Log #60a Cruise Ship Sailing – Part 1

October 19, 2015 in Log Series 60-69, Logs by Series, Series 60, The Logs

Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas
Oct. 10, 20115
Hi Folks,
I hope I can send this off tomorrow when we reach Guam. We are half way through our Pacific cruise to Singapore and enjoying it very much. This log talks about the cruise ship and our visits to Hawaii and Majuro in the Marshall Islands. I have been intrigued by the WW II Pacific events, and am now sailing through some of that historic ocean battlefield.
This is the first of a new series Logs #60 about our winter travels. I thought I had best start it while travelling and the many places we will visit are still fresh in my mind. I won’t be able to finish my summer logs until we get back to Veleda and I can access the ship’s log to complete our sailing from Alaska down the west coast of Vancouver Island.
All the best,

Log #60a Cruise Ship Sailing – Part 1
Mid Pacific between Hawaii and the Marshall Islands
(12° 51.57′ North, 176° 36.68′ West)
Oct. 5, 2015
This is my first log of our winter travels in 2015/2016.  We put Veleda away for the winter in a marina on Thetis Island on Sept. 20 and went over to Vancouver to board the Holland America Line ship, the Statendam on Sept. 22 for a 30 day cruise to Singapore, and points in between (Honolulu, Hilo, and Nawiliwili, Majuro in the Marshall Islands, Saipan and Guam in the Marianas, the Philippines and Malaysia)
The International Date Line
We have been aboard now for two weeks, sailing from Vancouver to the Hawaiian Islands for a few days, and having just crossed the International Date Line last night.  In doing so, we advanced our clocks 24 hours. This was done on Saturday night, Oct. 3, and so we missed Sunday Oct. 4, and awoke this morning on Monday Oct. 5. (Actually we are still four degrees east of the line now (Oct. 5), but will be crossing 180 degrees West longitude some time today.) It is rather confusing to lose a whole day, but that is the way the world turns!
We will not be crossing the Equator on this trip, but are presently down at 12 degrees, 50 minutes North Latitude and the weather is hot at 25 C, or about 80 F. We haven’t been sailing in the tropics for many years and Judy is enjoying the warm weather. The furthest south we will get will be 7degrees, 9 minutes North Latitude and 171 degrees, 18 minutes East Longitude in Majuro atoll in the Marshall Islands. (We have crossed the International Dateline and are now (Oct. 10) in the Eastern Hemisphere.)
The Ship
The Statendam was commissioned in 1992, and being an older and smaller ship, is on her final voyage with Holland America Lines. In Singapore she will undergo a refit before being handed over to the P&O lines in Australia. She has the classic lines of a blue hull and white topsides as all the Holland America Line ships have.

It is 719 feet long displacing 55,819 tons (a bit different from Veleda IV with a length of 32 feet and displacement of 5 tons), and can accommodate 1260 guests catered by 900 staff. This is the smallest of all the Holland America Line cruise ships.  Their largest class of cruise ships are 936 feet in length, and can carry over 2000 guests with 1200 staff. The Statendam has twin stabilizers to moderate the roll, giving a comfortable ride even in heavy seas. We have been sailing along at 15 to 20 knots, propelled by two shafts, turning at a constant revolution of about 500 rpm, and using variable pitch propellers to vary the direction and speed. There are twin rudders, one behind each propeller, as well as stern and bow thrusters to give the ship good control in tight harbours.
The food is good and plentiful. We can eat in several restaurants on board or use the Lido extensive buffet. There are five meals periods; breakfast from 0630 to 1030, lunch from 1130 to 1400, afternoon tea from 1500 to 1600, supper from 1730 to 2000, and late night snacks from 2230 to 2330.
60a-2 Dessert and Ice Cream Bar

60a-3 60a-4
                Salad Bar                                                                           Starboard Main Buffet     

For dress up formal nights we enjoy the Rotterdam Restaurant.
      Rotterdam Restaurant  
There is a daily schedule of dozens of activities from yoga and computer classes to stage shows and travel/historical presentations about the areas we will be visiting. In the evenings several bars/night clubs have dance or listening music, from classical piano and violin to guitar and small jazz combos. A casino is open 12 hours each day, with dozens of slot machines and gambling tables.  It is like living in a first class hotel in Las Vegas while placidly sailing across the Pacific.

   The Casino
Daily news sheets are distributes from the New York Times to Canadian, British, Australian, German and Latin America publications. A large library with several reading rooms allows books to be borrowed, and a wide selection of DVD movies is available for loan, free of charge, as well. A computer classroom is used to teach Photo Shop, Movie Maker, Skype, and the many apps and programs available with Windows 10.
60a-7 60a-8
  Library Reading Room                                                                                  Computer Classroom
There are 12 decks. We are on deck 4 amidships on the port side. There are two banks of four elevators and carpeted stairwells, as well as a spa and gym.

