Sunday, August 23, 2015

Cardboard Boat Race At Crescent Beach

THE EXCITEMENT of children and families gathering along the sandy shore with watercrafts in tow that perhaps were once cardboard boxes was quite a surprise. Each day brings something new to our walks but this was the first cardboard boat race we stumbled upon at Crescent Beach or anywhere.

The dozen or so boats had individual themes and names. Each one was beautifully done and I am sorry I did not manage to get pictures of them all.

An event such this must take considerable planning and engagement with children by imaginative can-do parents. Creating something from scratch and seeing it applied is one of the best ways to learn. The project combined sports, artistry and construction to build a well-rounded sense of accomplishment.

Soon the race along the shallow shoreline to the pier (about 200 yards away) would begin. Lifejackets were strapped on and lifeguards positioned themselves close by.

The Seahorse was ready to sail.

Black Pearl was sure to have a good start.

Pirates dodged sea creatures and were one of the first to arrive at the pier.

The colourful ketchup bottle made a big splash with its towering design.

The military boat was built for success.

Seahorse was valiantly building up speed.

A birthday boy was in one boat. What a cool way to celebrate turning seven.

Although some children were accompanied by grownups, the two Hawaiian-themed girls (top photo) braved the sea on their own.

They circled round and round, eventually finding the rhythm of their oars.

The boat pictured in the forefront looked invincible.

Here is a better look at the sunshine boat.

The boat with two boys and a big baby bird ...

made a good showing at the pier.

I suppose this grownup superhero was learning that the lighter the load the better the chances of the boat not sinking.

From superhero to super sandwich ... who would not love a pickle to help out at the end of the race?

Some boats survived to race another day but most probably did not.

No worries if soaked paper boats crumpled like beached whales. This neighbourhood experience was more about building happy memories that would stick with these families for a lifetime.

For those thinking of building their own cardboard boat, I found a site online that gives some good tips HERE.

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Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Hot In Alaska, Pt 7: Service With A Smile

"We spray paint them on," joked one service provider when I asked how they keep smiling when as soon as one group of nearly 2000 passengers disembark a new batch is getting on board, expecting fresh faces and excellent service.

There are 800 crew members on Noordam's Holland America. The officers are generally Dutch. Service providers are largely Indonesian. Others are from across the globe. They work long hours for months at a time going back and forth along the same routes. Their windowless quarters are below sea level at the bottom of the ship. There are times, no doubt, when they do not want to smile but most do. Some even make a point of remembering your name.

Towards the end of our 7-day excursion to Alaska, staff were literally centre stage at the Vista Lounge where we saw performances nightly. They deserved the heartfelt burst of applause when they finally appeared in front of the waiting audience. The service staff, in fact, were the only ones I saw on stage getting a standing ovation, although the entertainers on board were superb.

Musicians, dancers and singers did their utmost to please. We enjoyed everything from classical music to the man at the Piano Bar, Michael Sara, who for hours on end fulfilled every request and could mimic such greats as Elvis. Unfortunately, I could not find an online presence for these talented artists.

A cruise ship is a floating hotel with a never-ending buffet. Each meal can be as large or small and as decadent or nutritious as the appetite desires. In addition to not cleaning or making a bed for seven days, not needing to cook a meal or brew a single cup of coffee was a treat for me. Come to think of it the service providers do everything I do regularly at home but they do it for 2000 people.

A variety of fresh orchids graced most tables and our biggest stress was trying to find a coveted window seat at the usually crowded Lido Restaurant.

From the restaurant windows throughout the trip there were often visual feasts. We saw whales spray from their blowholes and a school of leaping dolphins (perhaps escaping the whales) near the ship. It was an exciting surprise whenever wildlife appeared and I was too busy looking to take pictures.

Lido Restaurant I assume is named for Lido Island in Venice which we actually visited a few years ago during our European trip. The print below of romantic Venice hung on a wall of the ship near our room.

Ironically, I said the one place I would like to revisit is Lido in Venice. I never dreamed we would end up in a restaurant with the same name while cruising in Alaska ... but somehow it seemed perfectly fitting to celebrate an anniversary after decades of marriage in this special way.

(Incidentally, on a side note, I was thoroughly impressed with the creativity of the Greek government that recently repurposed a cruise ship by sending it to the Island of Kos to become a temporary shelter and registration centre for thousands of migrants fleeing war torn Syria.)

Our cruise was just for fun and it was, indeed, a good experience overall. Seven days on board a ship felt about right. Passengers were from across the globe and a nice mix of ages. Several people had some form of physical/health issue so my husband was not alone in that regard. I should not have been too surprised that the weather and geography in southeast Alaska was somewhat similar to the Gulf Islands near our home in southwest British Columbia.

Just as some folks further south think Canadians live in igloos, I mistakenly assumed most of Alaska was cold year round. Perhaps that is true in the northern mountainous regions but Juneau and the other places we visited were hot spots that proved to be no escape from the heat wave this summer.

Links to each of my Hot In Alaska cruise posts are as follows:
Pt 1: Setting Off From Vancouver
Pt 2: Settling Into The Noordam, Melting In Juneau
Pt 3: Skagway & The Historic Route To The Yukon
Pt 4: Margerie Glacier Interlude
Pt 5: Picturesque Ketchikan
Pt 6: Sunrise To Remember
Pt 7: Service With A Smile

Visit Postcards From Penelope Puddle to view BC scenes.

To see more sights from around the globe visit OUR WORLD at the sidebar.

Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms