During the night the ships motion got less and less and as a result I was able to make it timely to the pilot station. When I arrived on the bridge at 04.30 I was confronted with an unusual sight. Haze; reducing visibility to about 5 miles…………and getting less. The combination of warm days before and the cold and very windy weather up north, which created that wave field of yesterday, caused a nice mixture of Cold air and Warmer water. Ideal to create some condensation which we, as sailors, recognize as very low hanging clouds; obscuring the visibility. It made for a nice view though, the lights of the city glaring through the haze making it look as if the whole bay was on fire. By the time we arrived at the pilot station even that glare had gone and visibility was reduced to about a mile. So, time to honk the horn and to let the whole world know that the Statendam was arriving in San Diego. I do not know if the people living on the hill side of Point Loma appreciated it, as the sound really bounced back from there, but at least every boat operator was warned about our impending arrival.
For going into the Bay, it does not matter whether we have visibility or not. The channel is very well marked, our radars are state of the art and all of us have done the approach to San Diego several times on simulators. Not because it is a difficult port but because it is a port where you tend to run into navy ships a lot. Their view of the world as far as navigating is concerned tends to be different from ours, so we train for “plan B” at each spot in the channel in case one of those grey boats suddenly comes down. We seldom have issues but San Diego bay is a simulators dream for training this sort of stuff.
Today we had an empty channel and without much ado we were parked at B street pier at 06.30. As planned I was a little bit early to get a head start on the Full crew inspection, which the CBP completed in little over an hour. 5 inspectors working through 600+ passports in such a short time is not bad going. We have a very good cooperation with the authorities in San Diego and that is something to be grateful about. While the passenger disembarkation was in full swing, my thoughts were already on the next cruise, which we have been planning for a few weeks now.
My major concern was getting out on time, as the office has given me a very tight schedule to adhere to. Sailing on time depends on getting the supplies on board on time. On regular cruising that is not a problem but for a 28 day cruise, when you load nearly double, it might be. So in the past few days I asked everybody to submit a pallet count to get an overview of what was expected. The total of known pallets came to 245 and thus I knew that we could do it. There are always a few more showing up un-expectedly, back orders, contract supplies, but I know that along as the count stays under 300, then we can do it without delaying our departure.
The whole ships staff was focused on it and as a result we had all our stores on board by 15.00 and stashed away safely by sailing time. Safely stashed away means that everything is properly secured and all corridors and alleyways are free of obstruction. Guests came on board on time as well and so we were able to cast off our lines by 16.45 and sail down the bay by 17.00.
We are now commencing a 28 day cruise to Hawaii and the South Sea islands. As with every long cruise, it will bring us challenges but also great opportunities. We will have a large number of sea days, where the crew can excel in providing the service that our guests have come to expect from us, and we on the Statendam try to raise that bar even a little bit higher. The challenges will come with the number of anchor ports that we have at all the atolls. All very weather dependent and thus I hope that Mother Nature will look benevolently upon the good ship Statendam while we make our round trip.
The weather is looking good. The wave field of yesterday has passed and the next Alaska wave field is still to the North so we are sailing through a sort of corridor in between. The waves are also on the side and thus the stabilizers can deal with most of the motion. We should be in good shape until at least day 3, as the next depression, heading for Alaska is brewing north of Japan.
note: apologies for the delayed posting, but at the moment: 25 nov. 12.15 LT we just got in Satelite range again. The one we had in use for our internet was blocked by the funnel, so we had to wait under we got under the foot print of the next one.