Saturday, November 03, 2012
The continuing saga:
We finally decided on Tuesday that we would do the scuba diving in both Costa Maya and Cozumel, even though it would cost about $80 more.
Costa Maya: Our cabin was facing the ocean, so we did not realize that we were docked until we went on the balcony and looked down. We had a long way to carry our bags to meet the dive people. The people were really nice, said it was about a 15 minute ride to the dive shop and then about 10 minutes on the boat to the dive site. I was shocked since most of the excursions said 45 minute rides just to get to where they were going. When I was getting up onto the back of the boat, a wave caused the boat to turn and pushed the propeller blade into my lower right leg. It looked like a scratch at first, but it got really colorful as the following week progressed. It hurts a little when touched still, but is on the mend. I took my 3mm wetsuit with because I preferred that I get a little warm and have to unzip some than to get cold; it was a good thickness since the water was about 80 degrees. The boat crew took most of our gear before we even got to the ladder, so it was nice to only have my weight to worry about lifting up. The second dive was another reef dive. I still have to go through the pictures to put some on my page. We met a nice young couple that decided to do the diving through the ship so that we could all dive together. They wanted my husband to get some pictures of them while we were underwater.
We got back to the ship with plenty of time to get lunch and relax a little before leaving port. I would have gone back to the shops if it was not such a far walk to get there.
There was a Disney ship next to us, so when it was time for us to leave port, our ship's horn blew and then the Disney responded with a few notes of a Disney tune.
Cozumel: We got into port a little later than was stated on our itinerary. After eating breakfast we got our things to meet up for the diving. We got on the boat to go to the dive shop for gear. The waves were pretty good size, so we asked if it is going to be as bad in the Marine Park, and the guy said it should not be. We hauled our gear to the boat, and then the crew did the basic set-up. I did not have a problem with seasickness with the waves, so that was good. It was at least a 30 minute ride then to get to the dive site. My husband and I have figured out that I need to start descending before him because it takes me longer to equalize, but the boat crew kept wanting to put him in first. Due to the language barrier, they thought he was freaking out. During the first dive I had my regulator and mask filling with water, so ended up swallowing a bunch while getting that situation fixed. They did not tell us that these were drift dives, so I was not mentally prepared for it since we have only done one other drift dive. At the end of the second dive there was a turtle that swam in front of us, so I hope that picture turned out. The husband of the young couple was unable to equalize, so he did not get to dive either of these dives. We all seemed to have equalization issues, so I wonder if some of that was due to the wind and water turbulence from Hurricane Sandy. When we were at the shop, I was sitting on a cement wall instead of being on the boat that was being tossed about. All of the sudden I did not feel well and asked for a bottle of water. I slowly sipped on that until my husband got back to the boat. When he took my hand to help me back onto the boat, I told him to wait because I was feeling faint... to the point of seeing spots and feeling like if I stood up I would fall down. He gave me a drink of water, and then when I could stand, we got on the boat to go back to the pier. The tears were rolling down my face as I laid my head on his shoulder; I felt weak and like an idiot for how I felt. By the time we got back on the ship and up to our room it was 4pm. So, our issues with that company are: language barriers, really bad diesel fumes no matter where you sit, minimal if any help getting out of the water, NO food between dives, minimal pre-dive instruction about the dive site, we have to haul gear both ways. On top of the dive issues, we were 2 hours late getting back to the pier, which afforded us no time to go do a little shopping because we had to be back on board by 4:30pm.
I have determined that I am bringing my own regulator, mask, wetsuit, dive computer, dive socks, and probably BCD next time we go diving. I think my mask water issues come from the regulator mouthpiece being too big for my mouth, thus pushing my mask up and allowing water to get in. I am going to get the mouthpiece that fits just behind the teeth, with very little on the outside. Also, our regulators have a flexible hose on them so that we do not have to continually adjust the mouthpiece underwater. Since we do not have an octopus on our regulators, taking our own BCD is best because it has an integrated secondary mouthpiece. I know it will be more weight, but I will probably enjoy the diving that much more too.
The Carnival Triumph ship was in port next to us. At first I thought it might be the sister ship, but as we got closer, I could see a little size difference, and the back ends were completely different from each other. At around 5pm, they called 12 names over the loudspeakers. Since the railings already had lots of people by them, we decided to hurry to our room to watch from there. It was kind of neat to look across the dock to the balcony on the other ship. There were 2 or 3 ship officers standing by the gangway. When people came and turned to get on our ship, they got boo'd very strongly. One guy, stood back and smiled and held his arms out like he was proud to be late. We saw 7 or 8 people get on board, then we left at 5:30pm.... so a few people missed the boat.
As we started heading Northeast there was a wide band of gray-black clouds and rain, which I am guessing was some of the back side of Sandy.
We went to the karaoke that night since the young couple from diving had been doing that at night. It was fun. There were some good ones and some that told me it was restroom time. Hubby and I determined that the next cruise we are going to do that some. We will come up with what songs we want to do, work on them, and get up and sing next time.
Early in the cruise we were saying that we had very little motion, but that changed on Friday, we started to hit 8 foot waves. We went to bed a little after midnight. I would get to the point of falling asleep, and then we would hit a really big wave. When the front of the ship touches water coming back down it crashes! I would hear stuff sliding around, even the drawers were opening even though they are designed to stay closed. Probably about 4am or so, I fell asleep and stayed asleep until I woke up to us coming into the Miami Port. We were not docked yet, just doing the turn around. I figure that they must change which way the ship faces at the start of each cruise because we were away from the dock when we left, but faced the dock when we returned.
We spend the night in Miami, figuring on being up and going about 5:30 Sunday morning. I woke up and saw some light shining through the curtain, looked at the clock on my side of the bed, and asked him what time it was. He said 7:20 calmly, then it hit him that we were late. He had turned the alarm off and figured to get up, but then fell back asleep. I called down to the front desk to see if the airport shuttle had left, which it had. I said we overslept and had an 8:30 flight to catch, so he offered to call a taxi for us. We threw our stuff in our bags and flew down stairs. There was no line at the check-in. I asked the gal where the gate was, and when her directions included "you will see it in a bit", I asked if there was a quicker way to get there, so she directed us to a different security checkpoint. When we got there, and I said we had an 8:30 flight, she told us to go through this other line. Through security without a hitch, and turn the corner and the gate was right there. They had called everyone for boarding, so we got straight in line. Once on the plane I got a glass of water because we had no time for food or water before then. Within 1 hour from waking we were on the plane; that is the fast I have ever done that, and would not recommend it to anyone. An uneventful flight home, and of course the one time I almost fell asleep, the copilot came over the loudspeaker to say that we were about 45 minutes away from San Francisco... no use trying to sleep after that.
We landed on time, but our luggage did not. It was not getting in until a flight about 7 hours later, so they were going to deliver it once it got in. They called the next morning about where to deliver the bags, so my husband had them brought to his work.
Overall, the trip was very nice. The little hitches in the giddyup were gotten through, and we made it home safely.