Around the World with Captain Mercer: at Sea

Around the World with Captain Mercer: at Sea

Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012

15* 00’S 37* 10’W Speed 18.4 knots, Course 202*T

I always go to the Bridge first thing in the morning, talk to the watch keeping officers and discuss any events of the night, Diesel configuration and any forthcoming navigational items that may be pertinent for the day. After reading the morning emails, I have a quick breakfast and then down to the Explorations Cafe (great coffee) and a meeting with our HESS auditors. We not only discussed the schedule for the day, but exchanged pleasantries about past events in our chosen careers. Shipping is an incestuous industry with relation to people and talking about where shipmates are and what they’re doing is always nice.

No inspections or meetings this morning, which makes a pleasant change and so I had some time to reply to guests’ letters. As soon as I came on board, I asked Eddie, the printer, to make up some ‘letter-headed’ Grand World Voyage stationary. Some people collect watches, others some sort of gadgets, Moi? I love fountain pens. I have 5 with me and there is nothing nicer than spending time with pen on paper. In fact, I not only write this electronic journal, but keep a written one going too. That one contains not only the sort of information you’re reading here, I also add personal thoughts about the day’s events and happenings.

Not only do I have the fountain pens, but a selection of sealing wax sticks, Clairefontaine paper and approximately 15 different colour inks. I don’t use my great-grandfather’s signet ring (which I wear), but seal the envelope with a stamp into the hot wax. The completed letter, even if I say so myself, looks wonderful.

Having finished my letters it was time to go the the Bridge and a chat with all the Deck officers. Discussions consist of any item that I or Friso, the Chief Officer wish to raise and anything that they, as individuals, wish to discuss. It is always a lively conversation and one can never tell what subject will be brought up. Then a walk around the decks; this has a two-fold purpose, I can do my ’rounds’ and see if there is any item that needs attention and secondly, it gives me a chance to stop and talk to guests.

The morning flies past and after lunch I have yet another go at the ever-present emails. When I first went to sea, the communications were either by morse code from the Radio Room, or snail-mail, a letter every few weeks was heaven, life was so much more simple in those days. With the advent of the internet, we are only a few seconds away, how times change.

Here’s a photo of ‘little’ Oliver, taken 4 weeks ago. Some of the guests on board have been asking, so I thought you might like to see him too :-)

Captain Jonathan

Captain Mercer is at the helm of Amsterdam’s 112-day Grand World Voyage.


Join the Discussion


  1. lewine January 19, 2012 at 4:23 pm - Reply


  2. David & Ardele Bond January 19, 2012 at 4:30 pm - Reply

    Many happy memories of our cruise on the MS Veendam inb 1997 and the MS Oosterdam in 2006.

    Lovely to see a picture of your grandchild Oliver.

    Kind regards

    Dave and Ardele

  3. Almuth January 21, 2012 at 9:58 am - Reply

    I am so glad you keep a handwritten, personal journal of the journeys you are sailing, especially a sailing like this World Cruise. Having these journals will enable your family, your children and grandchildren to be so much closer to you, your thinking, for many years to come. Having all written by your hand is actually as though you tell them personally!

  4. Sam January 22, 2012 at 3:02 pm - Reply

    Love the photo Dad!! Oliver says he’s missing his Gramps lots!! xxxxxx

  5. Liz January 25, 2012 at 5:45 am - Reply

    Enjoying the blog popsicle – love you hugely xxxxxx

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