Vacation Travelogue-Hillsdale College Cruise to Hawaii-Day 9-Maui

Vacation Travelogue-Hillsdale College Cruise to Hawaii-Day 9-Maui

We normally got up around 8:00AM, so we were able to stand at the rail and watch the island of Maui appear.  As usual, it was a beautiful, sunny day.

Mysterious Maui

KiteSurfer

We saw many of these kite-surfers all around the Hawaiian Islands.  Lahaina Harbor had a few, with their colorful kites.

LahainaSurf1

In to Lahaina on Tender

The Crystal Symphony had to anchor out at Lahaina, since there is no cruise-ship dock there.  Here’s a picture of the ship, taken from the window of the ship’s tender that ferried passengers back and forth all day, about every 30 minutes.

When we arrived at the dock in Lahaina, we were greeted by the cutest trio of ladies, doing their hula dance to the music of a small band.  They were just throughly delightful.

HulaLadies1

HulaLadies2

HulaLadies3

Aren’t they just precious?  That was the best welcome we could have asked for.

We discovered, to our surprise and delight, that there was an amateur surfing competition going on close to the dock, so we stood with the rest of the spectators and watched the kids go out with their surfboards to compete.  We saw 10-year-old boys, and girls in their competition.  They were marvelous!

WatchingTheSurfers

SurferKids

BoySurfer

After we watched the kids surfing, we took off down the streets to explore the town of Lahaina.  There is a nice city park a short walk from the dock, where we saw a bunch of the big banyan trees that seem to populate most of the Hawaiian islands.  These were especially large, with multiple trunks. It’s too bad the locals can’t keep from carving their initials everywhere they can reach.

ThreeTrunks

BigBanyan

SnakeTree

Hubby took this one of me, for scale.

MeAndTree

Next, it was a walk down Front Street, to find a place to have lunch.  And, boy, did we find a place!  We came upon Mick Fleetwood’s on Front, owned by the rock-and-roll icon, and decided to have lunch there.  We were seated on the upper level, where we had a nice view of the ocean.

FleetwoodsLunch

Now, for all you environmentalists out there, we here in the Seattle area are in the thick of the “plastic-straw-ban” movement.  Well, Hawaii is ahead of us!  See what we drank our lunch libations with?

PaperStraw

How about those nice, colorful paper straws!  Very festive.  And the best was yet to come.  Fleetwood’s has live music, and there was a band playing for our lunch, and another hula dancer.  Very nice lunchtime entertainment.

LunchDancer

After lunch, we putzed around downtown Lahaina, and of course I took more pictures.

LahainaView

Fishing

FrontStreet

LanaiIsland

Across the bay from Lahaina is the island of Lanai, and multiple boats advertised day trips there.

Too soon, it was time to leave for our next stop, the Big Island of Hawaii.  But on the way, we were treated to more beautiful scenery.  In the picture below, that flat area is a big solar farm, situated on the other side of Maui.  I guess you’d expect a tropical island to take advantage of their natural benefits.

MauiSolarFarm

Leaving-ValleyIsle

Maui is described as the Valley Island, and you can really see that here.

So it was on to the next stop, Hawaii.  Most of the journey was done at night while we slept, and we regretted not being able to see the journey.  But Nature and the ship’s Captain had some interesting experiences in store for us.

Vacation Travelogue-Hillsdale College Cruise to Hawaii-Interlude, Aboard Ship

Vacation Travelogue-Hillsdale College Cruise to Hawaii-Interlude, Aboard Ship

The Crystal Symphony is a beautiful ship, and my readers and followers know my penchant for taking “artsy” pictures when I am aboard ship.  Following is a group of pictures I took aboard ship, at various times on the 15-day cruise.

Locker-port side

These lockers hold life jackets and other safety gear.

Bow-crew lounge

The bow of the ship on the Promenade Deck is the crew’s outdoor lounge, and they have their own hot tub.  They deserve it!

Maintenance

Maintenance was ongoing on this cruise, and this crew member was painting something on the structure of the ship below deck level.

