Thursday, January 31, 2013

Captain's Blog 1/31/13

Our departure from San Juan today has taken a planned yet unpredictable turn. We needed to load ship's fuel - called bunkers (and term not-so-evolved since ship's loaded coal be shovels) - about this time. In most ports today the bunkers are brought to the ship by tug and barge, so where you moor is not too important. Since loading bunkers is a critical engineering function, we try to plan it to occur during a maintenance day so more cadets can be involved, than if we did it during a port day when most cadets are on liberty.

But the twist was we had to leave the dock in the wee hours of the morning because of a pier conflict - you might recall I mentioned that when we switched ports from Nassau. So for most of the ship's complement - they went to sleep alongside the dock, but woke up to see the ship at anchor. We sailed from the dock at 0200, and were safety anchored across the harbor by 0245. Kind of an interrupted night of sleep, but that's the brakes of working aboard ship.

We will load about 750 metric tons of fuel - which is about the amount we have burned since we departed Buzzards Bay. Departing with a full tank, we will be at about 50% when we get back. I don't even want to think about how much money it costs! But that is the cost of this very important evolution to the students of MMA.

The weather in San Juan continues to be unpredictable - with occasional showers that interrupt extremely warm sunny days. We'll be underway this afternoon and head for Montego Bay in Jamaica. That is a new port for me - and for most of the ship's crew.

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