Dick is up by 5:30AM, just as the sun is thinking about coming up. He gets a cup of coffee and is frustrated in his plan to get on line by the fact that cards are stuck in all of the public computers stating that the internet is offline due to geographical considerations! Wonder how long this will last?
After breakfast we attend a lecture on Greenland that is interesting. The speaker has a slide presentation on the seasons and people in Greenland. He also talks about the ice formations we may see. At 11AM the Captain, Hamish Elliott, and Chief Engineer, Magne Ohidieck, do a Q&A session. The questions are mostly good ones dealing with the handling of the weather concerns earlier in the cruse, security in places like the Middle East, the safety of the muster drill location being inside and what is being done to the Quest so she can go to Antarctica.
As far as the Muster Drill, the ship was designed for the passengers to muster in the dining room. The muster location is a place to keep the passengers safe, out of harms way during an emergency and as an absolute last resort a place to gather to board life boats. The dining room has been heavily fire proofed and there are hidden doors that lead directly to the life boats. Sounds good to us.
The Quest is being ice harden with steel plates on the bow and steel plates around the ship at the water line to protect against ice. It will be done to meet the maritime requirements for ships sailing in Antarctica and doing landings. We have been to Antarctica on both the 100 passenger Polar Star, an ice breaker, for 7 days with up to two ½ day landings or zodiac cruises a day for everyone and on the Regent Mariner, a luxury ship, for a 4 day sail-by with stormy weather on both trips.
We are not sure that the Quest, trying to do four one hour long landings a day for 5 to7 days to accommodate the 400 guests is worth the money. The sail-by on the Mariner was wonderful, but we ran from the weather so as to keep the ship fairly comfortable for the passengers. The luxury ships are not equipped with enough hand rails and anchored furnishing to stand 30+ foot seas or the high winds often encountered in the Drake Channel. Our bit of heavy seas on the way to Iceland proved that. Where as on the Polar Star we just plowed on through, adjusting the destination or landing site to work around the bad weather. The ship was set up for bad seas and safety.
It is also very time consuming to gear up for a zodiac ride and a landing. You definitely will have to be able to get out into the water and wade ashore at almost every site. We spent several hours at each landing site and at times that wasn’t enough! The zodiac rides will be more doable, but the gearing up is the same time consuming process. This is all different from a fly in landing where you do not have to gear up in high boots and waterproof clothing.
Mr. Ohidieck talks about the amount of water the ship can make each day, 600 tons (!) and various details about the ships engines. These go right over our head other than there is lots of redundancy on the new ships so hopefully they won’t wind up dead in the water somewhere.
We then return to the cabin to work on this blog and wait for our next feeding which we take at 1:15PM. We have discovered Martin, an American waiter, who is really good. We eat at his table twice today. Now we only have to kill two hours until we have a tour of the galley.
At 4:30PM we head to the restaurant to meet Chef Niels.
A perfect day at sea!