 Covered swimming pool and hot tubs
Two Jacuzzi hot tubs, a male and female sauna, and two swimming pools are regularly used. Deck 6 has an outdoor promenade around the entire ship. Four laps equals one mile. Judy and I try to do at least one mile a day.
60a-11   Port side promenade deck
There is a small basketball court and a small tennis court for the more active passengers. Housekeeping staff clean the cabin and make up the beds each morning. They turn down the sheets for sleeping each evening with towel art animals, and leave the daily schedule and a couple of chocolate squares.
We like the Holland America Line ships even more than we liked the Cunard Line Queen Mary 2 when we sailed on it a few years ago.
Unfortunately one of our destinations, Chuuk, had to be cancelled after we left Majuro due to an engine problem, causing us to head directly for Saipan from which I hope to access reliable internet to send this log.
It took us eight sailing days and 2450 miles from Vancouver to reach Hawaii where we visited three islands, Honolulu in Oahu, Hilo on Hawaii, and Nawiliwili on Kauai, before heading another 1200 miles to Majuro Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

In Honolulu I took a trip to Pearl Harbour to see a display of the events leading up to the attack on Dec. 7, 1941, the results, and the after events of the Pacific War. There was a great loss of over 2400 killed, and hundreds more injured. This of course brought the U.S. into World War II. A bit of perspective: as many or more were killed and injured in the destruction of the Twin Towers in 9/11! (The loss of life in invading the Japanese held islands of the Pacific was even greater. For example 29,000 Americans and 30,000 Japanese were killed in the battle for Saipan!)
I visited the USS Missouri, the battleship on which the surrender of Japan took place. It is moored a few hundred yards from the memorial of the Arizona, still resting beneath the waters of Pearl Harbour, with hundreds still entombed aboard.
USS Missouri and the Arizona memorial

60a-14 60a-15
The signing of unconditional Surrender in Sept., 1945
We stopped for a day in Hilo on the main island of Hawaii where we rented a car, and after Judy did some bird watching, we explored Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. There we saw large craters still sending steam plumes into the atmosphere. These are shield volcanoes, rounded like an inverted shield, as opposed to the craggy peaks of other volcanoes. We visited several lava fields and a couple of lava tubes, but did not see any fire or flowing hot lava.
Our next one day stop was on Kauai, at Nawiliwili where again we rented a car to see Hawaiian geese, red-crested cardinals, boobys and frigate birds soaring around a headland. We have found that renting a car for a day at about $50.00 a day gives us flexibility to go all over these small islands and to the places that tour buses would go at far higher prices.
Cruise ships tend to sail at night, arriving in a port in the morning so passengers can arrange (mostly in advance) tours for the day to return to the ship late afternoon, for an evening departure.
On leaving Hawaii, we cast our leis into the swimming pool as a traditional farewell gesture.
Our next destination after Hawaii was Majuro, an atoll in the Marshall Island chain, a distance of close to 2000 miles, another seven day ocean passage. This is an oblong shaped coral atoll about 15 miles long and 4 miles wide, the coral rim less than a mile in width. Majuro on the east end is the capital of the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
The Republic consists of 1225 islands in two north south chains, including 29 atolls, and 5 major islands, covering over 750,000 square miles of the western Pacific Ocean. The actual land area of all these islands is only 70 square miles, and the population is only 60,000.
Judy went bird watching while I caught a taxi over town (only $1.00) to visit the local library and museum. Here I saw some of the Polynesian settlement and history of the islands over a 2000 year period, including Spanish, British, German and Japanese colonization and control until American control after WW II. However, the most memorable displays and information was about the American nuclear tests conducted in the Marshall Islands, 67 of air and surface explosions of nuclear and hydrogen bombs between 1946 and 1958.
None took place on Majuro, but it was downwind of several detonations in Bikini and Enewetak. Articles testified to the exposure of the islanders. In one article it was mentioned that the islanders of Enewatak were relocated, but only three days after the initial explosions. The radiation effects still plague many residents.
Below is the final schedule for the last six weeks. Notice the size of the hydrogen bombs exploded on 7/12/58 and7/26/58! (For reference, the Hiroshima bomb was only about 22 kilotons.)

Nuclear explosions on Bikini and Enewetak
We left Majuro on Oct. 7 to arrive in Saipan on Oct. 12 (Thanksgiving Day in Canada) after a 1400 mile five day passage, from where I hope to send this log.