Pool deck-early AM

Sun Deck 12

The highest deck is the Sun Deck.  See that netted structure?  That’s the enclosed paddle-tennis court, where you would find passengers and crew at most times of day.

Exotic Slots

Exotic woman, spotted in the ship’s casino.

Team Crystal

Levels

Wash-starboard side

The Waterside Dining Room windows gave a great view of the “wash” where the ship’s hull meets the water.  It’s hypnotic to watch, and beautiful.

Spare

Decks

Succulents

StarliteChandelier

That’s Swarovski Crystal.  Yes, Crystal, as in Crystal Cruises.

IMG_1077

This cruise held something new and different around every corner.  I captured but a small part of it.

Land Ho! Vacation Travelogue-Hillsdale College Cruise to Hawaii-Days 6 & 7 in Honolulu

Land Ho! Vacation Travelogue-Hillsdale College Cruise to Hawaii-Days 6 & 7 in Honolulu

Finally, on our sixth day out, we spotted signs of nearing land.  I love transportation, and was thrilled to see a container ship on the horizon.

ContainerShip

We finally saw signs of land.

LandHo

Oahu

Finally, we rounded the last headland and got our first glimpses of Honolulu.

DiamondHead

The famous Diamond Head, an extinct volcano that almost stands for Honolulu.  My readers may not know that, in 1962, my family pioneered the “home exchange” movement, when we swapped houses with a family in Honolulu for a month during the Seattle World’s Fair.  My mother’s cousin was the managing editor of the Honolulu Advertiser newspaper, and he found a family that wanted to swap with us.  Their house was in the Kahala neighborhood, on the other side of Diamond Head.

Honolulu

More views of the harbor of Honolulu, including its container port and city park.  There was a whole fleet of tugboats, used to guide big ships into the harbor.

HonoluluWaterfrontHonoWorkingHarbor

HonoluluSurfers

Surfers! Right in the harbor among the boats and buoys.

WaterfrontPark

Harbor

TugFleet

See the fleet of tugboats, waiting for work in the harbor.  July is actually low season for cruise ships in Hawaii, and there was just one other ship in port when we docked on Friday afternoon.  We didn’t have a lot of time left in the day, so we just took the opportunity to take the bus into town, to the famous Ala Moana Shopping Center.  It has been there for many years, and I remember going shopping there in 1962.  It’s a lot bigger now, and we were impressed with all the stores, and the many amenities.

The first place we stopped upon alighting from the bus was a little Japanese shopping area, which was filled with food sellers and tiny shops.  Located there was a shrine, based upon the Asian Zodiac, with carved Buddha statues for all the animals of the Asian Zodiac.  The statues were very intricately-carved, and before each stood a “charity box” for people to donate based on their sign.

Zodiac-charity

In the center of the mall is an artificial river, with koi ponds and a waterfall.  I loved the colorful fish, easily visible through the clear water.  What a beautiful, relaxing place!

KoiPondRiver

And some human interest that I just couldn’t prevent myself from photographing.  This little boy and his grandfather were enjoying the pond and fish.

Kid-Gramps

We discovered that we could not leave behind signs of our home.  See that Ben Bridge store in the background?  They are based in Seattle, and I want to Synagogue with the Bridge children.

After doing a bit of shopping and getting the obligatory Starbucks Frappuccino, we went back to the ship for dinner, to relax in preparation for the next day’s outing to Pearl Harbor.

Saturday, we again boarded buses for the trip to our tour of Pearl Harbor, and the USS Missouri.  The Missouri was where the Japanese finally surrendered to the Allies to end World War II, and we saw many landmarks of that historic occasion.

Missouri

This was the entrance, and our first glimpse of the vessel.  Not far inside the entrance and off to the left was this typical sign of WWII military bases.

Canteen

ArizonaSky

From the dock you can see the Arizona Memorial in the background, but we could not go aboard, as it was closed due to structural problems.  I could not get over that absolutely spectacular sky.

MizzouBow

Our group, listening to our guide at the bow of the ship.

Guns

PearlHarbor

The deck of the Missouri was an excellent platform for photographing Pearl Harbor.

