Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Out of Sydney
We walked about Sydney for part of the day finding the maritime museum and looking at buildings, crossing a great old bridge and considering a visit to the aquarium when we return in a few days. Boarding the ship was, as generally, an efficient exercise in maritime organization.
There were many staff people on hand to check our documentation and take security photos. All passengers must certify in writing that they do not have a fever and that they haven’t had any gastro intestinal illnesses in the past 48 hours. Passengers aren’t supposed to have been around anyone who is sick. I wonder what happens if people admit to any of this. With 1400 passengers it’s hard to believe that nobody has been sick but perhaps so since most of them (most of us) are “seniors” and away from the runny-nosed kids.
One must use hand sanitizer before entering the ship or any restaurant on the ship. Passengers are encouraged to use only their own lavatories and if public restrooms are used, there are paper towels at the doors so that one has no need to touch the door handle.
The captain is very entertaining and uses the public address system to encourage extra hand washing and to tell people what’s going on. Apparently when the ship stopped in Sydney it was necessary to use an emergency braking system. While one might wonder the reason, he kept that to himself but told that using it caused some electrical problems that had to be straightened out before we could set sail.
He has addressed the group many times since to update on a low pressure system near Tasmania. This system has a pressure of 28.4 millibars, I think, and it is lower than another system on the island that was producing a cyclone as he spoke. He promised to put sea sickness bags near all the elevators, a move that will lead me to take the steps. Supposedly at about 8 p.m. tonight we will be near the edge of the storm which is moving northward. He is still hoping that the storm will shift or dissipate before we get to it.
The captain said that all outdoor lights will be turned off at night. During storm birds are disoriented and tired by high winds and will fly into the ships drawn by lights. There are, already, some dead birds on the ship’s deck.
He also said that when we reach a certain point that the ballast in the ship will be shifted to compensate for winds. He shut the pool which had major sloshing over the sides this morning and he suggested that while walking we always have one hand on a part of the ship to steady us.
This is in sharp contrast to the regular admonition against touching hand rails or ship walls. Apparently it’s better to get sick than to fall down. He expects attendance at dinner to be relaxed tonight and I’m wondering if we should get a second late lunch/early dinner or just drink water.
Last night the flashlight in Rick’s night stand rolled back and forth several times and I wondered what it would be like if the ship’s movement increased. Tonight I may find out. It’s mid afternoon now and the curtains are waving a bit. I think it’s time to take his suggestion of clearing the desk and table and putting everything inside of drawers.

10 pm
The sea is getting rough and the winds picking up. Oh my.

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