Pirates Night & Pilates In The South Pacific

Trip Start Feb 11, 2010
Trip End Apr 04, 2010

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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

030110 @Sea: Tonight was Pirates Night on-board!  What a blast!  Thankfully, Gail forewarned our Cruise Critic group of the need for costumes prior to departure.  Our new friend Claudia (from Buenos Aires) won best pirate's costume.  She is a hoot to be around and has a contagious laugh.  She is on-board all the way to Monaco (77 days)!  Later on deck, we spotted a ship in the dark to our stern, the 1st ship since we left the Marquesas.  The ghost ship headed north across our path so was assumed not to be a pirate ship.

The crew is superb, from the highest Captain to lowly ABS (Able Body Seamen)!  Many of the crew are always calling me "Sir" no matter how many times I tell them to call me Walt.  (Bill, a word of caution, I am getting used to it.  Ha!)  Can't say enough praise for their excellent services and cheerful attitudes.  Captain Brunon is excellent and has a wonderfully dry sense of humor with perfect timing and is very smart!  Captain Klaus (our captain from the Royal Clipper two years ago) is now retired and on-board, along with his sweet wife Helena, as guests of Star Clippers.  Captain Klaus has given many excellent lectures in the dining room throughout the voyage, talking on nautical subjects ranging from celestial navigation to ship ballast.  I have learned so much from him.  Klaus has asked me more than once to not call him Captain as he is retired.  But I told him he was my original captain on the Royal Clipper, and that he will always be my captain.  And just like past presidents, out of respect, I continue to use his title when I address him.  Other officers and deck hands also work tirelessly to keep the ship on course and in tip-top shape.  Super ABS Alfred (from Goa, India) continues to amaze me with his dedication and great smiles.  I've had many talks with Alfred early mornings on deck as he works the 4:00 to 8:00 shift.  Chef Darwin (from Manila) is wonderful and always has a smile, too.  He makes my perfect Sambal Oelek omelet with 'everything' every other morning without me asking.  All I have to do is approach his omelet station and he goes to work.  (Sambal Oelek is a very spicy hot red chili pepper sauce that is out of this world!  If it doesn't get you sweating with hot flashes, nothing will.)  Our meticulous Hotel Manager Mateo remembered me from the Royal Clipper.  He is always managing the excellent, all good looking, male waiters in the dining room.  If you forget the name of a waiter, just call him Daniel and 90% of the time you will be correct.  Most waiters are from India or Indonesia and although understand English quite well, are often very difficult to understand when they speak.  I never forget the name of one super waiter named Walter.  My favorite Tropical Bar bartender Danny (from Manila) makes the best spicy Bloody Mary on ship!  Each spicy BM is made from scratch, not from a pre-made mix.  They all think I am strange with the beer chasers after a Bloody Mary.  Danny has a great sense of humor and always a smile, no matter how obnoxious we get.  Less I forget, Manila Bartenders Ariel & Joey are also superb, bright and always cheerful.  I don't know how they do it but all seem to enjoy their jobs.   With 127 passengers and a crew of 70, we are extremely pampered guests.  Bill, get ready for one extremely spoiled chap when I get home!!  

My Cabin Boy Ferdi (aka Ferdinand the Steward) is outstanding.  The first day on-board, I had left my un-hung clothes on the bed because I ran out of hangers.  When I returned after dinner, he had brought in more hangers and hung my clothes very neatly in the closets.  He reads my mind.  He keeps my room spotless and picked up!  This is the kind of treatment I grew up with having 6 older sisters!  Each evening, he cleans again and turns down my bed and puts a chocolate on my pillow.  He somehow knows when I am gone and does this all on the sly.  Bill, can I bring him home, please?? 

My small, nautical themed, ocean-blue carpeted cabin 110 has dark wood & brass accents, is air conditioned, has one porthole, has a double bed w/duvet and under-bed storage, built in chair & table w/stool, 3 mirrored door closets (two for hanging clothes), safe, TV/DVD, in-room private bathroom w/medicine cabinet, hair dryer on wall, shower, clothes drying line and many cubbyholes for storing things.  I love it.  Star Clippers even gave me a free bottle of Champagne in my cabin for being a return passenger!

