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Published: January 29th 2014
The water is refreshing but for some reason I don't feel like snorkeling. Just sitting on the beach at the Blue Bay Resort, enjoying the trades and sunshine and listening to the birds.
Our bus took us from the port, along the harbor on the Oterbundi side of Willemstad, past the floating pontoon bridge, across from the floating market,and past the beautifully restored historic homes. We headed out to the salt lagoon where flamingos nest, and then to the resort. The water is on the cool side. The bottom is rock not sand but rubbed smooth by the surf. It's a real pretty setting. We are located not too far from the oil terminal so I can watch the tankers come and go. I expect they are extremely careful loading.
The sea water here is very clean. Last night Robertson scooped a glass of sea water and sat it next to a glass of bottled water and you truly couldn't tell the difference. The sun is intense and after an hour I headed for shade. The is a snack shop and bar, lounges and tables and chairs. There is
a pool we could use somewhere but I don't think anyone used that option with the beautiful beach at their finger tips, or toe tips as it were.
Arrived back at the ship with just enough time to wash, change and grab a quick bite at the Lido before meeting with the Events Manager for a behind the scenes, two day tour of the ship.
The group is limited to twelve, we are eleven, and our first stop is the bridge. Bill, it's nothing like the Beeghly. The Staff Captain was there to explain what we were seeing.
Although there is a ship's wheel, it's about twelve inches wide and it's a half-moon shape. Everything is automated though they still carry charts and the staff captain still charts courses on them for fun. Cadets still are taught to navigate by the stars but in truth, the shop can almost run itself....but not quite. The bridge can set in a destination and time of arrival and have the ship do the rest. But, the autopilot is a fuel hog so a hands on approach saves money. There is always someone on watch
and someone "on the wheel". I think I would get a headache watching the screens.
Captain Willems is 42 and looks like a kid. He joins us on the bridge, answers a few questions and joins us for a photo. Asked when he is on the bridge, he replies "whenever they call me" with a grin but says he is in and out all day, always for entering and leaving port and often when the weather is difficult. Truth is his role is part social but he is totally responsible for his ship. Even if a harbor pilot screws up or a crane falls on the deck, he and he alone is responsible.
From there we head to the engine room to hang out with the Chief. We start out at the control room where we are able to see the main features of the ship in pictures. The most fascinating to me was the azipods that power the vessel. Instead of one large screw, the twin azipods do the work and amazingly can be directed to change direction. The vessel also has Bow thrusters and is amazingly maneuverable.
is evidently very proud of his domain as the good Chiefs are and offered to take us below to see the heart of the operation. It is a fascinating place a bit loud and warm. We saw the diesel generators, he even took a furl injector apart to demonstrate how it worked. There was a bank on cables running from the engine to what looked like spark plugs. This turned out to be the monitoring system. There are a dozen of them for each engine.
He explained the fuel system. The vessel carries 787,000 gallons, consumes approximately 70 gallons a day per person. The diesel generators consume aprox. 100 gallons of diesel per mile and the gas turbines about 90 ton or 24,000 gallons .
It was getting close to sailing so we reluctantly left the engine room. To be continued tomorrow.
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