April 07, 2016

World Cruise 2016 day 93

Day 93 – Headed North Westerly towards the southern anchorage for the Suez Canal. The temperature this morning is 70, humidity 52% with a 30 MPH wind out of the North under partly cloudy skies. The seas are about three feet of so, but the ship is riding smooth as the wind and waves are directly on the bow. By mid afternoon the temperature has risen to 75, the wind dropping to 15, and the seas flat, but the humidity has dropped to 24%, very dry and making it feel very cool if in the shade and wind. By 8 PM the temperature has risen to 86, but the humidity is only 15%. Strange. I almost question the ships readings.

We pass quite a few small fishing boats and some larger freighters and tankers. Egypt is visible on both the Port and Starboard sides most of the time. There are also oil platforms just off shore in several locations. At one point we pass a wind farm with hundreds of turbines, and a few miles further down the coast several fossil fuel power plants.

The captain tells us a little more about the canal process. Once we are north of a certain position he can request permission to transit the canal. Officials will board and inspect the ship and passengers. For the ship they are looking for seaworthiness and contents. What they are looking for in the passengers wasn't disclosed. Two or three pilots will also be aboard for the entire transit, but rotate with other pilots at several locations along the route. Unlike the Panama Canal, the captain and his staff remain in full control of the ship.

Once we have been approved we are assigned an anchorage position for the night, and a position in the north bound convoy that will travel mostly during the daytime tomorrow. There are usually 35 to 45 ships in a convoy spaced ½ to 1 ½ miles apart. Usually cruise ships are at the front of the convoy and with the pace of the convoy is set by the lead ship. The captain is hoping it is the Amsterdam, but won't know until tomorrow morning.

With the recent expansion of the canal, north and south bound convoys can run simultaneously. The canal is now also capable of handling the largest ships in service. Prior to the expansion there were areas in the canal that were only wide enough for one ship so the convoys had to be carefully timed so they would not reach the narrow areas at the same time.

This morning I listen to Barbara's talk on Livorno, Italy. The port for Florence and Pisa. I will be taking a shuttle into Florence for the day, but that is ten days away.

I couldn't do it, and think it is tacky at best, but others obviously have different opinions. During the BBQ last night there was a man dressed only in his flannel pajamas. Granted the BBQ was on the deck by the pool, but it was dinner, and not billed as a costume party. I wonder if he could do that at the Ritz Carlton or any Hilton? I doubt it.

The Lido buffet was kept open extra late last night to accommodate those passengers that didn't get back from their excursions to Petra and Wadi Rum until after 9:30. Most passengers enjoyed it, but it was very tiring for all. One passenger with a pedometer app on his phone said he walked over 7 miles. There are horse pulled carts, but availability is unpredictable. One passenger had her foot run over by a speeding cart. Fortunately no permanent damage.

There was a fire alarm this afternoon. It turned out to be a overheated electrical outlet in one of the crew cabins. It was quickly addressed without any disruption to the passengers. Well no disruption unless you happened to be trying to nap. In that case I guarantee the alarm would awaken you.

The show tonight is "Casablanca Steps". No description, it will be a surprise. Tomorrow we spend the day transiting the Suez Canal.