Friday, February 28, 2020

Desert Belle Cruise

Special Friday Group Cruise!!!

What a great Day!!  Started for most of us with a complete review of Bill & Carol Goss's beautiful Viennese Waltz - "In the Arms of an Angel."  That was fun & gave us all some exercise.  We were all impressed when they went to demo at the end & Bill couldn't get his voice to play.  He cued the dance live while they danced together!  Way to go Bill & Carol!!!  Very impressive!!!

Then the afternoon progressed with different activities for all.  I went shoe shopping with Birgit & Martin (our danceer/teacher/cuer friends from Germany that are visiting for a couple of weeks.  Unfortunately we couldn't find any shoes in a style she wanted in stock that fit right, but I placed an order for 3 new pair of FLAT fun shoes!!!  Glad that George didn't go with us!  Ha!

Then on to the main event!  We rode with Birgit & Martin to the Saguaro Lake Marina for a fairly short notice sunset Narrated cruise!!!

We arrived about 4:20pm & found several of our group of 30 dancers already waiting to board the Desert Belle.  This event was also a testing day for my new cell phone strap.  Already see an issue when it has slipped over to cover a portion of the picture!!!

We loaded onto the boat & met Captain Randy - our pilot & narrator.  He was spectacular!  They load the boat in specific order of check in - the earlier you check in, the sooner you board.  Therefore, our folks were scattered from front to back & up & down.

We slid out of the dock & onto the lake while Captain Randy gave us both some historical info (this is one of the 4 lakes in Salt River Project (Saguaro, Canyon, Apache, Roosevelt).    The project was began in 1903 & has many purposes - hydro electricity, water resevoir, & flooding prevention.  Not to mention the recreational uses.  He also gave us many specifics - average depth is 65', surface area of 1280 acres.  He told us about the trails surrounding the area & some of the wildlife we might see (Big Horn Sheep for one!). 

A few minutes after leaving the marina behind, the automatic awning covers slip open.  He said they were mostly to protect us from the poop bombing attacks of the many birds in & around the dock - especially the wily Grackle!! 

We slid close by the rock cliffs & all kept an eye out for any wildlife.  The recent rains made for some beautiful contrasts in the colors. 

Scenery was spectacular.  Loved every second of it.  He gave us the names of all the cliffs & small off shoot canyons, but I don't remember them.

I do remember Ship Rock being pointed out.  He said boats had been known to crash into it, so it was sometimes called "Ship wreck Rock."

The cruise was an hour & a half, so all too soon, we reached the end of the lake & made the slow u turn to return to the shore.

As we continued the cruise, I noticed additional dancers that were with us that I didn't know were coming!!  Cool!  We filled up a huge portion of the boat!! 

We all got very excited when George called out that he saw the silhouette of a Big Horn Sheep on the ridge. 

I didn't get any real good shots, but that didn't keep me from snapping away!  John & Malva got some pretty good close ups, so I'm hoping they will share.  But since they were to leave early Saturday morning for a vacation to San Diego, I might have to wait until they get back!  If anyone else got one - please share!!!

Most of the final minutes of the cruise flew by as we all tried to snap the winning photo of the amazing sunset vistas of 4 Peaks Range! 

George & I thought we spotted some horses up on the rocky ridge, but no one else noticed & my zoom couldn't pick anything up for sure.

As we slid back into our slip on the dock, I was thrilled with the colors all around us.  All in all it was a lovely time!  Most of us tripped up the stairs to the Marina's restaurant & had dinner together.  The service was pretty good considering we had all arrived at one time (along with a lot of the other boat passengers).  We sat out on the deck & although we were afraid it might be too cold, it really wasn't too cool until about time to leave anyway!  Food was just so so (french fries were the best), so not highly recommended, but still it was enjoyable & the day was great fun!

Highlight of the dinner was singing Happy Leap Day Birthday to Bob Jordan!!!