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  • Writer's picturePru Warren


Friday, Nov. 5—9:12pm

I should go to sleep. Or I should put my clothes back on and go sit on the bridge and watch nightfall settle slowly over this twisty, mountain-walled waterway…they wouldn’t appreciate me in my nightgown.

I’m tired—but I’m not weary. It seems wrong to read a book. To lose myself in some other story when I’m living a pretty exotic tale of my own. And solitaire? That would just be a foolish waste of time! So…what to do? Not sure. I seem to have locked up the TV; I tried to put it on “sea map” so I could follow the navigational chart, but now it’s frozen and I can’t even turn it off. I could summon help from the registration desk, but again: See above, re nightgown. Never mind. I’ll sleep with it on (since I’m going to flip my bed’s orientation anyway, toward the window and not the TV) and deal with it tomorrow.

We got the news tonight that all of our PVC tests were negative; there’s no stopping us now. Huge cheers from all. We are the most tested bunch on the planet—and still we’re maintaining masks inside. You don’t have to wear them outside, but when the wind is blowing, a mask is a nice thing to have on!

For the Zodiak ride today, I thought it was a bit too warm to wear the arctic parka (although plenty of people did) so I pulled out the theoretical rain jacket I packed—which turned out to be Rusty’s jacket for cold Vermont. It was dreamy; big and roomy and warm, with sleeves so long that it didn’t matter that I’d forgotten my gloves. I find sitting on a Zodiak to be a little precarious; one sits on the pontoon, trusting to core strength to avoid pitching over the side like a scuba diver who just forgot a few key elements. For my part, I turned sideways, laying one thigh on the pontoon, and found a long, knotted rope under my outer hand, which was very nice to hang on to…but that made the fingers a little chilly. Rusty to the rescue; those uber-long sleeves fit down entirely over my hand. Huzzah!!

There has been a lot of serendipity on this journey…which I guess is only fair since it was so hard to actually get here. My lunch companion, Deb, told me there were at least three people who flew to Miami in the hopes that their paperwork would come through; when it didn’t, they had to give up and go home. SO close. I feel for them; it must have been immensely frustrating. This may be why I was originally told there were 70 passengers and now there are only 61; might have happened to nine, not just three, would-be passengers.

Tonight at dinner I sat with Nora and Mark. He’s a retired oil company executive. Proving the familial insistence that I am capable of talking to anyone, I chatted with him very pleasantly about energy. He and I—and Nora and I—agree on just about nothing at all, but I think they don’t know that. We parted with smiles. They wore me out. I came back to my cabin, hung up my long underwear, and am refusing to emerge, even with a frozen TV showing me not where we are but where we were. Never mind; all will be well.

Turns out that all the people who have been on Lindblad cruises before knew to put their name badges on their caps or hats for the Zodiak part. Brilliant. I’ll do it myself tomorrow. Today I forgot to wear my name badge entirely until dinner, but several people greeted me by name anyway. Sixty-one people over eighteen days; it seems likely we will all end up knowing each other by the end. I don’t feel as though I’m going to bond terribly closely with anyone, but we’ll see, and I can endure quite a lot of “Are you saving this seat? May I sit with you?” So although the initial sitting down is tricky at meals, I haven’t had any bad experiences yet—and don’t anticipate any. These people are all well brought up boys and girls.

Speaking of which: When the cabin steward showed me to this room, she pointed out that the door wouldn’t automatically lock. If I WANTED to lock it, I could use my card. The implication was that you don’t need to lock your door…and I don’t. I’ve never locked my door yet. It’s quite dreamy. Go ahead—now that you know, just TRY to rob me. It’ll take you roughly 15 hours in a plane and the chartering of a boat. Plus according to my TV, you’re going to think I’m some place I haven’t been in quite a while—hah hah! Foiled your evil plans again! My masks, daily schedules, and half-empty packets of Kleenex are safe from your thieving ways!

