- Captain Albert's Blog -

Stories from the Sea, Past and Present

23 September 2013; Inside Passage.

Seymour Narrows slack tide was at 01.45 but I asked the pilot to go through as soon as the current fell below 4 knots. That is a safe situation and it saved me 30 minutes. I was in a hurry, as the run to Juneau is a tight one and also I was expecting inclement weather that could slow us down. So the pilot did what was asked and as soon as we were through we cranked the ship up to the warp speed of 21 knots. By 08.00 hrs. we were out in the open area of Queen Charlotte Sound and here we were greeted by a very deep and long running swell coming in from the Pacific Ocean. It took several hours before we were far enough away from it before the ship became steady again. Quite a few guests were not in a very happy state because of it. Nothing I could do here, as it is the only way to go.

blog email Statendam northbound 23 sepRoute 1: is the outside route going through a bouncy North Pacific. Route 2: is longer but is in the shelter of the inside Passage, except at Cape Decision where route 1 and route 2 meet. So a good name for that location – Decision- .

For the rest of the day I monitored the swell conditions on my weather computer and decided in the end that for the Alaskan side I would take the Inside Route. That route is a bit longer and it might delay our arrival in Juneau but I was not planning to expose the guests to 12 hours of rocking and rolling while taking the shorter outside route. My head office concurred and thus we will sail tonight to the Ketchikan pilot station to pick up the pilots and then go via Snow Passage instead of Dixon Entrance and the Pacific. That might mean that I will arrive a little bit later than scheduled but that is still much better than arriving with a ship full of sea-sick people. It won’t be good for my fuel conserving efforts though, as I will have to keep the pedal to the metal all the way.

Other news of importance. The Head Office has reviewed my outstanding leave and came to a total of 7 months of paid leave still to take. With the new Maritime Labor Convention 2006 coming in, it means that excessive leave accumulated has to be taken. I was quite happy to keep it all in the bank until far in the future, and retire early, but that cannot be done anymore. That means that my contract is going to be cut short and I will go on an extended leave. I will leave the ship on 29 September in Vancouver and stay home until 16 March 2014.

In a way I was looking forward to doing the South Pacific Cruise but regulations are regulations. What is a pity is that the next efforts for our school in Corinto will go on a lower level as I was the person who bulldozed through all the red tape (and customs issues) to get our school in Corinto spruced up. Heavily supported of course by TEAM Statendam. Luckily we will have another call on 7 April 2014 and I will have a month to prepare for it. Hopefully we can then do the chair project, otherwise that will be the 25 November 2014 call before that comes to fruition. Several Ladies on my blog have indicated that they are willing to mediate between manufacturers, either in the USA or in Nicaragua for those chairs. My thanks to them. For now we have to put it on the back burner. TEAM Statendam will do a few things of course while they are there, including getting the next two classes on board for lunch.

So a bit of an un-expected change in the events. My apologies to those blog readers who were looking forward to sailing with me on the South Pacific Cruise, I am sorry to disappoint you. I was looking forward to that cruise as well, as the Hotel director and I had already put a lot of time and effort in preparing a lot of extra things. But the laws have to be obeyed and thus I will go on leave.

Not that I will be bored. I am lagging behind with my promise of updating my blog site with more ships and captain’s bio’s and I promise to catch up with that. I did not have the time, as during my last leave my dear mother passed away at the blessed age of 97 years.

Tomorrow we are in Juneau, and it will all depend on the current that I am hoping for if I can still get there on time, or that we will be delayed due to the wobbly weather of today and late tonight when we cross the border to Alaska. Juneau itself should be a very good day.


  1. I am so disappointed that you will not be our Captain for the South Pacific cruise of Sep 29…can you tell us who will be taking over from you?

    Will look forward to your return in 2014.

    Also we are very sorry to hear about your mother passing away.

  2. Dear captain,

    Please accept my condolences on the passing of your mother.
    It is always a sad moment to lose a parent regardless of age.

    I am disappointed to hear of your imminent departure but do understand of course.
    I will read your last updates with even more interest!
    For now: smooth sailing!
    And I hope you will be able to have a great vacation during your extended leave.


  3. Darn! I was lokoking forward to some lovely vicarious South Pacific travel, and now I will have to delay my gratification. Will mark your return date on my calendar, and look forward to further fascinating travels at that time. Prettige vakantie!

