I wrote this post on December 14th. before departure in Santa Cruz. It was one of the articles that should appear during our Atlantic crossing. For various reasons, I have so far refrained from publishing it, but after the experience tonight, it is a need for me to express my opinion about cruise ships and their cargo.
December 2019, Santa Cruz, Tenerife: The day before yesterday Jens and I pulled up the new Genoa. It was a good opportunity right now because the wind had just died down. Then the easiest way to change the sail is because the sail will not fidget wildly in the area. I stood at the winch to crank the sail up, Jens the day before to thread the sail into the furling system. Suddenly the air stayed a little, I felt like I was taking a deep breath of air directly at the exhaust of a VW Diesel.
The Queen Victoria is in Santa Cruz today. There is a different ship in the same place every day. Everyone runs their diesel generator in port. Everyone leaves this fat soot flag, which can be seen in the picture taken from the foredeck of the Sissi. That is one side of the cruise industry. I can understand very well that the Venetians, the Hamburgers and actually all residents of the cities overrun by cruise ships want to stop this environmental pollution.
The soot is driven into the Sissi salon by the wind. We breathe in the soot when working on the ship, we also get it off in our free time. He pulls into our bunk. Only when the crusader says goodbye to his ship's blight in the middle of the night does fresh air slowly draw through our boat.
In addition, hordes of people invade the place with every cruise ship. They stand in line in front of us normal boat tourists in the supermarket and often carry out the groceries and drinks that we actually wanted to buy ourselves. The supermarkets here are small, and most of the time, they are only supplied and replenished the following day.
We cannot change it. We have to live with that. If they almost drive me with their e-bikes on the way from the boat to the shower, then I would like to push them into the harbor basin. Thank you, AIDA, for taking so many e-bikes with you and lending them to your passengers. Can't you at least tour the area on tour buses like the other crusaders? The buses also make noise, but they don't drive right through the marina.
January 31, 2020, 1:50 am, between Barbados and St. Lucia: I am lying on the couch and dozing a little bit to myself. My watch is almost over, I'll wake Jens up in an hour. The guard has been fairly uneventful so far - as almost always on the Atlantic.
A penetrating beep quickly brings me back from my twilight state to the waking state. The AIS collision alarm sounds. In less than half an hour it will be Britannia run over us or happen very close. Huh? Our AIS sends. Our AIS receives. They can see that we are a sailing boat. They can see our course. I am not particularly worried because many crusaders go to Barbados.
I sit in the cockpit and look at the bright light that is getting closer and closer. I can't see the position lights in all the bright lights. Our wind pilot controls his normal zigzag. Sometimes we will have the next meeting point 30 meters, sometimes 300 meters from the Britannia. In 20 minutes. I try the night photo mode of my cell phone, you can even see something.
The cruise line's course line on the AIS doesn't change an inch. He is heading towards us. First of all, I decide on our obligation to stay on course, which we as sailors finally have. The guy at the helm of Britannia must know that too. However, I support the wind pilot in his zigzag. I allow him to do the zig, not the zag. A quarter of an hour later it is certain that we will pass the crusader approximately 100 to 200 meters away. A welcome SMS for the Britannia electrical system appears on the cell phone. Ultimately, the shortest distance was less than the length of this steamer.
So far, cargo ships have always changed course for us, including the 300-meter-long chunks. Ferries have always avoided us. Only the cruise ships are a danger, because in our experience they don't do anything.
The bastards just stubbornly continue their course. When passengers are booted out in front of the ports, the dinghies also follow a straight line, whether a sailor comes by or not. This is not meant to be a generalization or a prejudice, this is my judgment after 6000 nautical miles of our world tour and a conclusion from several dozen encounters with these shining rubble.
Now I've let off my steam. We still have 10 miles to go to Rodney Bay, and will probably arrive in daylight. Then shower for two hours and then a huge steak in the marina restaurant. That's how I imagine the evening.