Monday, January 27, 2020

Day 16 (Jan 27, 2020) – Crystal Symphony – San Diego to Guam – Majuro, Marshall Islands

We arrived in Majuro, the capital and largest city of the Marshall Islands. Majuro is a coral atoll that is roughly rectangular in shape where the land going around the rectangle is 3.7 square miles, while the lagoon in the middle is 114 square miles. We sailed into the lagoon before we got up and slowly made our way to the port for scheduled docking and going ashore at 8am.

The Majuro Atoll, the Dot is our position in the Lagoon while sailing in.

Small coral islands on the sail in.

The dock in Majuro
There are about 27,000 people living on the island and all of the Marshall Islands and its 29 coral atolls has about 58,000 inhabitants. This is a pretty remote area of the world, as they only get about 5,000 visitors per year. When we were disembarking, we heard that this was the first cruise ship in a year.

The Marshalls are famous because they encompass many small islands including Bikini Atoll - the site of the first above ground nuclear testing after WWII in 1946. The US did 67 nuclear tests in this area until 1958.

Majuro is small and does not have any infrastructure for ships tours. Crystal did offer a shuttle bus that would take you the couple of miles up the atoll with four different stops along the way. It seemed that most people decided that this was the way to get a tour and got on the bus and simply rode it up to the last stop and returned. We got off the ship at about 9:15am and decided to ride the shuttle to the last stop, hop out and walk the about 3 miles back to the ship. By the way, the shuttle was a very small school bus that fit about 40 passengers.  Crystal originally had contracted for 3 "buses" to run, but one of them had broken down.

Majuro is clearly a fairly poor environment as things definitely looked run down. Some of that is probably understandable as the tallest point on the island is 10 feet above sea level. So, they are highly susceptible to all of the ravages of the sea. One thing that they have going for them is everyone we interacted with was extremely friendly.

One thing we heard was that there are some predictions that the Marshalls will be under water in 20 years. There is actually a treaty between the Marshalls and the United States that says that anyone may emigrate to the US, so if indeed the seas do rise, they have a place to go. There are about 23K Marshallese in the US, mostly in Hawaii and interestingly Springdale, Arkansas.

Main street on the island

Typical house
One of the stops we made on the way back was the Assumption Church built in 1898. It was a fairly straight forward looking church as you can see from the pictures. But one really cool element was the inlaid tile floor. It was incredibly interesting.

We continued our journey, working our way back to the ship.

Breadfruit tree

The ocean side

A cemetery

Mama pig and piglets

About 10 minutes from the ship, it finally decided to rain on us. Man, did it pour. Fortunately we were prepared and had umbrellas. It was a bit tricky with the wind trying to flip them upside down, but we managed. One cool thing is with it being so warm, the rain was warm and felt pretty good!

We ended up walking for about an hour to get back on the ship. We got back at about 11:30am. Given it was so hot, we went up to deck 11 and had a swim in the pool. It has salt water in it and was cool and refreshing.

We left port at 5:10pm and a number of Majuro children were there to see us off and sing and waive.

Time for a little food porn again. Dinner was again in the Waterside. Julie decided to have for her first course the Lump Crab Salad with Char-Grilled Pineapple, Coconut and Cashew Nuts. For her second course, she had an appetizer portion of the entree Braised Beef Short Ribs with Mashed Potatoes, Olive Oil Roasted Vegetables, Pinot Noir Gravy, Horseradish Cream, and Crispy Fried Onions. Her real entree was a Lobster Cobb Salad with Poached Lobster Chunks, Tomatoes, Celery, Cucumber, Peas, Avocado, Mango, Cheddar Cheese, Crisp Lettuce, Boiled Egg, Bacon Bits and Lemon-Chive Vinaigrette. She thought that they were all terrific.

Bob had for his appetizer the Marinated Cucumber Salad with Sour Cream-Tobiko Dressing and Soft Boiled Egg. For his second course, he chose the Roasted Red Capsicum Soup with Eggplant Tartare. His entree was the Braised Short Ribs. He thought that the soup was amazing with such deep, rich flavors and the Ribs were absolutely terrific.

The after dinner show at 7:30pm was variety showtime in the Galaxy Lounge. This time, they brought back Anna Fegi-Brown and Donny Ray Evins, each doing about a 20 minute set. Donny did some Soul and Anna did a random selection of Pop music. It was a very nice show. Anna is really an incredible talent.

After that, Johannah Jolson, who we saw singing with the show band a couple of nights ago returns with her fiancee/guitarist Guy Hetherington to do a show in the Starlight Club at 8:30pm. It was great. Her voice is fabulous.

Data for Today

Morning Exercise: 2.3 miles, Exercise Machines: Yes (6:30am start time)
Weather: 82 degrees and cloudy skies (high chance of rain) - High 86 feels like 98
Seas: Last night, not too bad. Today we are docked.
Breakfast: Marketplace, bagels and yogurt plus fresh fruit, Ate inside
Talks: (None - Port Day)
Trivia: None (yippee not humiliated today)
Lunch: Marketplace, Salad, ate inside
Movie: "Apollo 11" documentary. We've seen this before, so skipped it.
Dinner: Waterside (see food porn)
Daily steps: 20,056
Daily miles: 8.7

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