The 2nd half of our cruise took us through Maine and into Canada. We anchored off Bar Harbor, traveled up the Bay of Fundy with its dramatic tides to St. John NB, back out to the Atlantic around the southern tip of Nova Scotia to Halifax and then around its northernmost Cape Breton Island to Sydney , before ending our sail up the St. Lawrence in Quebec City.
Well, if it’s not all about the food, it’s mostly about the food. Cruising is not for anyone looking to lose weight, unless they have a lot of willpower. We had dinner every evening with Lili and Eddie, a couple from California. She was originally from Taiwan and he from the Phillippines. We thoroughly enjoyed their company.
Our last trip to Bar Harbor had been close to 30 years earlier. And Dave had one thing at the top of his list – fresh Maine lobster, cooked in sea water. Once the ship’s tenders started running, we made our way to shore and were dropped off in downtown Bar Harbor. We wandered up the hill to an information center to get the details on the bus system. It is free, thanks to a grant from LL Bean, and runs from town to various points on and just off Mt Desert Island, where Bar Harbor and Acadia NP are located. We were headed to a point just off the island. After ensuring the lobster places were still where we remembered them, we found our bus and headed out. With almost 3000 people from the ship headed to shore, we were the only ones on our bus.
Although we have traveled into New Brunswick and seen the amazing tide swings of the Bay of Fundy, we had never stopped in St. John. One of its more famous sites is the Reversing Falls just outside of town. At just the right time, you can view the tidal bore come in from sea and change the direction of the rapids. We weren’t in port at the right time, but we did see what to us was equally amazing. Upon our arrival at the bridge over the rapids, there were rocks exposed and just submerged, making this a very boat unfriendly section of the river. However, an hour later, we watched 2 sailboats and a trawler approach the bridge from upstream. Were they crazy? How could they keep away from the rocks? Well, the tide had risen enough that they could motor calmly under the bridge and out to sea.
In Halifax, we spent most of our exploration along the harborwalk, which is relatively new and definitely did not exist during our last visit here several decades ago. It was a beautiful day, and we enjoyed exploring.
Sydney was a new destination for us, sitting east of Prince Edward Island on Cape Breton Island, and jutting out into the Atlantic. It is a quaint small town, that surprisingly didn’t seem overwhelmed by having 2 ships in port that day. We walked its historic district and took pictures of the World’s Largest Fiddle and bow that greets cruise ship passengers and honors the area’s Scottish musical heritage.
The rain fell on and off all day during our last day on the ship. After watching the ship dock, spinning around in the St. Lawrence to be better positioned for its next departure, we made our way to town. In addition to checking out the historic district, just off the docks, we wanted to plan our travel to the hotel the next day. Climbing the hill to the town was a bit challenging. They don’t have many hills in Florida. But the view was impressive. Also, we were able to buy bus passes for the trip to our hotel the next day.
Shortly before leaving on our cruise, we discovered a serious billing issue that seemed to be a result of our decision to go out of network on our insurance for Cathy’s care. While we were on the cruise, this issue was being researched by the provider, but we had no idea how that would play out. The biggest exposure by far was the on-going Herceptin infusions that will continue every 3 weeks until March. Since any delay longer than a week would require her to start over, we knew we needed to take some action. So, after a week with no definitive answer, we started contacting other facilities, determining their insurance status, whether they could do the infusion and what the lead time would be to make the transition. It was not encouraging. The biggest problem was trying to get the appointment with an oncologist and get the infusion scheduled within the tight timeframe. We weren’t getting back to Jacksonville until 3 days before next infusion was due.
We expanded our search beyond Jacksonville to Virginia around Richmond. Then, we started looking at facilities that had a relationship with MD Anderson. That took us to Frederick and a Network Coordinator that was amazing. Within 24 hours, she had an appointment with an oncologist and an infusion scheduled. She had my records and knew my treatment plan. When our cell phones were out of service a whole day while we were at sea, she got the additional information from my insurance card from Jacksonville.
We were very pleased with the way the billing issue was resolved and the care taken to ease our concerns in Jacksonville. We have a lot of respect for MD Anderson in Jacksonville and Frederick. We plan to return to Jacksonville for the final treatments in January
Despite our beeline trip north, we made some time to see family and friends. We had a brief visit with Bonnie, Troy and the kids on their 13th wedding anniversary. Apparently, that’s the one where you have Savoia rum cake. We were happy to share in the celebration. On Thursday, we met up with Droz to do some back-to-school shopping. It was fun helping him find out his size in dress shirts and pants.
The purchase had been made just before we left for the cruise and arrived while we were gone. Dave had been researching tonneau covers (truck bed covers) for the new truck for months. Deciding on a Truxedo version, we decided to install it ourselves. Unexpectedly, we had only one morning to get it done, since we couldn’t leave it in the office any longer, and we wanted to ensure all was well before the shipper’s warranty expired and we headed north to MD. Sure enough, it installed pretty quickly and looks great.