- Captain Albert's Blog -

Stories from the Sea, Past and Present

25 October 2012; At Sea.

It was a very windy day today. With a strong northerly outflow from the Oregon area we had wind force 5 to 6 blowing along the coast of the Californian Peninsula. The general curve of the wind was slightly off land so we did not have to sail in the middle of the wave field, but we still had 10 to 12 feet of waves. Not enough for the ship to start slamming onto the waves, but enough to get that bow up/down motion that we call pitching. Luckily it was only a small movement. The wind has been blowing here for a few days so much that the weather guru’s thought that it might form into a hurricane. That forecast fell apart again yesterday and now it is just windy. However this sustained wind caused the nice current that we have with us in two areas’s to completely go away and so we were bucking wind and current all the way since we left Cabo and we will do so until we reach San Diego. Not good for my fuel consumption and not good for any plans for arriving early.

I will be happy if I am docked by 07.00 which is our scheduled arrival time. Normally I try to keep the Hotel Director happy by docking 30 minutes ahead of time, so there is a bit more time to get Customs and Border Protection settled on board and get the passenger check moving before the official starting time. This time we have 216 non Americans on board, so the speed of processing then depends on the number of Inspectors the CBP has available. Tomorrow we also have to do the hook inspection of the last of our lifeboats, which means that they have to be lowered away from the davits upon arrival. The bunker barge which is very punctual in San Diego will be waiting for us when we arrive and that is another reason to be on time or even early. So I kept the pedal to the metal to stay as close to the schedule as the wind and waves would let me. During the evening hours the wind abated a little bit and that meant that we should be in good shape tomorrow morning; at least not late.

An update about the Bis bee fishing competition in Cabo san Lucas. I just found out from those in the know that the first prize is $1,000.000 and that makes it not strange any longer that so many boats were participating. The entry fee is $ 5000 for a boat and it seems to attract a lot of professional Sports Fishermen. I did not even know that they were out there, but in fishermen circles there are anglers out there who are as famous as Jack Niklaus is in golfing. I will have to Google to find out what you have to catch to win the million dollars. If it goes by size, then I suppose you have to bring a full size Humpback to warrant that prize money, but most likely it is a bit more complicated than that.

Humpback whales are not present yet around Cabo. I think most of them are still on the way down from Alaska. Plus with the windy weather and high waves, it is hard to pick them out. On top of that I have more and more the impression that if it is wobbly weather the whales do not stay at the surface very long. I do not know if whales can get sea sick, but it would make sense when you are enjoying a peaceful swim, to stay a few meters below water instead of being tossed around by the rolling waves. I think in a month’s time we will see larger concentrations around the Cape again.

Another thing I will have to find out one day is why Isla Natividad is called so. Around lunch time we pass the most western point (at least the point that is sticking out) of the California Peninsula and right there is a small island called Isla Natividad. I assume that it was discovered around Christmas or something and that gave it its name. Today we had a very clear day, courtesy of the cold northerly wind and we had a good look at it from the bridge and there were no tree visible on the island, let alone Christmas trees. We cannot get close to the coast here, due to several reefs and uncharted area’s so we have to rely on a cold-wind-day to have a good look at the coast line. When there is no wind, it gets hazy and then we cannot see more than about 6 miles. Today it was nearly 20 miles from Bridge wing level.

Tomorrow morning I should arrive between 05.30 and 06.00 at the pilot station and then we dock at 07.00 at the B pier in San Diego. There is a Santa Ana warning out for the wind ashore, but I am not expecting it to bother us.


  1. Captain, Good guess about the name of the Island. Captain William Mynors of the East India Ship Company, commanded by the Royal Mary, arrived on Christmas Day 1643, hence the name of Christmas Island. Although there were several visits later, the first attempt to explore it was in 1857 by the crew of HMS Amethyst. They tried to reach the top of the island, but found the cliffs impassable.
    Source Wikipedia, translated out of Spanish.

  2. Captain, I am sorry, i have to correct myself. My former comment was about the other Christmas Island, This one in Mexico was discovered in 1541 by the Viceroy Antonio de Mendoza and Pacheco as it arrived on December 25, Christmas Day, hence its name.

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