It is only a quick hop from Avalon to San Diego. The main part of the operation is to sail safely by the approaches to Long Angeles and Long Beach and then go straight south until we can make the turn and line up for the entrance into San Diego Bay. This is a very sheltered harbor hence the navy has established a major base here with enough space to get the big carriers in. While we were there, there was one at the dock on the opposite side, completely stripped of everything, so I assume it was going through one of these refurbishment programs for repair and updating with the newest gadgets.
We were in port together with the Disney Wonder which was docked to the north of us. With 700 guests leaving and coming it was a bit of a mixture day of regular port call and embarkation day. That gave housekeeping a bit of a challenge as it uses the Guest lifts to transport the suitcases and with another 1300 guests having a regular day, you cannot simply block everything off. But with a little bit of extra traffic control to keep the guests out of the blocked off lifts it all worked out just fine.
The day turned out to be warmer than expected and on the outside decks it was a nice and warm, not a hot day, but a nice and warm day. So I grabbed the chance to be outside. I have blogged about it in the past but also here on the Nieuw Amsterdam I am carrying out a structural inspection for the Captain of the ship. The ship is now 7 years old and our crew can sometimes be very creative in utilizing spaces everywhere and not always the space that they favor is the right space for what they favor it for. Plus the ship goes through storms and basically moves all the time and that takes a toll on ceilings and insulation as well. You can see it when there is an earthquake, how many houses develop cracks and have ceilings come down. A ship experiences an earthquake = storm about every two or three months. It is built for that but it does take its toll.
So I am doing a sweep of the whole ship. It being a big ship with many lockers and compartments, it will take me about 10 days to get everywhere while still doing my other work as well. Holland America instigated this program about two years ago and the great advantage is that you might come across something now that only needs a little bit looking after instead of having a real problem a few years down the road. A lot of walking is involved but on a nice sunny day it is not too bad to walk around a beautiful ship and to see that everything is in good order.
With the Disney Wonder on our port side, we had the USS Midway on our starboard side. I always try to encourage the crew to go and have a look there as it is nowadays not easy to get on board the large Navy ships anymore. When I was a junior in the 80’s, it took no effort what so ever to get on board, as long as you were in uniform, (or the group had at least one uniformed person with them) and it was not during meal times. Most Navy people are very proud of their ship and try to show you all of it and with an air craft carrier that can take quite a while. Once I had it that a Provision Officer had been assigned as tour leader of my little group of Deck and Engine officers and a gaggle of Ladies from the Shops and Casino. While we were going around it turned out that he was using us as an excuse to take us to areas which were normally off limits for him. Most of the crew that we passed found it very interesting to see girls in high heels and miniskirts stepping through watertight doors and poking their noses everywhere. So we had no shortage of experts willing to explain how everything worked.
But things are more complicated now and also more regulated and you have to wait for Navy Days or Fleet week to get somewhere. But the USS Midway is right on our door step and as crew you get a VERY GOOD discount.
For the coming two days we will sail along the coast of California first for a short time the USA part and then for two days the Mexican part until we arrive in Cabo San Lucas. Weather looks good, sunny and with following winds.