June 1st

We pushed back from the dock in Pusan at around 0200 and we are slowly moving through a heavy fog so there is nothing to see or talk about. Visibility is about 20 feet. The ship is stacked, the windows in my cabin that used to have a view to the bow and both port and starboard allowed me to peek over the containers. Not now, the containers are immediately outside my windows and stack as high as the house. This ship is plugged.

Last night we had roasted duck in orange sauce and mixed vegetables. I like duck. Why don’t we eat more duck in America? I enjoyed the cheese and a pear with a glass of wine to finish up.

We have new crew members and it will be interesting to see how they fold in, most of these guys have been together for months so I would imagine being a new guy could be challenging.

As we departed at 0200, most of the guys did not get to bed until 0400 or so. Breakfast was just me and one other French guy, a super nice black guy from some small West African nation. He is very bright and I enjoy our conversations when we have the opportunity. Today was croissants with raspberry jam and strawberry yogurt. I am getting to understand the pattern of breakfast, alternating days of oatmeal and cereals with croissants on two days of the week and Sunday. The French don’t like breakfast really, they prefer sweet things in the morning with coffee. The Ukrainians on the other hand consider breakfast their most important meal and grouse about no eggs or meats. I think they are discussing this and what the cost would be, they always talk about the cost. I would think they will be adding some menu options a couple days a week in the near future. As I sit alone at my table I notice the Ukrainian guys eat very quickly and then leave, no social time and no real conversation. They eat and run while the French guys show up later and eat after most the Ukrainian guys have left. They chat and laugh and really enjoy the time at the table. Mind you, these are all officers but it is clear the Ukrainians don’t like to hang around the mess hall. I like to sit and enjoy the time there.

Lunch came fast, I was out on the deck and arrived for lunch mid-way through. Avocado half with a cocktail sauce in the hollow, Steak with fries and a Magnum ice cream bar. One of those big chocolate coated things with almond slivers. On the subject of fries, or as they are universally labeled in the EU as Frites. Why do we call them French Fries? I mean they are like the staple of central Europe. You go anywhere and I mean anywhere in Germany, Belgium, Holland, France, Switzerland, Austria and you will have frites. The Dutch, oh man, they go gaga over them and they are good except the Dutch dip theirs in Mayonnaise, disgusting. I am wondering why we started calling them French Fries in the first place, the French seem to have no idea why we do this. I am sure there is an internet search but maybe someone can enlighten me? I also seem to think that most of the French don’t think eating frites with your hands is good table manners.

Up on the bridge I learned that our course will take us past the Aleutians. We are now in the Sea of Japan between Japan and Korea/Russia, we will come around the northern end of Japan and draw a vector for Seattle. This vector will be the shortest route to our destination. Now keep in mind that we are on the sea and follow the curvature of the earth. This is hard for some people to grasp, that and that we are covering nautical miles as well. When I asked if our heading took us past the islands, I was given the “of course” response which I have learned is just the way French reply when they agree with your position or when you are correct; it is not meant to be a wisecrack. So, we will get a “small pass” of some of the islands……with my luck it will be in the dark.

That slow process of picking up hours is happening. We gained one yesterday and we will gain an hour almost every day until we arrive in Seattle. They posted a chart of the time change date, time and location for each day until the end of our voyage. This is necessary because all the ship schedules adjust for the current time; watches, duty, meals, etc. You just lose your sleep or your time off, an hour every day. That would stink, wouldn’t it?

At 1400, the visibility has improved to about 100 feet, still foggy and no sun. It could be like this for days.

At 1700, we found a bit of stormy weather (I just reminded myself of Carl Hiassen, love that guy). The sea was not rough but we had a really intense rainfall complete with lightening and very loud thunder claps. With the overcast and cloudy weather the lightening just made the sky illuminate. The thunder was impressive and it was the first bout of real weather we have had in nine days. On the ocean that is a big number since nothing remains the same for long. The weather was enough to block our satellite signal for the wi-fi for a bit, not sure how long.

I was going to go walk to the bow and the stern but that will have to wait until tomorrow or until we get a clear day, so it looks like my afternoon will be reading and sitting around. I am no good at sitting, I never really have been. I have a hard time thinking about all the other things I could be doing.

I already know what it for dinner. It was on the lunch menu when they informed us about the time change. Soup, salad and seafood bouillabaisse. Fitting for a stormy afternoon I suppose.

I will visit the library again and see what I can dig up, I will spend the time after dinner reading in bed and listening to some music, I love my Jambox! Thank you Dianna, Jenna and Carson for understanding me.


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