Dear Cruise Diary — Day 10, April 30, 2013

Dear Cruise Diary

Day 10– At Sea in the Atlantic Ocean

April 30, 2013

One thing about an inside cabin is that you never had any light to indicate what time it was when you woke up. I slept in till 8 – no doubt in part because I stayed up late the night before to watch a movie. I went up to the Windjammer for bagel and lox, only to discover the ship had run out of capers! To me that salty bite is an essential part of bagels and lox, so while I went ahead and ate it without (as I had already served myself the smoked salmon), I figured it would be something different for breakfast in the future, at least until they reprovision (or I shopped in Madeira for a far of capers – wonder how you say that in Portuguese!).

As I left the cabin for breakfast, I noticed an absence of cleaning carts in the hallway, which was unusual. The Windjammer also seemed to have fewer staff refilling coffee and clearing tables. The mystery was solved when the captain announced the crew was dealing with a chemical spill in the laundry, in the depths of the ship. Apparently it wasn’t his first announcement, but I hadn’t heard earlier ones from my stateroom. By midmorning the captain gave the all clear. Frankly, the situation never affected me, but I looked forward to hearing all kinds of rumors reported by passengers and crew throughout the day.

A quick check of email showed I had no new work assignments, although my sisters had sent emails reporting on the search for a beach house in Galveston to rent for a possible family vacation over Thanksgiving. We had a good time renting there last year, and as my nephew Zan is going to college in Galveston, it makes it easy for him to join us. While online I quickly opened each potential rental in a different Firefox tab, and then studied them offline. It will be interesting to see what we decide.

I have gotten woefully behind on these journal entries, and have hardly written any blogs. Fortunately, I did jot down notes of what I had been doing each day, as the sea days certainly do run together (and as anyone reading this far has probably observed). So the bulk of the morning was spent catching up on the journals, which seem more urgent than the more topical blogs.

After yesterday’s somewhat futile search for a lunch that appealed to me, I decided to “splurge” and head to Johnny Rockets on Deck 12 for a good hamburger. There was a $5 cover fee to eat there, although you didn’t pay for your food unless you wanted a soda, beer or a $5.50 milk shake. It wasn’t too busy, but the waiters stopped what they were doing to loudly welcome each passenger who came or left. The décor was strictly diner – eat at the counter or in a row of booths. I chose a booth, was told they didn’t have iced tea so settled for free water and ordered a burger with a few French fries. The waiter immediately brought me a plate of fries and onion rings. The latter were good, but after a few I just didn’t want any more grease. I guess avoiding fried foods has had a positive effect on my eating preferences.

Johnny Rockets

I hated to admit it, but the hamburger was disappointing. It came so quickly that I knew it hadn’t been freshly grilled. The onions were minced and the lettuce was chopped not much bigger, so neither offered that raw crunch that I craved on a burger. It wasn’t bad, just not great. I knew I wouldn’t be likely to pay for the privilege to eat at Johnny Rockets again.

After lunch I headed for the Café Promenade to continue on my journals. I was pretty absorbed in my writing and hadn’t noticed that the ship had slowed down until the captain announced that a crewmember had spotted what might be an orange raft off to port and we were slowing to turn and check it out. Immediately, everyone headed to the port side. I went to the stateroom to get my camera and longer zoom lens first. I even took the elevator up the five flights to the open Deck 12, so I wouldn’t be too late for the first “event” of our crossing.

Elevator conversation from people who were sure we would be rescuing someone:

“Wow, we’ll make the news for sure!”

“Yeah, we’ll make it because everyone is going to one side of the ship and we will capsize.”

“Oh, well, I hope it’s a big raft then.”

It was true that everyone seemed to be on the port side. I could see an orange floating something in the distance and knew we wouldn’t be there quickly, so I immediately started taking pictures of the passengers lined along the railings. I knew that would be the better shot than something floating in the water.

Watching from deck

Once we were closer, the crew lowered a rescue boat (think Boston whaler) that headed over to check it out. By then I could see through my zoom lens that it wasn’t a raft and there didn’t appear to be anyone in whatever it was.

 Checking things out   Floating buoys

As we passed by, we could see it was a tangled length of half-deflated orange containment buoy such as you would see used for oil spills. The crew on the rescue boat circled it and headed back to the ship. Slowly life aboard returned to normal. I thought a lot of passengers were disappointed.

When I returned to the promenade to journal some more, Bonnie walked by and stopped to chat a while. Then a bit later Robert came by and we talked about his travels and learning foreign languages (the key is to live where no one speaks English, he said). It was well past 6 pm, so no time to walk before getting ready for dinner. Oh well, one of the things I liked best about cruising was meeting people and learning of different experiences, so I was glad I took the time to do just that.

Working at Wig and Gavel

On the way to dinner I saw Hoyt and Ron in the Champaign Bar, and we decided to have dinner together again since we had so much fun the night before. We waited for more people to be assigned to our table, and surprisingly it was Robin and Helen, also from the previous night. Again, we were the last to leave the dining room, and as we left we made 8 pm reservations together for the following night.

I had brought a little cash for the casino, so spent a precious few minutes at a couple of slot machines before running through it all. Lesson learned – I didn’t think I would be back for much more.

While channel surfing back in the stateroom I found that “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” had just started, so I watched it and then called it a night.

Tomorrow: Day 11 – At Sea in the Atlantic Ocean