Monday, October 19, 2009


Jane and I are alive, thank you very much, though for a while it was questionable whether we would survive the Nor’easter that the captain of our ship insisted on sailing through. We lost the Newport, Rhode Island port due to the weather. The captain made an announcement that I will try to re-create here. In case you aren’t good at figuring out accents, or in case I do a crappy job, I will tell you that the captain is Italian. Here was the announcement:

“Yes-ah, Ladies and Gentlemen, I-ah have to announce-ah that the-ah Harrrbor-ah Pilot-ah has just been on the sheep-ah. Un-ah-fortunately, we have-ah concluded-ah that it eez not safe to-ah enter the-ah harrrbor at theez time. Therrreforrre, theez will be-ah a sea day. A rrevised-ah itinerary weel be deliverrred to yourrr-ah staterrrrroom momentarrrily. I do-ah rrregrrret this dee-cision, but-ahhhh must poot passs-engerrr safety firrrst.”

Jane and I didn’t mind losing Newport, Rhode Island. And the day at sea was nice, unless you happened to be bothered by mildly rough seas. We played “Passenger Feud”, which is just like Family Feud, except the teams are made up of whoever happens to join together. Our team won, of course, and we jumped up and down with excitement as we were handed our signature baseball caps. (Ugh.) We took a line dancing class and learned the Electric Slide (which I already knew), the Achy Breaky Heart and the Boot Scoot Boogie. We are all set for the Country Hoedown. Then Jane played Bingo while I went to the Spa for a hot stone massage.

When I got to the spa, the check-in girls told me that I could not change clothes in the locker room because there had been “an incident”. I asked, “Was it a murder? I believe that my friend and I could solve a murder.” The girl said no, there had been no murder. Somebody just threw up. So, I changed in the shower room and carried my clothes with me. When I got to the waiting area, everyone who was there before me had the little wristlets with locker keys. Everyone who came after me had the little wristlets with locker keys. I must have arrived in the 3-5 minute window where the ship’s crew was cleaning up the locker rooms. Anyway, my massage was okay. It was really a Thai massage with some hot stones thrown in for flavor.

Last night was formal night, so Jane and I put on our fancy clothes. We had made a reservation at Sabatini’s, a restaurant on board that you pay a little extra for. You pick the main course only. Then they bring out 14-16 appetizers which you can try all of, or part of. Incredible. It was really good. After dinner, Jane went to the casino and I went to see a comedian. The comedian was not that great, so I left and went back to the room. That was when the real fun began.

The seas had become increasingly choppy as the day went by. When I got in the bed, I could really feel the swells. The ballast in these huge ships is really great, so when you feel the ship moving, you know you have some extremely choppy seas. Then the ship began a series of shudders and moans. At one point, there was an extremely loud BANG as if something had broken off the ship. At moments, the ship would tilt a bit to one side. I found myself expecting the ship to roll over on its side into that rough ocean.I tried to imagine what it would be like, whether water would immediately enter my cabin or whether I would have any time to prepare. Then I had a moment of two of sheer panic, where ideas raced through my head, one after another. It kind of went like this:

“They said to wear warm clothes in case you have to abandon ship. Should I put some warm clothes on now? Which shoes should I put on? My tennis shoes wouldn’t provide much protection from the cold water but my boots might weigh me down. Maybe I should put my life jacket on. Should I take a life jacket to Jane in the casino? What if I am on my way to the casino with her life jacket and she comes to the room looking for her life jacket and the ship rolls over at exactly that moment? Should I get my phone out and try to call my family just in case the ship is about to go down? Who do I want to talk to? What if I make them panic for no reason? Which clothes would protect me most from the cold water? Should I wear fleece? Should I put my raincoat with the warm lining on? Where is Jane? Why doesn’t she come back to the room? Can she even feel this movement down there?”

This nonstop panic thought went on for a few minutes, then I simply burst out laughing. Jane finally came back. She said that when her stool turned over in the casino, she decided that it was time to go back to the room. We both tried to go to sleep but it was terrifying. Each time the ship rolled into a tilt, we both said “Ahhh!” I just can’t figure out why the captain kept sailing in the storm. There had to be a back end of the storm, like in NYC where we started maybe? Why didn’t he just sail the ship south until he got the back of the storm? Who knows?Anyway, we both finally went to sleep. This morning we woke up in Boston with blue skies and pretty weather, maybe in the 50’s.


jonesnori said...

Wow. That sounds really scary, particularly since you normally don't feel the seas. I'll bet there were a few more "incidents" over night, too. I'm glad it was just scary and not actually harmful, and you're out the other side.

OyaSophia said...

It was terrifying. We learned today that the loud BANG we heard was something on the deck above us breaking. But it isnot a critical piece of equipment, the captain said. So we are fine. Today we rode around Boston on a trolley. That was fun!