SurrenderDeck

This was the Surrender Deck where the Americans and other allies accepted Japan’s surrender.  This plaque commemorates the occasion.

SurrenderPlaque

After our tour of the ship, our Hillsdale group was treated to a catered lunch on the fantail of the ship, and a lecture by Victor Davis Hanson, on the weaponry of World War II.

FantailLunch

After lunch, we boarded a launch for a trip around the harbor.  It was the closest we could get to the Arizona Memorial that was closed.

Arizona-water

Once back on land, we were free to explore the rest of the Pearl Harbor exhibit, which was extensive.  Hubby instantly declared that he wanted to see the submarine, the USS Bowfin, which was available for tours.  Going through my pictures, I discovered that I’d gotten an excellent picture of the craft, that really shows how long it is.

ViewWithSub

Bowfin

InsideTheSub

The tubes and other machinery in the torpedo room show you how little space there was in that vessel. Definitely no place for anyone suffering from claustrophobia!

Again back on land, here is more of the scenery.

Plumeria

That’s Plumeria, the state flower of Hawaii.  I have fond memories of sitting on the grass in front of the house we stayed in, in 1962, with my sister, making leis from the Plumeria bush in the front yard.

SubLaunchedBallisticMissiles

Old Polaris Sub-launched Ballistic Missiles.  Fortunately, there was no need to use them, and they essentially died of old age.  Military readiness keeps us safe.

And I just could not resist capturing these two totally-unexpected tour vans parked in the Pearl Harbor lot.  Who would have thought there were Polish tour companies?  Well, it looks like there are! And, get the license plates!

TourVans-Polish

One other structure that I was not able or willing to photograph presented itself on the way back to the city after our tour.  It seems that the Hawaiians have drunk the same Kool-Aid as the Seattleites, and have been building a “light-rail” project between Pearl Harbor and Honolulu.  And, just like Seattle, it is a long way from being finished, and way over budget.  And the driver told us that the project has been dogged by all sorts of government corruption, resulting in lengthy lawsuits.  Sigh, it sounded very familiar, and everything being more expensive in Hawaii, it will probably be a bigger drag on their economy than ours already is.  The progressives who run both places never tire of their stupid, backward-looking transit projects that no one will ride but everyone will have to pay for, in perpetuity.

There was still some light left when we got back from the tour, so we walked a bit.  Right on the same cruise ship pier is this Honolulu landmark.

AlohaTower

And across the street is this beautiful tree.

HarborTree

As it had been a very long day, we re-boarded the ship and had a shower and dinner.  Later in the evening, our ship pulled away from the dock, and headed toward Maui at sunset.

HarborSunset

Next stop, Lahaina on Maui.

Vacation Travelogue-Hillsdale Cruise to Hawaii, Days Four and Five

Vacation Travelogue-Hillsdale Cruise to Hawaii, Days Four and Five

By Day Four, we had gotten well into the routine of morning and afternoon lectures, broken up by an awesome breakfast buffet, walks on the deck when the weather permitted, lunch by the window, and just relaxing in the stateroom.  Most of the time, it was too windy and cold on the deck to sit outside much, which was a disappointment.

Day Four began with a walk out on the Promenade Deck 7, with my camera, around 7AM.

StarboardBow0718

This is the view off the starboard bow.

DeepBlueSea0718

Isn’t this just the Deep Blue Sea?  I really could not get over how blue the water was in the North Pacific.  Achingly Blue.

CurvedHorizon0718

Look!  You can see the curvature of the earth!

LifeboatLift0718

This is part of the mechanism that lifts lifeboats into and out of the water.  I took a bunch of pictures of all the equipment on board that is there to ensure that everyone gets off alive in the event of a disaster.

The first lecture of the morning was by historian and journalist John Steele Gordon, who spoke about the economy under Obama, and under Trump.  He spoke to a rapt audience, and took spirited questions later.

JSGordon

Next came Walter Russell Mead, Wall Street Journal columnist, discussing the US, Israel, and the fate of my Jewish people.

