Bruce and Jan

Bruce and Jan
Dancin' Through Life Together

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Day 15: Crossing the Date Line

Remember Y2K – how the doomsayers were convinced the world was coming to an end and we feared for all the computer systems?  Well that was a breeze compared to crossing the International Date Line on a cruise ship!!  Oh my gosh, the stories I have in store for you today…

Yesterday afternoon Bruce was in a chat session with a customer trying to schedule an online meeting for today at 4:00 PM Central Time.  I looked over at him counting on his fingers, puzzled look on his face, more finger-counting, then complete frustration set in.  He couldn’t figure out what time that would be here on the ship.  After about 20 minutes, he came up with his best guess – 9:00 AM.  Here’s an excerpt of the reply he sent to the customer:

We're half-way between Tahiti and Australia -- should be a hundred miles or so from Cook Islands tomorrow. Oops, there is no tomorrow. We go from the 11th to the 13th.
Right now, it is 2pm here and 9pm CDT. Just after midnight tonight (here) it will be 7:01am CDT on Oct 12, but it will be 12:01am here on Oct 13. Damn -- I'm gonna miss Columbus day.
Mind boggling. I'm guessing I need to be online by 9am my time the day after tomorrow (which is really first thing in the morning) in order to hook up with you tomorrow at 4pm CDT.
We had a good laugh over the logistics of it.

During Happy Hour at 5:00 we had our daily deluge.  The fog turned into torrential rain with high winds and the swells grew to a noticeable size.  We had a nice dinner and were back to the room around 10:30.  By then it was getting pretty wild out on the bounding seas.  We needed to set a wake-up call for Bruce’s meeting, but decided to stay awake until after the ship’s clocks were reset at midnight.  We got sucked into a movie that ended at 12:30.  I got up and set the wake-up call.  At 12:42 – guess what – the wake-up call went off.  So I got up again and shut it off, then reset it again.  I waited a few minutes and it didn’t go off, so I thought it must surely be set this time.

We fell asleep right after that.  Bruce had no problem sleeping.  I, on the other hand, hardly slept at all.  The size of the swells over night was 5-6 meters – that’s 18-19 feet - nearly twice the size that we had a few days ago.  There was a 4-second rhythm to it that went like this:
  1. One-one-thousand, two-one-thousand:  the ship’s bow would rise.
  2. Three-one-thousand: the ship’s bow would crest over the swell and begin to descend.
  3. Four-one-thousand:  the ship’s bow would come crashing down with a BANG-BANG.  We’re on deck 4 very near the bow, so this was close and very loud
  4. The side wind causes a constant vibration.  I was wondering who was putting quarters in the bed.
  5. The old girl creaks like a haunted house with every hard impact onto the ocean.
  6. One-one-thousand, two-one-thousand:  as the ship’s bow would rise, you could feel your body rising and almost leaving the bed.
  7. Three-one-thousand: as ship’s bow would crest over the swell and begin to descend, you would get that sensation in your stomach like being on a roller coaster when it goes down the big hill.  Wheeeee…
  8. Four-one-thousand:  as the ship’s bow would come crashing down with a BANG-BANG, your body would catch a G or two and be pressed deep down into the bed.
  9. The BANG-BANG is caused by the ship’s bow rising above the water which allows air to get under the hull.  When she starts down, the air is pushed out, causing the first BANG.  So basically, she’s farting.  Not so lady-like.  The second BANG is the hull crashing into the water surface.

So all night long it was this constant rhythmic pitching about.  I wasn’t counting sheep, I was counting waves.  Things in the room were also being pitched about.  First it was a bottle of vitamins rolling around in a cabinet.  Then it was the door to the safe that I hadn’t locked.  Later, a suitcase was banging against the wall in the closet.  Each time I had to get up and locate the offending item.  Yet Bruce slept on.

Then it was 8:30, but the wake-up call never came.  Yet Bruce slept on.  Not me, though.  Luckily I was awake and aware that it was time to get up.  So we did.  We went up on Deck 9 where we usually get very good Wi-Fi connection.  He started to log on.  And then he freaked out!  He couldn’t get logged on because yesterday’s session was still running – it said 1400 minutes at a cost of $900!!!  He couldn’t kill the session and he couldn’t open a new one.  He even rebooted his computer – TWICE!  But the session ran on, ticking up minutes and dollars.  We went to the Purser’s desk and found out that they’d had problems resetting things when we crossed the Date Line.  Wake-up calls were missed, and computers were racking up huge bills.  So after all that calculation, he missed his meeting anyway.  And the worst part is, there’s no way to reach the customer to let him know or to reschedule.

We had breakfast and surprisingly I wasn’t feeling seasick at all.  But by 10:30, it finally hit me.  So I went back on the Bonine.  Thank goodness for Bonine!!  Dramamine knocks me completely out.  Bonine will cause brief periods of drowsiness, but I can stay awake if I have to.  No sleep + Bonine + nothing more pressing to do = long afternoon nap.  It was my turn to sleep on.

We’re almost exactly halfway between Fiji and New Zealand.  The rain set in today in the early afternoon.  There was no internet access all day. 

Dinner was formal – with lobster tails and shrimp, and cherries jubilee for dessert.  Ahhhh, food on the ship is good.

They’re saying the seas will calm a bit tomorrow.  I hope so!  Wheeeeeee…

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