  4. Sad to hear you will not be on the bridge for our cruise to the South Pacific was looking forward to being able to follow a little inside information via your blog though I’m sure it will be a very good cruise anyway. Leaving the UK for SF on Sunday and really looking forward to it.

    Enjoy your extended leave Captain

  5. We were so looking forward to cruising with you nce again…last sailed with you on the Prinsendam

  6. I’m so sorry to hear of your mother’s passing.

    And of course it’s a real disappointment that you won’t be our Captain for the South American cruise and that the Corinto must go to the back burner. We’ll await further developments on that until a future cruise and will look forward to that.

    Enjoy your leave! We’ll watch the blog for any updates you can post during that time.

    • Thank you for your offer for help, and we will be in contact when corinto comes closer again. In the mean time enjoy your S.A cruise and have a look at the school when you come to Corinto. Is is the 2nd street behind the square on the left side.

      Best regards

      Capt. Albert

  7. So sorry to hear of your change in schedule…I really enjoy sailing with you from my laptop… And to echo the sentiments of others, my heartfelt condolences to you and your family on the loss of your mother.

    I’ll check back in the spring to hopefully resume reading your blog entries and seeing the wonderful pictures…and, God willing, you will have a new angel overseeing your time on the bridge!

    Enjoy your time off Captain Albert!!


  8. Does the extended leave make you fall out of the Statendam roster or will your successor have an extended period as captain. If I remember correctly you fell out of the Prinsendam rota and had to be reallocated to another ship.

  9. Our condolences on your loss of your mother. Even as she must have had a super good life, it still hurts to loose them… I also understand your leave but will be ready to read your blog as soon as you return from an extended leave that hopefully will be wonderful. Safe travels, and enjoy the time off. Not quite like retirement but still feels pretty good to have the time off… Jon and Kathy

  10. Please accept our condolences on the death of your dear mother ! I hope you were able to be with her, were able to make your good bye, as she took this last journey. Even though you have left home many years ago, knowing that ones parents are no longer here, to be seen, heard and held, is very difficult.

    Your change of sailing schedule comes quite suddenly, and reminds me of your previous extended break, which took you out of the Prinsendam rotation, something we still greatly bemoan !

    Wishing you both a good vacation time, hopefully with some cruising yourselves. —— Ky and Almuth E.

  11. Also, my sincere condolences on the passing of your mother. I recently lost my mother at the age of 99 years. Both of us, you and I, were fortunate to have them for such a long time.

    I’n not happy about your long leave, even though you may be.

    We will miss your fascinating writing. It is great fun to read and to visualize what is happening on your bridge.

    All the best. See you in the spring. Stay safe.


  12. Please accept my condolences on the loss of your mother, as well. No matter how old you are, or how old she was, losing your mother is so difficult to deal with.

    This is going to be a very long winter without my evening fix of reading your update for the day. I will diarize your return and look forward to it with eagerness. Have wonderful vacation.

  13. Robina Herrington

    September 26, 2013 at 5:40 am

    Was so sorry to hear about your Mother, it is aways a difficult time.
    I am also sorry to be missing out on the Cruising I was really looking forward to the South Pacific I have never been there, and I really enjoy your writing about your experiences from my arm chair, the winter will seem that much longer and duller.
    Enjoy your vacation and come back to us in the Spring, best wishes Robin.

  14. Thank you for your great blog and enjoy your well-deserved leave.

  15. Missed Career at Sea

    September 26, 2013 at 9:52 pm

    Dear Captain Albert; first and foremost my heartfelt sympathy with the loss of your mother. As has been mentioned before, it also has been a blessing that you have had your mother around for so long. Some of us have had a mother for only 8 years.
    With regard to your extended leave, who knows what your longer stay at home is good for, apart from working on your projects …
    No doubt, I’ll be starving for mental stimulance by the time I have finished my (Summer) project on paper. Hoping to see the Statendam enter the harbour one more time then, perhaps even wishing you a safe trip home on your way out of the Terminal.

  16. I was so sorry to read of the passing of your mother and my sincerest condolences to you and Lesley. I am sure that Lesley will enjoy your extended leave and that you will be together in England for the upcoming holidays.

    Take care and my best to Lesley,

    Marilyn Byfield

Leave a Reply

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