December 3, 1995
Location: 52 20í South Latitude x 174 10í West Longitude Approximately 700 miles from New Zealand.
Today was the last hourly time zone change of the cruise. At Midnight,
we also skipped a day in preparation for crossing the International
Dateline at 180 degrees longitude As a result we skipped Monday and went
directly from Sunday to Tuesday. We will actually cross the dateline
Just when you think things are running smoothly, Murphyís Law seems to
apply. This morning on watch, we had just about every error message that
was possible displayed on our computers. It seemed like every bug in the
software metamorphosed on our watch. We had crashes for disk space, and
memory error, and plotter problems, and finally the whole system had to be
rebooted. It was a wild time for the computer people. We could only just
sit and watch, and record their progress on the watch log reports. By the
end of our shift, everything was up and running.
The ships engineers also decided to work on the toilet system on the
ship this morning while everyone was asleep. Everyone except the watch
standers. The bathroom systems are all interconnected by a special vacuum
system that helps remove wastes and uses much less water in the bowls. It
is not a good idea to have open containers of water sloshing around on the
ship. When one toilet has a problem, all the toilets have a problem. All
of the plumbing was repaired by the end of watch as well.
Two more problems happened as well. The plotter had a malfunction with
one of the pens, so that we were not displaying the appropriate contour
colors on the map. That was fixed. Last and certainly not least, there
was a minor ventilation problem, so we were overwhelmed by paint fumes
from the engine room at about 3:00 AM. It was a night watch where what
ever could go wrong did go wrong. Aside from those few incidents, the
remainder of the watch went smoothly and the day as well.
We had a brief taste of what mother nature could have dished out during
the whole cruise this morning. For about 10 hours were road through some
of the roughest seas of the cruise. Our progress was slowed by 3 knots to
under 8 knots. We were bashing through waves for most of the watch and
early morning. It was difficult to walk and stand, as the ship lunged
forward and aft, and rolled side to side. It was like a strange amusement
park ride, but none of us on board were amused. It was unusually quiet at
breakfast, as few ventured down from their bunks. It was easier to ride
the waves out in bead, so most people slept in late. By noon the seas had
calmed and we were back to normal,
The temperatures are above fifty degrees Fahrenheit now. It is almost
shirt sleeve weather on deck. It was a little overcast and windy today,
but it was very pleasant out on deck. On deck is a wonderful place to be
in these calm seas. The ocean seems to go on forever. The only thing
that breaks up the glassy ocean surface is an occasional small white cap.
We still are not quite close enough to land for birds to join us yet. We
have an occasional gull, but they are few and far between. I look forward
to our bird friends coming to visit again soon.
Our nights are truly dark now. The sun set at about 10:00 PM and did
not rise until nearly 5:00 AM. It is nice to be in a regular cycle of
light and dark, even if my work cycle is opposite to it. It has continued
to be cloudy at night, so stargazing is till just a wish. We have a few
more days at sea, I hope one of them gives us a clear night for gazing.