Arr, the sea!
Location: 54.540 N, 133.89 W.
Shipboard location: Deck 10, Explorations Café.
Heading: 326 degrees.
Distance from home: 2,535 km.
First of all: I know there were a few errors in the last post (typos, punctuation, implying that zeppelins were somehow land vehicles), but I’m not going to correct them. Why? Because I’m posting via satellite (really!) and the per-minute charges are comically high. So I’m not spending any more time than necessary actually connected.
That settled, on to business. We spent the entire day at sea, keeping up a very steady 37-40 km/h, which is apparently pretty much the ship’s top speed. The captain today told us that the ship produces (I think) 88,000 horsepower, which requires 4,000 gallons of fuel per hour, so we’ve gone through something like 400,000 liters of diesel today!
As you might guess from the fact that I’m spouting ship trivia (if you do three laps of the promenade deck, you’ve walked a mile!) at some point just being on a boat is no longer interesting, and you start needing some sort of diversion. After all, a day at sea, much of that with no land in sight due to first distance and then fog, is kind of same-y. Boat trivia starts to become interesting.
The cruise includes a lot of possible diversions, though, and one of them today was, in fact, a trivia contest. Me, mom, and dad formed a team which dad named the Jets (he was wearing a Winnipeg Jets t-shirt), and then a group of three ladies from Washington joined up. One of them turned out to be excellent at trivia, and we ended up scoring a perfect 20 points and winning the game, which resulted in the guy running the contest announcing: “And the winning team is the Jets from Winnipeg!” The folks from Washington won the coin toss, so they got the champagne, but we got some other souvenirs like tote bags. We plan to meet again tomorrow morning to defend our title.
A whole bunch of other things went on throughout the day: Jonathan and I watched the movie “Source Code” in the cinema; Dad and Uncle Orville taught Uncle John and Jonathan how to play Kaiser (and, unsurprisingly, beat them); I found and attempted to read a Dutch newspaper; Mom and Aunt Erna attended a wine tasting; I discovered a place where they will give you free hot chocolate and cookies if you ask. But the story of the day really has to be the weather.
Yesterday I mentioned that the captain had warned us, in his wonderful Dutch accent, that big waves were coming. Well, the weather system didn’t move as predicted, so the rough seas didn’t arrive on schedule. This was cruel of it, because just when we were getting all confident and saying, “That wasn’t so bad,” the captain let us know that the bad weather hadn’t actually occurred yet!
We are now definitely feeling what the captain calls “the motion of the ocean”.
It’s been getting steadily worse all day. During dinner, Uncle Orville and Jonathan estimated that the biggest waves we could see were 15-20 feet high, from crest to trough. These aren’t big scary mean waves with whitecaps, just large swells that rock the boat inexorably back and forth, which makes walking down hallways an adventure. Now I know why the boat has handrails everywhere.
And if I understood the captain correctly, it’s going to get worse before it gets better. Uncle Orville disputed my claim yesterday that the Outer Passage around Vancouver Island was part of the problem: he says the currents in the Inner Passage make that sea worse. And there may be something to that, because the captain explained that the Queen Charlotte islands have been shielding us from the worst of the waves, and they’re to our east, between us and the mainland. We’ve just begun to get past the northern tip of the island we’ve been sailing past all day, so we should be due for even more rocking soon.
But it could be worse: While there’s a strong wind (50 knots, which is over 90 km/h; I think it’s a 4 on the Beaufort scale), it’s a tailwind, so it’s not fighting the boat and the waves aren’t hitting us from the side. Jonathan and his greenish complexion are, I’m pretty sure, grateful for that.
I’ve never been susceptible to motion sickness, and I show no signs of starting now, but after eight hours, the constant rocking is becoming somewhat tedious. However, it’s kind of interesting to see curtains swaying back and forth, or watch the water in your glass tilt from side to side.
What with the ocean being such a prominent part of the day, I decided to get all thematic and sit up on the observation deck and read The Old Man And The Sea. But I moved indoors to the Crow’s Nest (a lounge right at the front of the boat on deck 10) when it started to rain.
Did I mention that the weather’s kind of lousy? A little cool and generally damp: some sea spray, a lot of fog, some drizzle. Everything outside is wet. Today I saw the staff using a hose to wash the water off the deck (?), and then I went back to my cabin where there’s a note saying “Waterway is precious, please conserve it”. Something doesn’t add up here.
As a distraction from all that, tonight was the first formal night, so we got all gussied up. I have to point out that Jonathan was wearing a suit that cost him a total of $12.50. I wouldn’t’ve thought it possible. Dinner was good; dessert was fantastic: they had a chocolatier as the highlighted chef tonight, and he made some espresso mocha ice cream torte thing that was just amazing.
After dinner, we went to a stage show where a six-piece band backed four singers performing their own versions of a selection of Broadway show tunes. Of the two male singers, one reminded me (in mannerisms, not appearance) of Neil Patrick Harris. And then he introduced one of the other singers as his wife. Hmm. Anyway, the show was decent, if not spectacular, and that pretty much capped off the day.
Tomorrow: scenic cruising through Glacier Bay. Apparently we’re going to a part of the bay that the crew has never sailed to before… We also get to enter a time zone that I didn’t even know existed in North America: it’s an hour earlier than BC time.