Still can’t figure out how to get photos from my iPhone to my laptop; I’ve tried “AirDrop,” which I’ve never understood. I’ve tried emailing them to myself. I’ve tried plugging the phone charger cord directly into the laptop, but Mac in its wisdom has made a laptop with no fucking ports, so THAT was a bust, too. Tomorrow I shall break down and consult one of the many tech gurus or the photography guys, who already think I’m a bit simple. (The one I’m most likely to approach is Eric, the one to whom I said “There ought to be a soundtrack” when we were watching the sun come up over the broken-tooth mountains. It was staggeringly beautiful and highly nature-ish, and I suspect he thought the idea of laying a soundtrack over such a sacred beauty was the height of boorish stupidity…but the staff is unfailingly kind to idiots, so he can be kind to me, too. And he’ll just have to go through life not knowing that I’m a master brain who can’t figure out how to deliberately overexpose a photo on her iPhone. Mah-hah-hah-hah-hah! (Evil villain laugh. You’ve got to have an evil laugh. That’s about standards.)

Saturday, Nov. 6—8:57

I’ve spent the morning attempting to recreate some of the iPhone wizardy that the photographers dropped on me yesterday. Astonishingly, at least some of it sunk in. I’ve been underexposing images to emphasize the grey and rainy morning. We’re scudding along between hills that plunge into the sea—duh, Pru; that’s the reason they’re called fjords—and the atmosphere is teddibleh Nat Geo, doncha no. Of COURSE we’re all going out into the drizzle; we aren’t on vacation. We are on an EXPEDITION.

I had breakfast with a guy named Craig (he looks just like Lura’s neighbor Lou) as well as the Scottish couple, Bryan and Rachel. Bryan and Rachel were in “group A” with me yesterday in Lucho’s Zodiak and he’d sort of annoyed me by trying to persuade us all to shout and point as if we’d seen a whale to torment the other Zodiaks (laff riot? Oh, please)—but he totally made up for it this morning by looking out the window and saying that the weather was “dreech,” said with a Scottish accent so the “ch” sound was far more…you know. Scottish.

Oh, you have redeemed yourself.

Rachel was a delight. I shall bond with her immediately and be her bestie forever.

I escaped breakfast by saying I was going to sit in the library and try out iPhone photography. Rachel and Bryan appeared to do the same thing mere moments after I got there, so perhaps my love affair is two-sided. We compared notes on uploading photos to ANYTHING; apparently the internet will refuse anything over 25kb, so that could explain why I’m not having any luck getting photos from the iPhone to the laptop. And then Rachel and I decided where we would build our millionaire stilt houses.

Now I’m in my cabin, waiting for the 45 minutes until we get to where we’re going to Zodiak ourselves to a landing and a walk to a glacier. I asked Lucho yesterday if there was a Spanish word for fjord; he said it was “sena” and then—confusingly—announced that sena was the Spanish word for breast.

A lot of things can be envisioned to be breast-like. A lot of them. But I am utterly at a loss to understand how anyone could look at the broken teeth of a fjord or the water flowing over what is surely a tremendous valley. You’d really have to be hard up to see a woman’s breast in this scenario.

Never mind. Mine is not to question; mine is to underexpose my iPhone photography to dramatically emphasize my artistic skills. Lucho just came on the loudspeaker to say that our “hike” to the Bernal Glacier will include a dry landing; no need for the Mickey Mouse boots. Sha—that’s excellent! My Mickey Mouse boots are perfectly enormous so they can fit around my oversized calves, so I have a particularly Herman Muenster-like grace when I’m wearing them. So—sneakers are a go today. Huzzah! He said it’s about a mile and a half round-trip on easy terrain; this is MY kind of hiking.

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And I couldn't figure out how to comment when I read this first on my iPhone. My laptop knows it's me and takes my comments, but my phone says, "who the heck are you and why are you trying to break into this wondrous tale of exploration down at the bottom of the world?" Will have to make you say "dreech" aloud several times next time we meet😍

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