Randy Schutz has a bucket list, so for his 70th birthday celebration, he chose to take a Panama Canal cruise – with a few extra adventures included on the side. Randy and Mavis left for Miami, Florida, on April 11 to begin the celebration.
They spent three nights in South Beach, where they enjoyed a “Duck Tour” (amphibious boat/bus sightseeing vehicle), a double decker bus tour of the towns around Miami, and an airboat trip through the Everglades. Mavis had the fun of holding an alligator after the ride through the Everglades.
One night they were able to meet up and dine with Mavis’ former yearbook editor and ASB officer, Treva Finkle (TCHS 2004 grad), and her husband, Ivan Blumenfeld Izzo, originally from Buenos Aires.
On April 14, they boarded the Norwegian Pearl for the 16-day cruise through the Panama Canal. The first stop was Cartagena, Colombia, where they experienced the highlights of Cartagena and took a one-hour walking tour of Old Cartagena.
On April 18, the Panama Canal transit program began. “What an experience!” says Mavis. “We were just amazed at the ingenuity, forethought and engineering the builders put into this 11-year endeavor, which has now had over one million ships from all over the world transit through the canal. The transit from the Caribbean Sea to the Pacific Ocean took an entire day, traveling through three different series of locks and two lakes.”
After the Panama Canal, the cruise ship visited six ports. The first was Puntarenas, Costa Rica, where Randy and Mavis visited a macaw sanctuary. They then dropped anchor in Puerto Quetzal, Guatamala, where they took an excursion to the ancient city of Antigua.
The city of Antigua was founded by Spanish conquistadors in the early 16th century and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Mavis says, “While visiting an ancient church, there were school kids who were on a ‘scavenger hunt’ and had to take a picture with an American. They took Randy’s picture holding The Friday Flyer!”
They then visited a traditional coffee plantation, where Mavis wore a traditional dress of the San Antonio Aguas Calientes weavers.
Other ports of call included Puerto Chiapas, Huatulco, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. The Canyon Lakers disembarked in Los Angeles, after which the ship sailed up the coast to eventually cruise through Alaska for the summer months.
Mavis’ bucket list included riding a camel, so during their port of call in Cabo, they traveled to the outback of Cabo and had a very fun jeep ride, then became part of a camel caravan along the beach.
Mavis says Randy enjoyed the birthday celebration greatly; the highlight was “meeting new people from all over the world!” Randy says now they will have to make another trip to Australia to meet up with all their new friends from Down Under!