Mardi Gras But No Ash Wednesday

Day 54, Grand World Voyage 2020

Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020; At Sea, South Pacific

Happy Ash Thursday!

Yes, you read that right. Ash Thursday. After I went to bed last night after the Mardi Gras party on board, we crossed the International Date Line. We turned our clocks a whole day forward and skipped Wednesday. So instead of being a few hours behind U.S. central time, we are now many hours ahead.

The clergy aboard assured passengers that this morning’s Ash Wednesday service on Thursday is kosher, so to speak.

I came prepared for Mardi Gras, having spent a few weeks in New Orleans for the celebration four years ago. My purple dress is just dressy enough, and I brought a fun string of beads and a headband with lots of green, purple and gold feathers and bows.

Masks and more beads greeted us at our dinner places. It was our friend Aileen’s birthday (she also is traveling with her sister), so we filled the large round table in the center of the dining room. Waiters wore glittery vests and bow ties in purple, green and gold, and more than a few passengers managed to snag their fun hats.

After dinner, the party moved to the Crow’s Nest, where we danced to the tunes of the Station Band and enjoyed drink specials. Even later, some passengers went up to deck 10 for a stargazing party – complete with the Southern Cross — with one of the navigational officers.

I’m really enjoying our schedule – a day or two at sea and then a port day. Tomorrow is Tonga, the last of our South Pacific Islands. Then we’ll continue our leisurely schedule as we sail to New Zealand and Australia.

We’ve had remarkably calm seas. Today the wind died down and the waters looked more like a pond than the ocean (except for the deep blue color). I don’t think I’ve ever seen the seas so glassy smooth.

Our Maori cultural ambassadors continue to entertain and educate, teaching the use of poi, the white balls, and tititorea, the rhythm sticks the Maori use as part of their dances and storytelling.

A scientist from the Cook Islands has explained the geology that led to these islands, as well as the minerals found in their sea beds.

Coconuts were the stars of lunch in the Lido today. The chefs opened a small hole so we could drink the juice, and then cut them in half so we could eat the meat.

Despite all the free time, I am behind on my sketching. I painted some of the tropical flowers from Tahiti today, but the rest of the sketches will have to wait for watercolor. Book 2 in the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy is finished and I’m into the final book, Rich People Problems. It’s hard to imagine living that kind of life. I’m just more than grateful that I’m enjoying our days at sea.