Friday, February 3, 2017

Mom & Dad Go Cruisin'!

Just before Christmas, the director of the mission organization for which Matt serves as chairman of the board called us.  He was putting together a pastors retreat cruise for pastors with whom the ministry works in Eastern Kentucky.  These overworked ministers needed to get away from the pressures of life for a few days, and a travel agent helped get a great deal on a cruise out of Mobile, Alabama, to Progreso and Cozumel in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico.  The ministry invited Matt to come along to sing and speak on the retreat (and bring Amy, of course).  So that's how we found ourselves traveling south on a chilly January day, heading toward sand, sun, and waves!

On the bus ride from the motel to the port

First view of our ship - the Carnival Fantasy

Getting ready to head up the gangplank

On board our first cruise ship!


Overlooking the city of Mobile

Exploring the ship

It was still a little chilly in Mobile - in the 40s the day we boarded.

Gathering for a Sunday morning church service - in the Cleopatra Piano Bar & Lounge :-)

Matt sings for the Sunday morning church service 

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Prof Lauter, director of New Hope International Ministries, brings the morning message.

Sunnin' in our Sunday duds

Still a little windy and chilly, though.

Pastor David, head of the church planting ministry we support in Eastern Kentucky, leads in singing in the Sunday afternoon session.


Look at that beautiful blue water.


Preparing to view the sunset








If you look closely, you can see the sliver of the moon and a star high above.



Progreso - our first port

Off the boat with our friend and former student, Cassie

Our excursion for the day was a 2-hour bus drive to Chichen Itza, the famous Mayan ruins and one of the wonders of the ancient world.

The Pyramid of Kukulcán


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Clapping in front of the pyramid creates an echo that sounds like the call of the quetzal bird, which made the Mayans believe that their applause was being received by their god Quetzalcuatl.


The Temple of the Warriors, featuring a statue of a chacmool

The Venus Platform



Carving of an eagle eating a human heart


Carving of a jaguar eating a human heart

The tzompantli - Skull Platform



The Great Ball Court

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Our trusty guide, Felipe, demonstrates the echo effects at the ball court.


Carvings along the Great Ball Court depicting winners and losers




Snake statue that runs along the Great Ball Court

The end of the Ball Court

Snake carving

If you look closely, you can see a "Mayan chicken" - an iguana.

Kukulcán


Our friends Freddy and Cassie went with us on the Chichen Itza excursion.



Temple of Warriors

Kukulcán





Getting back on our cruise ship after the day at Chichen Itza

One of the towel animals left by our cabin crew

Amy enjoys breakfast on the blue waters of the Caribbean. 

Second day ashore - Cozumel



Our excursion in Cozumel was to swim with the dolphins at the Dolphinaris resort.  We couldn't take any pictures when we were with the dolphins (because they want to sell you professional photos at $30 each), so you'll have to settle for the following shots and videos of the resort.




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The peaceful sounds of dolphins playing

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Dolphin playing ball

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Dolphins waving and clapping

Fountain in Plaza Cozumel

Saying goodbye to Mexico as we board the ship one last time for the return trip north.

This great photo of the sunset in our wake was taken by our friend Charlie.

The bow of the ship

Gathering at another retreat session where Matt would speak

Enjoying our last day at sea

Our final retreat session

Matt sings as we prepare to take communion together.


The New Hope/KMHA pastors retreat cruise participants - a great bunch of people


Our wonderful servers who brought us delicious dinners each night

Yum!

I have no idea what this is, but it disturbs me.

And alas, we have to get off the ship and head back north to 30-degree temps.  :-(

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