Mead0718

The final morning speaker was our friend Michael Walsh, whom we met on the Alaska cruise in 2016, and had dinner with on this cruise on the first evening.  His talk was on Politics and the Arts, about which he writes in his newest book The Fiery Angel.  Walsh is a delightful guy, and we met him and his delightful wife, Kate, often in our strolls around the ship, mostly after dinner at the Avenue Saloon.

MWalsh

After lunch, was the lecture we’d all been waiting for.  Michael Ramirez, political cartoonist, spoke and showed pictures from his book “Give Me Liberty or Give Me ObamaCare”, which was a riot.  He had his audience laughing and groaning in turns.Ramirez0718

Mild-mannered-looking gentleman, but his wit is biting, and he knows just where to hit Liberals.

In the afternoon after the last lecture, I again walked the deck looking for likely pictures.

Clouds0718

My readers will know my love of clouds, and I sure found some beautiful ones on this cruise.

PoolDeck0718

Oh, yeah, and there’s the Pool Deck, where many passengers spent hours getting a tan.  See that gazebo on the left?  They had a band playing there in the afternoon.

The big lecture attraction of Day Five was Patrick Caddell, the self-described Democrat pollster, opining on what has happened to the Democratic Party.  I have already done one post on his talk, and I can’t really say much more, except that his lecture brought down the house.  He got rousing applause often during his speeches.  He deserved it!

We also heard from Roger Kimball again, and Victor Davis Hanson, who spoke on the Second World Wars.  This was in preparation for our arrival in Honolulu, home of Pearl Harbor.  Mr. Hanson spoke without notes, which was very impressive.

I admit that I took my camera to all the lectures, and sometimes I’d just point it at something in the room and snap.  The Galaxy Lounge was the place all the Broadway shows were staged, and I was intrigued by the complex lighting arrangement on the ceiling.

StageLights0719

Late on this day, things started to get stormy outside, and we hit some fairly rough seas.  I said many times during this voyage that we were getting great balance practice!  It’s a wonder more people didn’t fall when the ship was pitching and rolling around.   When was the last time you took a shower on a moving vehicle?  That’s an experience in itself!

StormyWeather0719

Deck-water0719

Looked at from this angle (looking down from our veranda to the Promenade Deck below), the water looks almost black.  Isn’t light wonderful?  That’s the last of Day Five.

Vacation Travelogue-Hillsdale Cruise to Hawaii-Days Two and Three

Vacation Travelogue-Hillsdale Cruise to Hawaii-Days Two and Three

Sea days were lecture days on the Hillsdale Cruise, and the first two helped get us into the standard daily routine of morning lectures, lunch, afternoon lecture, and free time.  Monday the 16th of July introduced us to the lecture hall, known aboard ship as the Galaxy Lounge.  Here we all are that first morning of lectures.

LectureinGalaxy

The first talk of the morning was by Victor Davis Hanson, Distinguished Fellow, Hillsdale College (and distinguished classical historian).  His subject was “The Current State of the US Military”, and as usual he held us all spellbound.  Today’s military has been subjected to differing rules, regulations, and budgets depending upon who is president, and the discussion was spirited.

VDH

Next, we were treated to a talk by the President of Hillsdale College, Dr. Larry Arnn.  Everyone on the cruise was very familiar with Dr. Arnn, and we enjoyed his speech.  Dr. Arnn has always been one of my role models as a Good Person.

Dr.Arnn

His was the last lecture of the day, so after listening to Dr. Arnn, we adjourned for lunch, and a free afternoon exploring the many wonders of the Crystal Symphony.  Not far from the Galaxy Lounge is the ship’s Casino.  On sea days, you could hear the merry jingling of machines and the hum of conversation from the casino whenever you passed near.

Casino

Sometimes we would have lunch in the Silk Restaurant, an Asian-flavored venue.  I loved the decor there, including a wall of art most unusual, and pretty furniture.  They also had some vertical gardens that lent a natural touch to the space.

SilkRest-0717

Living Wall

After lunch, it was time for a tour around the Promenade Deck.  At the bow of this ship is a “fitness garden” of outdoor equipment for people to take a turn on as they stroll the deck, as well as lifeboats and other safety paraphernalia.  The sea and sky were beautiful this day, too.

