This photo was captured on April 9, 2009, on the Atlantic Ocean. Along with family members, I was on a cruise ship heading toward the Caribbean Sea. As usual, I was up well before sunrise and went topside to find a good place to shoot with the Nikon D200 and 16-105mm VR lens. I like the way the sun seems to bell out at the bottom for a few seconds due to the way that light bends at the rim of the world (click on the photo to see the larger version).
This is the situation I look forward to when we plan a cruise: Simply being on a ship moving through the water. The photographic possibilities are just a bonus.
On that particular cruise we had the late dinner setting in the dining room, which coincided with sundown. Sundown occurred around the time we’d be ordering dessert, so after the main course I would grab the camera and move quickly toward the upper deck. I’d ascend six flights of stairs because the elevator was always jammed around dinnertime. After shooting the sunfall, I’d return to our table for dessert, which Lisa had ordered during my absence. Except for the run up the stairs, it was the best of both worlds.
I don’t look forward to the ports of call. With only a couple exceptions such as the Grand Caymans and Cabo San Lucas, all of the ports I’ve experienced were just dirty, sun-faded, bad-smelling places overstocked with natives who are more than happy to relieve one of the contents of whatever wallet or purse one is carrying, if not to do something worse. Lisa likes to get off at the ports and wander around, so I go with her in bodyguard mode, watching our surroundings for potential trouble. I don’t often find it particularly relaxing, but it would be considerably more unacceptable to have her go on her own, unguarded.
And I could easily go the rest of this lifetime without ever setting foot on a commercial airliner again, a required activity when one lives on the West Coast of the U.S.A., and is going to cruise the Caribbean out of Miami or San Juan. I flew on commercial jets in the 1970s, and it was a completely different experience then. Flying coach was equivalent to first class now, one didn’t have to go through the current mind-numbing stupidity of security checks, and the passenger seats were not yet built to the exacting specifications required for the average size 10-year-old human.
But standing on an upper deck or the balcony of our room, feeling the vibrations of the ship through my feet, the moist ocean air against my face, and watching the endless watery horizons is one of the activities that brings me as close to nirvana as I’m likely to get before I go into the next world.