April 24, 2013 Sea Day
The Amazon River is a gigantic system of rivers and forests, covering almost half of Brazil and extending into neighboring countries. The wide stretch of river known as Rio Amazonas, runs between the cities of Manaus and Belem, providing a navigable route for ocean-going vessels to the western portion of the South American continent. Much of the Amazon remains unexplored, although it is estimated that there are more than 15,000 creatures, thousands of birds and fish and hundreds of mammals that have not been classified. A cursory sampling of known animal species found in the forest – some common, some rare, some virtually extinct – includes jaguars, tapirs, peccaries, spider monkeys, sloths, armadillos, caimans, alligators, river dolphins, boa constrictors and anacondas. Forest birds include toucans, parrots, macaws, hummingbirds and gaviao, and insect life is well represented, with over 1,800 species of butterflies and more than 200 species of mosquitos.
Our travel guide, Barbara, presented her final port talk on Things to See and Do in Castries, St. Lucia. She has been a wealth of knowledge about every port we have visited and her presentations have always been upbeat and entertaining. Thank you, Barbara.
Howard Walker lectured on the Relative Decline of 20th Century Great Powers, where he discussed both Japan and Russia. While they were once great powers they have each moved down the list as the most powerful in the world.
We shared a lunch with local San Diegan’s Gordon and Mary whom we met on this cruise one of the first days we were on the ship. We have enjoyed getting to know them better and look forward to spending more time with them in San Diego when we return.
Packing—Today, Kent decided to pull out of the cabin storage areas all of the Holland America gifts and our own treasures purchased on the trip to see if we can find a way to carry them home. Some we decided not to keep, so gave some to a mid-ship cleaner we befriended and will offer some to our cabin stewards. Others, of course, we will keep and figure out how to pack them. As one of our gifts, HAL did give us each a new suitcase, so that should help.
Lost voice—Kent is experiencing his second cold on this trip and Mark is showing some symptoms also. Kent’s voice is almost gone, which ruins his favorite activity….talking with others and shouting obscenities to passersby!
Prior to dinner everyone was invited to a cocktail party as a part of the Mariner Appreciation festivities. You were asked to wear your mariner medallions and get your photo taken with the captain. We attended the cocktail party but chose not to wear our medallions or to have our photos taken.
The entertainment this evening was another show by the Amsterdam Singers and Dancers titled: Stage and Screen. They performed a variety of musical hits from Broadway, London’s West End and Hollywood. The post-show reviews were mixed.