[Photographs by Ferdinand “Ding” Ramos]
“It was a dark and stormy night…” Oops, wrong opening line. (Sorry, Snoopy.) Ahem. It was a bright and sunny day, and the Holland America cruise ship, Maasdam, was scheduleed to dock at the port on the island of Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands on Sunday, Sept 8, 2019.
As an island consultant, I’m occasionally asked to provide information on the islands to visitors.
This time, my photographer, Ding, and I showed up at 7am to be sure that THIS time, the ship would, indeed, dock. (Yeah, that’s a whole other story for another time!)
With that little detail confirmed, we headed back to the airport to pick up the vans for our arriving guests.
While awaiting the paperwork, world renown author, ethnographer, oral historian and “birder,” Rlene Santos Steffy, arrives from Guam. I had the pleasure of meeting Rlene on Guam during my recent Guam Writers Workshop Learn more at : http://guamwriters.com/
The paperwork is completed, vans are assigned, drivers are briefed, microphones are checked, signs are posted in the windshields….time for a convoy!
Once at the dock, guests begin exiting the ship after passing through US Customs, and we load up the vans. Two of my guests, Lorrin and Nina Lee, are on a three month tour (see Lorrinlee.com), and were the first of my guests to sign up way back in March!
We head out to our first stop: American Memorial Park.
Answer: One of the largest war time structures on the island: the Bomb Magazine at As Lito airfield.
Then we went In Search of Amelia Earhart
By this time, the “Saipan in a Day” adventure is officially ended. Robert and Gary have departed and taken our visitors back to the dock, However, a smaller group of WWII buffs are treated to a special private collection of relics and artifacts from the Japanese era and Battle of Saipan.
“What’s that? Yes, you can definitely write a TripAdvisor Review! I’d be honored and it would help a lot! Thanks for asking!”
“As the sun sank slowly over the horizon…” Oops, sorry, wrong epilogue…Wait! That one fits! As the sun sank slowly over the Saipan horizon, Maasdam pulled away from the dock, and sailed off into the sunset on its way to Guam!
“We’ll catch you on the flip flop
This here’s the Rubber Duck on the side
We gone – Bye Bye!”
Thanks to everyone who made this tour special and run smoothly!
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