that slightly nervous, full of fun smile, and making the rollercoaster ooooooohhhhhhh sound. He even put his hands in the air. Our rock and roll journey finally came to an end.....a week after our cruise, yeah even though we were on land, our bodies felt like they were still on the moving ship. We could barely walk and if we tilted our head back too fast in the shower it would make us wanna fall down. I have to admit once it was over, it was an adventure, and it is one of my favorite stories to tell. There's a certain kinda of pride you get from having experienced an adventure like that, a sorta feather in your cap. However I still don't cruise during hurricane season, and one feather in my cap is plenty.
So, then about a year later I found myself on the cruise deck again with family and friends, enjoying the conversation when one of them, a newbie, said "Did you feel that? Did you feel the ship move?" and at that moment I realized I had not been conscience of any motion of the ship at all. Never gave it a thought, and I realized the hurricane cruise had given me my diploma of sea legs and made me an old sea salt....and I was happy.
Note: Just to compare notes, we had 15 foot swells on Rhapsody of the Seas, so if you were with us on Rhapsody then just double the motion to know what we had on the tiny, 25,000 ton, Dawn Princess.

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