Monday, August 10, 2009

Voyage of the Vikings, Day 17 - At Sea, Edinburgh to Rotterdam

Where's the usual map? Keith forgot to upload it, and he is on a remote computer and can't access it, so it ain't there. Today we are at sea between Edinburgh and Rotterdam. Look it up in an atlas.

9am, and we are lingering over breakfast; I love these days. Power touring is educational, it is interesting, it is wholesome, but restful it is not! If I organized these trips there would be two days at sea for every day ashore. But then, my tour doesn't have brochure appeal, and I would go broke.


Lingering Over Breakfast

Course is southeast, speed 13, wind SW about 15; light seas, as perceived from 11 stories up. This boat rides much smoother than the Yacht Christine. But then, the Christine was rated just over the 5 ton minimum for Federal documentation. The Maasdam is rated 55,000 tons, four orders of magnitude larger. And, it has stabilizers. No wonder it rides so smoothly.

They give back our passports today. They were collected before we arrived in Iceland. What they don't give back is the hours they stole from us; in fact, they are going to steal another one at noon today. I didn't realize that Western Europe is an hour ahead of the UK.

9:23am and an announcement from our captain, who is very good about keeping us informed. We are making an immediate right turn and heading due west toward England, due to a medical emergency. It is not determined yet whether the medevac is to be handled by docking, by boat, or by helicopter, but the captain wants too get as close to the English coast as possible for whatever. We are told this detour will not delay our scheduled arrival in Rotterdam.

10:45am and a chopper is in sight. I think the pickup will be on the forward deck, but I don't know for sure. Passengers are not permitted in the Crows Nest. Keith got some good photos of the bird from the sports deck, but that now has been cleared, as well as the Lido deck. While Keith is disappointed to miss an opportunity to witness a helicopter pickup, he thinks clearing the decks is the right thing to do, for safety reasons. He overheard some lady say to security "you put on this show, then you don't give us a place to view it". Duh... So, in the meantime, we will have to be content with these photos.


RAF Rescue Chopper Approaches


Preparing to Hoist

11:15am The captain has announced that our rescue is complete, and we are back on track for our scheduled 4:45am pilot pickup in Rotterdam.

Originally planned for the foredeck, the helicopter pickup was shifted to the top deck when a Sea King helicopter showed up. This craft is too large to safely maneuver around the bow. This information explains why they chased us off the sports deck.

Kathy stood in line 45 minutes to get her passport back. Keith can't stand that long, so will wait for the line to shorten. The computer lab is overstuffed (it's a sea day), so Keith is composing and relaxing in the Explorer's Lounge / library.


In Line, Waiting to be Interviewed by the Dutch Immigration Authorities

11:30 and the passport line is getting longer, not shorter. Keith heard that the Dutch immigration officials refused to work during the rescue operation. The HAL lady says they will not feed the immigration officers until the line is cleared. Not wishing to stand 45 minutes, Keith stole a stool from the slot machines, and slid along the line. The Dutch immigration guy was very courteous.

Noon becomes 1pm, as we set our watches ahead once again.

1pm, Mongolian buffet at poolside for lunch. We love Mongolian buffet! Keith goofed and poured too much red pepper from an open container, but it turned out tolerable, and Keith enjoyed it. Had it been too hot to eat, there would have been no problem going through the line a second time.


Mongolian Buffet Poolside


Kathy Enjoys Her Mongolian Lunch

The Dutch imigration officials showed up for lunch about 2pm. The way the behaved, I think they are enjoying this assignment as a holiday.


Dutch Immigration Officials, Last In Line for Lunch

The afternoon slipped by in the computer lab, and the casino. After Kathy finished in the casino she helped Keith sort photos, then she whiled away the rest of the afternoon in the puzzle room. The breeze picked up a bit during the afternoon, then settled down later in the day. The weather is overcast, but the visibility is good.

Kathy reports someone (unofficial) telling her there are thirteen children aboard, 11 of them teenagers. I hope they have found one another, among all these septuagenarians.

A lite supper in the Lido, then to bed, in preparation for tomorrow's power tour of Holland.

Stay tuned.

No comments: