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Published: September 7th 2010
So many delicious animals!
I’m currently somewhere off the coast of western Africa headed towards Spain. The cruise I’m currently on stopped at 3 of the Canary Islands, which is awesome. But I’ll expand on that later. Because I’m actually doing work on the bridge and working alongside officers I’ve been able to make more of a “hello, hey” kind of relationship with them. So in Vigo I went out with an officer and a bunch of the quartermasters (guys who drive the ship, act as an extra set of eyes while underway, and do safety related jobs onboard) for lunch. Vigo is the biggest fishing port in all of Europe so seafood was on the menu. We started with some octopus, squid, and mussels then finished with the best Paella (Pie-Eh-a) any of us had ever had, the only problem was that some miscommunication caused us to order significantly more food than any of us could eat. But because the waiter was so awesome he wrapped it all up, gave us a free bottle of wine and a loaf of bread and sent us on our way. So we had Paella for dinner that night on the bridge too.
The view from the ship, it certainly doesn't suck.
next cruise took us to the port of Cobh, Ireland. Pronounced cove, this small city has a history of being the Titanic’s last port of call before sinking. This wasn’t in the movie for you all that are confused. The best part about going to Ireland was that it was an overnight, this means that everyone goes out. We were a little bit worried about it being a Sunday night, but apparently if you were inside the pub when it closed you could stay a few hours more and last call meant nothing. The day after leaving Cobh we say some Fin Whales. These guys happen to be the second largest whales in the world behind the Blue Whale.
Then the Canary Islands cruise started, and because it is my ONLY Canary Islands cruise I asked nicely and was allowed to go ashore more than usual. But before we even got to the islands we had to perform a medical evacuation by helicopter, and although it sounds very morbid I was hoping I’d get to see this during my contract. The ship has a helipad all the way forward, but it isn’t massive and coupled with a moving ship
When in Rome right? Err... Ireland
it is insanely risky to land on deck. Because of this the chopper lowered a person to hook everyone up and take care of everything before winching all the people up. The only thing that made this even more complicated and stressful is that it was way past sunset and it was hard to see anything.
Madeira isn’t part of the Canary Islands but is actually a part of Portugal. The only thing different about it and Lisbon is that it’s a way nicer port. In the port someone operates a replica of Columbus’ Santa Maria. After seeing it, I couldn’t even imagine going to sea in something like it. The original explorers were crazy bas*****.
Gran Canaria is almost a perfect circle with a volcano in the center except for a very narrow peninsula which includes the pier we tie up at. The awesome thing being that a 5 minute walk across the peninsula brings you to a beautiful beach!
Lanzarote is the Canary Island which has erupted the most recently; in 1730 it started erupting and didn’t finish for 6 years. The resulting ash and volcanic matter killed nearly all the flora and fauna. This
It was even crazier being there, major respect to any pilot that can hover without moving for 45 minutes while we're doing 5 knots.
coupled with the lack of eroding forces in the Canaries leaves large portions of the island completely unchanged from back in the days of eruptions. I went on a crew tour to go check out one of the national parks on the island. Timanfaya National Park protects the area covered in the most recent eruption including the 22 square km’s of newly formed land. Much of the travel in the tour was by bus, but some of the landscape is far too delicate to build a road so we saddled up on some camels. The national park is as close to a moonscape as you can get except everything is dark grey.
I’ve been learning tons onboard; Taking a direct roll in tying up the ship, making navigation plans, lots of bridge tours, safety inspections, and I’ve even started navigating by use of a sextant!
Looks like I’ll be home on the 12th of 13th of October! So mark your calendars :P
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