Saturday, February 23, 2013


A sea day. 

Due to the random nature of the schedule, all of my days off this cruise have come on sea days.  I haven't seen much time off the ship at all.  That will likely change next cruise.  It really needs to.  Heck, I'm even first call on the next Ft. Lauderdale turnaround day.  Hey...what can you do. 

So, it started out nicely.  We saw the magic act last night, James Cielen.  His kids play with Michael and Max in the kids club.  It was a pretty good show.  So today, Michael wanted to see the close up magic show.  That was in the I hate myself sometimes. 

So, after breakfast, we wandered about the promenade deck, the walkway around the ship.  As we walked I saw a dolphin jump in the bow wash.  We all ran over and watched as, for about 7-10 minutes, a pod of dolphins played and jumped and swam about.  There was even a baby or two with them.  Then, they were gone.  Sarah and the boys really loved it.  After that, the kids begged and pleaded to be allowed to go to the kids club for a few minutes.  It was only open for 45 more minutes or so.  We let them. 

After lunch, we let them go back for a few minutes before the second magic show.  When we went to get them, Max decided he didn't want to go to the show.  So we left him in the kids club and took Michael.  Of course now Michael wants to buy all the tricks and make his own magic show.  Then we went to pick up Max.  He has been having trouble leaving the kids club because they have a ring of Xbox machines and they have Lego Star Wars.  He is a bit obsessed.  So much so we are considering not letting him play for a while. So we had a bit of a breakdown that bled into dinner and a breakdown when I wouldn't let him have pizza.  He ended up throwing a fit and going back to the room without dinner.  (Easy grandmothers, he got some cereal and an apple later).  Eventually we got him back to normalish and instead of sending the kids out, we stayed in.  We chatted and hung out and quizzed Michael on geography.  He remembers a startling amount.  It turned into a really nice night. 

Tomorrow will be a bit more work as we finish some of the per cruise tasks.  Hopefully our luck will hold and nothing tremendous will happen.  I had three first call nights and not one night time phone call.  It wasn't all bad. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Ready for a night out to dinner.

 Sunrise over the Panama Canal.

The crowd waiting for the canal

My lovely family enjoying their Panama rolls.

The locks going back out.

Lock doors opening.

Panama Day

Today we passed through the locks of the Panama Canal. Then we anchored for an hour or soo within sight of the locks, weighed anchor, turned and went right back through them. Still pretty cool.

Ahhh...I think I may have figured out the trick with the whitespace again. 

It was an early day.  We rose before the sun and went out on the entry into the locks with a thousand of our closest friends.  Space at the rail was at a premium.  I tried to get some decent pictures but, with the kids and the crowds I don't think I will be winning any awards.  Maybe next time...or the next time...

Max got so tired he was laying on the deck trying to sleep.  So I took him back to the cabin halfway through the transit and let him pretend to sleep before revealing he was only really bored and wanted to watch TV or play some games.  Oh well, like I said, next time. 


Here are a few pictures.  This represents thirty minutes of upload time.  I will try to get more later. 

Sunrise over Ft. Walton Beach, FL


Max under some playground equipment at Half Moon Cay

Curacao during sail away

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


For some reason, the carriage returns I do to inject white space into the blog to improve readability have not been making into the published blog whenever I use this computer. Like this. Or this one. So sorry dear reader. I am trying. Perhaps when I return to civilization I will correct them. Until then, I guess I am just stuck with it. Today was a good day. Last night was a good night. That was the second night as first call where I didn't get one phone call all night. I am not afraid to jinx myself at all because: A-I am not supersitious and B- There is no way that is happening again anyway. So I will brag instead. It was a nice and relaxing day for the most part. Sarah and I even put the kids in club HAL and went to the gym. Good times. I still hate the treadmill though. Tomorrow is the Panama Canal and we arrive depressingly early. 0530 or 0600 with entry shortly after. We of course want to see it, so it will be early to bed tonight. We set the clocks back an hour after setting them forward an hour on the first night. So, I won't know what time it is. All of the crew have fallen in love with Michael and Max. Ayu, one of the cabin steward girls, told Max tomorrow she wanted a kiss. Suddenly Max was shy. Cute. We are figuring things out little by little. About the time we really feel like we are getting it, Sarah and the kids will be heading out. I just hope it means an easier transition on the next cruise. There certainly won't be much time to forget it. This is such an artificial reality they create here. It doesn't matter what day of the week it is, just is it a sea day or port day. You don't have to worry about doing dishes or cooking, but you must be very aware of what time it is so you know which uniform to wear. The rules are all there and everybody seems to know the unwritten ones except me. So I am just trying to abide by the written ones and I hope the unwritten ones I am told are correct. It will all wash out in the end. I keep promising pictures and I will deliver eventually. Promise.

