When we boarded the ship, Stephanie was almost overcome with emotion. She said it felt like she “was home”. And not because we were on our way home—because she was back “on a boat”. There were a few subtle differences from our experience on the Cap Cleveland, but for the most part our ten days on the Hanjin Palermo felt very familiar and passed comfortably.
Traveling with us were four other passengers. Three men had boarded a few days before us in Germany. Two were German, one of whom had always dreamed of arriving in America by boat. The third was a British-born Swiss man who bore a striking resemblance to my Scottish-born grandfather. Finally there was a man from Paris who boarded with us in Le Havre, and eagerly awaited news of the birth of his grand-daughter.
Otherwise we had a welcoming, affable German captain, a spacious two-room cabin with five portholes, and calm, almost placid seas the entire way from Le Havre to New York. Amazingly the ship had two pools, one on-deck just outside our cabin, and one indoors, below-deck, but since they had no way to heat the frigid Atlantic waters, both were empty. We ended up spending less time on the bridge and more at the bow—where we saw a surprising amount of wildlife in the middle of the ocean: migrating seabirds, playful dolphins, spouting whales, and even a shark!
Saturday, August 13