You asked about the Sea's in Alaska


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Here's a somewhat humorous piece from one of the Vancouver Sun's newspaper you an idea of what could happen. Along with some other tales. The Volendam is a smaller ship by today's standards but still large enough for several past duck adventures. Ship happens. :biggrin:

15 Sep 2012
The Vancouver Sun
PETE McMARTIN pmcmartin@vancouversun. com
Stormy seas add dinner drama on Sun’s 100th Anniversary cruise

UPON THE MS VOLENDAM, SOMEWHERE OFF THE COAST OF ALASKA until Thursday afternoon, The Sun’s 100th Anniversary cruise to Alaska had been a serene procession up the coast — calm waters and clear skies, all of it made that much better by the 600 lovely folks who had come along to celebrate the anniversary with us. More about them in a moment.

Then, at 5: 30 p. m., while we were dressing to go to dinner, the floor of our cabin heaved slightly, and we felt that little fling of weightlessness you do when you take a rise in the road and catch air. Our stomachs lifted ceiling- ward. My wife and I looked at each other, as if to say “Oh, no.”
Minutes later, the captain came on the PA system and announced, as if it were almost not worth mentioning, that some inclement weather was heading our way. He had that calm, professional voice captains do — his was rounded off with the vowel- laden inflection of the Dutch — and it was the voice that was meant to reassure his passengers that while we were about to enter the gates of hell, he had been there and back a hundred times, so relax, nothing to worry about, and enjoy the flames!
Then he said we could expect gale- force winds of — as I remember it — a thousand miles an hour, and waves as high as that one in the movie The Perfect Storm, the one where at the end of the movie George Clooney’s fishing boat is climbing the face of the wave and actually vertical. He also said that for the next few hours we could expect to hear the ship make noises such as creaking and banging and groaning, which were all perfectly natural for a ship to make in a storm, he said — at which I thought, “all perfectly natural for you, maybe.” Then he said — inexplicably, and against all reason — that we were headed out to sea rather than in to land. Ha ha! Sailors! My wife gave me two Gravol pills, and we headed out to dinner, weaving down the passageways like drunks.

By that time in the cruise, we had had a chance to talk to some of the people who had paid good money to come to Alaska with us, and they deserve mention here. You can’t know how gratifying it was to meet them, and to know there was an audience who loved newspapers and the printed word, digital or otherwise.

There were Doug and Brenda Cashin, of Vancouver — Doug a manager of a lumber supply company, and Brenda, and I quote, “a domestic goddess.” Doug had grown up in Bamfield, and had been a paper boy there, and had delivered the paper by rowboat. The paper would come three times a week, delivered by the little coastal freighter, the Uchuck. They still take the paper, Doug said, and he writes regular emails to The Sun’s legislative columnist, Vaughn Palmer. Palmer — who is not only the best political columnist in Canada but among the country’s most entertaining speakers — was giving daily talks to packed houses during the cruise.

There were Carole Murray, of Halfmoon Bay, and Joan Tynan, of North Vancouver, “co- mothers- in- law,” they said. “I think I learned to read from The Sun,” Carole said. “And the Prince Valiant cartoons? That’s why I learned to read. I loved them.” Carole, who went on to become a kindergarten teacher, was a fan of columnist Daphne Bramham, and despaired that Daphne’s columns on Bountiful and the polygamist colony had still not caused the provincial government to act. And Joan? The Sun was her morning ritual. “I read the whole thing from start to finish,” she said. “I don’t want to start the day without reading it.”

Lorraine Douglass — “I have an ‘ ass’ on the end of my name,” she said, by way of introduction — was a magisterial 86 years old, and had bought passage on The Sun cruise as soon as it had been announced. She had been a Sun subscriber since 1964, and she had ink in her veins. Her great- grandfather published the Geelong Advertiser, a newspaper in Victoria, Australia, and her family had held interest in it until after its 150th anniversary. It has since been sold to someone named Rupert Murdoch.

Ronald and Georgia Howard were from Vancouver, and had moved there from 100 Mile House. Ronald introduced himself as my wife and I were strolling the outside promenade deck. Ronald had delivered The Sun as a boy growing up in Prince George — patrons paid $ 2.35 a month to subscribe back then, he said. He grew up to be a banker and, as he said, “hated every day of it.” He gave it all up, moved to 100 Mile House where his wife’s family hailed from and became ... a garbageman. His brotherinlaw had the garbage contract there. “Every day,” Ronald said, “I thank God for the wife he gave me, and the in- laws she gave me, and the job they gave me.” He had toiled 27 years happily hauling garbage, while Georgia, who was more fond of the banking business than Ronald, held down a job as an accounts manager in the local bank. “I’m the second most important person in Georgia’s life,” Ronald said. “Anthony Gismondi is Number 1.” Gismondi, The Sun’s wine critic, was giving daily wine tastings on the cruise.

There was plenty of wine at dinner on Thursday night, and I drank as much as I could with the idea that if I was going to be seasick I might as well get drunk. The food was good, too, and I ate with the expectancy that, what the hell, I would be reacquainting myself with it sometime later during the night. Every once in a while the ship would shudder, and the dining room would tilt like a fun house, and diners would go “Whoa!” People were getting up from their tables and excusing themselves early — including three from our table — and at 9: 30 p. m., my wife and I got up, too, and we went back to our room.

The captain, in his earlier announcement, had said the bad weather would peak at 1 a. m., but by 3 a. m., the ship was still pitching and rolling like one of those crab boats in Deadliest Catch. At one point, my wife got up in the dark and turned on the TV to the Weather Channel, and later on she told me that she could have sworn she saw the wind speed described as “cataclysmic.” Meanwhile, I was beside the bed on my hands and knees, head perched over a waste paper basket, thinking: Never. Freaking. Again.