Informal Meet and Greet, Superb Polo Grill, Alexander Graham Bell and Cape Breton, On to Halifax

On Wednesday we went to our informal Meet and Greet for anyone on-board who posted on the sparsely-populated Cruise Critic roll call. Two other couples showed up initially, including one couple we met last year on Nautica. We all had a very pleasant conversation for a while about cruising and Oceania, then we were joined by a woman from British Columbia, who assured us her husband would be there soon (I didn’t recall her nickname from CC). She also seemed pleasant, but she did like to inject little “digs” at other people’s habits and Americans in particular. We ignored this and continued the conversation and then her hubby showed up – this guy was a supreme jerk right off the bat, one of those precious academics who knows more than everyone else, especially those idiot rubes from the hellhole located south of the “greatest land on earth”. Steve and I tolerated his sneering grin and diatribes for a while and then he finally hit a sore spot with us on a particular political subject near and dear to us (details are not necessary) and I had had enough. I abruptly stood up, said that we did not want further discussion on topics that are inappropriate for casual conversation and we left. He looked a bit stunned, but we didn’t care. Argumentative discussions about why America and Americans “suck” are not our cup of tea. Our country has many problems, but we have also been close allies with Canada over the years and we are so sad about the latest terrorist attacks in Quebec and Ottawa. I’m sure this alliance between our countries is something this buffoon would change if he had a chance. Since I am a natural-born fighter, I am finding the approach we took to be more appropriate these days – just walk away.

Yesterday, we also formed a trivia team and came in first! We have more plastic cards now towards our wonderful cheesy gifts! The people on our team are fun and many are starting to contribute.

Wednesday night we attended the Captain’s welcome party and re-introduced ourselves to Captain Meinhardt Hansen, who was the master on Nautica last year on our Midnight Sun voyage. He remembered us! He is a delightful Captain, very personable and always looking for something interesting to do with the ship. Last year, we did a unique route out of Harstad, Norway, that required putting down the front mast to go under a low bridge, but this route allowed us to cruise past the Lofoten Islands for hours. For our current cruise, Captain Hansen hopes to guide Regatta through the Cape Cod Canal when we leave Boston, a short-cut to Long Island Sound that has three low bridges that will require putting down the front mast. This unique canal transit will be on Sunday night around 9:00 pm.

We had our first specialty restaurant reservation for dinner last night at Polo Club, the steakhouse. We’ve had mixed reviews of this place in the past but last night’s dinner was superb. I had a Caesar’s salad and Steve had a shrimp cocktail and beefsteak tomato salad and we both had 10-oz New York Strip steaks (cooked perfectly). We shared a small side dish of lobster mac and cheese. I had cheesecake for dessert and Steve had a very clever chocolate mousse burger with a sesame seed pastry bun that looked just a small hamburger. Stuffed but happy!

This morning, Regatta anchored off Sydney, Nova Scotia, on the northwest coast of the province in an area known as Cape Breton, which is actually an island separated by a causeway from lower Nova Scotia and the rest of the mainland. The landscape is dominated by forest-covered hills around the Bras D’Or lakes, which are actually saltwater lakes formed from several ocean inlets. We tendered into the small dock area and boarded a bus for our tour (Alexander Graham Bell Museum and Village of Baddeck). The famous inventor and his family lived in this area for many years, although he was a naturalized American citizen; his descendants still come to the family estate. The museum was small, but quite interesting, filled with artifacts and inventions, including the telegraph phone (precursor to the first telephone), a fast hydrofoil vehicle, and a replica of an early bi-plane design that was built and piloted by a Canadian astronaut in 2009. After the visit to the museum, we had a little free time in the village of Baddeck. This tiny tourist town on the lake was singularly unmemorable, with a few crapola emporiums with Gaelic gifts and a couple of restaurants that appeared to be closed. At least the weather was decent, with overcast skies, and temperatures in the upper 50’s and no rain. Our tour guide was usually pretty interesting and wore a kilt; many of the residents of Nova Scotia trace their ancestry to loyalists who moved from the colonies before or during the Revolutionary War.

After our tour, we returned to the dock, took the tender back to the ship and split a burger at Waves Grill. We came in second at afternoon trivia and we decided not to go to dinner tonight, sitting in one of the lounges writing. The sea conditions are quite rough due to a Nor’Easter due south of us hitting New England. More after our stop in Halifax tomorrow.

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