Prior to arriving in San Diego, we have ‘Cook Off’ in our Culinary Arts Centre. It is held between the Brits and the Dutch and, as in a similar TV series, they are given a box of ingredients and have 30 minutes to cook ‘;something’. The judges are the Executive Chef, Petr; the Staff Chief Engineer, Robert and Moi. It was a well-attended affair with much humour and by the way, the Brits won, however it was a unanimous decision by all judges.
An early morning arrival, we make for an 0530 pilot and as a consequence I am on the Bridge at 5 a.m.; letting my eyes become accustomed and assimilating the navigation situation prior to arriving at the pilot boarding ground. A car-carrier is entering ahead of us, while 2 more wait at anchor for their turn to discharge their thousands of vehicles. Right on time, the pilot climbs the ladder and makes his way to the Bridge in the company of the Security Officer. I last called here regularly years ago, when I commanded the “Oosterdam” and the pilot is known to me from those days. We do a briefing, what we’re going to do and when, including the docking procedures; Thomas will be doing it today.
Into the buoyed channel, the vast Naval air base to starboard and military docks to port, into the bay and ahead of us, under the lights of numerous sky-scrapers, lies our berth.
We have approximately guests disembarking and much the same embarking. Not to mention the vast amount of stores and fuel we are scheduled for. We also have a CPB (Customs and Border Protection) inspection, having arrived from ‘foreign’ we all have to seen them. My day is filled with various matters while K1 and Hazel go ashore to buy all those things that they forgot to bring..How can you forget something when you bring 7 suitcases is beyond me.. 🙄
Various personnel from Corporate office also arrive, so my day is filled and sailing time comes upon me far too fast. We have our Emergency Passenger Muster for those new guests who joined and, unusually, the Coast Guard pay us a visit while we do so, As we religiously carry these out to the letter, they leave satisfied and the gangways are landed, on our way towards Hilo, Hawaii.
I write as we sail through a big 4m/12 feet swell and strong wind. There is a storm to the north of us, in its centre there are 12 metre swells, around 40 feet. Whilst our course to Hawaii doesn’t take us close to this, our ‘straight’ track would take us through 7m swells and as a consequence I route the Amsterdam south-west, the intention being to stay south and then ‘hooking’ under the worst of the weather. Thus far it is not too uncomfortable, although we are rolling somewhat, the stabilisers are working over-time.