Sunday, June 21, 2009
Thursday, April 9, 2009
The Rickmers Jakarta is in Asia now. Many of us still follow it each day.
As of 4/24/09, 7:45 PM CST, Passenger George is back home in Singapore.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
I got a much needed haircut before 8 am. Next stop was the Lenox Senior Men's weekly breakfast to see friends.
My truck needed 30,000 mile maintenance and an oil change. The dealer took care of that during the middle of the day.
I have opened my email and updated my main web pages, but have much
more work to do. Started working on the Honey-do list, fixing a pipe leak.
My suitcases are unpacked and stored, and the rest of my laundry is washed and put away.
I have found a low cost vanity publisher to print 100 copies of my
blog, so I need to finish editing.
Need to do the taxes and catch up on the snail mail and everything
The freighter cruise has been a great adventure. I enjoyed the trip
very much. I miss the officers and crew, and the stimulating
mealtime converstions with my fellow passengers Dieter and George.
I will continue to follow George's blog.
Up at 5:45, I continue north. Sometime during the day, I lost one
of my truck keys. Probably left it on a counter somewhere.
Part of I-35 in Kansas is a tollway. The exit to the non-toll road
is not well marked, and I miss it. This is no accident. Kansas
likes it if people stay on the tollway all the waysto Kansas City.
The roads and country are more familiar. North of Des Moines,
there is snow cover on the ground, but the roads are dry. In
northern Iowa, the windmills are turning in the wind, generating
megawatts. I arrived home at 5 pm.
It is nice be home, and my wife is happy to see me a day earlier
than planned. Before bed, I update my computers with security
patches and 41 Windows patches which have accumulated over the last
Woke at 5:30 am. Drove toward San Antonio to have breakfast with a
Navy friend from VAP 61 squadron on Guam. Ernie met me halfway
between Austin and San Antonio, and paid for breakfast. We ate at
a Cracker Barrel.
I was headed north toward home on I-35 by 9:15 am. Near mile
marker 300, I noticed a collection of nostalgic, old gasoline
station pumps on the east side, rusting away. Just before I left
Texas, I noticed a horse ranch to the east of the freeway. One
side of the entry gate was a large red brick structure in the shape
of a horse's head.
Even with the low oil prices, I noticed that oil pumps were still
pumping in Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. While I was gone, gasoline
in Texas was as low as $1.39 per gallon. On my return trip, I paid
between $1.79 and $1.63 per gallon.
I arrived in Wichita at 6:30 pm and stayed in the same Motel 7.
It is cold here. After dinner, I called home, channel surfed
through all the channels, and went to bed.
After breakfast, I retrieved my passport and vaccination card from
the ship's office and the Captain. I said my goodbyes and finished
My friend Jack arrived with my truck shortly after noon. I gave
him a tour of some of the parts of the ship which he did not see on
his first visit.
I enjoyed driving again. Back in Austin, we went to downtown where
my truck had been stored so Jack could retrieve his vehicle.
At Jack's house, I packed my truck. Before my departure, I had
left a few items in Jack's house, like my winter coat.
We had an early dinner. I had a 6 oz. steak, a salad, a large
baked potato, and half a bottle of good red wine. Then we went to
see an excellent presentation of 'Les Miserables'.
Friday, February 20, 2009
I finished the first cut of my photos, selecting 320 out of 1900. Some are duplicates, but I have some more work to do, to get down to the 100 best for a presentation, and the 50 best for prints. Tonight is my last night on the ship. My instant coffee and Ritz crackers ran out today, so I will disembark tomorrow, Day 130. I paid the Captain my Slop Chest charge of $16 for the last month and a half. I thanked him for his kindness. This has been an extraordinary trip. I am reading 'Invisible Prey', by John Sanford. I have reserved 15 minutes before bed time to pack. This is my planned schedule, subject to weather or other events: Arrive Houston City Docks, 0300 Saturday. Disembark 1130. Saturday night - Austin, TX Sunday - San Antonio, TX Monday night - Wichita, KS Tuesday night - home in Minnesota.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
The image today is one of the large cargo holds. We usually can't get close for safety reasons. The cargo has been removed from the upper layer. An adjustable pontoon floor is visible. There is much much more cargo beneath the removable floor.
When we arrived in the French Quarter in early afternoon, we walked around looking. There are beads everywhere, on the ground and on traffic lights, with more for sale. We found a restaurant and had a very good lunch. There are not so many book stores in New Orleans. We took the street car to a Borders store. I replenished my dark chocolate supply. Because of the port security hassle, we stayed in New Orleans overnight. Had another good meal. I had a small caesar salad, red beans and rice, and red wine. The image is the Tuesday sunrise. The ship's cranes have been raised and are ready.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Monday, February 16, 2009
Sunday, February 15, 2009
The picture today is a series of historic high water marks here in Galveston. The blue mark is from September 2008. Nine bricks above that is the mark for 1900. Our ship will cross the Gulf of Mexico tonight and begin the 10 hour trip up the Mississippi channel to New Orleans. I expect to dock after dark.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
The picture today is another view of the Centennial Bridge at the Panama Canal. George will have an internet connection in a day or two. Please check his site to see more of his extraordinary images. Our expected arrival in Galveston is early Sunday morning. Could leave late afternoon for New Orleans. Mardi Gras is the week after we will be there.
