Gaining the time back is just plain weird out here. I knew it would be because I mentioned that when you fly back from Asia, you travel for like 20 hours and still get home before you left. It kind of makes up for losing the day when fly to Asia.
Out here we get it an hour a day. To standardize things a bit, we set the clock movement for 1400. Each day at 1400 it becomes 1500. Since my only clock is my iPhone and it is not in service out here, I scan the phone for time zones that may match. Weird. Every day it is like losing an hour of sleep, I mean when I go to bed at 2200 I can either think it is 2300 or I can think that I will wake up at 0500 instead of 0600. Any way I deal with it this is a big change to what I am used to. I guess the upside is I should not have any jet lag when I return home?
This morning it is still grey and windy now. The weather is turning as we head north and then due east. The Chief Officer told me in a couple of days from here they expect some high seas and rougher weather. I think I will like that because this ship is so big and so heavy that it just pushes through the water with ease. Up to this point it kind of feels like taking a ferry, the slightest movement from port to starboard and a constant push forward. If you have spent any time on a ship you can tell how heavy they are and this one is very heavy. I guess it is kind of like driving in a semi down a long open highway.
I had coffee and juice for breakfast as I just was not interested in corn flakes and baguettes. They do eat bread with every sitting and the baguettes are made fresh every morning. I know much more than I did before this trip that bread, cheese and wine are very important to the French. However, a couple pieces of toast or a bagel sure would be nice. What is that line? “Not a chance”. I think the French consider a loaf of sliced bread as a complete waste of time. Thinking about it, it has been 9 days and I have not seen a sandwich. Consider that. Could you stay anywhere in America for 9 days and not have a sandwich option at some point? Baguettes do not make for good sandwiches I guess. Not that I can eat a sandwich like it should be eaten, I would have to cut it into little pieces anyway. Sheesh.
We are approaching the island of Hokkaido of Japan, the northern most island. We will be traveling through a strait between this island and the island of Honshu, I believe. This strait allows us to avoid traveling all the way around Hokkaido. As we pass through the strait I will request permission to be out on the main deck, I would like to walk up to the bow and look around. Wind is blowing about 20 knots and the seas are 6-8 feet right now. I expect the wind to remain through the strait but the seas to be much less than current conditions. This will be the last land we see until we approach the Aleutian Islands, where we will pass through another strait and then set course for Seattle from there. There is a call for 9-12 foot seas between here and the Aleutian’s so we have modified course a little to stay out of a low-pressure cell that is causing that little disturbance.
1300, the wind has increased to 25-30 knots, seas holding 6-8 foot swells, I feel like I am on the ocean. Smiling. It is also interesting to hear the containers creak and scrape as we roll in this, they creak and moan like the sounds you hear in the movies of old wooden ships. I like it. Remember that they are stacked 8 high above deck. There is a lot of metal on this ship. The lower two rows of the containers are fastened with turnbuckles to the hull and the deck so the remaining containers are simply sitting on the corner blocks sliding the smallest amount which creates the sound of creaking and movement. You can watch the upper containers sway about 1-2 inches as we pitch. Very neat to see.
The wind increased through the strait here in Japan, blowing 40 knots and too windy to walk around the boat for me. There is quite a bit of spray and the weather is snotty. I am disappointed but have 9 days to get my walk in. I will stay close to the house and take pictures from the higher deck where I can stay out of the weather a bit. It is now 1700 and at least I have some land to see and Japanese fishing boats nearby. The water here is significantly better than it was on the coast of China and Korea, cold currents and open ocean all around probably make a big difference. The fisherman I see are trawlers and they are headed back to port.