Saturday, January 19, 2013

Captain's Blog 1/19/13

We arrived at the Southwest Pass of the Mississippi River this morning at 0700. Clear skies, but still very cold. At this writing, the bright sun is warming us up.

Our pilots today include one of our alumni, Alan Vacha, who is an apprentice. Coincidentally his brother Eddie is a mate on board, and his mother works as a steward's assistant for the deck department. Also joining us for the transit is a member of the Crescent River Pilots, a state group, but he is here as a courtesy because his daughter is a deck cadet (from Texas Maritime Academy). It's like old home week up on the bridge.

The Mississippi River is a lesson in and of itself for the deck and engine cadets. Eight straight hours of helm and engine commands as we work our way up the river. The river also has a unique navigation system, using mile markers (just like driving down the Florida Keys) atop major docks, pipeline crossings and oil refineries. Unique to the shipping world, they use statue miles as opposed to nautical miles.

We'll be alongside our dock at the Governor Nichols Street Wharf at about 1600 today. Ship's crew and select cadet officers will be permitted ashore as a bonus to the early arrival - but most will have to wait until 0800 on Sunday to find their way down the gangway. But they will have cell phones...

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