Friday, February 13, 2009
The image today is 'Taking the plunge in the Panama Canal'. The ship is in the upper chamber of the Miraflores lock. This was before breakfast. The pool is saltwater. The canal is fresh water. Thanks to George Klucsarits, who took this picture on Wednesday. I'm getting shaggy and will need a haircut when I get home. We are scheduled to arrive in Galveston early Sunday, New Orleans after that, and if the schedule holds, I will disembark the following Sunday in Houston.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
I have been trying to sort my images and get copies to people on the ship who want them. I'm sure I have over 2000 images, plus a few short videos. I need to select the best 50 for hard copies, and the best 100 for 2 presentations. The picture today is 'Cranes at sunset'. It was taken in Hamburg in late November.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
The ship crossed the remaining distance to open sea and cleared the Colon breakwater at 1530. I took an Aleve. My hip was sore from too much standing or climbing. There is moderate roll. I will put things away tonight. Our course is slightly west of north, toward Galveston. The pool was drained this afternoon. I think I was the only person who used it, and I used it twice. Finished reading 'The Christmas Train' by Baldacci. Time retards an hour tonight to CST. This is my last time zone change for the voyage.
I just sent these pictures, the upper left is the Mira Flores Locks, the first locks we went through. The picture on the right is the Pedro Miguel Locks which are the next in line. The third picture is the ship approaching the Centennial Bridge. The lower right is the Gatun Lock, the last one before entering the Atlantic Ocean.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Dave informed me that the bird image yesterday was a Brown Boobie. The image today is what they left behind on the focsl. I walked 3 laps today, being very careful where I stepped. The pool was filled today, and I jumped in this afternoon.
Monday, February 9, 2009
The image today is a sea bird. There have been scores of these birds today. When they are not fishing, they rest on the Focsl rails or fore thwart. They left plenty of work for the deck crew. They fly over the water, looking for food, sometimes very low, riding the surface effect. Flying fish are the food. When the flying fish soar, the birds can catch them without getting wet, but will dive in if necessary. Sometimes the fish all jump at once, as if they are also being hunted from below. I'm very surprised that the birds aren't too fat to fly, because they were busy all day.
Sunday, February 8, 2009
Today, I had all 6 food groups, the toast group, the half-a-steak group, the broccoli group, the pizza group, the dark chocolate group, and the red wine group. The image today is a small wooden boat in Viet Nam. Our time advances one hour to Eastern Standard Time, for a few days, until we are on the other side of the Canal. We will then retard an hour, back to CST.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
Friday, February 6, 2009
The image today is from Hiroshima again. Hiroshima is an old sea port. As you can see, the sea serpents like to climb up the street lamps. Our time advances another hour tonight to Central Standard Time.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Breakfast was cornflakes with muscli, toast, apple juice, and coffee. For lunch I added rice to my chicken soup. I also had salad, declining the main course, Chicken Cordon Bleu. Supper was hamburger steak, rice, and peas. The image today is a sidewalk utility cover from Hiroshima, Japan.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
The picture today was taken in October 2008, on departure from New Orleans, sailing down the Mississippi River. The French Quarter is on the right. The ship is moving at 5 knots, and the wake is barely visible. We expect to visit New Orleans again in about 2 weeks, before returning to my starting point, Houston, Texas. Tonight, the time advances another hour to Mountain Standard Time, one hour behind CST.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Supper was liver and onions. I had a sandwich and salad. Cabin snack inventory status: This might sound more interesting if you imagine someone in a lifeboat. The dark chocolate will run out before Panama. Ann's reconstituted trail mix probably won't last until Houston. I ate the last cracker from home today. I have some crackers and snacks which I bought in Japan. My personal supply of Nescafe Instant Decaf and Regular Coffee will run out in a few days. I still have plenty of black and green tea bags. More regular instant coffee is available, and my bottled water supply is adequate, even after providing a gallon for the new coffee set-up in the library. The Slop Chest has been out of red wine since December. I bought 4 bottles of red wine in Japan. Rationed at 1/8 bottle per day, it might last, or not. The shampoo I bought in New Orleans ran out this morning, but I have some from the Park Hotel.
I finished reading 'The Collectors', by David Baldacci. After donating it to the library, I started 'Stone Cold' by the same author. I am also reading 'Pathfinders, A Global History of Exploration', by Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, a book George loaned to me. I also wrote a little today. The image today is a sunset behind the downtown skyline of Philadelphia.
Monday, February 2, 2009
Monday, 2/2/2009, overcast with only a little sun. At 1630, the sea was glassy. Swells are moderate, with a little roll. We have 19 fairly repetitive days in a row crossing the Pacific.
.Another day at sea.
..Another day at sea.
...Another day at sea.
....Another day at sea.
.....Another day at sea.
......Another day at sea.
.......Another day at sea.
You get the picture. Aside from my usual daily routine, what set today apart was that I wrote a short story, did 2 loads of laundry, and clipped my toe nails. Our time advances one hour tonight to Pacific Standard Time, 2 hours ahead of CST. We will advance all the way to Eastern Standard Time in a few days, because that is the time zone for Panama. Today's picture was taken in the dining room of the Park Hotel in Shanghai. This jar of preserved fruit is one of several on display at the breakfast buffet.