I think summer has really arrived in the Canadian Maritimes. We have had sunshine since the cruise started and if the weather forecast is correct we will have sunshine all the way to Montreal. It will come with fog of course and the occasional thunder storm but that is the price you pay for nice weather when you are a sailor and when you are in this area. Thus with very nice weather we docked in Charlottetown. There was not much we could see of the town until we were there as the island was surrounded by a white and very low hanging curtain. But once alongside the air warmed up and we looked at a beautiful day. No wind at all and that was good for my tender practice. Although the sailors have to learn how to maneuver tenders in windy and rainy weather; but for initial training, the calmer the weather the better it is. If there is wind then it will push the boat one way or the other. No wind and the trainee can immediately see what effect his/her actions have on the direction and behavior of the boat.
Even while it was nice weather the sailors were struggling with the tender today, courtesy of the current. We are docking in Charlotte town in the flow of one of the three rivers of the island; the three rivers, see one of my previous blogs, all meet just south of the harbor area. Today high water was at 09.55 in the morning and low water at 16.47 in the afternoon. This means that around high water the current changes from flooding to ebbing. It is never exactly at the same time, as the water has to come to a standstill and then turn and that also does not necessarily mean that the water level changes from going from up to down at the same moment.
Then when the tide has turned the current will slowly increase as the water starts to return faster and faster to the sea. Also that is not exactly predictable as it depends on the width of the channel, depth of the channel, obstructions in the channel or bends in the channel. While high water was predicted at 09.55, all of us in the tender could see that this published time was for somewhere down river as at the ship it happened at approx. 10.20. Also the flow built up much faster than should have been the case. There is six hours between high and low, so normally the maximum current velocity is around half way. Say between 13.30 to 14.00 hrs. But now it occurred one hour after high tide, we had 3 knots of ebb at 11.30 in the morning. Half an hour later it already became less fast. Why that is ?, that is a 1000 dollar question as every port is different.
I finished the training class for Lifeboat Handlers yesterday and today 20 dining room stewards graduated with good results. They are now qualified to be assistants to the lifeboat commander when it comes to lowering and operating a lifeboat. For lifeboat commander they need another certificate and that course is only allowed to be given shore side and by specialized trainers who do nothing else but “teaching lifeboat”.
The sailors will have a written exam tomorrow to show that they also know the theoretical requirements and then they will be qualified Tender Operators. This might be the last time that I am giving this course as it seems to be the plan to go to a standard training course for all the brands under the Carnival Umbrella and to give this course while the guys are still ashore in Djakarta and are attending our training school ms Nieuw Djakarta. Twice a hurrah from me as it means standardization and you get better focus when you set a complete week apart for it and don’t to have to do it between other work.
Tomorrow we are at sea and in the morning we will have some fun. I am organizing a practical damage control drill. That is hard to do on a ship as you cannot flood the inside; so I built a wall on the outside deck and put 5 fire hoses behind it. We will see some very wet engineers no doubt.
Expected weather on the river estuary: low fifties Fahrenheit / around 10- 12 degrees Celsius, sunny and a gentle breeze from the south west.