Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Between the devil and the deep blue sea

It was devilish work, but someone had to do it. Just minutes into my vacation, and I spotted a challenge.

I know, vacations are supposed to be fun and relaxing. But I figured climbing a rocky wall for no apparent reason might be just the thing to kick my Alaskan adventure into high gear. Did I mention I’d been drinking?

Still securely docked in Seattle, the lovely Miss Wendy and I were taking our measure of the NCL Pearl – 13 decks, 12 restaurants, 11 bars and lounges, 2 swimming pool and 4 hot tubs, a bowling alley, movie theater, internet cafĂ© and one monster climbing wall.

After watching a 10-year-old kid weave his way up the rocky course, I figured now was absolutely the time to screw my courage to the, um, sticking place. I did mention alcohol was involved, right? Only a moment later I had signed away my life, pulled on a pair of climbing shoes, and wiggled my way into a safety harness and helmet.

The goal was to ring a bell at the top of the wall; all I need do is grab hold of the rubber hand- and footholds and maneuver my way up the 25-foot course and victory was mine. Staring up at the craggy face of the wall, I had a moment to reflect on the fleeting nature of life and other existential stuff. Then I heard a nearby kid asking his dad if the old guy was ever going to move his butt!

About two minutes later I rang the bell, was lowered back to the deck and made my way back to Miss Wendy. About the only lasting lessons I’ve managed to take away from this rocky challenge and momentous victory is I can still move my butt when prodded and I probably shouldn’t drink when there’s a climbing wall in view.

KODAK MOMENT: Just shy of my goal (photo above), I took a moment to savor my efforts as I made my way to the top of a climbing wall aboard the NCL Pearl.

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