When I savored the fresh pineapple on Wednesday morning in the hotel, I hadn’t heard from Luggage Forward. For all I knew it could still be Luggage Wayward. After the pineapple, melon, scrambled eggs and accompanying bacon, had found a quiet place to convert themselves into energy, the agent called with the good news that my luggage had left Cincinnati Customs at 2347hrs, and that it had stante pede been transferred to a plane bound for Miami, where it had arrived at 0700hrs. The truck trip to Ft. Lauderdale was now just a formality, the M ‘am said.

At 11am we got on a bus, to the Sea Terminal.. When it was almost full, the lady in charge asked whether everybody was on board, and she meant it! From the reactions of various passengers it was obvious that Alzheimer had not seriously affected the group. The laughter encouraged her to start counting … As much as the passengers profile matched the cynical predictions of some cruise connoisseurs, I was personally surprised about and impressed by the courage and perseverance of many grossly overweight or unfortunately disabled guests! CONATUS in action!

The rest of the day was filled with good news. First, they bumped me to a better “stateroom”, although they didn’t know about my extra space requirements for my shoulder rehab. Secondly, once on board I quickly realized that I was young enough to be a crew member rather than a passenger and, thirdly, bag after bag, my luggage trickled in. It could have been worse.

The ship sailed around 6pm, on our nocturnal way to Half Moon Cay, Bahamas. When I looked outside my cabin in the morning, I noticed that the balcony floor was quite wet. Had we had rain or a storm? The latter seemed unlikely because I didn’t notice any unbecoming leftovers on my pillow.

It had been rain all right. In fact, the wind blew at 20kts and the waves were about 6ft. Putting out the tenders to go ashore required extensive maneuvering. When I stepped out to have a look, I noticed the Maasdam opposite from us. Listening to the Cruise Director’s message one could safely assume that the bridge officers had noticed it too! No panic.

American combativeness doesn’t linearly decrease with age. I knew, but got another example early this morning. Indeed, as I politely let an older gentleman and his wife pass in front of me at the gym entrance with the words: “Age before beauty, Sir”, he quipped back: “You consider yourself beautiful?” Taking the high road, I padded him kindly (and prudently) on his frail shoulder and realized that I hadn’t shaved! That explains …

Tomorrow night we have our first formal dinner, at sea. I admit that my dark suit doesn’t sit comfortably; I had a pre-boarding plan to improve on that. The concerted effort continued after the fitness, with the breakfast: two slices of rye bread, two tranches of peppered tomato, some raw salmon and NO butter, NO eggs, NO chocolate, NO croissants. It is a tall order but you can’t say that I am not doing my very best, for now.

Tomorrow will be a day at sea, between Hispaniola and Puerto Rico and then on to Barbados. Now that I have mostly recovered from the race-to-get-there, I will spend some time on the subject of “Conatus”.

Prinsendam, Thursday January 6, 2011 at 2300hrs

North of Hispaniola (where Columbus discovered “Americans”, so to speak)