Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Just because the weather is good doesn't mean you'll make port

Sounds strange doesn't it. And another example of being prepared for the unexpected when you travel.

I just returned from a cruise on Holland America's Maasdam. This is a lovely classic ship of about 1200 passengers and it was my second time sailing on her. As usually, the service was impeccable, the ship spotless and the food excellent.

One of our scheduled ports of call was Barbados. I've been to Barbados a couple of times. Actually honeymooned there many, many, many years ago. Still, I was looking forward to the stop. The shopping is super. I love the bustle of Bridgetown. And I knew I'd be able to find an internet cafe and ease my withdrawal symptoms.

With a beautiful and clear day dawning, we pulled into the harbor. I anxiously awaited the announcement that the ship was cleared and the passengers could proceed ashore.

Instead we had an announcement from the Captain, explaining that due to ‘large swells’ in the harbor, we would not be able to dock and we would have, instead, a day at sea.

I dashed out onto the promenade deck and peered over the railing to see what was going on. It was there that I learned that wide and deep swells had made their way into the harbor, causing a significant rock to the ship. It was so significant that two bowlines had snapped as the crew tried to tie her to the pier. Bowlines snapping?? These lines are probably 2-3 inches thick and it was incredible to think about the power necessary to cause these lines to break.

While we were sadly disappointed to miss this port of call, we could certainly understand the Captain’s first concerns were the safety of the passengers and the ship. Time to head back to my cabin, grab my book and settle into a lounge chair. Should I read? Should I watch the water? Should I nap? Easy decision. All three!

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