- Captain Albert's Blog -

Stories from the Sea, Past and Present

30 May 2008, Vancouver.

Vancouver gave us one of its beautiful days again with an overcast sky on arrival but a bright sunny day for the rest. We were docked right on the mark of 7 am. and by 07.30 the first guests left the ship after what had been a very good and……sunny………cruise.
I had the plan to run ashore in the course of the morning, as there is a very good second handbook shop near the ship with lots of nautical books but I always seem to have the problem that when I plan in advance, something comes up that stops me from doing so.

Thus this morning we had Canadian Public Health Inspection. 3 inspectors boarded the ship to do their seasonal inspection to see if the Veendam was in good order. This inspection is similar to USPH of the USA and takes about the same amount of time. We had the USPH one about a month ago with good results and now the challenge was on; to repeat our performance. The ship is checked for constructional issues in food area’s, to see if everything is in good repair ,to find out if sound and healthy food preparation procedures are being followed and if the crew knows what it is doing. At the end of the day we receive a report and an overall score.

By 14.30 hrs the result was in and Team Veendam had scored 99 points out of a maximum 100 points. We lost one point on some drain pipes that led into the gutters and where an inch too long. The rules require that there is a sufficient air gap between the drain pipe and the deck drain in case of a black flow and in this case the distance was just a little bit too short. Hence we had never noticed it. We fixed it with a hack saw in 5 minutes but the rules are the rules and one was point deducted. Where it however mattered was that all our procedures were in order and thus the service to our guests. The inspectors were very happy with that, hence the 99 points. I feel proud about this achievement and happy that all the training given and inspections done, worked out as intended. Compliments to TEAM VEENDAM.

At 17.00 we left the dock, slightly delayed due to a late arriving bus with guests but once they were onboard we set sail for Alaska again. All went well until 18.30 when I got a call from the ships doctor about a patient that he was not very happy with and would prefer to be seen ashore where some specialized equipment was available. As the case was not an emergency yet, but could become one, I concurred with his request. In this case I did not need the help of the Canadian Coastguard but could order a water taxi as the patient was still ambulant. Our Agent in Vancouver was lightning fast and by the time I had made the call to him and had turned the ship around, he had a fast boat on the way.

For the guests onboard it was a bit of a startling experience, suddenly they saw Vancouver in front of the ship instead of behind him. We disembarked the patient with spouse 5 miles west of Vancouver on a glassy calm sea and then turned around again.
All went well and the patient was timely on the way for further evaluation in a shore side hospital. Due to the very quick action of the ships agent the whole operation took less then an hour and I was still able to make the Seymour Narrows slack tide time on time and therefore there will be no delay to our cruise.

The weather for tomorrow looks good again, the current is with us and by 07.30 tomorrow morning we should be passing the largest totem pole in the world at Alert Bay. (At least that is what they say, several other towns claim similar)


  1. “99 points. I feel proud about this achievement and happy that all the training given and inspections done, worked out as intended. Compliments to TEAM VEENDAM.”

    Too bad we didn’t have the weather that you all had the last 2 weeks, but it didn’t bother us. We still had a great time!

  2. First off very good score of 99!!
    Myself and 3 daughters will be sailing you for 14 days starting July 11 and wondering what is the earliest time you can make slack tide at Seymour Narrows going northbound? I see a “slack tide” of 19:19 PDT for the 11th and suspect this will be to early and thus we can expect the time to be 00:30 for the trip through.
    I have noticed no mention of you dong your Holland America History talk while in Alaska. Does this get dropped because of your schedule on the bridge?
    Once again Thank you for your great blog!

  3. Captain Albert,
    we were just on your latest “sunny” cruise to Alaska returning May 30th. It was a pleasure meeting you onboard and we very much enjoyed your updates from the deck during the 14 days we were onboard. We cannot say enough about the Veendam and its staff. We don’t think we could have had a better first (and definitely not last) visit to Alaska. Reading over your blogs from the last two weeks will really keep the cruise alive for us. We hope to meet you again onboard the Veendam in the future!

  4. Missed career at sea Miss

    June 2, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    Bravo again, Captain, from the teacher all the way down to the staff doing the monitoring – Team work par excellence!
    Also, since I’ve worked my way into a large army of volunteers, why don’t I volunteer to “look around” in that very good 2nd-hand bookshop for you? I would need the ‘GPS location and an approximate title’. Will tell your wife what I find for your approval.

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