Saturday 13th February
Day 40 (two weeks to go). At sea.
The second part of Peter & Ann Hunt's talk on their Millennium Around the World Rally, this part from from Beijing to London via Canada and USA. The second part was even more entertaining than yesterday. They came 13th of the 28 cars that finished, 40 cars had started.
Enclosed with today's programme was a flyer for a 120 day Round the World Cruise commencing 5th Jan 2017, on another Cruise & Maritime ship the 'Magellan', hmmmm...
Today, us and table mates Heather and Douglas, had a mysterious invitation from the 3rd couple on our Waldorf Restaurant table, Jackie & Steve, to join them on the pool deck at 19.45 tomorrow.
The evening show was Rock n Roll Dreams - mainly 50's rock n roll songs with costumes and dancing to match. Probably the best performance that we have seen so far.
The late evening cabaret in the Scott's Bar was Ross' Romantic Ballad Box, songs to get us in the mood for tomorrow. Just before, another emergency medical disembarkation was happening and we had sailed close to the coast toward Ilheus for it to take place. The Scott's Bar has windows all around and we were able to see the medical launch with its flashing blue lights from where we were sat. There was also a balcony outside and passengers were hanging over the side rails trying to see what was happening. The Captain had to make an announcement over the PA system to ask passengers not to use flash photography!!
Clocks back an hour tonight.
Sunday 14th February
Happy Valentine's Day!
We must have made up time overnight following the medical disembarkation as we arrived at Salvador da Bahia (All Saints Bay) almost on schedule. Salvador was settled in 1549 and was the capital of Brazil until Rio de Janeiro replaced it in 1763, and then Brasilia was purpose built as the new capital in 1960.
We were off on an excursion to Praia do Forte and the Tamar Turtle Project. The coach drive was about an hour and a half through the town, the further away from the centre we went, the districts got poorer. Then we were out into the greener countryside and then rain forest. The road was a newish road and every so often where the trees were close to the road there were little rope ladders going from the roadside up over the road and down the other side. This was to help the wildlife that lived in the trees, monkeys etc. to cross the road.
At Praia do Forte we went straight to where the Turtle Project was situated, walking through what was an old fishing village now converted to a pedestrianised, rustic, but clean and tidy, resort full of shops and cafes. We had our hands stamped with a purple turtle to enter the Turtle Project and had some time to ourselves to explore. There were information boards telling you how they help the turtles all along this part of the coast; by following the female turtles from the sea, watching where they lay their eggs and then placing metal netting over the nests to protect them from predators - foxes and birds. There were purpose built pools with some rescued turtles in and another with a couple of rescued nurse sharks in. We also saw some tiny baby turtles!
Next we were back on the coach for a short drive to Guarajuba Beach where we were also having lunch. We sat in a beach side cafe and had a choice of Chicken, Beef or Breaded Fish together with chips, rice and salad. Most of the other passengers seemed to have the fish, I had chicken and Martin had the beef. If wasn't anything special and it was perfectly acceptable for a beach cafe lunch, but there were the inevitable moans from those around us. After lunch we had an hour and a bit to ourselves, so Martin and I walked along the beach and decided to pay for one of the huge sun umbrellas that came with plastic patio type table and chairs beneath it. We took turns going for a dip in the warm sea whilst the other stayed with our bags - we only did this because my camera and iPad were in my bag and I had been seen using my camera. We had been warned again about keeping cameras etc out of sight as there were pickpockets in this area. We heard on the coach on the way back that two ladies (later that figure had gone up to 6) had their necklaces ripped from their necks that day and 1 lady had her bag taken from on the floor by her side when she was sat in an outside cafe. The coach in front of ours had also stopped on the way back to intervene and pick up a white woman with a rucksack being mugged at the roadside by a black woman with 10 inch knife! They dropped her off again a mile or so further up the road.
As well as complaints about the unsatisfactory meal, there were also complaints that the tour company had missed out the visit to the ruins of the 16th Century Fortress Garcia D'Avila prior to the Turtle Project, as detailed in the excursion itinerary. We weren't too bothered about missing out the Fortress as it meant we got to spend more time on the beach!
Back on the ship we watched the sunset and then got ready for dinner and our mysterious invitation from Jackie and Steve. All the sweets at dinner were heart shaped - little biscuits with cream and fruit on top, small individual heart shaped cheesecakes and small chocolate cake hearts.
We met our table mates at the allocated time and sat out around a table on the Pool Deck with them. After a short while one of the bar staff asked us to clear the table top and a white table cloth with red hearts stuck on it was placed over the table. Then an ice bucket, bottle of champagne and six glasses arrived, and then a heart shaped chocolate cake appeared! This was both a thank you from Jackie and Steve for being good table mates and to create a semi romantic night for the other four of us who had already said a few days before that 'we didn't do Valentine's Day stuff'! We polished off both the champagne and cake between us and sat for the rest of the evening chatting and listening to the Mr & Mrs game show being played on the deck podium (Martin and I would have got zero points if we had played!) and the late night Love Songs Cabaret. During the evening the waiters from the Waldorf Restaurant paraded around the Pool Deck with heart shaped balloons to 'All you Need is Love' and dished out heart shaped biscuits from silver trays to everyone. Douglas was a good sport and stayed up late with us - normally he goes to bed early as he is in the gym at 6am for two hours training for a skiing holiday with his son next month.