Just returned from a family reunion aboard a cruise ship. What a delight!. If you can ever swing it, IImg_9119 recommend it. There is plenty to do, or not do, opportunities to explore, have adventure, sleep alot and spend time with family. At the end of a week, I felt like I could use another week.  Some day I'm going transatlantic.

As with all our family vacations, I'm the first up in the morning, and I spend a good bit of time reflecting on my life, pondering imponderables and looking forward to new challenges. Last week was no different, and I'll be posting some of these thoughts in the new future.

One of the fun things to do in the morning on a cruise ship is go to bow of the ship, especially if you are sailing in an eastwardly direction, and take pictures of the sunrise. The picture you see here was taken off the coast of Cuba on Saturday morning.  It was the only day on the cruise where clouds didn't hug the horizon. The relative wind at that hour was 45 mph. The ship was sailing at 20 knots into a strong head wind. It was tough not to get a shaky picture.
The highlight of the cruise, apart from family time, was sailing on a racing catamaran off the coast of Grand Cayman.  We sailed about five miles out to a site called Sting Ray City. There is a sand bar, about 50 yards from a shelf that drops off a mile in depth - a great place to dive, by the way - where sting rays gather to mingle with tourists. Most of the tourists ride out in large boats. Ours was the only sailing craft. As it happened, the wind was quite high that day. Great for sailing, bad for standing chest deep in water playing with sting rays.  There is nothing like a sailing experience where the only sound is the wind in the sails. We sailed out into the wind, tacking every so often, and then sailing back with the wind was so quiet. I kept saying to the people around me how much I'd like to sail across the Atlantic. Some day, maybe.

If you every have the opportunity to go the Cayman Islands, make sure you go to Sting Ray City. It will be an experience you'll not long forget. Here's a shot of our First Mate Dave holding a Sting Ray for us to touch.
The joy of the trip was just the time to be away, be with family and enjoy some beautiful place. We don't have to take a cruise to do this. We can find places of renewal in our own back yard, if we just try. Turn off the electronics, and listen to the quiet.  Write down what you hear. Come back to it later. Being out of our normal everyday context refreshes the mind to gain a new perspective on what occupies our daily lives. This is especially important as many of us will be affected by the economic downturn that grows is severity. Take time to renew, whether away from home or close by. Share your thoughts with a friend, and make changes that make sense in affirming this fresh perspective.