Friday September 12

Glacier spotting

Glacier spotting

We’ve been sailing south all day today – back through the countless islands that cling to the Alaskan Coast. They’re nice days, these days at sea, and this one was made all the nicer by clear skies and sunshine. But they don’t give a bloke much to write about.

Statendam in Skagway

Statendam in Skagway

I mean, earlier today we were overtaken by another big cruise ship (who knows what the hurry was) … and we ourselves overtook a huge barge loaded high with crushed and rusted car bodies (destined for meltdown in Vancouver, I guess) … and several of our group sighted dolphins playing in our bow-waves just before lunch … and my wife just told me she saw a huge splash further out (a whale, in her expert opinion) … and at around 2pm this avo we picked up some British Columbia pilots to help us navigate the Seymour Narrows (although I never saw those pilots climb aboard) … and somewhere on these high seas (if it hasn’t already happened) we must cross from Alaskan waters into Canadian (although I doubt that there’ll be any signposts) …

Heading ashore

Heading ashore

But none of these events qualify for more than a half-sentence – right? So allow me, instead, to summarise our journey thus far:

Since casting off its mooring lines in Vancouver late last Saturday afternoon, our floating-hotel-for-the-past-week has cruised 1930 nautical miles … at an average speed of 15.1 knots … although it’s capable of 20.9 knots if someone wants a race.

The mv Statendam is 719 feet long … 111 feet wide … weights 55,819 tons … and is pushed along by two 12000kW diesel electric motors … which, between them, burn up 72 tons of diesel per day.

Some 1286 passengers have been on board this week … along with 575 crew … and, collectively, we’ve used up 500 tons of potable water per day. (If you don’t know what ‘potable’ means, check your dictionary.)

At a briefing this morning, the cruise director shared with us the “Top 10 Silly Questions Asked By Guests This Week”:

10. A confused passenger standing near the stairwell asked, “Do these stairs go up or down?” (Umm, they actually go both ways …)

9. Someone else enquired about the TV set in their cabin: “Is the television satellite or cable?” (Imagine – a cable all the way from Vancouver!)

8. After watching the chefs demonstrate their culinary art, someone asked, “What do they do with the ice carvings after they melt?” (Duh!)

7. Another person, confused about the lifts, asked, “Do these elevators go to the front or the back of the ship?” (No, dear, they only go up and down!)

6. An inquisitive soul asked, “Is there fresh water or salt water in the ship’s toilets?” (Like, why do you need to know – and who wants to find out?)

5. “What religion are the people with the patches behind their ears?” (Ah, no religion, sir – they’re just trying to avoid sea-sickness.)

4. At the photo-gallery where pix taken of passengers are displayed, someone was overheard asking, “How do I know which photo is mine?” (Hey, lady, if you don’t know what you look like by this stage in life …)

3. As we crossed from one time-zone into another, someone asked, “Do we set our clocks back before or after we go to sleep?” (After, dear – just roll over and grab your watch and …)

2. When going ashore for an excursion, someone enquired, “Where is the bus for the Walking Tour?” (Come again?)

1. And finally, a question asked on every cruise: “Does the crew sleep on board?” (No, madam, a helicopter comes each night and picks them up and puts them ashore.”

TOMORROW: We disembark, kiss goodbye to the Statendam, and have the rest of the day at leisure in Vancouver – before a banquet dinner at the historic Steamworks Brewery in Gastown. So keep watching, folks …

Yours bloggedly – JOHN

P.S. If you want to leave a message for someone in our group, just click on ‘COMMENTS’ (or ‘NO COMMENTS’) under the title for the day’s blog, and type away! Make sure you say who it’s for and who it’s from – and don’t worry: we’ll make sure they get these messages. Also, if you want a better look at our route map and some of the photos here, just click on them and they’ll enlarge – magic!