South America is a continent that is sharply tapered towards its south point with Cape Horn at the very end. That meant for us that when we sailed from the Falklands we could set a straight northerly course (002o) and that one course will bring us to the entrance of the Rio de la Plata. Going straight up also means that we travel very quickly away from the bad weather band that lies just north of Antarctica and what makes the Cape Horn area so notorious. That band of bad weather was for once in our favor as the latest weather system produced Southerly winds and thus it was all blowing with us. It at once created much milder conditions on deck compared to the cold days when sailing in the ice. When coming further north we will come under the influence of more regular weather patterns as Buenos Aires is located in what we call the temperate zones. That means that you can still have extreme weather but it is more predictable.
That extreme weather they had yesterday in Buenos Aires, where according to our agent, in one hour more rain fell than normally in a month. It caused havoc and flooding in the city but today the sun was shining again and most of the “havoc” was cleared away. We should not have any problem when we get there.
Apart from the sightseeing in ports and during scenic cruising, sea days are an integral part of the cruise and almost as important to our guests as the rest. Thus my day was filled with organizational and social events. First I had another crew cabin inspection to do and then it was time for the monthly Unit meeting. Each faction of the regular crew onboard has a representative that is a member of the Unit. (A unit is a group of Indonesians or Philippino’s together who represent the their crew) During the meeting they can bring forward their grievances and concerns or just to ask questions about things that are not clear. Although I fully agree with the system of the Unit meeting, I always try to get the crew to come forward as soon as there is something the matter instead of waiting until the end of the month for the meeting. I am happy to say that I seldom have grievances to deal with; most of the items tabled are about confusion and mis-understandings. All our policy’s are written in American English and are not always easily comprehended by Asians. Most of the crew speak and read very good English but getting an angle on American-policy-speak with a Far Eastern mind set is another matter and that always gives rise to questions.
After the meeting I paid a short visit to the Cruise Critic gathering in the Crow nest who all expressed their happiness about the past days in the Antarctic. Then it was time for our Mariners luncheon for the guests who are leaving us in Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro. About 150 guests are leaving, all having been onboard especially for the Antarctic experience. They will be replaced with a similar number of joining guests and the ship will continue with a full house for our next experience, the Amazon. Thus we held our mariners luncheon in the dining room which is always a pleasant affair.
I finally got the chance this afternoon for a good nap to catch up on some sleep that I missed during the past days. The ship was safely in open waters, with little or no traffic and I slept like a log.
This evening, the dress code was formal and that meant that I held a captains table; another pleasant social affair that kept the wife and I happily occupied for the evening.
Tomorrow is the second sea day with more meetings,and social affairs and then tomorrow evening we pick up the pilot and start our nightly run up the Rio de la Plata towards Buenos Aires.