November 09, 2019

Nov 7 Punterenas, Costa Rica

The ship arrives before sunrise and is cleared by local authorities by 6:00 AM.

Early the skies are cloudy, but have cleared by 8:00. The temperature will be in the low 80's here at the port. In the rainforest I have no idea, but possibly cooler.

The pier and the walk to shore is quite long, possibly close to half a mile. Semi trucks with refrigerated containers are lined up bringing provisions to the ship. The ship cargo doors are 3 or 4 feet below dock level, no problem, there is a platform that can be raised and extended to reach out over the dock. Pallet by pallet each container is loaded aboard.

No surprise, but before each container is opened paper work is inspected and compared by government officials, ship staff, and the driver to verify the proper container is being delivered. Only when everyone checks off does a dockworker cut off the multiple security locks with large bolt cutters.

Most of the tours visit the interior of the country. One was described as requiring climbing 6 steps and a 150 yard walk. Returning passengers reported that they encountered multiple stairs ascending 300 feet or more and fitbits that registered 4 miles of walking during the tour. I'm glad I wasn't there.

I did visit the local shops on the pier. Nothing noteworthy, I return to the ship and spend a few hours in the solarium pool.

It is laundry day. That means stuffing a weeks worth of dirty clothes in a tiny plastic bag. I don't bother washing the shirt they ruined last week, the price of free laundry. Fortunately it was one of my least favorite.

An activity I have never encountered before are debates among passengers on various topics, topics I would generally avoid. Abortion, capital punishment, evolution, gun control, politics, global warming, etc.

It is rewarding having passengers from so many countries. Besides general conversation with interesting people, information is shared about different ports and destinations that you won't find in the cruise reviews.

One reported detail I was surprised to learn is that it is highly probable that cruise ships will be banned fron Venice, Italy in a few years. The tens of thousands of passengers are overwhelming the city, and in general they are contributing relatively little to the economy. Definitely a Venice political issue.

I remember six or seven years ago when Curacao was having the same discussion. The final outcome was the construction of a new pier which eliminated the need for cruise ships to dock in the channel, the only valid issue raised by those opposed to the cruise ship visits.

Tomorrow is a sea day as we head to the canal.