INDEPENDENT PURSUIT ATLANTIC CROSSING 2018 (Part 5)
I had forgotten to change the hours on my iPhone and the alarm went off too late. Quick shower and headed for breakfast even though breakfast serving hours were over.
In a bind, a toast with Nutella and coffee will do. After all, I have enough reserves.
It has become a morning ritual now; after breakfast, up to the bridge, chit-chat with the crew a bit and send my Spot position. The “Admiral” had sent me an email saying that she had not received them yesterday and I sent a second one ten minutes later. My iPhone, although in airplane mode (or ship’s mode?) and without any cellular connection whatsoever, keeps its GPS working and it shows that we are at 41◦7.600’N and 55◦24.723’W.
Looking at the chart plotter, I noticed the AIS signal of the MV Maersk Batur, a large container ship. The AIS on the screen shows all the useful information of the vessel, like length, origin (Algeciras) and destination (New York), speed, heading, and range (about 12NM abeam our starboard). I could clearly see her at the horizon.
We are going at about 17.5 knots heading straight for the entrance of the Channel and the ETA in Antwerp, according to the ship’s computer is September 10 at 07:33. The Captain says we are expected to dock on the 11th at 06:00.
The weather today is overcast but the seas are calm, and it has rained during the night.
Back in my cabin which I think must be the only smoke free zone on board.
All these guys smoke like chimneys, in their cabins, in the mess, on the bridge.
Lunch today was delicious pumpkin soup followed by a rather tough piece of steak covered with garlic, mashed potatoes and eggplant. A tiny piece of pie concluded the meal.
It looks like this ship may be part of a relief mission of sorts to poor devastated Belgium that has been severely affected by a too hot summer. As a result, the typical Belgian fries (don’t you ever call them French fries in my presence) are getting in short supplies. Thankfully, we have several reefer containers on board filled with frozen fries. I don’t anticipate that we will be received as hunger liberating heroes when we dock but we can always fantasize…….
The afternoon was spent taking a nap first, then finishing my first book, going up to the bridge to check things out and then I started reading a John Grisham novel, The Last Juror.
During dinner Captain Aleksandr informed me that he had received a message from the agent in Antwerp telling him to inform me that I would have to present myself at the immigration office there. I told him that I had already made all the arrangements for my arrival. He also said that on the next westbound trip to Chester, PA, there will be a young Dutch woman as passenger. She will take over my cabin, which is the only passenger accommodation on this ship
We talked a bit about shipping legends like women or soldiers on board bring bad luck, never allow someone to stand near the ship on the dock with an open umbrella. He was not aware of the superstition that bananas on board also bring bad luck.
The Captain also told me about his life of four months on a ship followed by four months off, back in Croatia, and how he was so happy to work for Independent Container Lines. He had skippered ships for large corporations like MSC, Maersk, Cosco, but felt that ICL was by far the best company to work for.
20:30 Hours and I have sent out my last position of the day. The water is totally flat out there, but the air is getting colder as we make our way further out in the North Atlantic. The AIS on the chart plotter shows a cluster of vessels about ten twelve miles away but we cannot see them. The watch officer tells me these are fishing vessels on the New Foundland Bank.
Signing off for tonight.