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Oct 2014

29 October 2014; At Sea.

Today a peaceful and nearly wind still day at sea. The only movements that can be seen are other ships coming from or going to the Canal and Brown Boobies and Starlings hovering over the bow. The moving ship produces an upstream of air and the birds love it. Without any real wind there is no turbulence, so they can drift on the “bow wind” and land on the railing whenever they want. As they like to sit high there is a constant tussle going on between them of who is allowed to sit on the highest point – the top of the Panama Canal steering light.  Nice to look at and some divertissement for the Navigators. The only person who will be distinctively unhappy will be the Bo’ sun as the birds tend to leave presents behind on the wooden deck, before they move on. Yesterday we were in the Panama Canal and between a cruise ship and a cargo ship there is one big difference to observe; tugboats are seldom used.  As they are compulsory when entering and leaving the dock and anywhere else where the pilots deem it necessary, you see them hovering around the ship but a cruise ship they seldom touch.  All courtesy of the gadgets that make the cruise ships so maneuverable. But even among the cruise ships there are differences. Sometimes in design and sometimes in power. The more modern the cruise ship the more powerful the propulsion tends to be and the same goes for the thrusters. I think that the designers realize that in the long run cancelling ports is less cost effective than spending a few dollars on equipment during the new build.  Thus all the cruise ships now have bow thrusters, stern thrusters, pitch propellers, double rudders or the combination of propeller & rudder & thruster into a pod. Basically with having all that power it means that you carry your own tugboats with you, which will enable you to dock in ports where there are no tugs, or where the tugs are not strong enough. More power and […]

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