Today we have another nice day at sea. The weather followed the weather forecast and the bridge reported that indeed some rain did fall. But in accordance with our wishes did fall during the night and today is another dry, nice and partly cloudy / partly sunny day. The “swell tail” of the storm system did come down a bit more to our location and the waves increased in a few feet height. But the direction of the waves also turned more towards the bow and thus we now have the occasional pitch. Although it is still very minimal for the time of year. So we are still lucky and the weather forecast looks very good. The nasty storm system is moving rapidly north and nothing new is brewing, as of yet, off Cape Hatteras so we can expect seas to smooth out and winds to abate. Who would have expected that in the middle of December?
The day at sea continued with all the regular ships activities. A few highlights:
09.30 Coffee with the Ladies at Sea. Our crew is made up of about 30% female crew members.
10.00 EXC talk: Cuba, then and now, with a guest speaker.
11.30 Get creative in the Microsoft Studio. (= learn to impress your grandchildren)
13.00 America’s Test kitchen
15.00 EXC talk: French, Canada to Colonial Empire, with a guest speaker
Trivia games in the morning and afternoon
16.30 Tiny Little Big Band plays.
19.00 Pool movie & Music Walk gets going.
All comes in the daily program called When & Where and which has recently been revamped again to a nice format that fits in the pocket.
And then I do not mention what shops, Spa, Casino, Art, wine, and other interesting things are taking place. And today there was also the Mariners lunch……… which must have been busy as we have a very high number of Mariners on board.
My highlight of the day was checking seaman’s books. The Dutch law has some very strict criteria about controlling seaman’s books and compliance with certification and once during my tenure on board a ship I go through all of them, to ensure that the Crew Office has it all complete. If something is overlooked, then we still have time to correct it before we arrive in Fort Lauderdale. The basic things every crew member needs are: Health Certificate, Labor contract, a safety certificate, and then it goes up by the seniority and the severity of function. Especially the Deck and Engine Officers bear the brunt of those certification requirements as they have to be proficient in firefighting and in safety training and have to have their licenses to do their job. Last time I counted I had 23 certificates of various standing, either legally required or required by the company. Our company has a whole training system via computer learning to ensure that crew members are aware of the latest company requirements and are knowledgeable in everything that goes on. Courses in ethics, basic safety, Noro virus, are related to all, and then specialized trainings such as wine courses for the BLD department. Of all those licenses the COC or Certificate of Competence is the most important one. This indicates that the flag state has recognized that the bearer of a COC had all the underlying certificates required and is qualified to carry out the function he/she has been appointed to. All compulsory certificates have a 5 year renewal date and thus much to our regret we lose every year 14 days or so from our vacation time to go on refresher courses. The company also has a slew of required or desired certificates but most of the time they can be refreshed on board.
So the good ship Nieuw Statendam is sailing with the nice speed of 16 knots towards Fort Lauderdale and we have another four glorious sea days to go. The guests seem to be very happy, although I had one guest asking if there was any option to do a bit of sightseeing while on the way, so there was something else to see than just waves. I promised him that I would take it up with the head office and that we would do our best to have a large mountain on the route, next time we come this way.