Never the less, there are a few good ones here and there. We were scheduled to stop in Catalina, but high seas due to a Santa Ana wind closed the port. Instead we spent the day at sea, and that night had the Captain's Formal Dinner. This dinner was indistinguishable from the previous dinner, except we dressed up. I appreciated that table service on the ship included the full set of silverware - every last spoon, fork and tine. However, they were just multiples of the same utensil, placed as if they were the real thing. It was a good attempt at high class though - points for trying!
On the 27th we put in to Avalon on Catalina. There wasn't much to do, as most of the excursions were sold out; normally Royal Caribbean and Carnival don't show up on the same day to the same port, but weather had changed the schedule. I limped around, had some hot buttered rum, picked up some trinkets and returned aboard.
Food and service on the ship were consistently excellent. The entertainment, being aimed at appropriate for all ages, all lifestyles and all degrees of conservativeness was predictably bland. I read through the last of O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin books, however - soaked in the hot tub like unto one of the snow monkeys of Honshu, and stared at the ocean a lot. I had some citrus every day, and believe I am largely free of scurvy.
On the 27th we put in to Ensenada, Mexico. It's a lot like Tijuana, except that it's cleaner, and there's a blow-hole, or "la bufadora" to visit. This is a natural formation of rocks by the ocean that channels the force of oncoming waves to a plume of mist that is moderately spectacular to see. The waves of humanity also visiting La Bufadora were not quite so spectacular. The ship's tour guide who took us out to this place in a bus made the 40 minute trip seem much and much longer by rattling on about endless info about Ensenada. The history of the town is interesting, yes. The location of the Wal-Mart? Not so much. Further, we were herded into an open-air market, where she inveigled us to go to particular stalls. I resented being shepherded around like that, particularly as every stall was just like any other, and clearly she just had some deal worked out with the owners to get a cut of the proceeds. Never the less - now I can say I saw a blowhole. Oh, and speaking of which, I saw a whale breaching my first night on board - it's the season when the grey whales migrate up the California coast, so it's not too surprising. Still, I heard him surface and spout water, and just caught a glimpse of his broad back before he disappeared under the dark water, leaving nought but a reflection of the moon and stars to mark his passing.
Over night after Ensenada we sailed back to Los Angeles, and with a basically uneventful disembarkation, I have returned. The cat seems to have taken my absence somewhat phlegmatically, probably because she can turn the electric blanket on herself - so all she needs is a full bowl, and life is good in cat-town.
I am pleased to be home, kraken and scurvy-free.