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Around the World with Captain Mercer: on the way to Easter Island

Captain Jonathan Mercer

Feb. 8-10, 2012

Wednesday, Feb. 8:

The swell has slowly reduced during the day and the wind, so long from the south-west has swung, initially gentle zephyrs from the north this morning and now 20-25 knots. We are recovering some normality after our days of storms; the pools are full again, (we had to empty them to prevent them slopping over the decks), we have eased our securing regime to normal, the open decks are accessible, (the relative wind necessitated our closing them off) and today we had our first hint of sun for many days.

Easter Island lies some 1,200 miles ahead of us and for the time being at least, the weather forecasts predict reasonable weather. Karen has continued her knitting and painting group ‘therapy’ 🙂 and I have had the chance to reply to several letters which I had received over the past few days and catch up with paperwork.

Thursday, Feb. 9:
750 miles from Easter Island. The day opened to cloudy weather and a strong northerly wind, we are heading into it, or almost.

Normality has returned, the sun breaks out around midday and the sun-worshippers find areas out of the wind to top up their tans. Their is still a long, low swell coming from the south of us and, perusing the weather charts, the storm off Chile is still raging, the swell is traveling thousands of miles and we are still feeling its effects, pitching gently, the majority of the ship’s movement being neutralised by the use of our stabilisers.

A busy day, dealing with on-board matters and ports of call, questions about ETA’s, future fuel bunkers, to name but a few.

There is a photo competition; guests have been asked to submit any photo taken during our Antarctica cruising and they will be judged by a panel. Some are magnificent, the competition and judging is going to be tough.

Friday, Feb. 10:
A sunny day even though the wind has yet to show signs of decreasing, the weather forecast predicts it will by tomorrow. We are 370 miles from Easter Island and the guests are eagerly anticipating tomorrow’s landfall.

There are 2 swells now, that pesky one from the south and another has appeared, this one coming from the west, both are reasonably low and movement of the Amsterdam is still quite reasonable.

I email our agent on Easter island. There are 3 possible tendering sites on the island: Hango Roa, which on the south-west side and near the main town; Anekana to the north and Hotuiti on the east. I really would like to know what the prevailing conditions are like there now, they are unlikely to change much in the next 20 hours. Once I know, I can choose where we should be heading for and therefore save valuable time were it be necessary to move around the island.

Last year, during her call, the “Amsterdam” had to go to the north end of the island, to Anekana, as opposed to the south-west side, where swell conditions were not at all suitable for tendering. The north side required some adept resolutions to the challenge of getting the tenders alongside a (virtually non-existent) pier. Let us hope that we will not require the same arrangement, however we are prepared for it should it be necessary.

I don’t expect to hear from the agent for a while, he may have to drive around the island before he gets back to me.

For some strange reason, yet to be explained to me, Easter Island is on the same time zone as the East Coast of the U.S., perhaps I’ll find out the reason for it tomorrow? As a result of this, sunrise is not until 8 o’clock in the morning, making our tasks more difficult due to lack of light…O well, I’m sure we will cope admirably…there’s nothing quite like a challenge 🙂

The salt spray has caked the superstructure and windows with a thick layer of salt, there has been little time (and little point) in trying to remove it until the conditions have subsided; today we can make a start.

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

1 Comment
  • Jennifer Butler

    Hello

    Your blog is such a wonderful discovery! Our daughter Emily is one of the librarians on your vessel and your blog gives us so much more information than she is able to communicate with her weekly internet card. I am glad the storm is over. I must admit that was a bit of a worry. We are so thrilled that she is able to see all the wonderful ‘far away places”, and be able to share her adventures vicariously.

    Thanks you
    Jennifer

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