- Captain Albert's Blog -

Stories from the Sea, Past and Present

29 November 2007, St. Thomas

Well, the wave field extended until the Puerto Rican coast and we had to sail through the whole length of it. Mother Nature was not helping and the waves kept coming until about 6 am in the morning, when it started to dampen out as the swell was becoming confused. That meant that two wave patterns interacted with each other and took away each others amplitude. It kept being windy however. As a result the ship had gotten way behind schedule during the night as we had to keep reducing power on the starboard shaft.

In the end we docked over 3 hours late at Crown Bay St Thomas. Guests had a hard time believing that this delay was caused by the influence of the weather on the ship, as the weather was not that bad. It was just rocky enough to make the starboard shaft unhappy. In order to get alongside as fast as I could, I charged into the channel and the pilot boat could barely keep up with the ship. Normally we go into Crown Bay in a more sedate way but I knew that I could squeeze 10 minutes out of the docking evolution so I went for it.

Good news for all of us was that there were three couriers standing on the dock with the last engine parts that we needed. By tomorrow evening we should be able to put a lot of extra power on the portside while remaining gentle on the starboard side and still getting all the speed that we need.

I could not extend the stay in St Thomas to compensate for this later arrival as the run from St Thomas to Dominica was a fast one again and I won’t have the extra power until tomorrow night. However I will be able to stay a bit longer in Barbados, so that is what I decided upon. Instead of sailing at 18.00 hrs. we will leave at 20.00 hrs. Guests can stay ashore longer, or go for an evening walk if they wish. Also sail away after dark is quite festive from Bridgetown with all the other ships lit up. In this way I can at least do a little bit to take away the disappointment.

An un-expected happening was that in the afternoon, while I was sitting in my office, the ship suddenly shook. Just as if they were starting up an engine. Normally I know about engine tests in port, so this was peculiar. As the engine room was not doing anything, it was even more peculiar. The ship was however safely docked and I did not pay any further attention to it. Only to find out from the pilot on departure that there had been a 7.3 strength earthquake off the coast of Martinique. That tremor went through the whole East Caribbean and that is what I felt in the cabin. In the beginning there was fear for a tsunami but the epi centre was in such deep water that the pressure wave could not build up any momentum on the sea surface.

Apart from a few mud slides, there was no damage reported from Dominica so we were oke for going there. As soon as everybody was back on board we sailed as fast as we could out of the port. It took 10 minutes longer than last time as a Spa girl was too late in coming back on board. She will now have to face the chief officer in the morning. The weather was still not following the weather forecast and it blew over 25 knots, while a maximum of 15 knots had been forecasted. 20 knots of wind full on the bow, cost me about one knot of speed and for the time being I have no power yet to compensate for that.

At least the weather should be good for Dominica with partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the low 80’s.

2 Comments

  1. Dear Captain,
    How interesting about that earthquake! I never thought of feeling one while on a ship. Would you call that a sea-quake? :O)
    Thanks once more for your interesting logs. We are already trying to see when we can sail on a ship with you. Right now we are pretty well booked up on Eurodam and Maasdam for the next two years, but who knows?
    Norma

  2. Hi cap’t Albert, an auntie sent me one of your articles.The name Schoonderbeek is fairly uncommon in Australia. do you think you’d be a relation?Is it uncommon in Holland? My father came from Ebe or something like that.It looks like your a busy man,no worries if i don’t hear from you.

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