Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Not so Happy Sailing

The Carnival Triumph is floating aimlessly around in the gulf. This is the same ship the Lovely Belle and I took our first cruise on some months back.  I was a bit disappointed that the ship had a jet propulsion stabilization system in it. I wanted to feel the roll of the ship under my feet.  But then, I grew up on the water and around boats.  It doesn't feel right for a vessel to do nothing but shudder when you know you should be feeling the motion of the ocean. As evidenced by the number of our shipmates donning anti-chumming patches under their earlobes, I was apparently in the minority.
There is no sicker feeling than having your engine crap out on a boat.  (assuming you have no sails*)
I've broken down in shallow water. I've broken down in deep water.  The deep water break down was 30 miles out in the Pacific while Marlin fishing.  Needless to say, we didn't get a Marlin that day. Nonetheless, our crew got a nice tip for managing to breath enough life into the pile of rust that served as an engine to get us back to shore.  Here's a pro-tip for those considering hiring a boat to do some fishing in Mexico.  Life jackets are not mandatory on Mexican boats like they are here in the States.  We bring our own.  I don't know how long a Mexican fishing captain or his deck hand can tread water, but they seem to have a supreme faith in their abilities.  I'd be willing to bet it is less time than it will take for my life jacket to get waterlogged.**
The Gulf of Mexico is a very harsh mistress.  Storms can brew up rapidly and the waves stack up very tall and very close together.  Boats either capsize or their hulls fail and break up.
The Carnival Triumph, as huge as it is, being dead in the water in the Gulf is no small thing.
Reports are coming in about how filthy the conditions have gotten. The anti-chumming patches only work "so well".
 First they were going to tow it to Progresso, Mexico and off load the passengers to be flown back home.  Problem is they'd be towing a 6 story hotel against the prevailing winds, so they decided to ride the horse the way it was going and opted for, wait for it,...Alabama.
Welcome to your final Tropical Destination!   Sunny  Overcast and Rainy...ALABAMA.
You have to read that last line in your best British female accent because all the PA announcers are female brits.   They have a unique announcement delivery that is hard to describe.  It's sort of "I'm excited / I'm bored out of my gourd / I don't believe a word of what I'm saying, but I'm sure these  fat pasty faced american tourists will buy it because I have a british accent.   Well then. That wasn't so hard after all. I do believe I nailed it.
Belle and I had our cruise experience.  We decided next time we'd just fly down to Cozumel and party.
I'd perfected this vacation protocol many years ago, driven by the madness of family driving vacations across the whole freaking country.  Fly there, get luggage, check in hotel, go to bar, or go to beach with bar, vacation started. It ain't the getting there, it's the being there.
The ship is, and I apologize in advance,  fucking boring.

Oh, one more Pro-tip for you.  If you get stuck at sea on a Carnival ship and it totally effes up your vacation, or you lose a limb, or you die, you can sue. Yay!  One little complication. Under the terms of the contract you signed...you did realize you signed a contract...right?  No? ok, well never mind. Anyway, you will have to travel to Alaska to bring your lawsuit, and there are severe limitations,  under the terms of your contract to the compensation you can, potentially, receive.
Fine print is a bitch. Especially when you are already partied up as you board the ship.
As a back up plan, I suggest signing your dog's name on the dotted line, with your weak hand.

* With a favorable wind, a collapsed bimini top will sail an 18' Mako center console fishing boat all the way across a bay.  The dead outboard does not make a "fine" rudder, but it works, sort of.
Some 3 or 4 foot sticks and some bunji chords would have come in handy, but hindsight is 20/20. Holding the backside of a bimini up to catch the wind for a couple of hours gets a bit tiring.
Also, always, always pack the cooler like you are making Shackleton's Voyage, even for a 20 minute joy ride.

** Frankly this is a moot point. Anything floating on the water in the Pacific casts a shadow down through the water.  Fish tend to congregate around these shadows. The sharks orbit a few yards outside.


  1. I've never been on cruise, I was trying to talk the wife into going on one of those "Cruise To Nowhere". She was resistant due to the fact that you are trapped on board. In light of this (and others) vessel becoming disabled, I think flying down to FL and spending 2-3 days in Key West will address that travel itch much better. Aside from something taking out the 7 mile bridge, I can always bug out if the situation becomes less that hospitable.

    1. Key West is a blast. Very much an "adult" venue though.

  2. You never told me about the bimini sailing experience in the Mako...... :)

    Wow, I really DID marry McGuiver!!!

  3. You know, Placencia was pretty nice... right on the beach, surrounded by water, but, barring a major natural catastrophe, it couldn't sink into the water...

    1. If you don't give Algorzeera copious amounts of money to fight global worming...it could.


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