Palmetto Overboard

My husband and I have not had the best experiences when it comes to boats. Our first boat trip as a couple took place in Dahlonega, Georgia when we went canoeing. First, it took an hour to get the thing to go straight. Then the boat would get stuck on the shallow parts of the river. Finally, when we got the hang of paddling and steering, we misjudged a turn, hit a tree, and capsized. You would think that my husband and I would have learned our lesson but no, we decided to go on a Caribbean Cruise for our honeymoon. The ship would make stops in Grand Cayman and Ocho Rios, Jamaica. If we had it to do again, we would have just flown straight to Ocho Rios. We had gone before to a wedding for friends and that was the best couples vacation ever. It was so relaxing and I can honestly say that I haven’t had the same feeling of tranquility since. Anyhow, we went cruising. Huge mistake. First, the cabin was the size of a postage stamp. The bathroom alone was barely large enough for one person. Good thing we were newlyweds, huh? Secondly, there was absolutely no privacy on the ship. Every inch of that boat was occupied by someone. Lots of someones. The most irritating was this family reunion that loved to tour the boat en mass of seventy people. Seventy loud people. You also had to bum rush for the deck chairs by the pool, which had throngs of people. It was like weaving through beached porpoises. Although food was free, the drinks however, were not. This included the soft drinks. That was a shame because it was hot. When we were in Ocho Rios, everything had been included, even the drinks. After a half a dozen glasses rum punch, we were feeling no pain. But the boat was a different matter. I even got sea sick, which is an awful feeling. And embarrassing because I have been on plenty of boats. I had to take one back and forth everyday when I worked on Daufuskie Island for a couple of summers and have never gotten sick. I thought it would get better when we finally docked in Grand Cayman. I enjoyed the large sea turtles, but as an island girl myself, I was dismayed to find it so Westernized. The last think I expected to see as we disembarked was a KFC on the dock. If you’ve been following my blogs, you know that I was looking for original “ah-ketecture”. The day trip into Ocho Rios was more enjoyable (although my husband dropped his sneaker into the ocean). We rode bikes down the mountain, which entailed visiting the villages along the way and ended with us swimming in a cove. It was truly a treasured experience. Then we had to return to the ship. Nightlife included watching the NBA finals on the big screen in the lounge and hitting the casinos. My husband and I aren’t really gamblers, so it was not our idea of a good time. We did play a game of chess with the giant game pieces, which reminded me of playing Wizards Chess at Hogwarts.

So with these experience in the back of my mind, I could not have been one of those people on that Carnival Cruise that got stuck out on the Gulf of Mexico and had to be towed in. According to those poor people, they had to find creative ways to use the bathrooms and get food. I heard that there was a six-month pregnant woman on the disabled ship. I thought that it was bad when I was at five months and our train derailed in Louisiana (Another blog) but food and bathrooms are essential for a woman in that condition. I saw her interview and she was in good spirits. I would not have been, however.

I’m not a boat person. I don’t ever think that I’ll be, but I do wish that I could travel back in time and spend a day riding the riverboat with my grandmama. During one of our talks she told me about the boat trips she would take to Savannah from Hilton Head. Going to “town,” which is what she called Savannah, was a huge deal and the boat would be a party. There was music, dancing and food to make the seemingly long trip fly by. The way she talked about the trip actually seemed like it was so much fun. In my mind, I can see her dancing (I actually had the privilege of seeing that at my sister’s wedding and she could really get down with some Marvin Gaye). The big cruise ship though, I’ll leave it to that family reunion.

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