INDEPENDENT PURSUIT ATLANTIC CROSSING 2018 (Part 2)
Breakfast is served in the officers’ mess from 07:30 to 08:30 and I went down the four decks to get whatever I still could get. Emilio, the Croatian cook, told me that I could come and eat whenever I wanted and prepared me a nice omelet with bacon. I toasted some bread and found my preferred contraband on board, Nutella! Thank Goodness, I can burn all these calories off by running up and down the stairs. Well, maybe “running” is a bit of an exaggeration, but it is still a good exercise.
The sea is totally calm and there are puffy clouds. We are on a 055.8◦ course going about 15 knots SOG and paralleling the coast but without sight of land. Tomorrow morning, around 09:00, we will turn further east and head 068.7◦ towards Europe.
The Third Mate, Edwin Borbon, a very nice Filipino guy, is standing watch by himself and happy to shoot the breeze with the only passenger on board. He will be showing me the ship and guide me through the safety briefing after lunch when his watch is over.
I stand on the outside bridge and activate my Spot to send the second position to my wife and friends. Last night, before our departure, I did send the first one as a test.
Until now, I have seen only one cargo ship in the far distance and a smaller powerboat, probably fishing, about six miles away.
Time for lunch and I descend the eight flights of stairs to the officers’ mess where I meet yet another Croat officer, Engineer Vedran Francickovic. The menu consisted of hearty soup followed by chicken breast with boiled potatoes and a “medley” of Mediterranean vegetables drowning in a pool of olive oil.
Time to go back to the bridge to admire a bit more the view from up there before I have to meet the Third Mate for my security briefing. The officer standing watch is only too willing to chat. During the day the watches are four hours long and only need one person (talking about single handed sailing a huge cargo ship) and it gets a bit boring. At night, two people are on the bridge to keep things safe.
Two small speed boats are about two miles away, probably fishing, but they remind me of the picture of the Somali pirate boats in the Captain Phillips movie.
Thank God we are far, far away from any pirate infested waters. A bit later a large pod of dolphins appeared on our starboard side, about half a mile away, swimming in the opposite direction. From high up here, we get a great view of them.
One o’clock and time to go down to the first deck for my security briefing.
We go over the sound signals (general alarm: seven short blasts, abandon ship: repeated one short blast followed by a long blast), my position at the muster station (number 22) in case of an alarm or evacuation, the location of the firefighting equipment, of the life rafts and of the life boat. He then shows me the rest of the amenities on board. We even have a (very) small swimming pool aboard in the hobby room. They fill it up with sea water but. when empty, it doubles as a small basket ball court with only one hoop.
The rest of the hobby room is filled with a ping pong table, a stationary bike, some weights and one single pair of boxing gloves (go figure).
Time for a nap. The previous long night has me still exhausted and a two-hour sleep gets me ready for the five-thirty barbecue event on the aft deck.
The smell of the grill five decks below seeps into my cabin and wakes me up.
When I get there, the Filipino crewmembers are already putting their food on the grill while the Croatian officers and the only Ukrainian on board, the Third Engineer, are having beers and smoking cigarettes. I join them for some small talk and wait for the Filipino crowd to thin a bit around the grill, then pick-up a T-bone steak, a hot sausage and two skewers of veggies and start cooking.
The meat is of really high quality and absolutely delicious. The Captain finally also shows up for dinner but sticks to himself.
After a few beers and a small piece of pie, I climb back up to the fifth deck and my cabin to digest and to write down some more of my impressions. I already sent my Spot message out to the satellite while the food was grilling.
I am finally able to connect to the Internet and received an email from my “Admiral”, Mila. The Internet connection is extremely slow and it takes several minutes for the typed answer to be transmitted. We will see tomorrow if she gets the message. I am also not sure yet that the Spot transmissions have reached their destination.
Unfortunately, not much of a sunset tonight.