An update

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009 at 21:14 | by Alistair Baillie

Happy New Year! We’ll its been a while since I last wrote anything, mainly because I’ve either been busy or everything has been pretty much routine so here’s a quick update on life onboard.

I am now back onto the 12-4 watch having rotated round all 3, the Caribbean doesn’t really pose any challenges – in fact I am lucky if I even see another ship during our very slow passages.

Many of the passages are so short that the required speed is well below the minimum that the ship can maintain on one engine – this may seem odd but despite having CPP we have a minimum speed of around 8 knots when using just one of the four propulsion engines. This means that we get to spend some of the night making circles to add extra distance and kill time so that we arrive on schedule.

One of the more interesting things I have been doing is towing life rafts with the rescue boat during the safety training we have been doing onboard. We have 16 life rafts with crew assigned to them so the training took 4 weeks to complete as not all ports were suitable for it.

The training pretty much followed the requirements of the STCW-95 Personal Survival Techniques course, with the crew having to get into the raft from the water.

They were all pretty much uneventful, a few crew who could swim had some issues but overall all completed successfully. Until the second last training which we did two days ago in Grenada.

We were allocated a berth in the inner harbor, which meant we had to tow the raft out into the bay, just over half a mile, all went well with the pyrotechnics demonstration and the crew entering the water forming a circle and then getting back into the life raft, however on our way back to the ship, while in the channel the boats engine decided to die.

Due to a minor oversight on our part, none of us had brought a radio with us in the rescue boat – resulting in all 5 of us standing on top waving our arms to attract the attention of the officer on watch on the bridge – much to the amusement of the crew in the life raft – after around 5 minutes of waving the ship blew her whistle to let us know we had been seen and one of the tenders arrived to tow us back within 20 minutes.

It’s also my birthday today and I am off to one of the restaurants tonight for dinner, so I shall write some more in a few days.

And for those that asked, Island Star will return to Celebrity cruises after the cruise ending on the 26th of March where she is being redeployed to Pullmantur (a spanish Royal Caribbean Brand).

If you have access to Facebook I have some photo’s on there from the past few months.

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