RIP, Dear Mary Margaret von Schtripenfurs

Aboard Independence of the Seas

Maggie, Miss Mary Margaret von Schtreipenfurs

January passed aboard Independence rather uneventfully, with Ole doing his routine, and me reading everything in sight, when not going ashore in Cozumel, Costa Maya, Belize, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, San Juan, and Labadee.

Speaking of Labadee, we were headed there, scheduled to call in just three days after the massive earthquake. Sentiment aboard the ship was mixed, with some folks eager to do what they could to help, and others uncomfortable with the thought of playing at the beach on an island with devastation just a hundred miles away. I’ve got to hand it to Royal Caribbean, though, for compassion and organization. During our call at San Juan on Thursday, the ship was able to pick up and deliver many pallets of water and medical supplies to offload in the hopes it could get transported to where it was most needed. Furthermore, the ship and the company decided to donate all revenue generated on the beach that day toward the earthquake relief. When you consider that there are ship calls by Royal Caribbean there five days a week, many locals are employed that would have been left devastated had the ships not called. On the evening before the first scheduled port call, the ship’s captain made an announcement to that effect, and received a standing ovation.

Al and Jan Furtado, friends of ours from the Pompano Beach Power Squadron, joined us for a cruise departing on the 17th. It was good to see them and catch up on old times.

Maggie and Bud Husted, dear friends from our former marina in Ft. Lauderdale, were able to come with us on an eastbound cruise, and bring much missed mail, PassageMaker magazines, and boat parts with them. Some of the fun during their cruise included a group of Elvis impersonators, who gave a benefit performance on the last sea day, to the delight of everyone. And Maggie, unable to sleep one night, managed to hit it big in the casino!!! While they were aboard, Maggie and I took a cab to Marigot on the French side of St. Maarten, where I hadn’t been in 25 years. Bud attempted fishing, meaning he went out in a boat with several folks who got seasick. The three of us rented a cab in St. Thomas and took a great tour around the island, and in San Juan we hiked up to El Morro, the fortress that guards the entrance to San Juan harbor. In Labadee, we sat in the shade, and Maggie was able to find some garden fancies at the craft shop.

Our cruise with them was darkened by the news that our beloved feline companion of nearly 16 years, Mary Margaret von Stripenfurs, passed over the rainbow bridge to the clearing at the end of the path on Friday, January 29, at 2:15 in the afternoon. Dale and Linda followed our instructions and buried her at sea in the Secas islands, with a catnip mouse for company. We will miss her sorely. Her crankiness, her beauty, her sweet voice, and her outrageous purring gave us many happy years. Rest in Peace, dear pussycat.

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