Friday, January 21, 2011

Captain's Blog 1/21/11

I was gently awoken at three this morning by the ship's roll. I can't say I was surprised since the forecast was for a northerly wind. All day yesterday the concern over the wind had us thinking back at 2002 when we were last in Veracruz, when we were forced to delay docking a day. So, being awake I rolled out of the rack and took a peak out my curtains into the moonlit night. Where four hours earlier there was a slight sea with gentle breezes, now I could clearly see the seas had climbed to 6-8 feet, and the wave crests were wisping away in the force 7 wind. This did not promote a calming feeling, certainly nothing to allow me to go back to sleep.

Three hours later, and about five cups of coffee on the bridge, our concerns came to reality, as Veracruz Traffic informed us the port was closed. Of course the closure doesn't come with a planned time of opening, which must respond to the wind. So, there we were - what to do? Contingency planning was resorted to - in a matter of fifteen minutes we had dragged the department heads from their rooms and executed our only option - make Saturday Tuesday. In another 30 minutes the cadet divisional rotation was swapped, and as of now, at 0800, the day is shaping up to be any other training day.

Of course our flexibility is little solace to our young cadets who certainly had their hearts set on having liberty today. They have been at it full speed since 3 January, and probably deserve a day off, but as they prepare for some of the most rigorous careers in the United States, they are learning the valuable lesson of coping with that which is outside their control. Sometimes our most valuable lessons are taught to us be the sea and wind. That's why every graduate of Massachusetts Maritime Academy gains the seagoing experience.

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