I’m up at my usual 4am, sitting out on the balcony with my laptop having morning coffee.
We’re now at that particular part of our Pacific crossing where there is no ship traffic at all – the nearest point of land is about 1,400 miles away – complete darkness. The stars are so bright and so large you feel you can reach out and touch them. The only visible light out here is the reflection of my laptop – it’s a rather eerie feeling – if the ship went down at this point without lifeboats, you’d have your life jacket and a prayer – that’s it. You’d float out here for a few days before someone could potentially reach you. The last signs of life were the Japanese fishing boats we saw a couple days ago, but the chances of something like that happening are pretty slim. We’ve got a great Captain (same gentleman from last year) – excellent weather, and a sturdy ship. It’s all good – but human nature such as it is, you still wonder…what if?
Our visit to Easter Island last year was quite an adventure because of the local high seas and the difficulties we experienced trying to get passengers to shore (and back to the ship) safely. If you followed us last year, you may recall the encounter. If not, CLICK HERE.
In preparation for our visit this year, and according to the Captain, Holland America has already built sturdy pontoons (being stored below) that they will tow to shore and use as a dock to receive the passenger ‘tender boats’. Great planning! On Easter Island, there’s no place for a large ship to dock, and only two places to stop safely. Three years ago, the waters were so rough around the entire island that the ship had to pass it by and continue the voyage to Tahiti. Needless to say, there were many disappointed passengers. Last year was a real gamble because of the turbulent water, but our Captain decided to give it a try. While we had some injuries and damage to two of our life boats, nothing was real serious and at the end of our visit despite a few scratches & dents, it was an awesome day – a once in a lifetime experience!
We’ve been advised we’ll be landing again on the backside of the island – same location as last year. Cheryl and I are not doing a tour this year as we’ve already driven the entire countryside & seen all the statues. We plan to go ashore and spend the day on a small beach (next to some Moai statues) and pick up a few souvenirs for our neighbor boys (Jackson & Logan) who’re watching our home in Arizona. These are wonderful kids (young adults) – very responsible, trustworthy, and have great parents. We only hope we can someday repay the favor to them.
We now have a ‘slight’ case of norovirus on the ship – the Captain announced that a few folks came in contact with the disease someplace in South America but believes it’s contained – several folks are now quarantined in their staterooms and will remain until the doctor releases them. That’s one of the dangers of eating food while ashore in some foreign countries – sanitation requirements aren’t as rigorous as they are in the US – just glad these cases were discovered before they infected more passengers. All tables and public areas have been bleached, and the dining rooms have been ‘fogged’ to kill any germs that may have been brought onboard & deposited around the ship. We went through this several times last year, although much more severe. Hopefully this is it.