Monday, May 11th
We’ve accellerated to full speed in preparation for our temporal displacement tonight. They are now estimating we’ll be in NZ by Thursday evening.
Last night we had a ship-wide BBQ. It was originally planned for Saturday, but it was rained out. There was a beautiful sunset last night followed by many good eats. The chef (Cookie, as he’s called by the Captain) set up a grill on the back of the deck. The grill was a piece of grate from somewhere on the ship atop half a metal drum that had been cut longways. There were large containers full of fish (wrapped in silver paper) steak, pork chops, sausages, and chicken. Lights were strung up and bevereages were plenty. I had my fill of steak and Indi devoured several chicken quarters. It was all fantastic.
Today we got a tour of the engine room! That was exciting! I took a lot of great pictures as the Chief showed us around. The engine area is THREE STORIES deep! It has seven great big pistons that keep the ship going; we got to see the control arm for the rudder, the turbochargers, fuel cleaning area, water steamer, seawater conversion array, and at the very bottom we even got to see the propeller arm spinning. Very hot and loud, but one of my favorite parts of the ship. They even have a little workshop area so they can put together tools or workarounds that may become necessary on a journey. The control room was sweet, too.
Oh, and we’ve been playing a bit of Yahtzee the last few nights. Last night, I rolled a natural Yahtzee. Bam, right out of the gate. Sadly, I had marked out my Yahtzee square the turn prior. Since then I have been waiting to mark it out until absolutely last but that natural five-of-a-kind has yet to show it’s face again. However, it is fun to roll and, due to the ship rolling too, the dice move about for quite some time before settling on a number.
Tuesday, May 12th
There is no Tuesday, May 12th.
Wednesday, May 13th
Great Scott! We’re in the FUTURE! Evidently our tampering with the space-time continuum has upset nature’s delicate balance, because the swells of the Pacific are such that it’s making me and Indi both sick. Huzzah for Dramamine. Depending on how the boat pitches and lurches, some of the water is spraying high enough that it goes over the containers on the front of the ship.
I’ve been thinking a lot about Shawshank Redemption, my favorite film. I watched it again the other day for the first time in a long time and it’s interesting to think about it in light of the journey I’m now on. At the end, when Red is on his way to Mexico, he says he is at the beginning of a long journey and is uncertain of the outcome. He speaks of the excitement that only a free man must feel. Seeing as how we pull into port tomorrow night and after that is a big question mark of time, I can appreciate how he feels. Only I now know that the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams, and I am already with my friend. Hope is indeed the greatest of things and I hope my journey helps me find what I am looking for.
Oh, and the Chief Engineer hooked me up with Office. Double-plus good.
Thursday, May 14th
This is it; our last day at sea. Tonight, at about 8:00 PM local time, we’ll be met by a Tauranga dock pilot and brought into the loading area. We disembark from our floating home tomorrow after lunch.
We’ve done some preliminary looking at where we’ll be docking and it appears to be in the Mt. Maunganui area of town, which is home to exactly what we need (internet cafe, hostel, etc). We repacked our bags today to try and squeeze a little more space out of ‘em and I’m happy to report that we have. We should have enough room in our packs to get some groceries in there to take with us, which should be cheaper than eating out all the time. Of course, cheap buffets will not be passed by…
This is probably the longest stretch of time I’ve been without e-mail access since I entered the online world in 1996. My first computer in ’94 was an IBM Aptiva desktop PC, complete with a 60 MHz Pentium processor, 540 megabyte hard drive, and 16 megs of RAM. I was hot stuff. I first forayed online in the manner of DOS based bulletin boards via Telex, then upgrading to Windows bulletin boards via Excalibur. I went to LAN parties and played Doom II, Quake, and Command and Conquer. Sometime in 1996 we finally made it online and email@example.com was me. The web was just coming together and Geocities was the home-built website of the day. I think my old site is still out there somewhere, languishing. Anyway, many upgrades later, I find myself seeking a wireless high-speed internet connection in a foreign land with a laptop smaller than my English textbook was in 1995. I have a hand-held gadget that tells me where I am, where I need to go, and brings all of the multimedia I want to my fingertips. It’s amazing how far I’ve come, and it’ll be equally amazing to see how much farther I’ll be in a few more years.
Skype is my next leap; it’s an instant-message program that also allows voice/video chat for free. I have it and any time I’m online I’ll have it running.
Friday, May 15
Last night was amazing. After dinner, we went up to the bridge to watch the ship begin slow down for docking procedures. At 6:35, lights came into view on the horizon. Civilization! It was a joyous sight to behold. Since the day we left, we hadn’t seen any other ships or land or anything but our secluded buoyant world. Over the next two and a half hours, we watched as New Zealand got closer.
At about 8:00, two pilots from the Tauranga port boarded. Their little boat came up alongside us, two guys climbed up a rope ladder, and it sped off. They helped guide us past the beacons and into the harbor. We were also joined by two tugboats, although to be fair they were more push than tug. They tied on to the front/back of the ship on the port side, and nudged us into placed. Docked/steady at 9:00 PM. Awesome. Customs came aboard and clear us; twas was no problem, either…although one of the guys had major Jack Nicholson eyebrows.
Sleep was more difficult than expected. Not only were we quite excited to finally be here, but the boat was still. It felt kinda like you do when you get out of the bathtub and everything is heavy. Anyway, once we were asleep, that was it. Slept through the night for the first time in awhile.
Today we set out to find internet and shelter. We have a basic idea of where in town we want to walk and where we can find a hostel. Other than that, we’ll be living by the seat of our pants from now on. Exciting? Yes. Scary? Yes. Worth it? You betcha.