Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Riders on the Storm

Jim, Adam, Jacob, and I just spent an exciting weekend being windswept and bounced around by Hurricane Sandy on land, in the air, and at sea. A few weeks ago, I made reservations for a three-day cruise out of the Port of Miami knowing full well that it was nearing the end of hurricane season. There had not been any tropical systems in south Florida this year, so, really, what were the odds that something would develop for the few days that we would be there? Pretty good, as it turned out.

The four of us planned to meet in Fort Lauderdale on Thursday evening - Jake and I were coming from Detroit, Adam from Denver, and Jim from Houston. Adam's flight was scheduled to leave at 1 a.m. MDT. He drove to the airport in a snowstorm and departed two hours late due to deicing issues. Despite the fact that he missed his connecting flight enroute, Adam arrived in Florida a few hours before the rest of us. The hurricane was offshore when we all flew in and it made for bumpy landings in 45 mph crosswinds. Our ship embarkation on Friday was delayed two hours due to the storm, but we were delighted when we finally got onboard and underway.

I assumed that Sandy would quickly head north and our sailing would only be in rough waters for a very short time. Bad assumption. The ship was really rocking on Friday night, and the wind & waves only increased on Saturday. Passengers were getting sick all over the ship. Even though the crew placed throw-up bags in strategic places, we saw people vomiting everywhere - in the buffet, on the stairs, in public restrooms, even in their own hands. And, though Jacob has been on eight cruises, he began to feel queasy and had to take some motion sickness meds for the first time. (Which worked well, he was fine after a couple of hours.) The dining rooms were almost empty and the showrooms were only half full. The captain announced that he changed our course and purposely cruised south towards the Florida Keys since the forecast there was for 20 knot winds. The Norwegian Cruise Line meteorologists were very inaccurate as we encountered 50 knot winds (59 mph) and 20-25 foot seas. The ship bobbed up & down and listed side to side in these conditions for the first 36 hours of our cruise, lifting the bow up high and then crashing it back down into the ocean with a loud thud. I honestly never felt unsafe, though, and I was happily surprised that my stomach was actually fine & dandy the entire time.

The port of Nassau was open for us to visit on Sunday despite the fact that the hurricane had passed near it and did leave some minor damage behind. We went on a fun tour of the city on Segways, then did some shopping. When we got back to Miami on Monday morning, the storm was far to the north and ready to make landfall in New Jersey. The hurricane wind field was huge, however, and was affecting flights up & down the east coast and inland as far west as Michigan. Luckily, even though the winds were high in Detroit, the airport stayed open. Our 757 was tossed around in 45 mph crosswinds during the last 30 minutes of our flight, but we landed on time.

Now I am ready for these winds to calm down because, among other things, my hair has been a horrible mess ever since last Thursday.

Our ship, the Norwegian Sky.
I love the pretty blue water of the Bahamas.
This was Adam and Jacob's cabin. Jim and I had the connecting room next door.
My favorite towel animal.

The four of us on our Segways.
Jacob and Jim standing on the back deck. The stern of the ship is up on a wave crest, the bow is down.
I am standing in the very same spot. Now the stern is down and the bow is up. Up and down. Up and down. I wish I had a movie camera!

1 comment:

Captain Merrill Stubing said...

Those were some mighty heavy seas!