Today we sail from Willemstad on a SSW course heading for the Panama Canal. Apart from it being too windy it is a sunny Caribbean day. The strong breeze has pushed the waves up high enough to create that corkscrew motion again which I mentioned some time ago. I am seldom poetic but every time it happens I have to think about a poem by Rudyard Kipling, Rolling down to Rio. I believe somebody even made a song out of it.
I never sailed the Amazon and I never reached Brazil,
But the Don and the Magdalena they can go there when they will,
And weekly from Southampton great steamers white and gold,
Go rolling down to Rio, roll down, roll down to Rio,
And I’d like to roll to Rio someday before I’m old.
I’ve never seen a jaguar nor yet an armadill – o,
Dillo’ing in his armour, and I s’pose I never will,
Unless I go to Rio, these wonders to behold,
Go rolling down to Rio, roll really down to Rio,
and I’d like to roll to Rio someday before I’m old.
Yes I’d love to roll to Rio someday before I’m old
So the whole ship was happily lurching against the occasional sway of the ship. The stabilizers were doing their utmost to stop it and the captain had announced it on departure. Today there were no green apples at the Front Desk, so obviously it was not affecting the guests too much. And certainly not the crew. Today we had something going on that the guests never see during a cruise. It is get togethers by the crew. In the movie world they call it bonding, we just call it a get together or in this case Family –Makan.
The company greatly encourages activities which bring groups in the ship closer together. So on occasion we have a crew party and the whole ship can let their hair down for an evening. Then there are parties and get togethers within the departments. Sometimes with snacks and disco (Engineers are good at that with complete light shows) or what the deck department does, with food, drinks and games. That is where the word Family Makan is coming from. Family everybody understands and Makan comes from the Indonesian word for To Eat. Our Sailors are very focused on food and they can put away enormous quantities.
It has more or less become a tradition that when the head of the Deck department goes home, the Staff Captain, that something is organized. Thus today we had food and drink on the mooring deck followed by tug of war between the various sub groups in the deck department. (Officers, Medical, Security, sailors, Fire Safety etc.) the whole thing is really light hearted; the real serious tug of war games take place during Independence day celebrations of the Indonesians and Philippino’s Then it goes very hard between the Deckies and the Meccies and most of the time the Engineers win as there is more muscle power there. Today it was all about silliness and good feelings. All the Deck officers could attend as well as the Captain had volunteered to take the watch for the duration of the party.
Tomorrow we are in the Panama Canal. The PCA (Panama Canal Authority) has decreed that we should be in line to take our spot in the convoy at 05.30 and enter the first lock chamber at 06.30. Then out of the locks at 08.00 hrs. and to start tender service at 0900 hrs. to land well over a 1000 guests who are going on a shore excursion. Then by 12.00 hrs. we have to line up again to go back and then dock at 1600 hrs. at the Colon 2000 cruise terminal.
We will wait and see. The convoys in the canal are as fast as the slowest ship is traveling and thus it is by no means certain that we will be able to keep to that schedule. Last cruise we were 1 hr. late in Colon which was not good for the guests returning from tour, but good for the local bar owners as the guests had to wait somewhere.
Weather for tomorrow. Light wind and hot and humid. With a chance of a tropical rainbow……………