We are now entering our 2nd full day at sea and thus far the weather has been very cooperative. It remains overcast courtesy of the bad weather up in Alaska, but the cloud cover also indicates that there is little wind; otherwise it would break the cloud cover open. And little wind is exactly what I like as it keeps the waves down. Late on the 27th I expect the wave height to go up from 1.5 meters to about 2.7 meters and that will reduce the speed a little bit, so along there is no wind, those waves will not be sustained and I can build up some plus, to ensure a constant average speed to Honolulu. The guests who are hoping for a sunny day were disappointed but on the other hand a nice a smooth run is also something to be appreciative about. Normally there is a long Pacific Ocean swell running here, which makes the bow rise and fall with the waves but the 3 day bad weather cycle up north is upsetting that pattern a little bit and that results in confused seas, which dampen out the regular wave pattern, much to our advantage.
We are sailing over deep to very deep water here, although it is not exactly flat below us. It goes down to over 5000 meter but there are also shallow patches where the sea bottoms rises to about 600 meters below us. This is courtesy of the Molokai fracture zone, which runs on the same SW line as we are following to Hawaii. A fracture zone is a crack in the earth’s crust and results in volcanic action, in areas where this crack goes down deep enough to reach the hot lava. When that happens a volcano starts to build up, but under water it does not always look like it, nor is it named a volcano. We sailed over such an area, right at noon time, called the Jasper Seamount an elevation that came to up to 590 meters under ocean level. For more detailed information (http://geology.gsapubs.org/content/19/4/364.abstract)
The more sea days we have, the more important the social aspect of the captain’s job comes forward. So today was the day to run around and to attend welcome on board parties. Some of them are initiated by the guests themselves and we do not know about those, some are organized by the ship and some are organized by the guests and we do get an invite. If we get an invite than the “front of the house” group normally attends.
One such party is “Cruise-Critics meet and greet”. We sometimes have a few on board but this time we have about 70 on board and they had their initial gathering this afternoon in the Crow’s nest. A cruise director I sailed with extensively in the past always refused to call it “cruise-critics” but called the group cruise lovers. Which I think is about right, because it is the interest in a certain thing, makes you decide to reach out about it. Reach out to other interested people and to the outside world. And alos “critic” does not necessarily needs to be negative. So I spent half an hour at the “cruise lovers” meeting before running off to the next challenge; a conference with my ships carpenter who is building a frame for the chart of this cruise.
We have the whole route on the TV of course but most guests like to see the overview, so I ordered special charts for that purpose. The idea is now, to have the chart on display and to put my blog next to it. With the blog I am facing a “catch 22” on board. Until recently the HAL blogs were not in the “free part” of the system. E.g. you had to pay to read it. So guests asked, can you put it on display, which on the longer cruises I have faithfully done ever since. Now it is free to read on board and now I have to put it on display, to keep everybody from blocking the chairs in the Internet Café because they want to read my blog. Hence a more complicated Display board had to be made and it took the Chief Carpenter a little while to get his head around it.
By the time it is finished it is probably a master piece in Teakwood, and so strongly constructed that it will withstand any earthquake we might have in the next 20 years. I am not expecting any earthquakes tomorrow, but do expect a change in weather. The Alaska depression is moving east and deepning and thus we might catch the tail of it. The wind will move to the South East, that is against us and not good for my speed and there might be some showers in the area when the tail of the front comes over.