CARIBBEAN CRUISE PART 3
We arrived at Nassau about noon on Saturday, and there were many cruise ships in the harbor. There was a pretty strong wind, but our courageous captain turned the ship end for end, so that he was then backing toward the dock and that innocent Carnival Cruise lines ship. He backed to within about 20 feet. What a crunch would have happened if something went wrong!
Marie said that t his big ship on the right is the " Explorer of the Seas".
All of the Bahamas are low islands, and you can see the low spit of land that is separating the harbor from the ocean. A big hurricane or a Tsunami could really wreak havoc here. But it very pretty, and the weather is great.
Our ship is down the dock on the right, just beyond the Carnival ship that I thought we might hit.
Huge ships everywhere! Many ships, including ours are registered as Bahamian, so it is no surprise that so many come here. It is also relatively close to Florida.
See, I said that there were lots of ships here!
All of these people you see are all from the ships because we are still inside the security check points. The bustling crowds are like Grand Central Station!
After we exited from the secure port area and entered the city of Nassau,we walked through town to see the old famous hotel that we had stayed in during our visit here in the mid 90's. They were doing construction at that time, and now it is a very high end Hilton hotel.
The view from that beach looking toward the piers.
The water looks beautiful!
We walked back toward the main shopping district, and as you can see it was bustling.
Back on the ship and departing at 6 PM for Fort Lauderdale, where we are due to arrive at 7 AM. Sad, sad, this is our last night on the Radiance.
Back to our cabin to start packing, and we found this beautiful towel art made by our room attendant. We had to put our large bags out in the hall by 11PM so that the crew could get them on to the dock tomorrow morning.
SUMMARY OF CRUISE IMPRESSIONS
1. The ship was very beautiful,quiet, well equipped, fast and huge!.
2. The crew was large, well trained, polite,and helpful.
3. The food was plentiful,diverse,well prepared,well served and very good.
4. The embarking and disembarking at Fort Lauderdale is a rel challenge, but was about as good as one could expect.
5. Puerto Rico was the most pleasant, and St. Johns was the least.
6.The stateroom was clean, roomy, good bathroom, good temperature controls, lighting and had good storage for our luggage.
7. The internet support was pathetic - six computers in an open area, and they wanted 50 cents per minute of internet connection.
8. I think I would like shorter cruises - one gets the most of the experience in about 3 or 4 days.
We arrived on schedule, had breakfast, and departed the room so that it could be prepared for the next occupants. We went to the huge theater with our hand luggage to await the call of our "color" to head for the dock. We were the last group to disembark because we were not rushing to catch a plane. Marie spotted our bags easily, and we were through customs quickly. Then, we entered the mob outside trying to get their transportation. We finally got on a Hertz shuttle, and rented a nice mid sized Hyundai Sonata. We found the Interstate route 75 heading north, and after a stop for some lunch, we finally arrived at Cocoa Beach, and checked into our La Quinta hotel.
I was anxious to visit the USAF CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, but I could not find anyone who knew about it. So we drove out to one of the entrances to the base, but the guards did not know how civilians could gain entrance to see the USAF space museum. Oh, such frustration, because I was anxious to see the areas that I had visited on business when I worked on the Atlas ICBM missile program, way back in the late 1950's. I mentioned this to Dan when we called later that evening, and he volunteered to do some research on the Internet. He called back later and told me that the NASA SPACE CENTER had one tour bus each day that went to the Air Force Cape Canaveral station.
The hotel clerk recommended a sea food restaurant, and we had a great meal.
So we were up early and drove to the NASA Kennedy Space Visitor Center, and bought the tickets for the tour, which was scheduled to depart at 12:50.
So we started exploring the NASA visitor center, and spotted this Shuttle mock-up and the shuttle external tanks.
This is a huge new simulator that is expected to open later this year, that will let visitors get a simulated shuttle launch!
We are inside the shuttle cargo bay, looking at a mock-up of a satellite enclosed in its protective gold colored covering.
Marie is standing by the air lock hatch that permits crew members to go between the shuttle cabin and the cargo bay.
They have two IMAX theaters, and we decided to see the two shows. Here is photo that I took of the space Station on the big screen. Both shows were great, and a good way to get the background before touring the base.
Here we are on the bus starting on our tour. The narrator was really good, and described the facility's and history very well.
Lots or water everywhere, and the land is very flat. A huge portion is a nature preserve, with lots of wild life. I think that is the NASA Vertical Assembly Building in this distance on Merritt Island.
My first trip to Cape Canaveral was about 1956, and the Air Force had directed that the Atlas launches would be done at the Cape. The only thing that had been done there up to that time was a few launches of early experimental cruise type missiles, which were launched from small ramps, and There was a small simple block house where the launch crew gathered for protection. The only thing that I saw on that visit was the blockhouse, and, in the distance a big light house. So imagine my delight when the bus stopped at the old blockhouse that I had not seen in 50 years!!
Of course, Marie did not get the thrill that I got.
Now, here is some 50's era high tech stuff. Note that there are heavy duty glass windows to watch the launch. They could only protect against explosions of small rockets. So a number of large new launch complexes were then built by the Air Force for the Atlas and Titan missile programs.
More antique electronics.
Here is a early type tape recorder to record telemetry.
Here Marie is reading the information about the Atlas Missile. It was the first ICBM, and, at the time it was the highest priority project in the country since we were trying to catch up with the Russians after the "missile gap" had developed. I worked for ARMA Division, who was building an "all inertial" guidance system, the first of it's kind, and it used a digital computer, the first ever used on a missile. We were to launch a number of missiles to determine the accuracy of the guidance system. My job was to interface with the launch organizations to insure that we got all of the data that we needed to analyze the performance of the guidance system.
Here is the lighthouse that I remembered and is being restored.
This is NASA'S Vertical Assembly Building, which is reported to be one of the 5 largest buildings in the world. The Apollo moon rockets and the Shuttle are assembled in the vertical position on a very large wheeled platform, and checked out. Then the whole thing is rolled out to the launch pad.
Now we are in the Apollo building, where the Launch Control room the was used for the moon shots is located. There is also a whole Saturn in a horizontal position. This is the view of the rocket engines on the bottom of the Saturn first stage.
I use this guy to give you some idea of the size of this rocket! I wonder who he is.
Here we see an Apollo Command module, coupled to it's service module that contains tanks, and any equipment that is not needed for the re entry.
The Lunar Lander is in the compartment behind the service module.
we went back to the NASA visitor center late in the day. Here is what they call"The Rocket Garden". On the right are two stainless steel Atlas Rockets. After they were deactivated as ICBMs, these surplus rockets were used for launching satellites and for launching some NASA man in space vehicles.
We went back to the same restaurant that we used last night, and had another fine meal. It was shrimp last night for me and scallops tonight.
The next morning we took a delightful early morning walk on the "Cocoa Beach".
Looking to the East.
Just a couple of beach bums!
A friendly surf fisherman.
We then did a leisurely drive South along the coast on the old Highway Rt 1. We eventually arrived at our hotel in Boca Raton, where we relaxed and had a great Italian dinner in a nice little restaurant.
The next morning we did some exploring, then drove to the Boca Raton Art Museum.
Marie liked this stack of coffee cups and pot in the courtyard.
I had to check my camera, so I don't have any photos of the exhibits. There were two special ones, and both were great. The first was an extensive display of photos and art about Marilyn, and the second was a "GIGAPIXELPROJECT" display that had huge photos with unbelievable detail. Fantastic.
We drove to the Holiday Inn Express in Fort Lauderdale, and then flew home on Southwest about noon on Thursday the 18th, It was a delightful trip, but wonderful to get home.