Juan Ponce de León and Christopher Columbus both sailed from Spain and discovered the Americas. It was Ponce de Leon who actually got the credit for discovering La Florida in 1516, and he named it so, because it was a great “place of flowers”.
Fast forward 500+ years later, and we embarque on the same journey, albeit on a luxury cruise ship travelling with the latest technology, and speeds greater than the ships of the day and where we have nothing to do but be entertained. When we land in Miami, it will be more than discovered, and more than settled, and there will not be much for us to name except perhaps a stray geico on the sidewalk…
Nevertheless, the journey offers plenty for us to learn, if not so much about history, then certainly about geography, and sailing terms.
It has been fairly stormy since we left Barcelona, and cloudy skies and rain have been following us for 4 days. While I feared a transatlantic journey might be rocky, it has been on the Balearic and Mediterranean seas that we have been most tossed around. Now that we are indeed on the Atlantic, things have stabilized and the sun has made a few appearances. The fact is, the Captain of the vessel has made a prudent decision (and popular among the 6000+ passengers) to switch from the Northern route, to a more southern trajectory, thus avoiding the potential tail of Oscar, currently storming the North Atlantic.
We have learned about mountain ranges below sea – and that while we are currently at depths between 12,000 and 14,000 feet, once we clear the range, the sea will be more than 25,000 feet deep in some places. The volcanic material forming the range that travels all the way up to Scandinavia is actually exposed above ground in Iceland, giving geologists a rare opportunity to explore the rock matter that is the same as that below the ocean. (There was more, but my attention span is very short now that I am in the 55+ category)
We are onboard the Symphony of the Seas, the newest large ship of Royal Caribbean, and there is no shortage of entertainment, from shopping to every kind of water play imagineable, to broadway plays, and ice dancing shows, and karaoke, jazz, 80s dance bar, bing, art auctions, trivia quests and even an Escape Room. You never run out of things to do on board a cruise ship, even if you chose to just sit on deck, reading your e-books, or playing games on your IPAD or surfing the web, instead of the on board Flow-Rider.
Juan and Christopher did not have it as easy, crossing the Atlantic. Thankfully, they persevered against hard conditions, and chose to do it more than once, and to bring settlers to the continent we hail from. When we land in Miami, we will embark on another adventure – and that will be the topic for my next blog.