Friday, September 16, 2011

The Door Slams Shut – Have A Nice Day!

Map picture

Today is our sixth day of a scheduled four day crossing of the North Atlantic, and I still have no idea when we will once again make landfall.

When I wrote yesterday, I explained that in advance of Hurricane Maria, the Captain was pushing the ship at maximum speed towards the little port of St. John’s, Newfoundland in the hope that we could enter the harbor before the storm arrived. At that time, the Captain promised that he would update the situation by late afternoon.

Late afternoon came and went with no word from the Captain. I figured that was not a good sign, and my intuition proved to be correct when at 10PM the Captain addressed the entire ship once again. As incredible as it sounds, once a formal hurricane warning was issued for the area including St. John’s, the Port Authority closed the port to all traffic, and basically told us to go take a hike. If I could read anything into the Captains remarks, he was incredulous at this action. This left him with very few options. The closest port to St. John’s was the harbor at Sydney, Nova Scotia. However, the Captain had determined that even running at maximum speed, the eye of the hurricane would reach us by around 4pm tomorrow, well before we could seek shelter at Sydney.

And so, regretfully he was left with only one option. We are proceeding at maximum speed south and east back into the North Atlantic in an attempt to circle around the storm at sea. The Captain has said that for a storm of this size he wants to be 300 nm from the eye, and he will do his best to achieve that distance, but it all depends on many things. During the late afternoon yesterday, Maria had picked up speed and was now moving northward at almost 60 mph.

I guess we are going to be in for yet another rough ride, so I am going in search of a fresh bottle of Johnnie Walker Black before we start the battle.

I’ll keep everyone up to date, but not to worry. I have no doubt that we will be safe on the ship. It is more a matter of comfort, and unfortunately it is causing us to miss many of the ports we had hoped to visit.


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