- Captain Albert's Blog -

Stories from the Sea, Past and Present

27 October 201; At Sea.

The two days of strong winds from the north must have played havoc with the currents in the area. We had it all against us on the way up to San Diego and so I was expecting that I would have a bit more with me on the way down, but that is not the case. The only theory, without anything scientific to prove it, that I have is that those Northerly winds pushed a lot of water south and that water is now trying to get back to where it came from, a sort of balancing the scales. We have 17.5 knots to maintain, what we normally can do on three engines, but in this case I have four engines running to keep up a speed of 18 knots so we can counteract the push of the adverse current. It must change sometime tomorrow as eventually a long standing current always wins from short term disturbances, but in the mean time I do not get any to get the oil back that I had to burn to get to San Diego on Time.

Although we are having great weather, on the other side of the USA they are not so lucky. They are dealing there with a whopper of a Hurricane, called Sandy, which is making the life for of a lot of people miserable. First she churned through the Caribbean, coming very close to Jamaica. So close that the airport had to close and almost made it that my boarding Chief Engineer did not make it to the ship. Not a problem for him, but the one on board wanted to go home. In the end they airport reopened just in time and the new CE made it to the ship.

We have a lot of guests on board from the Eastern Seaboard who all worry to a certain extent about their properties and in some cases their beach houses along the coast. The hurricane season is almost over and nobody had expected that the season would be closed with a final whopper of a hurricane. That put me in the strange situation that during my Voice from the Bridge I was discussing the weather a few 1000 miles away, instead the regular stuff all around me. I will keep those announcements up until we are sure that Sandy is turning into the North Atlantic or will have lost its pace.

The projected Track of Sandy. (Courtesy NOAA weather website)

It is very difficult to predict and project what this hurricane will do. First of all there is the lateness of the season, when all the components needed for a good hurricane are starting to fall away (warm air, warm seawater, the right location of other pressure systems or the lack of them) and secondly, what will happen when Sandy leaves the track of the Gulf Stream, which is sustaining her to a certain extent. Yesterday the prediction was a landfall in Maryland, now it looks like it that it will be Chesapeake Bay or just to the north of it. Another problem with predicting the path is that at the moment the hurricane is slightly lessening in intensity but nobody knows how much, and if she will re-intensify when she leaves the gulf stream path. It is not unusual that the Gulf Stream gives a hurricane a sort of push in the back when it starts to veer off to the West.

In the mean time it has affected about 19 cruise ships, that all have come up with their own solutions to the challenge. Carnival has cancelled a cruise from Norfolk, as the flood barriers make it impossible for the guests to reach the cruise terminal, a lot of cruises and have been shortened by a day or so, and Disney has the problem that Sandy has damaged their island Castaway Cay to a great extent. Holland America is affected with one ship, the Eurodam that could not get into Ft. Lauderdale and ended up in Savannah, where they will do the turn over. All guests going and coming will be bused to the regular airports in Ft. Lauderdale and Miami. With 2000 people quite an operation. But no doubt a few guests will be happy, as they suddenly end up in their home town area, unless they came down with the car of course and have to retrieve that one first from the parking lot in Fort Lauderdale.

Tomorrow we will be at sea for the 2nd day, and sail by Cabo San Lucas. It supposed to be wind still and sunny with the temperatures going up considerably as soon as we pass the cold cape.


  1. what ports in mexico are not being visited this year by HAL because of the unrest there? thanks

    • Good morning,

      in the last few years for the Pacific side ; Acapulco, zihuatenego, Mazatlan and Manzanillo. Acapulco was to be re-instated for this season and then they started shooting again, so it is out for the time being. I do not know if there is anything cancelled for the Atlantic side.

      Thank you for reading my blog

      Capt. Albert

  2. Missed Career at Sea

    October 30, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    While everybody in No. America is following the effects of Sandy’s barreling through the East coast, the West coast just had its share of anxious moments right where cruise ships were sailing not so long ago, Captain! We had a 7.7 magnitude earthquake just SSW off the southern tip of the Haida Gwaii isls. My poor friends in Hawaii had to evacuate for the umpteenth time to higher grounds as a tsunami could have resulted from it. Large after shocks/earthquakes were registered up till last night (29Oct12)!

Leave a Reply

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