Friday, March 05, 2010

They're not doing dance, they're doing Meteorology

Cruises are educational.  I'm not even on ours yet (I'll be leaving for the airport in just a little over one week from this instant) and I learned something today, precisely because we are going on a cruise soon.
What I learned was, in the Pacific off the coast of Baja California, winds coming out of the northwest are pretty standard, not some anomaly produced only when blizzards are sweeping across the Sierras to the Rockies.  I was hoping that would not be the case, but it's true. 
When we went on our previous Mexican Riviera cruise, the final "fun day at sea" (whatever Princess might term such a thing) was decidedly less than fun, because of 37-knot winds coming out of the northwest, churning up 10-12 foot seas and making the ship move in ways that didn't exactly upset my stomach, but made moving from place to place just bizarrely difficult.  Dangerous too, if the rumors of broken bones and smashed artwork are to be believed.  And at the end of that cruise, I believe I even declared that I'd had enough of going to sea for a while (it didn't last all that long, obviously, but I'm pretty sure I said it out loud).
Given our geographic constraints and my husbands very very (very) strong preference to avoid flying for any reason whatsoever (and he is not kidding), our cruise options are limited by the amount of vacation we can take at any given time.  If the absence can't be long enough to include driving to a port and back, we just don't go there.  So for this coming trip, we were always looking at a California-based port of embarkation. And this time of year, that probably meant LA to Hawaii (but not round trip, so that's out, because you can't drive back from Honolulu) or LA/San Diego to the west coast of Mexico somewhere.  On the way back, we head right into the prevailing winds, unless (according to the websites I found) there is a cold front positioned exactly in the right spot to calm everything down.
Probably not 37-knot winds this time; it sounds like they stay closer to 20 knots on a routine basis.  And maybe that will keep the Oosterdam from doing the shimmy-shimmy-shimmy-shimmy, SLAM! SLAM! SLAM! motion that the Diamond Princess produced the last time we headed north in that area.  I hope so.  I really do not want to waste a vacation day watching Alfred Hitchcock movies in the stateroom because I can't predict whether the next move is a shimmy or a SLAM.  (I blame the stabilizers for the motion, by the way, and I would advocate pulling them in or turning them off or whatever when heading into the waves - it just felt so unnatural that I kept thinking I could have handled the unstabilized motion much more easily.)
I'm not going to worry about it, though.  If we hit rough seas this trip, I'll find a sheltered topside location to sit in and spend my day watching them - not TV documentaries.

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