"" Writer's Wanderings: Relax! It's A Sea Day!

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Relax! It's A Sea Day!

 Having a sea day now and then certainly helps you to relax a bit between ports. This sea day finds us on our way from Curacao to Cartagena, Columbia. I thought I would take some time to catch up on a few things that are interesting to a cruise starting with the pilots in each port.

Most ports of the world require pilotage, the practice where a pilot comes on board near the entrance of a port to help guide the captain of a ship safely into the port. They also assist in the departure of the ship. It is always fascinating to see these brave souls boarding or leaving the ship. It is quite a process with the pilot boat having to match the speed of the ship, come alongside and catch the pilot as he jumps from one to the other. We have seen others have to climb a ladder hung outside the open door, or port, of a ship. Once safely back on the pilot boat, we usually get a wave and we're on our way.

Tugboats are often very colorful workhorses in a port. With all the side thrusters and such of today's ships, we rarely see the tugboat come alongside to guide the ship to their dock. We do see them waiting though, just in case a ship might need a helping hand. I'm guessing that in those ports where the wind or current might be greater, a tugboat would definitely be a help in docking.

One of the fun things about leaving the port of Fort Lauderdale is that people come out of their homes or condos and wave as the ships leave port. We were the only ship leaving as we started our cruise on that Wednesday but on a weekend there are usually a parade of ships starting at around four o'clock that are leaving port. On some cruises we have even heard air horns answering the ship's horn as it announces its departure.

Our day at sea was relaxing with several talks to attend including a little more about the Island Magic Steelband. The steel pans are actually made from the bottom of a steel drum but the musicians were very adamant about the proper name being a steel pan. Theirs on the islands are all made by hand but sent off to be chrome plated to make them shiny. There is a little fine tuning that needs to be done when they come back and the pan has to be suspended on its stand in order to get the right resonance. It is so amazing.

We spent an hour with the future cruise consultant discussing a 2024 world cruise. Looks like we may be going around the world once again. 

Our evening at the Canaletto Italian specialty restaurant was a little disappointing. Close quarters and too much busyness to relax. The menu has changed as well since we last cruised with HAL. It used to be more pasta and tomato sauce and less items that we wouldn't associate with Italian food. And the best part used to be the plate of cotton candy they brought in time for dessert. Ah well, everything changes.

Entertainment this evening was again the troupe of dancers they have onboard. They did interpretive dancing with a musical instruments theme. Bob enjoyed this one more than the previous show. 

Tomorrow's stop is in Cartagena, Columbia. Don't know if we will get off the ship. We've been there many times and explored the old town but it's a bit dangerous to do anything on your own. We'll see.

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