The Captain could always be found standing on the main deck awaiting our return in full Scottish regalia right down to his kilt.  I must admit that my knowledge of kilts is rather limited, and I had no idea that they were pink with a charcoal gray poodle embroidered on the front.  The Captain nearly sparked a mutiny one afternoon while coming down a flight of stairs in his “kilt” when it was caught in the wind and blown up over his head.  I saw “Braveheart” and can attest to its accuracy regarding this garment: underwear is NOT worn, and in Captain Neil's case IT SHOULD BE!  Arrrghh!  Prior to the end of the cruise we managed to reconcile our differences with Captain Contagious and accepted his Scottish attire sans the kilt…

These people have even less shame than us!!  Ian, the guy in the middle, didn’t want to expose his derriere to the sun but claimed that the back of his head should qualify as a legitimate “moon” since it contains no more hair than most behinds and a lot less than is actually to be found on his ass.  We soon discovered that these folks had absolutely no compunction regarding modesty in any form and were more than willing to show you any body part that you cared, or didn’t care, to see…

John Denver wrote a song describing a storm in the Rocky Mountains as “fire in the sky” but the Caribbean sunsets are every bit as awesome and inspiring as any of the “fire” I have ever witnessed in the skies above the Rockies…

This is NOT a man of the cloth!!  Captain Neil is known throughout the fleet as “The Enforcer” and is sent to quell riots, put down mutinies, disperse plagues, heal the sick, raise the dead and punish all those who may otherwise step out of line.  We soon found ourselves in envy of those who had been rounded up and exiled to Canada.  As the day wore on, a new herd of passengers began to arrive who were substantially older, better refined and much more submissive than those they were replacing.  I always knew that a cruise line could replace a captain at any time but I was unaware that they could also replace undesirable passengers for such minor infractions as pillaging, plundering, debauchery, mutiny, rioting and mooning the wife of the Prime Minister of a Caribbean island.  Our new captain, a Scotsman, was apparently charged with not only restoring order but also getting our food and liquor budget under control.  We soon found ourselves awakened before dawn each day and put ashore in some primordial swamp to hunt for our breakfast.  I had heard that Scots are very fond of haggis but I had never seen one before this cruise...

We never did figure out exactly how we were supposed to eat these things and I wasn’t very excited about chasing after them when they high-tailed it into the swamp…

He ruled with an iron hand for a spell until it was discovered that his cutlass was made of plastic and he was very sensitive about his hair.  After a few days of being addressed as “Captain Goldilocks” he soon became thoroughly demoralized and disappeared from the saloon and bar area altogether  allowing the Canadians unfettered control of the ship.  We soon found ourselves singing “O Canada” before every meal… about 9 times per day!  The captain confined himself to the helm and was often seen appealing to the heavens for divine intervention as we seemed to be sailing in endless circles around the Grenadines…

Since our retirement has left us without the necessary clothing and accessories to sail with a “real” cruise line, we have been pretty much relegated to the near naked shipboard environment found with Windjammer or one of their many Caribbean competitors…

We Be Buccaneers                                                  November 3, 2006

And to think, we actually considered a declaration of war against the competition figuring on a quick victory by just capsizing them in our wake!  Our first 2 weeks under sail carried us from Grenada to Antigua with a crew of 31 and 41 enthusiastic passengers.  Under most circumstances this would have been an idyllic arrangement.  We soon found ourselves in the minority, however, as we were 2 of only 12 Americans aboard with the rest being from that rowdy land of miscreants to our north, Canada!  Canadian flags were soon flying everywhere: on cabin doors, from various masts, in the dining room, above the bar and some were even to be found tattooed on legs, arms, chests, backs and butts!  Being aboard a ship carrying such demented people, you soon learned to wear your sunglasses at all hours of day and night or risk being blinded by a supernova of Canadian ass…

And even these guys in the economy class cruise business are not without their own competition…

Upon our arrival in Antigua, Captain Matt was whisked away sometime in the wee hours before daybreak by persons unknown and we were left on our own and in charge of a well stocked galley and bar.  Pizza and beer immediately replaced seafood and wine as our main source of sustenance and clothing became an optional item which was vehemently discouraged by the 20 or so Canadians vying for command.  We believe there must have been a snitch in our group because the Canadians were all rounded up, dressed and put on a plane back to the land of frost late that afternoon and Kalyn and I found ourselves alone on what had become a virtual ghost ship save for a few crew members.  I can only speculate that we were not included in what has become known as “The Great Maple Leaf Roundup” because there really is a God and he was rewarding us for enduring a plague of Canucks of biblical proportion.  At least that was my initial reaction…and then our new captain arrived…

ARRGGGH!!  We’re back, Mateys!  After spending a month on the high seas in the felonious commission of high crimes, misdemeanors, petty larceny and other indiscretions of the worst sort, not to even mention the numerous unprovoked acts of sheep and bovine molestation, we are now, once more, hiding out in the safe harbor and relative security of our urban assault vehicle and plotting yet another rampage through the American southwest and into the genteel land of southern California.  It’s true, I’m afraid, we have no shame!  Our Caribbean escapade was spent aboard the Mandalay, one of the ships belonging to Windjammer Barefoot Cruises…

We’ll leave you with this sunset as another episode in our journey to nowhere draws to a close.  We are now back in Texas, where cemeteries are well marked and highways are not.  This is the only state in the Union where you can be traveling at 70mph in a 55mph zone and have some guy right on your ass honking for you to pull over onto the shoulder and navigate through all the discarded Dixie Beer bottles, abandoned vehicles and road kill so he can pass you without having to cross over a double yellow line.  We’ll be in Texas for the next few days and then we're off on a speed run cross country to greet the arrival of our new grandson in Los Angeles.  Over the objections of his mom and dad, we have settled on "Melvin Sugar Bear" as his name.  See y’all next time.  Hugs and smooches!  Chuck and Kalyn

I have to admit that I was somewhat in awe of this guy.  As our voyage continued I soon adjusted to the antics of our northern neighbors and began to feel somewhat more relaxed until I noticed the insignia displayed on all of the ship’s bollards…

After getting a close look at some of these smaller vessels we were feeling pretty smug and nearly invincible for choosing a large ship with all of its many luxuries until…

For those unfamiliar with such things, the star affixed to the top of the bollards was the insignia of White Star Lines, owners of the Titanic.  I immediately began sleeping on deck and wearing my life jacket at all times!  Our skipper was somewhat of a stickler for discipline and was occasionally called upon to restore order when things got a bit out of hand in the saloon…