December 31, 1999



Before leaving Vallejo for our morning's destination, we all gathered on the bow for a group photo. (What, you mean you don't recognize us?)

group

We docked in Sausalito, north of San Francisco on the Marin side of the bay. Our first stop was the Bay Model, a one-and-a-half acre hydraulic scale model of the San Francisco Bay and the lower Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers, built by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1956. The Bay Model is capable of simulating tides, currents, river inflow and other variables affecting water quality and the movement of water in the estuary.

After a tour of the model, we grabbed a shuttle into the city of Sausalito for a little sightseeing. Sausalito is a cross between a sleepy little fishing village and a gimcracky tourist trap. Aside from sitting near the shore watching the fishing boats bob around in the bay, shopping and eating are the main attractions for visitors. My mom and I spent most of our visit in a shop full of gorgeous (and wildly expensive) art glass, deciding which pieces we would buy if we had a) unlimited amounts of money and b) big showcase homes with lots of well-lit display areas. Not having either, we left empty-handed.

Sausalito

After returning to the ship, I took advantage of another of the perks of the cruise—free massages given by a pair of masseuses from Mill Valley. Ahhh.

We spent a relaxing afternoon cruising the Bay, once again meandering along the City skyline, cruising under the Golden Gate Bridge out into the ocean, briefly, then back into the Bay. Our cruise guide told us that we could make a wish by throwing a coin over our left shoulder towards the water just as we passed under the bridge. We shall see if my wish comes true. I'm not sure if it counts when you do it from inside your stateroom, and pick up the coin afterwards. Hey, it was cold out there.

Eventually, we headed south, under the Bay Bridge, where we anchored for the evening. Apparently, wishes made while passing under the Bay Bridge are not particularly lucky.

SFskyline

Cocktail hour started early that evening. Actually, it was cocktail hour-and-a-half. Our appetizers for the evening included sushi and caviar. I would have been content to munch on them and forget about dinner.

At this point, I decided I'd had enough wine, and took advantage of the free bar to have a couple of margaritas. That warmed me up enough to decide to dress for dinner - I'd brought along a long skirt and sweater, but was so cold throughout so much of the trip, I'd been reluctant to change out of my jacket, two sweaters, long undershirt, and jeans.

After dinner, though, I changed back into numerous sweaters and jeans before joining the crowd in the lounge to listen to our entertainers and make merry as we awaited the midnight hour.

10 - 9 - 8 - 7 - 6 - 5 - 4 - 3 - 2 - 1! Champagne glasses in hand, we rushed out onto the deck to watch the spectacular fireworks on the Bay Bridge.

fireworks

So we ushered in the New Year.