- Captain Albert's Blog -

Stories from the Sea, Past and Present

14 December 2012; Nuku Hiva, Marquises Islands.

The weather remained the same and thus I could say when I arrived on the bridge at 04.15, we are going to make this call. As I had promised the guests I did arrive bright and early and by 06.00 we had the tender service in full swing. Unfortunately not too many guests decided to go ashore bright and early, which was a pity as the earlier you go, the cooler it is. Of course it is not a metropolis or a beehive of activity so the main reason to go here, is “to have been there” and to admire the scenery and the local way of living.  As a result the facilities for cruise ships are not that the best in the world. It is not as if you are driving into the parking lot of Wal-Mart. One old pier with one little step was made available to us and so going ashore and coming back took some time.  

Baie Taiohae 2

Nuku Hiva Bay from the Air. (Courtesy from the internet)

Huku Hiva is a horse shoe bay and thus sheltered from the west, north and south. While outside it was blowing a good 25 knots, inside there was nothing more than a gentle breeze.  As a result it is a stopover for many yachts and small ships so they can take a breath (read —— a good night’s sleep away from the pounding of the boat on the ocean swell).


Nice for them but not for me, as I found a Korean fishing Boat right on my designated anchorage. The bay is not controlled by the harbormaster and thus everybody drops their anchor down where ever they want.  There was no need to sit for this small fishing vessel on a deep sea anchorage but it is a safe one, being right on the 10 meter line and having 3 cables (3/10th of mile) swinging space all around. So I had to stay a bit further out but as it was a good day it did not matter.


Beautiful Bougainville trees on the islands shores. (Phot courtesy 2nd officer Dirk van Aarsen)

With the invasion of Nuku Hiva being in full swing, my thoughts were already on the crossing back home again. We will have 7 glorious sea days to look forward to and TEAM Statendam will be trying to make sure that they are seven glorious days. I wrote about that already yesterday.  My foremost task is now to get the ship safely back on time with as little inconvenience as possible. The weather looks quite good for the coming days. 

I am just a little bit concerned about a wave field coming in after the 18th. which is day four of the crossing.  It has been horrible weather between Hawaii and San Diego (The guests on the Zaandam must have had some un-comfortable moments, as that ship is sailing there at the moment) and the wave field generated by the storm is still spreading southwards. It is unclear if it will reach our track line as that will all depend how long the winds will be blowing to the North.


Approaching the tender dock. You can not have a more South Sea setting like this. (Photo Courtesy; Mrs. Liz Mauk)

My plan is to stay on full speed until I can slow down and still arrive in San Diego on time. Better a little bit of ships movement now than a lot of pounding later.  The wave field might dissipate on time and then we can still have a smooth ride home.


So plan A was executed on departure. By the time we came out of the bay and rounding the South East point we were on full sea speed, 19.5 knots on the engines and about 18.5 over the ground as we will be battling against the South Equatorial Current all the time. When we went towards Hawaii we had the North Equatorial current in our back (it is basically the same current but it runs north of the equator, instead of south) now it is against us.  That will remain the case until the day before San Diego, when there is normally a counter current that gives us a nice push in the back again.

The crew is buzzing about the Village Fair tomorrow and there will be some interesting stands out there. Deck has setup something with pirates and walking the plank, the engineers have something technical of course and my Lord and Master Lesley has gotten all the spouses on board together with a stand, to guess the collective age of all the ladies on board.

We are on the way to San Diego and we have to cover 2,840 miles to do so.  Arriving there on 21 dec. It is time to start unpacking the Christmas trees.


  1. Aloha Captain,
    It is great to hear your day went so well. Nuku Hiva is a beautiful island, especially if people get to drive up the mtn.,over to the airport and/or also over to the other bay where Survivor was filmed. Unfortunately, getting a car to rent is almost a dream. A few people may be lucky to have that dream come true, or have a local person tour them around. I am sure the guest were just so happy to get on another island planned in the itinery, being that a couple previous ones were canceled.
    By the way, we were wonder what is to be with the large amount of donated supplies that the crew and passengers were unable to get delivered to Fanning Island. Will the ship be able to deliver them when the ship tries calling there again in February?
    We sure hope the next 7 days will be a great return. This has definately been a diferent cruise for many. Mele Kalikimaka!

  2. We are watching you blog every day because we sail the same route with you on 01Feb13. Take care.

  3. Dear Captain A.,
    Is 2,840 miles close to the maximum distance that you can travel on one tank of ‘gas’? MS Statendam will be very thirsty upon arrival in San Diego to be sure.

    • Good Morning,

      no we can do about 4000 miles at full speed before the tanks are empty. So on this cruise we topped up in Honolulu and Papeete and that will get us home easily to San Diego. there we will bunker 1200 tons that will get us to fort Lauderdale.

      thank you for reading my blog

      Capt. Albert

  4. Nuku Hiva,

    I still remember that “pier” with the stone step(s) where the tender has to dock. Why don’t they fix that?

    It is always a blessing to have crew members assist guests up and down that slightly precarious landing, if they need it.

    Love reading your blog, Captain!

  5. Missed Career at Sea

    December 18, 2012 at 1:00 am

    Finally, a decent visit to the last of the South Pacific remnants of Paradise …
    These islands, the Solomon islands and perhaps others, still have navigators, although dwindling in numbers, that are able to sail across the Pacific by traditional skills, meaning without modern technology. With your years of experience at sea, Captain, is it possible to distinguish specifically a swell lifting the stern without rolling the ship, from other swells and waves even on board a big ship as a cruise ship?

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