Saturday, November 23, 2013

Dispatch from the Air: Headed to Stumptown

After waiting in the airport for a LONG time (when the motley crue had to switch modes of transportation to overland to air, I had to allow plenty of time in case of SNAFUs) we have set sail west and should arrive in Stumptown just about the time the Windjammer Cafe and Island Grills aboard the Explorer are jammed. Yes, our bark set sail this afternoon with a new crue (and no doubt a ton of turkey). I have it on good authority that Professor Javier Boleyn is aboard to help those who can't help themselves. Good news for me as he will be incommunicado for my weigh-in...

Dispatch from Dry Land: Farewell Explorer of the Seas

Farewell Explorer. May you have smooth seas...

Hello air travel...

We've begun the transition. Having a beer--no transition there. It's an IPA, finally! But they won't take our Sea Pass for food :(

My 3 beers were returned as promised and nephew Chris and I killed them, enjoying every drop of fine IPA in a secluded but public place on board

Current location: Latitude: 40.640981 Longitude: -73.789418 Altitude: 52.553958,-73.789418
Terminal 2
New York 11430

Dispatch from the Sea: Home Port

My mate shook me awake to report sandy beaches off the port poop deck. Sure enough, the motley crue and their ship have returned home from another tortuous sea voyage. I suspect the first order of business will be to lose the weight we gained from the hard tack.

My current location: Latitude: 40.586311 Longitude: -74.037617 Altitude: 5.706577,-74.037617 No Address Available

Friday, November 22, 2013

Dispatch from the Sea: India Pale Ale

Current location: Latitude: 36.Longitude: -73.378299 Altitude: 58.233709,-73.378299 No Address Available

Our current voyage has given new meaning to the importance of India Pale Ale... I want some!

Dispatch at Sea: The Mate Studies the Log

The mate studying the log of the voyage...

Current location: Latitude: 34.744504 Longitude: -73.350297 Altitude: -41.332096,-73.350297 No Address Available

Dispatch from the Sea: Transitions at Hand

My mate tells me that we are nearing our home port and the voyage is ending. I asked how she knew. "Simple," she said, "everything is on sale on the promenade deck..." Wait, I'm the damned captain and I didn't even know we had a promenade deck!

Anyway, for as long as I've been sailing the seas, I've had a tradition of growing whiskers and then shaving on the last day at sea--readying myself for land-legs and civilization.  Today is the day...

Current location: Latitude: 34.382297 Longitude: -73.313750 Altitude: -39.471205,-73.313750 No Address Available

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Dispatch from the Sea: The Motley Crue Lets Their Hair Down

When the weather changes at sea it can really change! A storm blew up, the temperature dropped and mid-deck on the aft lido froze on the fore watch. The ship's smithy quick fashioned some skates and the sailmaker fashioned a few crude costumes, and some of the crue entertained the rest of us.

Amazing how a little impromptu entertainment and a grog or two can lift spirits!

The ship's store could also open and supply the crue with much needed staple supplies:

At the end of the night it was clear that some were more ship-shape than others!

Current location: Latitude: 34.317962 Longitude: -73.305473 Altitude: 40.473038,-73.305473 No Address Available

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Dispatch from the Sea: A Falling Glass is better than an empty one

A change in the weather has the motley crue concerned. I am attempting to ease their minds. As always, I suggested an extra ration of grog.

My mate countermanded my orders with "Make fast the barf bags to the rails, port and starboard and aft!"  I love it when she talks that sailor talk!

My current location: Latitude: 27.018944 Longitude: -72.830011 Altitude: -23.137291,-72.830011 No Address Available

Dispatch from the Sea: Learning Local Customs

The motley crue returned to ship in high spirits after a day off, relaxing in the sand and drinking the refreshing beverages the locals were able to concoct from no visible resources. I conclude that they transport supplies by some means.

After casting off the starboard hawsers and the port bowsing lines, I barked a few random nautical terms and we left whatever island found us. Yes, it's true. Although we have advanced navigational equipment at hand, I forgot to pack the nautical charts. My mate reminded me that not everything is her job. So, for the sake of documentation, I bartered for a crude chart from the locals. They kept referring to their island as a (phonetically presented in this log) "Pry-vat rhes-ort-leece-d'bye-ryal-karab-e'han". I was not able to determine the etymology of that term, or the label "Labadee" on the sketchy chart they gave me...

After our evening hard tack, a measure of grog was distributed while the ship's anthropologist demonstrated some of the local song and dance customs they observed. Entertaining, and a spirit lifter (in more ways than one) for all on board.

Current location: Latitude: 25.041368 Longitude: -72.681851 Altitude: 230.725113,-72.681851 No Address Available

Dispatch from the Sea: Trading with Local Pirates...

Morning found the motley crue with me, joyed by both the sight of new land and a sister vessel flying our same colors, hull down on the horizon.

The locals did not swarm to meet us as they did yesterday. I assured the motley crue that they would be friendly, but I was prepared to find a population less prepared to barter and trade with us.

As I prepared the landing parties, my mate counseled to prepare our cash of weapons and trade goods so that we were prepared for any eventuality. Sage advice.

