March 23, 2016

World Cruise 2016 Day 78

Day 78 – At sea. We are cruising just off the coast of the southern tip of India headed Northwesterly in the Arabian Sea towards Dubai. The air temperature is 86, and humidity 80% with a very light breeze directly on our bow. The seas are calm, the skies are cloudy and the visibility only a mile or two due to a heavy haze. No change is expected in the weather for the rest of today or tomorrow.

The razor wire has been strung around the ship just below the bottom of the railings on deck three. Since I can't send you a picture, it is about 18 inches in diameter with about one quarter inch barbs. It is quite rusted, obviously having been used a number of times, then stored for the next need. I certainly wouldn't want to try and climb over it, but for that matter I don't remember ever wanting to be a pirate on the high seas either.

A reader questioned about what I meant several days ago when I mentioned that one of the gals from the Lido staff was "robbed". Did I mean physically robbed, or taken advantage of robbed? In this case it was physically robbed, only the second such incident that I have heard of so far. The other was in Papeete where a young passenger carrying a laptop in a shoulder bag had it ripped from him as he walked down the street.

Robbed in the context of of being taken advantage of has been very common in many of the ports of the less developed nations. The most prevalent tactic is being quoted a price for a taxi, cyclo, Tuk Tuk or other service and then the provider demanding a much higher payment. Probably Sri Lanka has been one of the worst for several reasons. They have very few, if any, local laws and regulations. If you want to operate a bus line, all you need to do is find a bus and start driving it down the street charging passengers whatever you want. The same goes for the Tuk Tuk taxis. Just get one and start charging people. The country has little tourism oversight, and has yet to learn how a good or bad reputation will effect future tourism spending. Vendors sell chunks of colored glass as gems, and shiny zinc as silver. Many have no moral or legal reason to be honest. Certainly a buyer beware environment.

Tonight the singers and dancers perform their second show since boarding the ship. Three or four of the ten performers are from Russia, several from London, and the others from western Europe. The show is very energetic, especially for a HAL audience. I took my earplugs just to be prepared, but didn't use them.

Here is a short version of the additional anti-piracy preparations we have been told about. In addition to razor wire, four long range acoustic devices are set up and are being manned 24/7. Water hoses are installed around deck 3 and ready to use. Extra security guards are on 24/7 anti-piracy watch. Our ship is also being tracked and monitored by an international coalition of warships patrolling the area.

In the unlikely event of a piracy incident an alarm will be sounded. In the event of such alarm all passengers have been instructed to vacate exterior state rooms, stay off all outside decks, go to interior corridors or spaces and sit on the floor as the ship will heel considerably as it maneuvers at maximum speed of 25 knots to evade any pirates.

Most passengers seem to be taking this information in stride, I have only encountered a few that openly have expressed they are scared and apprehensive.

Tomorrow is another day at sea.