Today we had our official day at sea as the distance between Rangiroa and Nuku Hiva is too long to cover in one night. 570 miles is a 24 hrs run plus some and thus a day at sea in between ports. Now with the extra hours due to not staying at Rangiroa we could go slower and in a way that worked out very well. There was a moderate to high North Easterly swell running and if we had sailed against that with the original scheduled speed it would have been a bumpy affair. At times the waves were more than 14 feet and that is the moment when the ship starts to pitch with the occasional slamming. Now with the slower average speed the ship could just ride it nicely and the ride was very comfortable. We had the occasional shower and the wind returned to what is normal for this area; about 15 knots. The weather chart is not showing any changes for the coming two days and that means that we will have a safe call at Nuku Hiva tomorrow.
Thus today was a sea day and that meant that the guests were entertained on board. Because we have so scheduled sea days, we planned before the cruise started a number of extra activities that are normally not part of a cruise. As a result the daily program is packed from early morning to late evening with all sorts of things going on to keep all the guests happily occupied. A number of those activities involve the participation of the crew in rather more unusual ways.
We now have a celebrity Cook-out/off going on, where several “high profile” crewmembers have a cooking competition against each other. Some of them are not hampered by any cooking experience whatsoever. We had the husband and wife Cruise Consultant Team against the Hotel Director and wife (as far as I know they are all still married although the goings on caused a lot of marital stress) then two senior chefs against each other and yesterday the Cruise Director against the combined female might of the Travel Guide and the Club Hal Director. That will continue in the coming days until there is a Grand Finale.
Now I know how Abraham Lincoln must feel.
The morning after Nuku Hiva we will have the Village Christmas Fair. This is a sort of Fete, where the crew sets up stands around the pool so the guests can do games and win some dollars. These dollars are not legal tender except for the fair and are called Appie-Bucks, named after Yours Truly, as Appie is a Dutch nick-name version of Albert. This is followed in the afternoon by the Deck department with part 2 of their life saving demonstrations and then later on the Staff Captain will hold a Virtual Bridge tour. The days of real bridge tours are gone so we have to live with power point presentations instead.
The engine room will do something similar in the days to come and there will be two presentations by me, one about the Golden Years of the Ocean Liners, and one on the History of Holland America. There will be King Neptune, when we go across the equator and there will be the Black & Gold Officers Ball coming up too. Not to mention a lot of other items to keep our guests happily occupied for the next seven sea days.
Today we also had our first forward time change. Nuku Hiva is 9.5 hours different from Greenwich Mean Time, a bit unusual as most countries do one hour time differences, not 30 minutes. We went 30 minutes forward at 1300 hrs. to get in tune with the island. Because 30 minutes steps do not have much of an impact on the daily life I have decided to continue with those small steps forward and we will do three more during the coming sea days. It is announced in the daily program and I make an announcement right after the Voice from the Bridge and then push the General Alarm for the actual moment. Nobody oversleeps and nobody misses anything as the Daily Explorer /program just leaves a 30 minute gap in the start of the activities.
Tomorrow we will be in Nuku Hiva with a very early morning arrival. I will have the hook down by 05.15 and a full tender operation going by 05.45. First tours are going at 06.15. The anchorage is sheltered from all sides, except the south, the entrance. We should have a nice and quiet day there.