We Got Photo Takers, and Music Makers

The fifth of eight observations on a recent Caribbean cruise.

Brring, brring.  It’s oh-six-hundred and something-or-other.  The automated wake-up phone call startles me awake, as it has every morning since we sailed.  We always seem to be (over)eating at sunset, so I have added the sunrise patrol to my daily routine, just before my walk.  When we were heading south, our port cabin offered a convenient picture-taking vantage point, but now we’ve turned west.  Throwing on my exercise clothes and grabbing my camera, I trudge up the stairs to Deck 15 for its aft view.    

As early as it seems to me, I’m not the first to arrive.  Hair whipping around my face, I lean into the wind to steady my point-and-shoot.  Bigger, badder cameras click around me, but we are all capturing a sunrise virtually indistinguishable from the previous day’s, or the day before that, for that matter.  As I meander over to the stairs to the deck below, I wonder if this is one of those ‘journey, not the destination’ things.  The pictures are worth nothing, really, yet the taking of them is somehow priceless.

Clump, clump.  As I reach the exercise track, my hiking shoes contribute their mite to the early-morning symphony on Deck 14.  Squelch, squelch.  A jogger moves up behind me, the superior grips on his proper running shoes connecting with, and releasing more aggressively from, the still-wet, swabbed-down deck.  Swoosh.  As the track curves inside the sensor’s range, successive walkers trigger the automagic sliding doors, providing a welcome blast of air-conditioned air that feels positively cold in contrast to the hot and humid pressure out here on the deck.  Swish.  It’s just past sunrise, but the power-hose guys are already at it, cleaning every surface on the pool deck below.  Shhh.  Under it all, the steady susurration of the wind that never stops.

Clump, clump; squelch, squelch; swoosh, swish, shh.

This multi-modal symphony is also multi-sensory: even outdoors, hearing isn’t the only sense being exercised.  Sour sweat makes my nose wrinkle as a drenched runner laps me for the sixth time.  Drat that guy.  Couldn’t he find a way to stay downwind?  But in a moment, as the sliding doors open again—Swoosh—his odor is overtaken by the sweet aroma of hot waffles from the breakfast buffet.

Clump, clump.  As I keep on track, as it were, I wonder whether I’m only imagining that I can also smell that three-litre steel bowl of whipped cream waiting patiently for me to finish my self-assigned distance.

Note:  The structure of the first seven of these eight observations was inspired by Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar.



  1. Jim Robertson

    “The pictures are worth nothing, really, yet the taking of them is somehow priceless.”

    Not many people will admit that….

    Too often we look at things (only) through the viewfinder.

    1. Isabel Gibson

      Jim – I know that I see things differently if I’m thinking about photography – I see details and common colours and interesting shapes if I’m in ‘photographer’ mode, whether taking pictures or regretting the absence of my camera! But I’ve noticed the other problem too – failing to be in the moment because I’m busy recording it.

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