As you may know, Captain Mercer is an inveterate journal keeper, logging his daily activities for the private consumption of family and friends. When we prevailed upon him to write an occasional blog post, he cordially acquiesced and has been a very regular contributor to Eurodam News Blog. Today, he shares a bit of the private side of his life with us and, well, read on and see why he decided to draw back the curtain just a little today. — Ed.
We are on our way back towards Half Moon Cay, having had a lovely few days, excepting Grand Turk. There, the wind was a-blowin’ and docking was tricky. More so while we were alongside, because the wind shifted to our beam (90° on) and was doing its best to strain our lines and blow us off. Consequently, I had to start our Azipods and thrusters to hold her against the pier — this went on for two hours.
Getting out was just as tricky. The wind was still blowing and I was concerned as to whether I could go astern fast enough to ensure that we were clear of the reef, towards which the wind would blow us. I had a discussion with Emeil, my Chief Officer and second-in-command, along with the officers who would be at stations fore and aft. I intended to find out, before I left the pier, if I could hold the ‘E’ sufficiently upwind to avoid ‘falling down’ towards the reef.
The plan was to slack off our mooring lines sufficiently (and without letting them go off their bollards) and then see if I could hold her. If not, then I still had the mooring lines out and we could pull her back alongside. Having told the linesmen ashore what the plan was, we put it into action. Lines went slack, thrusters and pods pushed against the pier and the all-important anemometer was watched — 30, 33, 34 knots loomed on the screen and then, just when I thought we were stuck there, a sudden shift appeared nearer the bow and we were suddenly with less windage.
Without further ado (and a second to thank Him for the opportunity), we let go our lines. I had already started the ‘E’ going astern, even before the lines were inboard, as there was not a second to waste. With the power being used, she ‘leapt’ out of the slot and by the time our bow passed the pier, we were doing 5 knots. Thank goodness for Azipods and their responsiveness and ability to go astern as well as ahead. I doubt whether a conventional-drive ship could have done it.
Since then, the remainder of the cruise has been uneventful except for me, for I have the pleasure of having my two daughters, Samantha, (Sam) and Elizabeth, (Liz) on board. They are both adults now, of course, however, no matter how old they are, we dads know they will always be our ‘babies’.
Sam on the left, Liz on right.
Sam is married and her husband, Antony (Ant) is with her, Liz is single (for the time being), however, she has her long-term boyfriend, Lawrence, with her. They live in England and although I see them as often as I can, having them with me is a wonderful experience.
In San Juan, from left, Liz, Lawrence, Sam and Ant.
I wrote earlier that the cruise was ‘uneventful’. Well, this is not quite true, for while walking through the Old Town of San Juan, Lawrence appeared somewhat preoccupied. Eventually he dropped back alongside me and in a nervous voice, asked my permission to ask Liz for her hand in marriage. Of course I gave my blessing without a thought, Liz, oblivious to it all was window-shopping without a care in the world.
That evening, the four of them went ashore for a meal. To cut a long story short, Lawrence managed to find a romantic park near the restaurant, and taking Liz aside, went down on bended knee. Just as he did so, one of the many ‘homeless’ people in San Juan, appeared from nowhere and, having seen the innocent tourist on his knee, decided at that moment to run up to them and ask for a ‘contribution’. For once Lawrence was at a loss for words, but he ‘politely’ told the man to go away while he conducted more important business.
Liz accepted and when they came back to the ‘E’, we all laughed our heads off about the incident. I had asked Murat, our Beverage Manager, to have a bottle of champagne at the ready, which was perfect for the occasion. As I was ‘driving’, a sip and a toast was all for me and then I left them to it.
As an addendum, Liz spent the day in St. Thomas looking at diamonds and rings, in the company of Sam. We sailed at 5 o’clock, but by 4:30 Liz had a ring set and ready, and her left hand has been prominent ever since. 🙂
What, not the left hand again!