Flo and ebb on the coast

For those who live in towns designated as ports of call on the ocean coasts, there are two totally different tides that rule their lives. The timeless ebb and flow of the waters, first flooding the marshlands of the coast, then pulling away, running backwards out to sea. Life has been nourished through this endless rhythmic cycle.


Then there is the human tide, unleashed when a cruise ship opens its umbilical cord to the welcoming greeting of the coastal town's inhabitants. These residents are dependent upon the flow of money emanating from the cruise ship passengers, waiting for their share of the fertilizer that will be left behind in their wake.

For some towns, the arrive of a ship's passengers is scarcely noticed. Large enough to absorb the swell of the human tide, they offer many options for the passengers who only have a few hours to partake of the culture of the port they have become immersed into. But for a small port, the flood of passengers can become a tsunami, overwhelming the limited facilities available. The crowds cause delays, impatience grows, and both the patients and residents resent each other. Still, the residents are dependent upon the monetary opium left behind by the passengers.


The tide recedes, the passengers pass back through the ship's umbilical cord, and wthe ship sails away with a blast from it's horn. The residents of the port of call can settle back into their natural rhythm of the tides, awaiting the next time when a human tide is unleashed upon their shore.


Note to readers. My wife and I just finished a wonderful cruise from Boston to Montreal, and stopped at multiple ports of call on our way. It was the first ocean cruise either of us had ever taken and thus we had no basis for comparison. We loved the attention we received from the mainly Indonesian crew, but more than anything else, we loved the serendipity from our dinner companions. If you wished to dine in the dining room, it was necessary to make reservations, and we chose to agree to share dinner with strangers. The last night of our cruise, we shared a table with two other couples. We are from South Charleston WV for reference. The first couple was from Bluefield WV, at the far southern end of the state, where he was a EN&T surgeon, and his wife was a nurse in his practice. The other couple we ate with was from Boca Raton Florida. Except that the wife was related to a very prominent dental family in the Charleston area who are continually advertised on the television.

We did not find exceptional coincidences on the trip. I grew up in Lincoln Nebraska, which is about ready to experience the totality of eclipse. We saw a gentleman wearing a University of Nebraska shirt and when we enquired, found out he and his wife are from Beatrice. That is at the height of totality, near where Bill Nye the Science Guy will be hanging out on August 21. But we did not find anyone that we knew on the trip (I did try to figure out the mathematical odds of meeting someone I knew on the cruise, and swiftly gave up due to the complexity of the computation). But we did find more like-minded individuals who were opposed to the current US administration than we found who supported it.


As this was my first ocean cruise ever, I will wish to share some observations later. But for now, may you have a bon voyage as we had on our Holland America cruise from Boston to Montreal.


This post originally posted on my blog Evenabrokenclock.blog



Phil Greenough Added Aug 11, 2017 - 9:54am
Whenever I think of cruise ships I think of long lines and the movie WALLE-E.  Both don’t make me want to ever go on a cruise, which partially explains why I’ve never been on one.  When I vacation to a far-away place, I like to immerse myself in the local culture and I don’t mean the culture of the cruise ship port, as I wouldn’t call that culture. 
As it relates to those ports, the smaller the port, I suspect the more dependent it is on cruise ship traffic.  So what you call an “overwhelming tsunami” I would call a healthy economic shot in the arm. I don’t see how this leads to the residents resenting each other.  If anything, in places where this economic activity doesn’t occur, the residents are more likely to resent each other. 
Even A Broken Clock Added Aug 11, 2017 - 10:36am
Part of my thoughts relate to the tourism traffic in Venice. I've seen many stories this summer about how the true Venetians are suffering through those cruise ship tourists who have 3 hours to experience the true Venice, and the crowds overwhelm everyone else.
Dino Manalis Added Aug 11, 2017 - 11:17am
Keep our coasts clean, because people swim and fish in them!
Bill H. Added Aug 11, 2017 - 11:31am
When my wife worked for TWA, we would get discounts on Windjammer Cruises in the Caribbean. We took about 5 of them over 6 years and enjoyed every one. Many of the stops would be places that people never see, like St. Kitts, Nevis, Grenada, St. Maarten, Virgin Gorda, Norman Island, Cooper Island, Jost Van Dyke, and Tortola. I remember that we were advised not to take photos of the residents of Nevis, as many believed that being photographed removed their spirit from their body. We also were blown away by an all-girl steel band from St. Kitts that performed on-board one evening. Many on these islands kept huge hermit crabs as pets with a long leash, and we would see crabs running around the jungles more than a mile or so inland.
The great thing was that the passengers all clicked and liked to party. Every night was free booze, music, dancing, and comradery. I had been one several "normal" large cruises (Alaska, Bermuda), but found the Windjammer cruises a real adventure that I will remember all of my life. 
wsucram15 Added Aug 11, 2017 - 3:05pm
 BillH..  maybe if I would have known someone on a cruise line and gone to different islands or done stuff like that, I might be able to see taking a cruise.
My mother used to love them, caribbean to alaska. My mother used to tell me about the food and entertainment all night. I used to tell her, you spend thousands of dollars to sit on a boat and you cant really even visit the places your are traveling to..so you just paid to go to a hotel on the water for a week,?   She used to get so mad at me.
Except for a friend of mine whose husband travels all over the place, everyone I know has had bad weather on cruises and two of them were caught in hurricanes.
Myself, I like traveling where I can can schedule the itinerary and its sad the locals in Venice are overrun by tourists. It probably supports their economy, but I remember living in a tourist town and it wasnt fun.  But hanging with the locals is how you get to know a place, if I cant do that, its not for me.
I remember my mother telling me once on one of those damn cruises,  the cruise ship stopped at some port, (this was a awhile ago)  and they got off and men with machine guns were guarding the town.   That was enough of a message for me.
wsucram15 Added Aug 11, 2017 - 3:10pm
But this is a nice article and I am glad to read a story about someone who did enjoy their relaxing cruise to Montreal, which is a lovely place.