- Captain Albert's Blog -

Stories from the Sea, Past and Present

16 June 2012; Inside Passage B.C. Canada.

By 9 pm last night, the updated weather forecast showed that the frontal system by now laying over the whole of British Columbia and the Ketchikan area, was deepening.  It kept raining and gale force winds lashed over the ship.  Looking outside it was more like autumn and this with the longest day of the year only 5 days away !!!. With the wind persisting, the waves were getting higher and that in the Dixon Entrance and Hecate Strait is very unpleasant. The water is relatively shallow here, not more than 150 feet, and that means that there is less water to disperse the wind energy into. The waves get short, high and with a very choppy surface. That makes the ship ride the waves not in a regular cadence of pitching or rolling, but in lurches and jumps.  Interspersed there is a deeper wave and then the ship suddenly pitches once or twice and is then quiet again for a moment. Not a movement that you can get used to and also hard to prepare for.  Not a good ending to a cruise that already did not have much good weather to offer in the first place.

As part of me leaving the ship routine, there is the hand over to prepare. That consists basically of three parts. First of all, the End of Term Report that goes to the office. In here I report to the Vice Presidents what has happened during the three months and what is of concern to them.  A wise man starts early with this report in order not to forget anything. I do not know if I can be considered wise but I know that I cannot remember everything that happened during my sailing period, so I normally start this report the day I join.  I add what is important and take out what gets resolved or becomes less important during the progression of my time on board.

Then there are the Hand Over Notes for the day to day running of the ship. Passwords, Codes, and open items that will have to be dealt with in the coming days. Part three is a folder with schedules. There is the cruise schedule; speeds and arrival times for the cruise. Although we do the same cruises all summer, the speed of the ship can vary, depending on the slack tide at Seymour Narrows or the congestion in the various ports.  There is the Proforma which is the time table according to which the Hotel department runs. Important for the Captain in regards to inspections, meetings and parties. Lastly there is the safety schedule which gives all the drills and trainings during the cruise. Apart from having to attend certain drills it helps if the captain compares this schedule with the proforma and so avoid conflicts of interests. Doing a fire drill in the dining room while there is a special luncheon going on, is not the brightest idea and thus we try to avoid that.

With writing, packing and the standby’s during the day (for this inclement weather), we had reduced visibility from 09.30 to 14.30 today, it makes for a hectic day.  That is then topped off tonight when we go through the Inside Passage again on our way to Vancouver. Slack tide at Seymour Narrows is tonight at 23.00 hrs so I expect that the pilots want to be there just after, to let the Northbound traffic come through. Those ships have the EBB current with them and that makes it harder for them to wait as the outgoing tide pushes them forward.

The weather for the remainder of the day will still be very windy until it easies off close to midnight.  At least that is the weather forecast. I am checking at the moment every four hours as it all seems to be very unstable and changing a lot. A strange ending to my sailing period.  Vancouver weather looks slightly better.  20% chance of rain, no wind and temperatures around 52oF = 12oC.,

 Tomorrow will be my last post and I will give an update about Corinto as well.


  1. Godspeed Captain Albert. Safe travels home I hope you enjoy your leave. I look forward to reading your blog again 3 months from now when you return to the Statendam (yes ???). Your collective observations about Alaska weather confirmed my observations during a single cruise from Seward to Vancouver, incidentally also on the Statendam but in 2003.

    Good luck, relax, enjoy. Please say Hi to Lesley


  2. Captain,

    Thank you for the informative posts, and enjoy your vacation.
    A comment about Alaska. My wife loves the place. I find it depressing. The weather is terrible, and once you view the terrain, it’s all the same. No wonder Alaskans have the highest suicide rate.


  3. Sue in Nebraska

    June 18, 2012 at 2:32 am

    Hi Capt. Albert,

    Enjoy your time off, and all of your “honey-do lists”. 🙂

    We will look forward to your blog when you return in Sept. We will miss them in between, but you deserve your time away!


  4. We look forward to your return after your vacation and meanwhile, several of us are working on gathering items for Corinto.

  5. Have a great vacation, Captain. We so enjoyed our time on the ship with you through the Panama Canal on the Collectors voyage and look forward to joining you once again in November. I will miss your blog.

  6. Missed Career at Sea

    June 18, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    That was quite a last entry into the Coal Harbour, wasn’t it, Captain? I was tempted to give you the 21-gun salute! It was great fun to have seen you again after 4yrs.
    Let’s hope that on your return in September the weather will be the way it should have been in late Spring … May all go well with you and may you be back as scheduled on the 16th of September ( … in Anchorage ? …)

  7. Margaret Weiner

    June 19, 2012 at 12:38 am

    Thank you so much for the daily blogs about Alaska. It made me even more excited about my July cruise. I wish you a wonderful leave and I look forward to your return to the blogs.

  8. Will miss all of your posts but hope you enjoy your time off and will look forward to hearing from you again when you return.

  9. Barbara Smerek

    June 19, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    WHAT???? You’re not going to blog about your Honey Do List?????

    Enjoy your vacation, and we look forward to meeting you on the Statemdam in March

  10. Robina Herrington

    June 19, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    Have a wonderful holiday you deserve it, I will miss your marvellous ‘Blogs’ and enjoyed my ‘Arm Chair’ Cruises with you,
    Thank you,
    best wishes from Robina

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *