Sharks, Barracuda, and Sea turtles oh my!

Published: June 17th 2011
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A long awaited food photo!
First things first; Sorry that it’s been ages since my last blog. I promise that this one is going to make up for it.

Of the people that email me, most of them ask me what the craziest thing that I’ve done so far is, and normally I really have to scratch my head to think up something. But I can outright say that it’s now a no brainer. Last week the Captain let me take the control of the vessel coming into port when we stopped at St Thomas! Although officially he still had the control as I don’t have a license, I was making the wheel orders. Last year on the Independence I was at the wheel quite often, but that meant I was taking wheel orders from someone else. Being the person giving commands of a $1.4 billion ship is incredible. Brought the ship within half a mile of the pier before Captain took over, but at that point we had navigated right up a channel!

St Thomas is a pretty interesting place. Even though it’s American land they’ve got a few different rules. Because the island has changed hands so many times in the past

Not what most people think of when they envision Haiti
few hundred years they drive on the wrong side of the road. Last year I almost got run over when I was in England as I had forgotten to look both way before crossing. Here the people drive as if the rules state you can drive in the middle… Made for one interesting taxi ride to go get some of the worst sushi I’ve ever had. The other law that is clearly different than that of the mainland USA is how open liquor in public is not a crime! The only thing you have to worry about is the local crazy yelling at you and saying things like “HEY, why you drinkin dat beer? You can’t be older den 15” (True Story).

Something I have been doing every few days onboard are tank entries. Because we’ve got around 8400 people onboard almost all the time, we’ve got to make sure that we have the resources to sustain these people comfortably. So we’ve got lots of tanks onboard that are full of fresh water, grey water, heeling water (to keep the ship upright when we turn), black water, etc. Now some of these tanks are pretty disgusting as you can
Inside the belly of the beastInside the belly of the beastInside the belly of the beast

Potable water tank 2 port, all sparkly clean again and ready to hold up to 1500 tons of fresh water.
imagine, but one that is immaculately clean all the time are the fresh water tanks. Because it’s the only thing that is stored on a tank and actually consumed by people onboard it has to up to USPH standards. USPH gives requirements for how long you have to wait for the coatings onboard to dry, how often it must be inspected, etc. Some of the tanks onboard are tiny, but the freshwater tank I entered was enormous. Put up a few hoops and you’ve got a great setup for a box basketball court.

Coupled with the fact that we’re tied up until 7pm, and it’s only a few minutes away from cool places, theres not much to complain about Cozumel. It’s quickly become my favourite place to go ashore. A couple weeks ago I went out for lunch and a swim, the local food is excellent and dirt cheap. Something else that is apparently super cheap in Cozumel is scuba diving! Today three f us went diving with a company that offers deals for crew. So 2 dives from a boat, all transportation, food, and gear comes to less than $60! Coupled with the 30 degree water and 150 foot visibility, it’s a little bit different than diving back home in Vancouver :P Among the thousands of fish we saw while swimming through coral caves and canyons we also saw barracuda, sea turtles, and even a nurse shark!

Even though I don’t have enough stripes to go out to most of em, Eating out with officers is always nice. The sushi place onboard is fantastic, and we’ve got a café in Central Park that serves some of the best roast beef sandwiches I’ve ever had. But mess food on the other hand is brutal. I’m FAR from a picky eater, but every meal I eat in the mess goes something like this: walk around the mess and eliminate all the foods I won’t touch until I’ve got to decide between a couple last items. Usually end up with some flavourless chicken and a big salad or some pasta. Unfortunately I can say the following sentence truthfully: I never want to be served braised cow feet ever again.

I’ve now been ashore in the poorest country I’ve ever been to; Haiti. Although we tie up at Royal Caribbean private resort and the company has given lots of opportunities to the Haitians to sell local goods and take advantage of the tourism, it’s very clear how poor it is here. Rather sad actually to see the real Haiti on the other side of the bay, people rowing out in their little wooden boats begging guests in their balconies for money. That being said, the beach is wonderful even if it was only for a few hours.

Enjoy the photos! Comments and emails at are always appreciated and if anyone would like my mailing address or even my phone number just ask.

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Not afraid of us at all, just wanted to hang out and eat some slime off a piece of coral.
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Seeing as i'll be here for 5.5 more months, figured I'd make it a little more reminiscent of home.

17th June 2011

Control of a $1.4 billion ship
If you can handle control of that boat, maybe when you get back your mom will let you drive her pickup truck!

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