Day 008: Banda Sea (Tropics)
Position: S 8º 31′ 48″ E 127º 58′ 45″
Weather: 29ºC Light wind, 2m waves becoming calm
Last Port: Brisbane, Australia
Next Port: Singapore
Status: Underway in the Coral Sea
Daily Riddle: I’m lighter than a feather but even the world’s strongest man can’t hold me for more than a few minutes.
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From the navigator
This morning we will pass between Palau Leti on our starboard side and East Timor on our port side, entering the Banda Sea. We will then set westerly courses and in the early afternoon pass between Pulau Liran on our starboard side and the Pulau Atauro on our port side. Once we are clear of the islands we will continue on a westerly heading paralleling the Lesser Sunda Islands on our port side for the remainder of the day.
Up early to take a walk about the decks. It’s overcast, hot and humid – not a change really but more of a slow progression. Normally the change to summer happens over weeks and months, but on this course it has happened in days.
The ship has limited Australian programming and a couple of feeds by Sky News. Flipping channels brought us upon this interview quote: “history is a laboratory filled with natural experiments.” It was said in the context of comparing economic policies with the idea that “history will tell which was right.” There are many examples of economic policy played out in the laboratory of history. It always seems like the lessons of those experiments go unlearned or just ignored. The lecturer said the U.S. had decided not to “wait for nature’s cure” with regard to the economy, electing instead to apply stimulus. The concept of “nature’s cure” for what ails you seems to connect with the adage “time heals all wounds” and “you can’t ignore reality forever.” She finished with “economic diseases are highly communicable.” Another apt thought, and a thoughtful way to start the day.
After a quick scrounge for breakfast we began THE GREAT LAUNDRY SEARCH™. The ship has very limited coin operated machines. Michelle had picked up some good packets of detergent in Brisbane for much less than the $2 they cost on board. Each load of wash or dry also costs $2. Michelle got access to a machine right away. Ed found one available two decks down and picked up a good bit of exercise running back and forth to maintain his place in line. The wash cycle runs for 25 minutes but the dry cycle is “longer”. From a process management standpoint the dryers are the choke point.
Sadly, the dryers are also quite ineffective. Later in the day our cabin was strewn with bits of clothing hanging and drying from every horizontal surface, rail and hook. Michelle’s friend Kathy had given her a bungee clothes line equipped with several hooks. This took up service between the door handle to the head (bathroom) and one of the lockers (closets). This arrangement in turn provided good practice for the limbo as we came and went during the rest of the day.
One of the ship’s 3rd officers (ENS) presented a short lecture about navigating the ship, which was more akin to an equipment brief than a navigation brief. He discussed ships position keeping, propulsion keeping, hull contour and watch structure. Navigation of any vessel on the oceans of the planet is a remarkably standard endeavor.
Ed attended choir practice and we decided to watch a movie playing on the ship’s system called “The Artist”, a silent film done in recent years. After a quick siesta it was time for dinner. Going down early meant the chow hall was not yet open. Several other passengers were milling about, some already lined up at the door. It seemed there was a different culture at work among these early eaters, a completely different energy, tone of conversation, even manner of dress. Another old phrase goes “birds of a feather flock together” but perhaps the converse is true: “birds flocking together often have similar feathers”. Here’s something to try in the next couple of days: consciously shift your routine earlier by 15 minutes. Leave for work on the bounce, arrive for that meeting 15 minutes early, plan to get to the movies well before the trailers roll. Shift your day and you’ll see things you’ve never seen, meet people you’ve never met and perhaps open a door you always thought was closed to you.
After dinner we attended a short concert by a foursome of players from Ukraine, the Adagio Strings. They began the program with traditional classical pieces, moved to Russian and American composers from the 19th and 20th century, and ended (in keeping with a recent shipboard trend in music) with a medley of ABBA tunes. (audio link)