Saturday, April 18, 2004
(End of My First Full Week)
Well, today marks the end of my first full voyage. I spent the first half of the week going through safety and orientation stuff (you normally do this in your first few days, but I came in half-way through a voyage).
The life raft demonstration was actually kind of funny. The head guy said that the ship had to be emptied in 30 minutes, which gives us 6 minutes per life raft (the passengers are in actual life boats, which can all be launched at once, the life rafts are in little barrels and have to be inflated and launched one at a time). He proudly announced that his team does it in 3 minutes per boat, and pulled out a stopwatch to time them. The got it out, the guy running the winch kept running it the wrong direction. The guy who hooked it to the barrel hooked it wrong, so when it got over the side, it fell. They had two guide ropes, so at least it didn't fall to the water. It took them about ten minutes to get it up high enough to re-hook the cable to it. When they inflated it, the ropes were wrapped around wrong, so they twisted the raft as it inflated, and nearly ripped it in half. I think that it took them closer to a half hour to launch it when it was all said and done. To their credit, it was a tiny demo raft that wasn't professionally packed, and wasn't the ones that we actually use. The passenger life boats are huge, really nice, and fully enclosed. You can see them in the pictures of the ship here, about half-way up (they are white with orange tops). It is kind of cool, on one deck you are just walking along with them over your head. To get an idea of size, here is a picture of one with people right under it.
I went through several hours of orientation, which was very hard to stay awake through. It was nice and cold in the lounge that we were in, and I hadn't slept more than two hours a night for three weeks. I also went through a 4-hour class on crowd management, which ended with an enactment of an emergency. They had a small team made up of part of us, then the rest acted like passengers. After the team left the room, she gave each of us a role to play (i.e., fighting couple, panicking people that didn't bring their life preservers, guy having a heart attack, etc.). Mine was the "passive drunk." I picked up a child's life preserver, wore it on my head, tied the strap around my neck, kept wandering off, and ended up wandering away to climb the railing and end up out by the lifeboats. It was pretty funny.
I got a kick out of a card that my roommate got from England. The card itself was funny, but it was the back that I really got a kick out of.