We are currently at 28°57’2.16″N 78°1’6.09″W, somewhere off the coast of Florida, en route to Cartagena, Colombia. We’ve been on the ship for five days already, so I’ve got a little catching up to do.
On Tuesday we boarded the Cap Cleveland midday, and pretty much hung out in our room, transfixed by the scene outside our window: giant cranes lifting heavy containers into place with incredible precision. Dinner is from 5:30-6:30 in the officer’s mess, so we showed up promptly at 5:30 and met the only other passenger: Noah, a composer from NYC. He’ll be on the ship for the entire 70 day round trip! Dinner was a pork chop with gravy and a Greek salad. It was surprisingly savory, tasty, and fresh. We ate alongside some of the engineers, but they didn’t say much. Later that night we felt the ship start to pull away from the port, so we went up to the bridge, and stood in the dark as the river pilot navigated the ship out to the open ocean (a six hour process—we stuck around for about an hour before heading to bed).
We were both groggy on Wednesday. No seasickness, but the gentle rocking of the ship and vibration of the engine made it hard to stay awake during the day. We also discovered that the air conditioning was broken, and had been since the ship last came through the Panama Canal. They ordered a replacement part in Philadelphia, but got the wrong one. So I think the heat was also wearing us out. They brought out some padded deck chairs for us, and we spent a lot of time sitting outside to cool off. We were at sea all day, with no sight of land.
The heat was really getting to us on Thursday. It had been very hard to sleep the night before, and to make matters worse, I woke up with a painful pulled muscle in my neck. We heard whisperings that they’d try to fix the AC in Savannah on Friday, but I also sensed an undercurrent of skepticism. So we tried not to get our hopes up. Once again it was pretty miserable getting to bed that night. By the time I finally resorted to sleeping pills, I noticed we’d pulled into Savannah (a little after 1am) and were beginning to dock.
We woke up on Friday with a mission. Troubleshoot my non-working satellite modem and buy a fan in Savannah! A taxi with access to the port picked us up at the ship around 9:30 and dropped us off at Starbucks in historic downtown Savannah. There we basked in the air conditioning, took advantage of the free wireless internet, and sipped on iced teas. First we updated our blogs and checked our email (like the internet addicts we are), then I proceeded to the more important matter at hand: figuring out how to use the BGAN satellite modem. Stephanie, love of my life, looked for lunch options, and with no prodding on my part, picked a highly reviewed barbecue joint within walking distance (Angel’s BBQ). We picked up a few things at CVS, including a fan, walked down to the historic River Street, and then spent our last hour or two of “shore leave” back at the Starbucks. We returned to the ship by 5:30, and what was that we felt? AC! They had fixed the air conditioning. We weren’t going to roast after all. Oh happy day.
Saturday (today) was pretty chill (literally). It’s the weekend after all! Stephanie slept in, but I got up just in time for breakfast: raisin pancakes and sausage. I spent a few hours on the bridge chatting with Jeoffrey, the third mate, and learning how to read the ship’s navigation screens. Later Stephanie came up and joined us. We left Savannah sometime after 10pm the night before, thus it was the first of several days we’ll spend at sea. I believe we’ll be getting to Cartagena on the 15th, via a course east of the Bahamas and Cuba.