030210 @Sea:  6th @Sea day since the Marquesas, 20th day away from home…had to advance our clocks another hour ahead, so now on PST (3 hours behind EST).  Am doing fine and enjoying doing nothing...or at least having little responsibility.  I admit there are those times when I wish I was with Bill & our dogs NOW because I miss them so much...but pull myself back into the present and am enjoying the South Pacific for the short time I am with it.  It will be strange to walk on land again in Panama, if not sooner.  We seem to be behind schedule due to the strong head winds...so hopefully will not miss the Cocos & Pearl Islands.  The ship is always sailing.  Two jibs and 3 staysails are up now.  They cannot use the square riggers unless the winds are more behind us, like when we were in French Polynesia.  So far, besides Gail, I have only seen the stern Spanker up once.  I checked the Bridge at 8:30 AM and we are at Latitude 4.33 degrees S (equator = 0) and Longitude 128.7 degrees W, doing 7.4 knots at a heading of 70 degrees (0 = North, 90 = East), with easterly winds at 22 to 26 knots.  When I look at the world map, we have barely moved from the Marquesas compared to the distant Panama.  I suspect they are using the engine to supplement the speed to keep us on schedule.  It is difficult to tell as at least one of the engines is always on to generate electricity and hydraulic power for pumps, etc. and barely noticeable amongst all of the other noises (wind, etc.).  The exhaust goes up and out the funnel hidden in the 4th mast towards the stern so we are rarely bothered by diesel exhaust fumes.  When I asked the officer in charge about motoring, he just smiled at me.  Probably spoke Russian and had no idea what I was saying. ;)

I don't know what I would do without Gail from George Dubbya, Texas.  She has become a good friend and strong anchor.  We talk like old friends and give support to each other.  She doesn't put up with shit from anyone and has a great sense of humor.  She is the life of the table during meals.  The group we hang with are always belly laughing, which really helps.  Gail leads a daily Pilates class on the deck of the Tropical Bar.  I joined her today and am paying the price as I am totally out of shape. 

Ineke (EE-nic-ca), the Dutch lady from De Whore(n) [spelled De Goorn, where the G sounds like an 'h’ that is clearing it’s throat of phlegm], north of Amsterdam, is another story and quite the character.  Today, she pulled down her top a bit too far to show me how she got too much sun yesterday.   E, you would love her soft skin!  She is available, has a feisty sense of humor and likes dogs.  Although she may stereotypically use her fingers to plug dykes in her homeland, she is NOT a vagitarian.  Ineke says to tell E she’s made for comfort, not for speed. 

Luckily, most people are fun to be around and respect each other.  We seem to have 40% USA, 40% Germans and the rest are from all over the world.  Only one from France, which is surprising since we spent nearly 2 weeks in French Polynesia.  World travelers June (from the Peninsula) & her friend Joe (from CA) are really nice folks that I hope you locals will meet when I return.

Update:  Per the ship's published list of passenger nationalities, there were:

Argentina    1
Australia     9
Austria    2
Canada    5
Dutch    3
Great Britain    14
Germany    35
Iceland    1
Ireland    1
New Zealand    1
Switzerland    1
USA    48

Just seemed like a lot more Germans were on-board!  This list seems a bit inaccurate, at least what fellow passengers said were their homelands.

Living the dream... :)

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bone on

Walt, Thanks for sharing the details and window into your life on board the Star Flyer as you sail the wild Pacific. I'm so glad you have Gail to chum around with and your group of belly laughers. Hilarious about Ineke showing a little too much of her sunburn. Before you are out of range, is there anything you would like us to bring for you? It sounds as though you are purchasing plenty of beverages. I have no fears of you becoming spoiled. You are only spoiled when you are no longer appreciative of the things provided for you. I'm glad you are enjoying the friendliness of the crew. We can hardly wait to join you. After reading suggested packing lists, I purchased another bathing suit for Tom & me. I now have every single thing needed to pack and am trying to hold myself back from actually packing it. We are having a week coming up of warmer temperatures, 30s in the day and teens at night. However, nothing like the tropics! Wow, who would have thought you would see the old captain of the Royal Clipper again, and also Mateo. I say, soak it all up and love every minute. What an opportunity. See you in 18 days! Love you. Bone.

Chard on

Good Day Sir,
Enjoying your blogs, the trip sounds fantastic. Can't believe they've never heard of beer after Bloody Marys, must never have been to Dill's! Glad you're spreading the word. Nice to hear about all your new friends, and your not being so shy and reclusive. Ha! Be good.

Sister #2 of 6 on

Cabin Boy Ferdi is just not up to the standards of your sisters. You deserve better. I am leaving John and joining you at sea to take care of you. You will have to share all those luscious boy waiters you rave about.

Sue Scanlan on

awesome. trip.

elaine nixon on

Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful travel blog, I am elaine nixon, joel's wife, so please say hello! to Joel for me. sounds like everyone is having a great time.

Frennch on

Wow Sir, it sounds like the adventure is as wonderful as I dreamed. Thanks for sharing. I'm loving travelling vicarously.

norma darr on

i am in florida visiting mary and steve...i am so happy for you...we all need to live our dreams no matter what they are...you deserve to have a good time...enjoy.

Phil on

Walt, Hope you had a wonderful Birthday. We miss you.

tere.p on

Happy Birthday, Walt! Hope you didn't keep it a secret 'cause I want to hear what festivities they created for you.

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