the end of the cruise

Spring Moon of the Southern Cross
25 degrees 38 minutes S 45 degrees 6 minutes W course 038 NNE
The winds continue to howl out of the northeast, 47 mph now and 9 on the Beaufort Scale. White caps and spindrift. The Veendam shakes in the wind and shudders when it hits a trough. The overall feel is one of stability, made possible by the stabilizers and a heading almost directly into the wind.
The end of a cruise has a particular atmosphere, organized, ritualized. Good-byes are said to crew and new friends. Packing happens, then the suitcases disappear. Debarking times come color coded and numbered. The bill, just like a motel or a hotel, can stay on the credit card so express check out is the norm.
In Rio we go down the gangway and have our key cards scanned for the last time. After that we cannot return to the ship.
It’s a little like the end of a year at college. People have come together from disparate places to share a common activity, but at the end of that activity, the semester, the cruise, any linkages made get broken when transportation for home comes. Minds turn away from the common life shared and begin to refocus on lives, children, homes, jobs, the usual.
Jerry and Marsha, our table partners since Ft. Lauderdale, have been splendid dinner companions each night for a month. An unusual experience, to find two folks interested in similar things and able to keep the conversational ball in play. We’ll stay in touch.
There is, of course, still Rio. We’ll see the statue of Christ the Redeemer, go up Sugarloaf in cable cars and see a performance of Carnival music and costumes. Walk on Ipanema beach. Enjoy the street life in the neighborhood around Ipanema.
We gave up Thanksgiving this year for this trip. It will be a travel day. Next year I hope we can Thanksgiving at Lutsen with our close family all in attendance.