Days 53 – 57 March 22-26 – Enroute to San Diego
We are on our way to San Diego hopefully to debark the ship and head home. While the State of Hawaii refused us entry, and we are hearing of other cruise ships around the world which are being turned away from ports, we have been told that San Diego will allow us in to the port and allow us off the ship. This is an interesting situation. We can tell from the news that the coronavirus is altering lifestyles dramatically across the globe. In texts from my family, I am hearing that virtually all businesses are shutting down and working from home where possible, and people are wearing masks and stripping the stores of essential supplies. On the other hand, we are completely safe from the virus since no one has gotten on or off the ship for almost 2 weeks, and we have no cases on board – although everyone looks askance at anyone who coughs or sneezes. We have food, entertainment, laundry service and internet (although since the Captain gave free internet to everyone it is virtually useless) – why would we want to rejoin a world which is running in terror from a killer virus.
After a couple of days, we lost most of our satellite TV service – we lost all of our news channels (MSNBC (which is no loss) and FOX) so now all we get are the snippets we can gather off of the Apple news feed on our phones and the NY Times summary distributed by the ship. It sounds like we are returning to a much changed world. Meanwhile on board our floating isolation chamber, we are somewhat limited in our choice of activities.
The lecturers who came on board to guide Zodiac exhibitions to the various islands (which we never went to) have attempted to develop and hold lectures on various subjects, some of which have been very interesting – a microscopic analysis of sands from beaches around the world. You would be surprised what beach sand is made of. There were also lectures on various wildlife topics, which I found less interesting.
Perhaps the most interesting lecture was on “Cargo Cults” which I knew something about, since we had previously visited the island nation where they exist – Vanuatu. Vanuatu, during World War ll was the major re-supply location for the US forces in the Pacific. If you can imagine primitive tribes on a remote south sea island suddenly inundated with tens of thousands of US soldiers and hundreds thousands of tons of military supplies. The island was instantly transformed into a huge military base including airfields. Transport planes arrived hourly, and every available native was gainfully employed by the US forces in one capacity or another. For three years this dreamworld existed and then abruptly, in a matter of weeks it all ended. All the soldiers left, the ships sailed away, no more planes arrived, and millions of dollars of war equipment was dumped in the ocean. To this day there are many cults on Vanuatu who believe that “John From” the GI who represents those good times will return.
From my previous visit to Vauatu, I have retrieved these photos:
The first two are of the beach area where millions of dollars in military equipment were dumped – the rusty remnants keep showing up on the beach.
This one used to be an airfield – now completely overgrown.
And we sail merrily along toward home (hopefully).