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09 October 2017; Pacific Ocean off Mexico.

Today the ship had to generate its own wind as the Pacific Ocean was really pacific, really peaceful. There was not even a gentle breeze blowing during the day; flat calm as we call it and only the long and low rolling swell prevented the sea from being as a mirror. This swell came from two directions, from the North West indicating past mayhem close to the Gulf of Alaska and from the South West, indicating a less peaceful area of the Pacific Ocean.  But here it was quiet, very quiet. The only thing which brings a little thought of concern is this SW swell that is running, if it runs just under the wrong angle it might enter the port/bay of Huatalco. Not that it will prevent the ship from going there but it might mean that the Nieuw Amsterdam will ride along the pier and that will result in a moving gangway. And moving gangways makes the security officer very unhappy as it increases the chance of accidents.

This part of the coastal sail-a-long is not that exciting. Yes the weather is nice, we can see the shore line, but there is not much activity. For wildlife we have to wait until we are past Puerto Chiapas. Then we will get the starlings and the brown boobies circling around the ship and we most likely will see large numbers of turtles in the water or tortoises (I never know which is what). Turtles swim on the surface and they do not go very fast, not on land and not at sea. They are not a danger to us and we are not a danger to them as they bob up and down like a cork in the ships bow wave and are just pushed aside by it.  I once sailed through a raft (?) of turtles and had about 50 on either side and it was just amusing to see a hundred brown/black corks bobbing on the sides of the ship and never coming close to danger. Their biggest danger is garbage, either in the form of small plastic pieces which they eat or large plastic pieces and nets in which they get entangled.  I am very happy that Holland America already has a zero overboard policy for a long long time, which prohibits anything from going overboard.

My company was the first cruise company who really made this a point of policy. Under Marpol law there were already grave restrictions of what you could dump overboard but it was never a 0% rule. So HAL did that it’self and went very strict, so strict that it even included cigarette buds. We even had crew members fired over this, as they were slow on the uptake of understanding the fact that it also applied to them personally. Now we are 25 years down the road and we recycle about 90% of what comes on board and the rest is processed shore side. The only thing we still do is feed the fishes on occasion. If we cannot burn, dry or compact food we still provide a feast for those living under water and thus they get a bit of an exotic boost to their regular diet.

We do the same with water; by the time it goes back it is as clean as when it came on board. It are just the health rules that prevent us from recycling the water for our own use, in the same was as they do on board a space craft. The technique used there is not much different than what we have on board, it is just smaller. So galley water, shower and sink water and toilet water all gets processed before the filtered water is returned to where it came from. Although we load water in most ports; once at sea we mainly use seawater which we convert into fresh water by means of evaporators which work on the excess heat produced by the main engines.


A diagram indicating how our exhaust gas cleaning system works. The final left over ends up in a sludge tank. Some ships dry the sludge and compact it into bricks before giving it ashore for further processing or it is pumped ashore directly, which is something we do.

The latest technology we now have available are scrubbers; which are a sort of washing machines which filtes out all the soot from the exhaust gases. This is a fairly new technology for the shipping industry and we are at the fore front of having it.  It is one of the reasons that you see less and less colored smoke coming from our ships funnels.  The old days when ships were bellowing smoke while sailing down the river are completely gone. But then in those days everything smoked. From the oven in the kitchen to the steam train at the station. Not to mention that nearly the whole male population also sent smoke plumes in the air on a continuous basis. Holland America also has a Quit Smoke program for its crew but that is a different story.

Tomorrow we are in a resort port which listens to the wonderful name of Huatalco de Santa Cruz and is set in a natural bay in the coast line. It is supposed to be a wind still day, with a chance of showers and temperatures around 77oF or 25oC. There being no wind might make it feel a lot warmer between the mountain ranges so a bit of shade might be a appreciated bonus.

Housekeeping notes:

Some readers have advised that they do not get the automatic notification anymore. The computer experts are looking into it, some links have been replaced but the cause is still being investigated.

I have updated the captains sailing schedules on the blog, which is now up todate (Subject to extremely much change) until the end of 2018. The company has appointed two new captains and their bio’s should be on line in a few days.



  • Greg Hayden

    Link from Ships Nostalgia today Crankshaft exchange on the MS Zaandam cruise ship

    ALE Heavylift performing a crankshaft exchange on the MS Zaandam cruise ship in Uruguay. The old crankshaft was replaced with a new crankshaft, weighing 7.5t, using jacking and skidding techniques.

    11 Minutes 14 seconds Time Lapse video

  • sandra hutchins

    Has Hal chosen a captain for the Neiuw Statendam yet?

  • Victor Eichorn

    Hello again Captain Albert. Today, I did receive the daily email once again, so perhaps the computer experts have fixed the problem. Thank you for pursuing this with them.

  • Captain Albert

    Thank you for reading my blog.

    No the company has not done so yet. No doubt there will be an announcement in the near future as the newbuilding
    is gathering pace to such an extent that officers will be assigned in the near future. To oversee and support the
    fitting out process.

    Best regards

    Capt. Albert

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