Three days underway and we pulled into the beautiful Port of Miami, Florida!
We were met by a fire boat who trumpeted our arrival with a water display. There were a couple of big cruise liners in port as we came in. People were on deck waiving at us as we past by. It was kind of funny: All those people paying all that money to have everything done for them, and here we are getting paid all this money to do everything for ourselves! I have a new slogan for the Navy: Mirror Image Cruises!
Miami has been very nice and very hectic. Yesterday we had about 325 visitors aboard for tours and about 100 people check-in for the mission. We had a VIP luncheon with five Flag Officers in attendance (Army and Air Force Generals), CEO's from several Non-Governmental Organizations. Just when we thought it was all going to settle down, we got the Miami-Dade County Commissioner onboard. By the time 6:00pm came around, I was wooped.
I went to dinner with our Chaplain, CDR Dave Oravec and our Director of Ancillary Services, CAPT Christine Howe. We ate at this great restaurant in Miami Beach called Joe's Stone Crabs. I should have known this was going to be expensive when everyone serving tables in the restaurant were wearing tuxedos. Not 20 year old, ratty looking tuxedos with yellow shirts, but nice, crisp looking tuxedos with spotless white shirts, studs, and perfectly tied bow ties.
I also knew it was popular because our wait for a table was one and a half hours! So we wandered around the area for awhile and found this nice Greek restaurant where we were able to sit down and blow the froth off a couple while we were waiting. It really had a great atmosphere with kids dancing on the tables, and Greek music playing. Made me think I was in My Big Fat Greek Wedding!
Well, this morning we set sail and put Miami to our stern as we head Southeast toward Haiti. Everyone is excited to get there and to start providing medical care! Our entire first phase crew is aboard: 906 people set sail today!
The Helos are aboard, our crew is assembled, the ship is steaming at full speed, and we're ready to hit the ground running!