"The Fascination" at the Carnival Cruise Terminal in Jacksonville Florida.
Debbie Cusick took this "arty" picture of me reading the graffiti at Fort Charlotte in Nassau.
Here is the rest of our tour group with our guide (that's me in the hat, Mary-Clare Holst in the white shirt, and Kerrie Lettiero with the visor. Debbie took the picture.)
Our 3rd (my second) annual low-carb cruise was even more incredible than the last one. I'm a bit tardy getting a blog up about it, so I will just direct you to Jimmy's site http://livinlavidalowcarb.com/blog/?p=7412 where he already has pictures, videos, and links to several other cruisers' reviews and photos.
These cruises have become floating conventions with food, travel, education, recreation, networking, and entertainment all rolled into one package for low-carb enthusiasts.
We met at a steakhouse in Jacksonville the night before we left to kick off the party. We had reservations for 20, but 50 showed up! That was an indication of what was to come. I got to reconnect with the people I met last year, make new friends, and meet some of the most amazing low-carb experts ever to sail the sea. If everyone could hear what these remarkable people had to say, it would instantly put an end to the epidemic of obesity, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes. (All we have to do is persuade them all to come with us.)
Everyone loved Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt who traveled all the way from Sweden for the cruise. He's young, he's tall (6'7"), he's handsome, he's smart, and he has the world's largest low-carb blog. (His beautiful girl friend came along too--sorry girls.) His blog is in Swedish, but you can get a translation (sort of) here: http://www.kostdoktorn.se/kryssningsrapport . He plans to return for the 2011 cruise and to encourage his readers to join us too.
This was the first time I had met Dr. Mary Vernon in person and I can't tell you how impressed I am with this woman. She is a veritable encyclopedia of knowledge with the rare ability to simplify the most complex science so that even I could understand it. Other speakers were Fred Hahn, Dr. William Davis, Jackie Eberstein, Dana Carpender, Tom Naughton, and Andrew DiMino. I took lots of notes since there was too much good information to trust to my memory. Several others from the group gave short talks about what they are doing. There was so much enthusiasm and support, It was truly energizing!
The dining on the ship was excellent, as it always is, and I had my first taste of conch in Nassau where I bravely shared a RAW conch salad with Mary-Clare Holst. Now I have another food that I love that I will probably never be able to find!
Other highlights: Andrew DiMino from CarbSmart supplied the refreshments for a low-carb party for us one night and we enjoyed a private screening of Tom Naughton's documentary, "Fathead." Dana Carpender gave us a special cookbook written just for the cruise (I made her tasty Adobo chicken last night), Jimmy and Christine Moore and Becky Gandy sang a beautiful medley of gospel songs in the talent show and Tom Naughton performed a spot-on rendition of Johnny Cash's Folsum Prison Blues on the karaoke stage. Jimmy posted some of the performances at http://livinlavidalowcarb.com/blog/?p=7409.
However, there were a few glitches, at least for me. I was scheduled to give a report to the group on our first day at sea, so I skipped the late night activities and planned to get up rested and coherent since the water had been a bit rough and I had a touch of maldemer. I normally take several supplements in the evening and some of them look alike (calcium, magnesium, potassium and melatonin, plus Bonnie for seasickness). If you are a regular reader of my blog, you may know that I also take guaifenesin for fibromyalgia and that it works, but it makes you feel worse before you feel better. Guaifenesin has no side effects, UNLESS you have fibromyalgia. It can really knock you for a loop if you exceed your minimum tolerable dose before you get further along in the protocol.
Within a few minutes of taking my pills, the pain hit. First it was a splitting headache and then a toothache. As I was wondering where I could find a dentist in the middle of the ocean, more places started to hurt and I realized that it was the guaifenesin. I had obviously taken it twice by mistake. It normally lasts for 12 hours so it would be mid-morning before it wore off. It was about 5:00AM before I thought of a way to counteract it. There were packets of mint-flavored toothpaste in the bathroom. I had almost thrown them out since mint is not allowed on the protocol because it blocks the guai. I got up and brushed my teeth and within a few minutes the pain started to dissipate. I went to breakfast and to hear the other panelists looking like I had a really bad hangover and feeling like an idiot for what I had done to myself. I had to reschedule my turn to speak until the last day.
Our ship was also less than ship-shape. We never made it to our second stop at Half Moon Cay due to an engine problem. We spent an extra day anchored at Nassau (not a great hardship) before returning to Jacksonville.
Then there was the trip home. I'll spare you the details, but I barely managed to get on the last flight of the day from Atlanta to Seattle and make it home (astonishingly, with my luggage!), vowing never to fly Alaska again.
I'm agitating to have the cruise originate on the West Coast next year. If you'd like that, let Jimmy or Becky know. We had people who came all the way from England and Sweden for this trip, so you see how lucky we are not to have to travel so far! Thanks to all of you who made this trip a success.