- Captain Albert's Blog -

Stories from the Sea, Past and Present

29 August 2009, East Dunmore (for Waterford)

Although there was traffic going up and down the river, no ship was waiting at anchor and thus I could park the Prinsendam where I wanted it. Right opposite the harbor entrance as close as possible under the shore. That close as, was still about 5 cables, as the area near the harbour entrance is quite shallow. The swell was slowly getting less and less on the way to the anchorage so my spirits lifted and I thought we were in for an easy day. However Dublin radio spoiled that happiness by announcing that they had found another pressure system which would cause the winds to stay West and later shift to the South West. It seems that somewhere in Ireland there is a top secret and hidden factory that churns out changeable and local weather that is not in the regular forecasts but just suddenly pops up when least expected. But we were there and things looked good in East Dunmore bay. Hardly any wind and the hull of the Prinsendam could easily protect the tenders from that influence while alongside. You never know if “expected” weather is going to happen or not, if it is not backed up by a weather chart . That is a sort of gamble you have take, as what was forecasted was actually coming, or that it was strictly local in occurrence. That is, local in the Irish Sea and therefore not necessarily also the case in Dunmore Bay

So our tender service started at 07.30, half an hour early, the way I like it as it takes the pressure off the rush of people going ashore. No wind but sunny skies and only a low swell. The sunny skies remained all day and no rain fell. At least not on the ship. I cannot vouch for what happened inland. Somebody might have bumped into a wandering rain cloud somewhere. It is an Irish specialty after all. You cannot be called The Emerald Isle without having “to water” the country side on a very regular basis. The Prinsendam stayed dry today. By 12.40 the wind started to pick up and higher swells started to come in and that remained the case until our departure. In the Irish Sea the forecast was now Westerly winds force six and that meant that the swells still present would receive new energy to build up momentum again. Although I could not do anything about the bumpy tender ride, I could maintain the lee side for embarkation and disembarkation by keeping the bow on the wind by means of the bow thrusters. When the wind becomes stronger than about 12 knots, the ships starts to yawn. The wind is now strong enough to push the ship away in one direction and then when the anchor chain comes taut it pulls the ship back, the wind pushes it the other way. Until the anchor chain comes taut again, etc etc. In the end there is a pendulum motion with the ship yawning behind the anchor and for 50% of the time the lee side of the ship is the windy side. Not good and safe for the tenders to come alongside. By using the bow thrusters I could stop the start of the pendulum movement and that kept me happily occupied for the remainder of the afternoon. The OOW took care of checking the anchor bearings and keeping an eye on the regular tender service. All remained well in East Dunmore.

However the guests that were coming back to the ship had something to look forward to, something to take their mind off the bumpy tender ride. I was paying for the drinks during cocktail hour. After cancelling two ports and all that wobbly weather the Hotel Manager thought that it was time to show our appreciation for the way the guests were taking it in their stride and so we ran an open bar for first and second sitting dinner guests. Those on As You Wish dining had to make the difficult decision of when to go for cocktails. I would not have any problems at all making that decision. I would have gone to both. Free drinks and a Dutchman go very well together.

So while the whole ship was having a grand time at my expense, we had to get the tenders home with all this wind and sea. We had about four feet of swell running by the time the last tender came back. For starboard side, lee side of the ship it was quite easy but to get the portside tender out of the water that was another matter. I had to raise the anchor first and swing completely with the starboard side broad side onto the wind to provide a lee. It all worked perfectly but it is always unnerving to see how fast a ship can drift while you are doing that. By 7 pm we were back in deep water again and I kept up speed until we were out of the 12 mile zone so the casino could open. Dublin is not that far away and with a set pilot time of 0545 in the morning, the average speed to make was just perfect for having almost no ship movement at all. We simply surfed all the way to the Dublin pilot station.

3 Comments

  1. I love Ireland, travel there almost every year, and I am enjoying your visits more than you know. Thank you so much.

  2. John H. Brenner

    August 31, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    Anxiously awaiting the launching of the new MS Nieuw Amsterdam!
    My first cruise many years ago was on the older Nieuw Amsterdam and since have enjoyed many happy hours sailing with Holland America.
    The latest was the prepositioning of the Zuiderdam from Ft. Lauderdale to Rome. One filled with a lifetime of memories that are highlighted by Holland America’s exceptional and “signature” cruise experience!

    A Fellow Mariner,
    John H. Brenner

  3. Jan and Dick Yetke

    August 31, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    Dear Captain Albert,
    We want to tell you how much we enjoyed sailing with you for the 2 cruises we just completed – Top of the World and the Baltic!! We did get off the ship in Tilbury and spent a week in London. We are now at home in Naperville, IL. We are enjoying reading your Blog and will now continue to “sail” with you via this blog. Thank you so much!!! Smooth sailing!!!

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