Never a Dull Moment

Portugal's flag
Europe » Portugal » Madeira » Funchal
March 22nd 2012
Published: March 22nd 2012
Edit Blog Post

Never a Dull Moment

This morning as I looked out our window I saw what looked like a large orange coolie hat floating not far away. Then, looking further to the right I saw a fishing boat bobbing in the waves, but not really going anywhere. Our Captain, or rather the cruise director on behalf of the Captain, began this report. The Captain received a distress call early this AM that a Portuguese fishing boat was taking on water in the engine room and the eight men were abandoning ship and were on the raft with the orange cover. There was another ship, a tanker, within reach of the raft as well as we. When asked, the fishermen replied they wanted us to rescue them, and that is what we did.

The men boarded our ship while we radioed the nearest rescue center in Madeira where we had sailed about twelve hours earlier and where the men wanted to return. Soon we saw a helicopter approaching. Our ship does not have a helipad so the copter was going to hover over the top deck and lower a man who would then put a harness on the men and one by one haul them into the copter. The Captain had to maneuver the ship into just the right position and speed (very slow) so the copter could be steady. Our passengers were told to stay off the Lido deck and the top sports deck while this was going on.

Some people saw the crew from our ship dressed in hazard attire – thick, long raincoats, boots, and helmets – some carrying fire extinguishers and others managing a fire hose. This was to be prepared for the worst. The coptor made several passes before the first man was pulled up, and made a few more passes rather than just hover while all the men were pulled up. By this time we had attracted still another tanker, and they watched, probably having a better view than we. After the last man got to the copter it made one final pass to retrieve their suitcases. For this they used a basket. Finally, the copter flew away, back to Madeira, and we are continuing on to Portimao, Portugal after the three hour rescue effort ended.

As I said before, never a dull moment on this cruise.


24th March 2012

Just read your last two blogs. Read the first a few days ago. Glad your across the ocean. Are you enjoying your new dinner mates at the late seating? I laughed. As you didn't say anything, I assume you didn' get the upgrade to a balcony (forget what it's called) again. What floor are you on? I'm sure the window room is fine. Rescue sounds like an interesting experience. I'm surprised they could do it from the top of the ship -- didn't realize it was that big. I'm amazed that those fishermen still had their suitcases and that the helicopter would take the time to retrieve them! Would have thought they would be sent when you hit a port. I can visualize you moving around the ship. Kinda neat. We arrived in Albuquerque today. It's been a very good trip. Loved Sedona and Kartchner Caverns. Love the 75 mile an hour speed limits. Kudos to me for safely navigating Phoenix expressways safely. Thank goodness for GPS. Will tell more when we see you. Cheers! Kathy

Tot: 1.437s; Tpl: 0.104s; cc: 10; qc: 32; dbt: 0.0344s; 1; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 3; ; mem: 1.3mb