The weather remained very unpleasant for the remainder of the night. Strong winds and high seas but the Prinsendam was riding the waves very nicely and we had a really comfortable ride. Some guests even started to wonder if it really was that bad. I was almost tempted to change course for a few minutes…………and turn the nose into the waves…………… Of course I did not do that but it would have solved the argument quickly. The Hotel department flipped the whole daily program over and so what should have been done today (the scheduled sea day) was done yesterday and what was to be done yesterday (the Leith port day) was taking place today during the new port day of Tilbury. That takes a bit of doing as the components that the cruise director has to work with; entertainers, are not so highly structured as the regular departments on board where things happen with a click of the finger. Entertainers, when not working, are sometimes quite hard to find, things have to be discussed, (dramatic) opinions expressed and then finally the CD gets his show on the road. I work with yes and no’s, the Cruise Directors with a lot of if’s and why’s, and yes but’s. With creativity comes emotion and we have a lot of creativity on board……… Thus our C.D Thom had a nerve wracking day yesterday to get it all together and hold it together as it was all last minute scheduling.
For today the daily program was a lot easier as it was a port day and it was anticipated that most guests were going ashore, taking the chance to go to London. However extra activities were going on for those who stayed onboard. So while Thom worried in his sleep about adding an extra bingo or another Dam dollar program, I was standing on the bridge approaching the pilot station. I was determined to give the guests at least a full day in port and that meant a pilot station time of 0400 hrs. Based on the rule of thumb (and hoping that current and traffic on the river would respect our travelling schedule) I should then be docked at 0800 hrs.
It was still very windy at the pilot station, and as the pilot boat insisted on a starboard side boarding, I had to swing the ship almost 180o around to make a good lee. Why he did not want a portside door remained a mystery for me as that had meant almost no course change at all. There was a lee on the portside to start with. Arguing with a pilot boat skipper does not really work, they can easily delay the boarding of the pilot by 10 minutes or more and thus it is much easier to give in and do the maneuver. With the pilot safely onboard, we swung back again and proceeded up the river. As the wind was blowing in the same direction as the current, against us and ebbing, I had to use quite a bit of power to maintain an good average speed to get to Tilbury on time. Due to having to slow down on the river because of construction work going on, I just did not make my target time of 08.00 but I was alongside at 08.20. Not much of an issue as we were staying here until midnight and the ship was cleared within 5 minutes.
I spent most of the afternoon in bed, trying to catch up with some missed sleep from the past number of days. The evening was spent on clearing away a back log of paperwork. I had the time to do this now as we were sailing after midnight, going up the river with the incoming tide. The last train from London came back at 23.45 and so we only had to wait for the go ahead of the pilot to head to Greenwich. The weather for Greenwich looks good. Sunny day but not very warm and with the winds slowly dying down.