Over the Tropic, Preparing for ‘Land’

The Now

Tranquil breakfast view!
Tranquil breakfast view!

The Tropic of Capricorn now a distant 3rd time memory, we are 180 nm directly west of San Diego, and just 325 nm (400km) to go to that big bridge and Oakland / San Francisco. We are scheduled to ‘hit’ the Golden Gate Bridge around 13h00 tomorrow!! Exciting man, and the guys tell me that the route in is just amazing for its views of Alcatraz, and San Francisco. We are going in to Oakland.

The wind is blowing 30+ knots, and with a 4 m swell and white caps the sea shows this strongest wind to date. We have cut speed down to 11 or so knots, as this is a requirement from 200 nm off the US West coast in ‘mindfulness’ of the Whales! Yippee the Anthropocentrics are weakening!

Also in that vein (or maybe not?): ‘We’ switched fuel from high Sulphur Heavy Fuel Oil to low (0.1%) Sulphur, Marine Diesel Oil. This was all done for environmental / emissions reasons. ‘Good boys’, but then I ask: “Why is it OK to pump out emissions in the Big Ocean, but when we get near land we ‘stop’”?

The Pacific Ocean floor is still pretty flat and some 4000 m under us but that will all change soon. The eastern face of the Monterey Canyon will soon be under us and there the ocean floor will very steeply rise up 1000 metres and then more gradually get shallower till San Francisco Bay entrance. Interesting I counted 10 ship wreck sites all around that Bay entrance area. It was obviously a treacherous place in the days before the precise navigation and good weather forecasts of today!

As for life on board I do pick up a tick up in crew morale, and I even commented to Singh the 3rd Officer about the obvious spring in his step!  The captain remains ever courteous and stable, telling me how a Captain is never happy until the ship is tied up!  Well do I know that hey! Celebrate too soon and Nature will teach you a lesson in complacency!

Tom, my 'Fellow' Aussie and South African mate! Life Jackets on again yesterday for Safety training
Tom, my ‘Fellow’ Aussie and South African mate! Life Jackets on again yesterday for Safety training

‘Us’ three passengers are so very different: Hardly seen Eric for days now, he said the dining room and people depress him, so not sure what that all means? Tom is as excited as hell to get on his motorcycle and start his big US Trip, and Howard has been living strange hours, writing and really enjoying the freedom of the prison, almost forgetting we will be in harbour soon! Eric and Tom get off in Oakland and I’ll be on my own to Long Beach.  Looking ahead I found out that the ship I’ll be on 23rd August back to New Zealand has both a sauna and indoor pool!  Don’t tell that Cruise Ship passenger who wrote that blog yesterday! It’s a slightly older ship, but otherwise similar size to Cap Capricorn, so maybe contrary to what’s happening in Society and the Cruise Ship world, modernisation in the containership world means less pleasure and happiness novelty!

The 10k Sunrise Run!
The 10k Sunrise Run!

I had been building up for the moment and yesterday I did a 10 kilometre run on the ship! Fifty minutes that started at first light and went through a wonderful sunrise. The dumbbell shaped course went from stern to bow, along the narrow gangway next to all the noisy refrigerate containers, and with two small ‘spiritual circles’ at the fore and after decks. Sixteen laps in all!

Well like everything in life: It’s all about attitude, hey!  I thoroughly enjoyed the time, and ALL it had to offer. Best of all my body in its many thankful reactions told me: “Boss, that was good, I feel so much better and can support you more on what you are trying to do!  And I hope we do more long runs like those we used to do a few weeks ago!” I’m really pleased with that full intensity breakthrough as now as I end this Pacific Crossing, I definitely feel that Container Ship travel is a viable and One Point Zero friendly travel option for me for the future.

As the going get tough, the tough do there job!
As the going get tough, the tough do there job!

The ship is rocking and rolling a bit more than anytime on this trip, and although nothing significant it did prompt me to ask The Captain if he every feels apprehensive about the integrity of a ship? I could see straight away he does, and he said: Yeah when there are 7 or 8 metre waves around and the ship is not going through the waves but up and over each one he does feel uneasy, not scared or anything like that just a ratchet up in concern and anticipation.

A wilder sea than we have had before
A wilder sea than we have had before
The radar showing the wilder sea
The radar showing the wilder sea

As I looked out over the windswept ocean standing outside on the Bridge level, wind almost full in my face, I imagined being out there alone or maybe with ‘one other’ I felt the intensity of the vulnerability of a small yacht, and mixed pangs went through me, eventually connecting me to the hard to describe need to be in that Grand Adventure. So the conflicts between doing armoured vehicle office work, or high intensity sailing work continue as turmoil within.

I imagine next ‘Now’ post will be just as we leave San Francisco on Thursday 14h00 USA Pacific Time.

 Finally you see it. That's 'The Porthole', the bottome little window of the two to the left of those big air intake screens on the back of the tower. Six stories up!
Finally you see it. That’s ‘The Porthole’, the bottome little window of the two to the left of those big air intake screens on the back of the tower. Six stories up!

1 thought on “Over the Tropic, Preparing for ‘Land’”

  1. Howard, a real treat following your wonderful journey out there on the vast seas. Thanks for the story, and for the many good ideas. Hope you had a good time yesterday in San Fransisco. Best,

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