April 02, 2016

World Cruise 2016 Day 88

Day 88 – At Sea. Today we are in the Gulf of Aden between Somalia and Yemen headed in a westerly direction at about 18 knots. The skies are sunny, temperature about 85, humidity 80% with a 20 mph wind on our stern. The seas are nearly flat. Another near perfect day.

At one check the digital chart shows 13 other ships around us, some going our direction, others headed Easterly, but they are too far away to see clearly. There are designated shipping lanes in this area, but they are quite wide, in excess of several miles.

This morning Barbara gave a presentation on Al'Aqabah, Jordan. The first thing I learned is that there are numerous spellings. Al'Aqabah, Aqabah, Aqaba and Al Aqaba are all used. This is Jordan's only port, and again we will be docking at a commercial port, not a cruise terminal port. More on Aqaba when I get there.

Timothy Runyan gives a presentation on pirates focusing primarily on Blackbeard and the recent discovery of his ship and the recovery of artifacts just off the coast of North Carolina. He ended his program with a short presentation on current piracy around the world. Statistics indicate that pirate activity in the area we are sailing is at a four year low, but still exists. Most attempts today are not successful as a result of international cooperation, worldwide awareness in the maritime industry, and an improvement in political stability in Somalia.

This afternoon Vivianne Rowan's presentation is about ancient inventions that are still in use today. Many are obvious like the wheel, other are not like tooth paste and medical syringes.

Tonight is another performance by the Amsterdam Singers and Dancers. Tonight's focus is on song and dance during the 60's from Europe. It was an excellent show. I suspect the performers learned each show individually before they all boarded the ship. Now that they are here, they do a new show about every 10 days, only doing 2 performances of each. Not at all like being on ships with shorter itineraries where they perform several shows in a week, but then repeat the same sequence week after week.

This is one unique characteristic about HAL Grand Voyages. The entertainment is different every night. A different show in the Queen's Lounge, a different show in the piano bar, and a different movie in the theater every day.

I have also noticed that some of the passenger dynamics are changing. The Crow's Nest is generally busier now than several months ago during Happy Hour. The casino is also busier, both during the day and in the evening after dinner. I'll leave it to you as to speculate why, as the actual passenger count is a little lower.

Tomorrow is another sea day.