As I stepped to land, my level of anticipation increased as I spotted a Jolly Roger hoisted at the village.

The villagers were more advanced than I expected, perhaps accelerated in their culture through keeping company with pirates. They seemed to have advanced bartering methods, even keeping track of which of our ocean-going barks we hailed from.

There was a good vantage to keep an eye on our two small ships to make sure the pirates didn't board...

They also seemed to enjoy water, (although they were unwilling to share of drinking water freely) floating around on strangely colored mats apparently made of a reed in familiar to me.

We were able to procure fresh beverages, which were surprisingly cold and tasty. They demanded payment through the use of a strange card and added something called a "gratuity". When I inquired as to the cost, the response was, "Don't worry--we can settle up at the end of the voyage..."  Hmmm.

After a day visiting, and a lunch of foods familiar to me, our sister ship weighed anchor and bade us farewell. We now prepare to leave these tropical waters for the voyage to the North, and our home...

Current location: Latitude: 19.784695 Longitude: -72.249214 Altitude: 202.272477,-72.249214 No Address Available

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Dispatch From the Sea: Headed Into The Unknown Again

Current location: Latitude: 18.323019 Longitude: -64.926779 Altitude: 95.879766,-64.926779 No Address Available

As Centuries of Sea Men before me, I bid farewell to a safe harbor, and set sail into the unknown. Okay, so we have radar, GPS, charts, satellite TV, and 1,400 crew members to assist, but still, do you see land out there?

What if the world becomes flat tonight and instead of a resort town on Hispanola, we end up in Wildwood, New Jersey? These are the thoughts swirling in my brain as I order our crew west.  Hoist the mizzensail! Make fast the aft deck lines! All muster on the main pool deck--I mean poop deck-- after room service--I mean the scullery cook--brings me another icy cold beer!

Dispatch from the Sea: Leaving Tropical Paradise for The Unknown

Current location: Latitude: 19.154476 Longitude: -69.177424 Altitude: 98.274314,-69.177424 No Address Available

The crew was not happy when I ordered them to weigh anchor, make fast the hawsers, haul up the topsails, and strike our port colors, but they did what needed to be done.

I ordered an extra ration of grog around, hoping that we will be able to re-supply as we head west. If not, I'm afraid my motley crue may raise the Jolly Roger and take command...

Dispatch from the Sea: Another New Land

After a torturous night on the sea, we have arrived at a strange tropical isla. The native peoples seem friendly enough--they arrived to welcome us in small boats. They speak Spanish, which leads me to believe either we are not the first explorers to venture this way or it is one of those linguistic oddities like Finnish, Hungarian, and Korean being related. At any rate, I spoke with one of their representatives who gave me a ticket in Group 8 to be taken ashore where we will continue our anthropological investigation of this strange land...

Current location: Latitude: 19.184885 Longitude: -69.307181 Altitude: 43.774403,-69.307181 No Address Available

Dispatch from the Sea: Venturing Ashore

Current location: Latitude: 19.187401 Longitude: -69.308451 Altitude: -71.214393,-69.308451 No Address Available

We were able to use a crude local transport system to make land.

Made contact with the native people. They were quite prepared to greet us and offered us entertainment, gifts, and sustenance. They seemed to be well-versed in barter, perhaps from interactions with other native settlements?

They have advanced artistic skills as is obvious ...

They also have sea transportation vessels.

But even with this primitive civilization they are well-versed in our manners and mores. Too bad for them...

Monday, November 18, 2013

Dispatch From the Sea: A Wedding on St. Thomas

The thought of me in something called "Body Glove" is scary at best. But we are headed to a wedding on the beach. I hope this "Body Glove" is more like a mitten...

Current location: Latitude: 18.331532 Longitude: -64.924706 Altitude: 61.911838,-64.924706 No Address Available

My current location: Latitude: 27.795610 Longitude: -68.979669 Altitude: 80.038559,-68.979669 No Address Available

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Dispatch From Near Land: Birds and a Change of Water Color

Birds have come to welcome us. I'm guessing they are owned by Royal Caribbean...

Current location: Latitude: 18.743377 Longitude: -66.188762 Altitude: 96.458979,-66.188762 No Address Available

Dispatch from the Sea: Big Puffy Night Clouds

Current location: Latitude: 24.122256 Longitude: -67.802976 Altitude: 115.309291,-67.802976 No Address Available

Dispatch from the Sea: Where's Puerto Rico?

Ok, so we don't necessarily read everything completely. We were enjoying a few quaffs last night, anticipating solid ground today in San Juan. Imagine our faces when one of the wedding party said "Tomorrow? You mean Sunday, don't you?" YIPES! Another 1.75 days of looking at the ocean and walking in circles...

Well there's always Schooner's Bar and The Chamber--a DJ run operation with strobes, mirror balls, loud music and dancing. And where the minority hangs out--you know, people who are wondering "What the hell am I doing on a cruise ship?"!

Oh, the Master of the Ship welcomed us last night too. Quite the night!

Current location: Latitude: 27.795610 Longitude: -68.979669 Altitude: 80.038559,-68.979669