According to today’s title, you may have thought it meant a story about a whale or maybe the whale’s physical tale – either way, you’re correct! Orca whales were seen off the starboard side of the ship all morning and into the afternoon as we sailed toward Alaska.
If you would have told me that whale spouts were the first thing I’d see on Sunday morning, I’m not sure I would have believed you. Yet, there they were. Just outside our stateroom on the starboard side of the ship, water randomly shot up in the air…a sliver of black grazing the surface. While I was in the shower, my Mom saw a big fin. Suddenly, we were almost too excited to go to breakfast, but our stomachs won out in the end.
Though the Lido Deck had plenty of buffet options, I wanted to try out the elegance of the dining room. My Mom and I were sat at a table for eight, which quickly filled with other passengers. (I would go on to note that when you came to the dining room for breakfast or lunch, they would never seat you at a table alone, but one with other people.) From the statistics, it wasn’t any surprise to find out that it was everyone’s first time to be on an In Touch Cruise at our table. As we enjoyed talking with each other and tasting our dishes, the cruise director came over the loud speaker and made an announcement. He told us that we were sailing past Vancouver Island and the shore could be seen from our ship, and that Orca Whales were seen off the starboard side of the ship this morning. Though the Blueberry Pancakes were good, they were set aside at the thought that we weren’t even to Alaska yet and we were seeing whales! (Do I sound like a tourist yet? LOL!)
The Blue Badge Sunday Worship Service was at 10:30 am. Decisions, decisions! Do I watch for whales or go hear Andy Stanley preach? I had never heard Andy Stanley before and didn’t want to pass up the opportunity. All of the concerts and services with Andy Stanley were held in the Vista Lounge located in the bottom front of the ship. Mike Speck led the congregational music, which consisted of Majesty, How Great Thou Art and Mighty To Save. The majority of the music was excerpts from Praise and Worship songs I did not know the names of, though the lyrics appeared on the big screens so singing them wasn’t too difficult. After the “congregation” sang, Greater Vision walked on stage and sang two songs, For All He’s Done and A Mighty Fortress Is Our God, before Andy came to speak.
Andy Stanley’s message came from a series he has called “The N Commandments,” the things that Jesus told us not to do. This first sermon was taken from two stories in Matthew about the disciples being on a stormy sea on a boat. The first is found in Matthew 8:23-27 and the second in Matthew 14: 22-26. The message was about FEAR. Each time, Jesus said, “Be not afraid.” The situation in chapter eight is the story where Jesus was asleep in the boat and the disciples woke him and cried, “Master, do you not care that we perish?” What Jesus was trying to teach his disciples here was the lesson: You are in a life threatening situation, but you should not fear because I am with you. When chapter fourteen comes around, we find the disciples alone on a boat and Jesus walking past them. When they think He is a ghost and cry out, He says, “Be not afraid, it is I.” Then Peter says, “Lord, if it is really you, bid me to come to You on the water,” and Jesus said, “Come.” Though we all give Peter a hard time when he started to sink and had to cry out to the Lord to save Him, Andy pointed out that Peter’s actions are actually evidence that he was grasping what Jesus was teaching them. Peter figured out that if something is God’s idea, then He won’t let you fail, therefore he asked the Lord, “You bid me to come…” This brings us to our second lesson: You don’t have to be afraid even when there’s something to be afraid of. If you’re doing something that God has called you to and there is an obstacle in your way, He will see you through it no matter what. Why? Because it’s His idea! Sometimes we call ourselves to a task and then expect God to bless it, but when we know that it is God calling us to a task we can be assured that He will see it through, no matter what situation pops up or stands in the way.
When Andy closed, Mike came back on stage and had everyone sing Because He Lives and a few more songs. There was a sweet spirit in the room and Mike didn’t want to just dismiss it, so he asked Stan Whitmire to play the piano softly so we could just sit and think about what Andy said and how we could apply it to our life. It was only a few minutes, but it changed the morning from being a “regular” Sunday service to a practical way to meditation on what we heard and exercise it.
It was noon when the service ended, so I headed out in search of lunch. Since the dining room closed at one o’clock, I went up to the Lido deck. This time I tried the salad bar. Along with the leafy greens and toppings, there are also cold salads made up at the end of the station and I couldn’t help but try the one titled “Curry.” It had a little bite but had an amazing taste.
After lunch, my mom and I made our way to the Crow’s Nest at the very top front of the ship. With the windows lining one side of the ship to the other, no matter where you looked you could see water, land and sometimes…whales. As we sat in the chairs situated in front of the windows, spouts began to be spotted in front of us. Though I didn’t have any binoculars, I tried to never go anywhere without my camera. Zooming in on the area with my lens, I adjusted the settings and waited… A little while longer, the tail gracefully appeared and slipped back into the water. The folks around us who had binoculars confirmed that the grey colored tale belonged to a Humpback Whale. A smaller whale was following and everyone assumed it must be a mother and baby. It was a sight! (And yes, this photo is that very tail we saw!)
At four o’clock, Geologist Dr. Billy Caldwell was giving a lecture called “Scenic Alaska” in the Queen’s Lounge. When I walked in, almost every seat was taken. Dr. Caldwell took an hour to show pictures of each port we would visit and shared some interesting facts about Alaska and glaciers. For example: of the 20 highest mountain peaks in the U.S. 17 are in Alaska! Also, Alaska is 1/5 the size of U.S. – that puts it in perspective!
The evening meals are always a highlight and I can’t help but share some of the great cuisine available on the menu. That night I picked Escargot, Lamb Shank and Strawberries and Cream.
After dinner, we attended the evening concert that included three artists: The Mark Trammell Quartet, Collingsworth Family and the Booth Brothers. Each artist sang a mix of their current set and their popular songs. When the Blue Badge concert ended at 11:00 PM I was tired! The time change sure does make the mornings great, but it catches up to you in the evening. (We were in Alaskan time – three hours behind my time zone.) After a wonderful day of whale watching, worship and delicious food, I called it a night.
Have you read all my posts about the Alaska Cruise? You can find more below!
Where we left from – A Day In Seattle
Saturday – Alaska Bound