FitnessGarden0717

PromDeck0717

Sky and water0717

Tuesday’s morning lectures were by George Neumayr, Contributing Editor of the American Spectator, and Nick Lloyd, Professor of Military History at King’s College, London.

Neumayr

This is Mr. Neumayr.  We met him at dinner on Sunday and we enjoyed his talk.

NickLloyd

Mr. Lloyd gave three lectures on his specialty, World War I, which were very informative.

Tuesday’s afternoon lecturer was Roger Kimball, Editor and Publisher of The New Criterion.  His new book is very colorfully-titled, and available for purchase later, signed by the author.  Many of the tour’s lecturers had books for us to buy, which we did!

Kimball

Tuesday afternoon I did my tour around the Promenade Deck and took pictures, as usual.  It looked like the weather was going to get stormier, so I took every opportunity to get outside.  My readers will know that I have a fascination for the water and the sky from the ship, and I took many photos of the ever-changing sea.

Wake0717

This is the end of Day 3, Sunset on Tuesday.

sunset0717

Congratulations to My Hero

Congratulations to My Hero

On August 1, Rush Limbaugh celebrated the Thirtieth Year of EIB Excellence in Broadcasting.  Nearly singlehandedly, Rush Limbaugh started the revolution in Political Talk Radio, and he maintains it to this day.  For thirty years, he has spent three hours each weekday speaking to the American public about events and people who make America work, and about the politicians and organizations who hamper that work.

I started listening to Rush in 2001, when my boyfriend (now husband) turned on the radio in the car on our way out to dinner.  My first exclamation was “You’re not going to make me listen to Rush Limbaugh?!”; back then, I believed all his many detractors in the liberal media.  Well, I have to tell you that it only took about 15 minutes to change my mind.  Listening to his monologue turned out to be the best commentary on modern life that I had ever heard.  And he was funny, to boot!  I was totally hooked, and became a regular listener.

I was fortunate to be able to get on his show in August of 2005, and spoke to the Great One on the radio.  I was impressed by how gracious a host he was, and we carried on a spirited conversation.  He also was pleased to hear how I had become a listener.  That was a smashing experience for me, and I cherish the memory.

So, here’s to the next Thirty Years for My Hero, Rush Limbaugh!

Vacation Travelogue-Hillsdale Cruise to Hawaii, Day One

Vacation Travelogue-Hillsdale Cruise to Hawaii, Day One

Last month, Hubby and I took a 16-day cruise to Hawaii on the Crystal Symphony, with Hillsdale College.  We left from San Francisco for the round trip on Sunday, July 15.  We had four days at sea going each way, which were filled with lectures by a variety of conservative speakers.  I’ll be chronicling our voyage with a post per day.  Herewith, Day One of our Cruise Vacation.

We boarded the Crystal Symphony on Sunday afternoon, and had to wait for a couple of hours until our stateroom would be ready.  So we took some time to stroll around the deck, and, like the picture-taking fool that I am, I shot dozens of pictures of San Francisco Harbor from various vantage points.  It was a bright, sunny day, with a brisk wind blowing, which you can tell from the whitecaps on the water.  Gulls and pelicans flew around, and there were many sailboats and other watercraft plying the waters.

SFBaySailboats

SF-OaklandBayBridge

Above is the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.

PelicansInFormation

How about those pelicans in formation!

We left port promptly at 6:00PM, to the strains of “Wonderful World” sung by Louis Armstrong.  This vessel escorted us from our berth into the harbor.

Tug Valor

Alcatraz

Everyone recognized this famous place, Alcatraz Island.

Bye-ByeSF

We said good-bye to San Francisco.  Then, we passed beneath this landmark.

GoldenGate

Once we had our luggage safely stored in our stateroom, we met some friends (who we had not expected to be there) for dinner in the Waterside, the main dining room.  Our friend had managed to corral some of the Hillsdale speakers, so we had a very pleasant meal in the company of Michael Walsh, Nick Lloyd, George Newmayr, and Tim Caspar from Hillsdale.  What a great way to start the cruise!