Monday, February 18, 2013


Aruba. Today I was second call. However, the first call was the CMO, otherwise known as the crew doctor. So I had to be in the clinic for a good portion of the day so he could do his normal thing. I needed to be in here anyway, just to refresh some things. We pulled in to Aruba around 1300. Our LMO got off to catch a flight that will take her to San Diego for the LMO conference and our new temporary LMO arrived. Her name is Dale and she seems very friendly. I like her already. She is from Houston and has been doing this part time for 8 years. All the full timers and LMOs are headed to the conference. Since we arrived in Aruba at 1300 and I had to be in clinic at 1600, there wasn't a ton of time to get out and do anything. We managed to get out and get a fan for our room. Last night the swell got a little bigger and the ship rolled a little more. nothing too bad really, but it created a new noise where two wall panels bind against each other and then release for a wonderful creaking, scratching, 'WTF is that noise?', noise. So we got a fan. In our room, the hallway and messdecks noise can be a bit loud anyway. Oh yeah, and a bloody nose. Same thing happened to me on the Eurodam. The air below decks is so dry, I got a bloody nose for a few days, intermittent of course. Good times. Life on board can be frustrating at times. Something as simple as getting a cup of coffee or a sandwich can take forever. Lunch is tough with the kids, because it is buffet style. That means we take the kids to get their food and then one of us sits with them while the other gets food and then the other gets food, by which time the kids are already finished. Oh yeah, don't forget another trip for drinks. Ugh. And we are trying to learn who is who and who can help with things like excursions and information about, well, everything. It is still such a foreign world. So we got an hour or two on shore in Aruba. Then we went back and while I went back to the clinic, Sarah took the boys swimming in the pool while it was relatively quiet. Everyone that would normally be in the pool was ashore. So, it was a good, if frustrating day. We are progressing. It seems like we have been aboard for a long time, yet it is only day 4. Tomorrow we go to Curacao. I am first call, so I will see it from the ship. The kids spent a little more time in Club HAL today. They really seem to like it. I think they may need a little break from Mommy and Daddy. Michael got to see a real wild iguana today. He seemed pretty jazzed. Altogether I think it was good. Now, let me go see if that fan works. Hope my buddies are having fun in San Diego at the conference.

Sunday, February 17, 2013


OK, time to play a little catch up. We are on Zuiderdam. Day one was busy, as expected. Getting to know the new crew and trying to figure out how this thing works with a family on board takes time. Then there are the mandatory meetings and getting ID cards and laundry and figuring out who goes what, where and when. It was very tiring. Poor Max fell asleep at the dinner table, but I believe I mentioned that already. We did manage to get him up and awake enough to get the kids registered and introduced at Club HAL, the kids area. They seemed to like it and now continually bug us to let them go play there. Day two was Half Moon Cay day. So I sat in the medical bungalow while Sarah and the kids played at the beach. We avoided the worst of the sunburn. The kids had a grand time playing on the beach, the waterslides and the park equipment. Of course they did. Sarah was pretty tired keeping up, but I think she had a pretty good time too. Hard to not have a good time on a private Carribean island. I did get to see them for a bit, not all was work. It was crowded though, the Westerdam was there at the same time. Eventually we got back onboard and took off. I was first call and had to get back into the clinic. Using all that energy during the day, Max fell asleep at the table again. Poor little guy. Michael was buzzed and wanted to go to Club HAL. Max woke up and decided he wanted to as well. We let them for a few minutes. I had call all night and not one phone call. That just means that I will get stormed later on this trip. Call me a cynic. Today I was 'off'. Of course, the last nurse here was released before contract ended and left a few things undone that I had to make done. So I did get some office time today. I did my first voyage report for a voyage I wasn't even on. Yay me! There have been frustrations. Sarah is still getting used to such a drastic change. I am still getting used to the new MO's. I'm still feeling everyone out at this stage. I miss my buddys Mary and Kelli. Some day I hope to sail with them again. It will work out. One of the big things we were worried about hasn't yet been a big thing. We all snuggled right into the room. The kids are sleeping on two pool floaties covered in sheets and blankets on the floor by the bed. They just crash right out. It gets a little tight in there when we are all changing for dinner, but nothing too heinous. Good thing we are used to tight fits already. I took the kids up to the sports deck today to play basketball, tennis, soccer and several odd combinations of the three. It was fun. Sarah got to lay out for a few minutes. Tomorrow we get to Aruba. I am 2nd call and won't get out much. Sarah isn't sure how much she and the boys are going to get out. We will have to wait and see. One unfortunate turn is that each of my 3rd call days this trip are on sea days. Oh well, what can you do. The LMO here is a little tighter with control of the internet and I am a little tighter on time because Sarah and the kids are here. I will try to get some pictures up in the next few days. I have been planning on writing on the Touchpad to keep up the daily journal a little better, but the keyboard died and it is a pain to use without it. I foresee a cheap laptop in my not too distant future. Just something to write on and store pictures. Live and learn.