Monday, January 16, 2012

Captain's Blog 1/16/12

TIME 0700 LT, 1200 GMT
LAT 13-51N
LON 77-42W
C 209
S 12K
RPM 55
SKY 1/8
PRES 1017
AIR 78/74
SEA 80

We had a very nice Sunday-At-Sea yesterday. A great deal of food, plenty of sunshine and only one passing shower. The ship's ride could have been better, but we are encountering the winter trade winds, and those easterlies just stand up the swell. The KENNEDY is a good riding ship as it goes, but does not like the quartering swell. Add to that our reduced speed, and it'll cause you to bump into a bulkhead occasionally, and learn to hold on.

The NFL Playoffs this past weekend were a hit. About 14 years ago the Board of Trustees authorized the President to buy a satellite TV system for the training ship. I recall that it was over $25,000 at the time! But is has been very useful in keeping the cadets and crew entertained while at sea. We once thought that it would attract crew so as to watch 24-hour news, weather channels and movies - yet I have observed that it is under subscribed until a sporting event is on. Honestly, you can walk by any of the five TVs that have service and often no one is watching.

We are at our 24-hour notification point for the Panama Canal. When we arrive at Cristobal tomorrow, we will be subject to a thorough inspection by the administration to make sure that we are carrying no cargo, nor have we changed any configurations that would modify our gross tonnage. Then we wait - although we will be informed as to the approximate time of transit, it is always a waiting game. We are hoping for a daylight transit one way or the other, as this does allow a better appreciation of the beauty of Panama, as well as the marvel of engineering that it is.

To see the massive earthen steps bordering each side of Gaillard Cut in Culebra is amazing, or the new bridge built ten years ago with a 270 vertical clearance. And the most exciting thing to see in daylight will be the new excavations at Gatun and Miraflores where new 'modern ' locks are being built - over 1200 feet long and 160 feet wide! By late 2014 some much larger ships will ply the Panama Canal. More tomorrow.

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