By John Toth
I pride myself for putting in place safety nets when vacationing, but there comes a time when things just go wrong, anyway.
I’ve had a pretty good run so far. When my daughter and I flew to Europe for two weeks, I put together a complicated itinerary that was double and triple checked. Everything went smoothly, and we had a great time.
So, you would think that on a cruise that things would be more likely to go smoothly.
For the most part, they did. But there were some nerve-wracking circumstances that popped up when least expected. The usually reliable safety net suffered a few tears.
I decided that on our excursion to the Mayan ruins in Belize, I would just stick the GoPro 11 video camera into my pocket without the handle. I already had a couple of days of videos on it from the trip, but by the time we got back to our cabin each night, I didn’t feel like downloading the videos to my laptop hard drive.
I had deep pockets, and it would be safe there. That’s what I thought.
We rode in an air-conditioned bus to a boat dock, where a high-speed boat would take us the rest of the way to the ruins. As I was about to board, I realized that the GoPro was no longer in my pocket.
Our excursion party was waiting in the boat while I frantically searched for the camera.
“I’m going to run to the bus and see if it’s in between the seats,” our tour guide said and took off running. We told him our seat numbers.
About 50 pairs of eyes stared at me as I stood there, helpless. About five minutes later, the tour guide ran back. The camera was in his hand. Those were some nervous minutes, followed by instant relief. I went from one end of the emotional spectrum to the other.
His reward was a $20 tip. I could have accepted losing the camera, but not the two days of cruising videos on it. I still had my cell phone to continue recording our trip, but those two days would have been lost forever.
We started our speedboat trip, and right away I noticed that the boy next to me was getting motion sick. Yep, he threw up, and I didn’t have anything to help him, like a plastic bag.
Luckily, another passenger handed me one, and he was able to take care of things without getting his breakfast all over me.
On the way back from the ruins, which were fantastic, the three Honda outboard motors of this large boat we were in stopped completely, and we were dead in the water.
Then I heard “click, click, click, click, click.”
All three motors would not go out at once unless there was some sort of electrical problem.
We could have made it back with one or two motors at a slower speed. But there we were, sitting still in the middle of this huge lake.
The ship was leaving in about three hours. We still had to reach shore, eat lunch, and then we had more than an hour-long bus ride ahead of us.
I was halfway expecting to hear something like: “Is there an outboard motor mechanic onboard?”
That’s when the motors restarted, and we began moving again - slowly. As the boat captain regained confidence, he revved up the outboards to full speed, but only for a while. They stopped again.
There went the clicking sounds again.
After a few minutes, the motors came back to life, and we eventually made it back to shore, where a really good lunch awaited us.
I had the GoPro safely in my pocket, but I decided not to video the return boat ride. I didn’t want to jinx this excursion any more than it already had been.
On the last night of the cruise, I could have sworn that I stuck the door key cards in my pocket as we hurried off to a comedy show. I realized several hours later that I either left them in the cabin, or they slipped out of my pocket.
We trekked over to Guest Services, where the nice clerk made us two more cards. Our toilet also broke that night, and she checked on whether it had been repaired. It was ready to be used again, now that we had new entry cards.
Later that night, after we were dead tired and ready to call it a day, I once again could not find my entry card. Sharon had hers, but mine was gone. We still had one, so not a big problem, right? Yes, big problem. To get off the ship, they had to scan that card so the ship’s computer would show that we left the ship.
“It must have slipped out of my pocket in the theater. I’ll just go back down to Guest Services and get another one,” I told Sharon.
It was on the other side of the ship, seven decks down, so it took a while. Then I realized that other passengers also had problems that they were trying to resolve, because the line was a lot longer than before. It was the last night of the cruise. This was normal. Me standing in line to get a third key to the room in one night, was not.
The clerk was kind enough not to say anything. He made the new entry card, which I then guarded with my life all the way back to the room and for the rest of the cruise.
I no longer can claim the title of “Flawless Vacationer.” But I’m ready to do it again, this time without the mistakes.
Where did I put that card again? I’ve got to get off this ship.