Wow! Ten minutes and so much to say. My friend who lives in Florida phoned me one day, some years ago and said `Hey you know you said you didn`t want to visit Florida?` `Yes` I replied – thinking of the Mercenary Mouse and Space Rockets. She continued `Well how about coming out here and joining me on a cruise to Alaska? My treat to return all the hospitality you have shown me in your house over the years.`
The reason? She wanted to visit Alaska and would have to pay for a double cabin in order to have one to herself and she didn`t want to share with a stranger. So I was the fortunate recipient of the spare bunk.
Friends drove me to Heathrow Airport for the flight to Orlando – in return I gave them one of my paintings they had admired – fair exchange I thought. My friend met me at the other end and we went to her condo to prepare for another flight to San Francisco where the ship sailed from. Actually we flew to Oakland and I found myself lifting up my feet to stop them getting wet as we came in so low over the sea!
Ivan the Terrible Taxi Driver took us to our hotel – driving with panache through all the traffic and muttering the while.
The cruise ship was lovely and our cabin good. What a trip! It was a relocation cruise so we were fortunate enough to cruise right up the coast – through the Inland Passage up to Alaska – visiting Vancouver Island en route. But the real whole purpose of my trip (for me) was to go on a whale-watching trip. My friend declined this so I went on my own. Kitted out with woolly hat and gloves – it was actually unseasonably warm and not raining!
We went out in a smallish boat and cruised around looking for the whales and then we found one. What excitement. We spent 30 minutes watching it do all the tricks in the book including the tail flip – I was so lucky. Mind you I learned that whales don`t visit the dentist – they have really, really bad halitosis when they blow – whew!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I had my camera with me but the whale was too quick for my shutter and I didn`t get a single decent photograph – the only pictures I have are those still fresh in my mind.
It was certainly an offer I couldn`t refuse!