May 24th

First day sailing was very smooth and calm, cruising about 10-12 knots to Xiamen. No wind, no swell, grey skies with low visibility. I am writing now at 0800 just after breakfast which offered a nice surprise of oatmeal with honey, bread with Nutella and coffee.

We are due to arrive at Xiamen at 1600 today, there are quite a few vessels around us as we slowly proceed up the coast. I can see many small boats that appear to be local fisherman and crabbers. They are eerily reminiscent of Mexican pangas. Single fisherman in a skiff with an outboard, some of these have a center console but most are rather spartan and basic.

Weather is warm in the mid 80’s and stereotypical tropic humidity that is ever present in this part of the world. Shorts are the order of the day even though it is grey and looks cool, the deceptive nature of the view from inside is quickly dashed the instant you step on deck. Speaking of deck, there is a deck chair within my access but it is quite dirty, stained from stack dust and general dirt in the air. It needs a good rinse down and cleaning which I may just undertake soon.

I am dealing with the mouth ok. It is not perfect and still reminds me of the carnage in there from time to time but I think it is improving based on the fact that I feel no need to medicate or pay too much attention to it. What it becomes is what it will become. Can I be in relaxing calm so soon?

I set up an internet access but it is very slow and forces me to use simple HTML, the plan is data based so sending pictures and big files might not happen. The good news is I can check mail and get messages.

The day went by quickly as we berthed in Xiamen about 1600 and loaded/unloaded. The crew is busy during these stops and we are asked to stay inside. I don’t like that.

We had a meal of tuna steaks with an eggplant in curry. I really liked it. We sat after and a few of the officers wanted to talk about Trump. Crap, being an American is really challenging with that nimrod as our President. They seem amused by it all. It was nice to have conversation.

When the ship was ready to push back and be piloted out of the harbor I woke up and watched that dance. It is interesting to be on a vessel that is over 1000 feet long. I have been on the sea many times and for long journeys but almost always on a boat of 100 feet. Manuvering this beast is a big job.

I will return to the bunk and wake up for breakfast, you do not want to miss a meal. This is primarily due to the ship store being locked up. When we entered China, 3 days ago, they needed to declare everything that was in the ship store. Exact counts. This must remain until we depart China. Another 3 days from now. So for 6 days the ship store is closed and we cannot buy anything. I would love a Coke. I have a problem with Coke; I like it. It has been 3 days since I had one and it will be another 3. I am sure Dianna will be pleased that my intake of water has increased beyond measure. I would also like a chocolate bar or two to have in my cabin. With the store being locked the only food there is to enjoy comes at meal time. There is roughly a one hour window for each meal so I have been learning to take some fruit or cheese with me after mealtime. I had a couple Mandarins and some Laughing Cow cheese to take back after dinner. I asked the French guys about the Laughing Cow cheese since compared to the beautiful cheeses we have with dinner, this is a strange addition. They confessed that in France this laughing cow cheese is mainly for children. I like it spread on the bread that we have with each meal and yes, they are French baguettes.

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