- Captain Albert's Blog -

Stories from the Sea, Past and Present

28 October 2012; At Sea.

This was our 2nd sea day and it was a very quiet and sunny day. Hardly any wind but still clear skies due to the cold northerly air from the last few days. We could see the haze increasing slowly during the day and that meant that regular Mexican weather is returning. It also means that the warm air out flow from the Mexican mainland can continue again and that will mean that it will not be as warm in Puerto Vallarta tomorrow as it was during our last call. Then this cold air acted as a sort of barrier over the Baja California and kept a wind still weather condition off the Mexican main Land. Now there should be a regular flow again, resulting in a more regulated air temperature. We will see tomorrow if that theory is correct. 

At Cabo San Lucas the haze had not come in yet and thus we could have a very good look at the place from the sea side. Still no sign of a restart of any building activity, the unfinished condominiums still lay forlorn against the hill side, same as before. I wonder if they will ever be finished. Currently the building skeletons only seem to be useful to act as a movie set, for some sort of Horror Movie: “The last zombie of Cabo” or something.  It being a Sunday today there was no cruise ship in the bay as all the ships are home porting during the weekend. I think the first ship will call at Cabo San Lucas again on Tuesday. Last cruise southbound there were hardly any sportfishing boats to be seen but now it was quite busy. I assume that there are still a few boats in the area that have participated in the Bis Bee fishing tournament and who are enjoying themselves while still here, unless they stay for the season of course. Next thing to wait for are the big marlin and tuna fishing boats that will come in a few months time.

I am still busy with my bridge improvement project and in San Diego a friend of mine delivered two chairs for the bridge.  I wanted two high chairs, to be able to look over the console, while not being in the way of the navigator and that took some searching. If you order real “captain’s chairs” labeled and sold as such you nearly pay $2000 a piece. If you order two beauty salon chairs, you get the same result for $ 400,–, a piece. So two pump-up chairs were bought at a beauty salon outlet and they now enhance the safe navigation of the Statendam.

chart table small display

This is the trial project from the Noordam. I am working on something similar now.

Next project is a Status board. This is part of the new setup in navigation on the bridge. For a few years now the industry is working on a change in bridge procedures. The old style of “the Captain does it all” and the navigators assist, is moving towards, the navigators do it all and the captain keeps the overview. Part of this new setup is the need for a status board. During a watch change over there is so much information to pass on, that it is nearly impossible not to forget something. So we use a board that displays all the current information that changes from day to day, and from moment to moment. Such as the ships drafts, watertight door open/closed, pilot cabin numbers, pax/crew on board, manning status, gangways, water loading, bunkering, etc. etc.  The idea is that with such a board, the handover between navigators gets shorter and they can concentrate more on the navigation side of the watch keeping routine. Before the handover starts, the oncoming watch first reviews the Status Board and then goes into the hand over process.

Currently we use a dry-eraser board, but that cannot be read in the dark, unless you start playing around with a flashlight and that distracts again. An electronic board can be viewed 24 hrs. a day and updated with a keyboard. The status board is then being kept update, all the way through each watch, and thus reflects the current situation what was is going on with the ship.  So we need cables, splitter boxes and all sorts of other stuff as we want to install a 2nd chart display at the same time. We will have to try in Puerto Vallarta where they have a Radio shack right across from the ships dock.

Puerto Vallarta should be overcast and thus not so warm, with a gentle breeze from the North. The weather guru’s expecting mid to high 80’s instead of mid 90’s.


  1. You are such a great captain, as you are always looking to improve the safety of the guest and crew and enhance their experiance. Holland America should be thankful to have you, as many other cruise lines seem to lack caring captains.

  2. This will be a huge help, all around !! Great idea and typical for the kind of Captain you are !– By the word “keyboard” : do you mean that each entry is manually done? and if so : can your status board eventually be connected to as many of those systems as possible , directly, so those entries do not require time or distraction :-)) ! —

  3. Missed Career at Sea

    October 30, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    Welcome on board, Lesley! I’m really looking forward to your photo coverage of the upcoming exquisite cruise through my favourite ocean. I hope you also have time to check up on your husband while he is sitting in his beauty salon high chairs! Just in case he is snoozing away having a pedicure ….

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