Published: May 20th 2011
May 19th 2011
Finally in command of something big.
Hello again everyone! Things have been going very well here. I’ve been meeting lots of interesting people, learning tons, and having fun doing it. This blog is going to sound all over the map as I don’t have many things to go very in depth about.
As the Oasis of the Seas is so damn big it needs some big lifeboats. The lifeboats are so big that they hold as many people as the Seabus in Vancouver. In Nassau I went down in one of em so I could learn how to drive it. They are actually not as hard as one would guess as having 2 engines make them quite maneuverable.
Last week when we were in St Thomas I took a short 10 minute walk from the ship to the next bay over where there is a beautiful beach. And because of the fact that it’s a 10 minute walk and people are lazy, it’s empty! Because it’s always hot in the Caribbean the ocean is nice and warm. Lately the air temperature has been hitting highs of 30-34 depending on the area, and this keeps ocean temperature up over 28 C everywhere we’ve been. The worst
Yeah, that's an iguana
part of the weather is the humidity. I’m going ashore most days in port to check the drafts at arrival and departure. In those short 10 minutes I get sweaty and crave a shower. But the worst part about it is that anything you bring outside the ship instantly becomes covered in moisture. Including high quality optical equipment like my camera… This means that popping outside for 5 minutes to take a photo basically impossible :(
Of the few people I know onboard from the Independence, one the managers onboard had her boyfriend onboard a few weeks ago. Her boyfriend happens to be one of the first officers from the Independence who I got along with super well! We hung out a few times, went for dinner, it was good times.
Speaking of dinner, I’ve now eaten out at the Italian restaurant in central park and it was delicious! If you weren’t thinking about it you’d totally forget that you were on a ship too. Most of the venues instill that idea. I went to see one of the aqua shows last week and was blown away! High divers, syncro swimmers, and acrobats oh my! It was incredible.
One of the big differences between being based in England vs the US and A is that the Americans are much bigger sticklers when it comes to security. In Europe you literally just walk off the ship and you might have to flash your ship ID card at the entrance of the terminal, but that’s all. But if you’re walking off the ship stateside you need to get a full pat down, x rays of all your stuff, walk through a metal detector, and you need to have a US document called an I-95 verified by the border control so you can get both off and on the ship. As well as this every 90 days every crew member gets their passport verified again by the border control to make sure you still are who you say you are. The other big difference between Europe and the Caribbean is the lack of wildlife around in the Caribbean. In the Mediterranean we’d see dolphins and whales every single day, all we get to see here are flying fish. And the final difference is a very convenient thing, mail took forever to end up on the Independence, but here I can
have things shipped here in days. Which means that instead of spending my limited time ashore shopping for consumables and things that I need, I just get them shipped here. I’ve even got my national geographic being sent here!
I went ashore in Cozumel for a couple hours with one of the officers and went to the cruse ship crew only bar. It was right on the beach which meant not going for a swim in the crystal clear water that was the same temperature as the air (30 C) would be ridiculous. Delicious Mexican food for lunch before heading back to the ship, she’s tied up in 65 feet of water and you can CLEARLY see the bottom. I really really want to go diving here in the future. Even while just checking the drafts before departure I saw a sea turtle next to the ship!
One of the things I’ve been learning to do is find our position based on the apparent location of the stars. The one I’ve been utilizing the most is the local noon of the sun. If you track the sun to the top of its arc you can calculate the longitude
based on the delay of noon from GMT, and latitude is given based on the actual height. (Both of which actually do require some lengthy calculations and referencing information from the nautical almanac)
The other day I ended up in the elevator with a guy who had a cart full of food for one of the galleys. On top was a box with some German writing on it. Turns out it was a big box of cheese from Ulm! For those of you who don’t know Ulm is a small city in southern Germany where I happen to have family.
Other than all that, life is good. I even managed to find time for the Chief Officer Safety to kick my ass at UFC on the PS3 we have in the back office :P Hope everything is going well with you guys. As always emails and comments always appreciated at firstname.lastname@example.org plus my mailing address is available if anybody wants to send me anything :)
There are more photos below