I have always loved writing, and now that I am retired I thought I would be able to find time to write, but it seems that I still manage to fill my days with activities. I have however found that while I travel, I enjoy writing about some of the interesting things we do. I hope you enjoy reading of our adventures as much as I like writing about them.
Monday, September 26, 2016
Docking in Astoria
Sailing into Astoria
I enjoy cruising. I like the “boring” sea
days where we just sail, covering distance across the oceans. Most people
however go on cruise vacations to visit new towns, cities and countries, so the
ships normally spend whole days tied up in various locations. Here passengers
are expected to go ashore and spend their hard earned retirement savings
supporting the local tourist economies. The boat normally sails overnight and
often we just seem to mysteriously be docked at a new port when we get up in
the morning. Unless you are up very early, you don’t feel or see this
operation; it just happens. It is one of those necessary operations that the
cruise lines try to do when it does not disturb people’s vacations.
Pulling in the Ropes
Today, docking it Astoria Oregon, was
different. Not only did we arrive later, my balcony provided a front row seat
for the entire operation. As we finished breakfast I felt the ship slow, and so
I knew we were approaching port. I got to watch the ship and saw how everything
worked, from entering the port to actually getting secured to the wharf.
Pulling in the ropes
It is not a fast process, taking well over
an hour from when we started maneuvering to when the gangway was opened to
funnel the shopping-deprived passengers into the town. The ship first did a
complete turn, basically spinning completely around, so later this evening when
we leave we can sail straight out of the port. It is quite the sight to watch a
935 ft. ship slowly spin 180° in the water. Once this was done with tug boats,
but now the ship thrusters make these work-horses of the harbor unnecessary,
and the ship can turn on a dime and then slowly move sideways into place
without making a ripple in my glass of wine. Once close enough to the wharf,
ropes are thrown out from the ship and workers on shore catch them and pull
first light ropes and then the huge heavy ropes which are used to secure the
ship to the shore. No fancy sailor knots are required; loops are put over large
posts on the wharf, and the boat winches everything tight.
Then once all the paperwork formalities are
completed successfully, the gangway is attached, gates are opened and the
tourist dollars start flowing ashore.