If not for the courage of the fearless crew

Monday, October 12, 2015
Cockburn Town, Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos
It's been a relaxing day...and I think that's in order...considering. Considering what? you ask. Well, considering it's another sea day...we've done most of the onboard activities that interest us...it's stinkin' hot outside...and we had a little bit of a wake-up call at 1:50 am. And that...my friend...leads to today's Fuss Budget.

The Fuss Budget today is a bit high ...I'd put it conservatively at 90%...the highest of the cruise so far. Not surprising considering...but first a little perspective. Here on Princess you generally get an announcement on the first day on board and it's with respect to your lifeboat drill. They broadcast it into everyone's cabin so that they know the procedure for the drill. They also announce that in subsequent days, all non-emergency announcements will only be broadcast in public areas...to respect the privacy of the passengers. This means that when the cruise director gets on the horn to announce the lineup of activities for the morning, and you're still in your cabin, you have to open your door or stand in the hall to hear it. Same goes on days when we are in port, when they announce that you may disembark and go ashore...you have to open your door to hear it. Also when the Captain does his daily "sit rep" at noon and you're catching 40 winks...out in the hall you must go to hear. So imagine our concern when in the wee hours of the morning the loud speaker in our room sounds, and the Captain makes a call regarding an "emergency". For some reason in my half awake brain, I think I hear something in his announcement that leads me to believe it's a medical emergency. And we're not being sent to our muster stations. Not yet anyway... I'm out of bed like a shot. Enquiring minds want to know. First thing I do is go out on the balcony. We are at the very back of the ship, remember? There is smoke out there swirling down from the top deck . It's thick...and it smells like something burning. Hey, I know the smell of fire when I smell it. I've been to enough of them over the years. Kier comes out on the balcony and confirms my suspicions. That smoke certainly smells of fire...and there's so much of it...but we don't see any flames...so...we remain calm. When we get back in bed there's a subsequent announcement advising everyone to "stand clear of the water-side doors" and that they are being closed automatically.

Hmmm, the last time I heard that announcement was when we were docked in port in Kusadasi, Turkey and a sudden storm came up, snapping the ropes holding us on the pier and we listed sideways and started to take on water...they locked down all the doors and we did a little imitation of the Costa Concordia before we straightened ourselves and ended up out to sea again. Of course, that happened mid afternoon when everyone was up and around. Most were off the ship, we were not. Point being, my mind was not sleep addled. I was already planning for the call to muster stations that day. The call never came. Had a ship been docked beside us on the pier, it may have been disastrous...instead of the tad nerve wracking that it was.

Okay...back to the wee hours of last night. It's now almost 2 am. We've had an emergency call. We've had a follow up that exterior doors are being closed automatically . We've got smoke, and lots of it. And then...we've got the announcement that says "stand down". All's right with the world again...apparently. So, by 2:05 am, I'm back to sleep. Sure, my sphincter puckered for a few minutes there. Sure, I briefly wondered if I shouldn't get up and gather my important "stuff" in case that call to muster stations came. But it didn't. And I'd seek out details in the morning.

The rumour mill was functioning at full throttle throughout the morning. Everywhere you went, people were proselytizing about the cause. We heard everything from "man overboard" to someone "acting up" on top deck. No one said anything about a fire.

At lunch time today, the Captain made his daily navigational announcement. He opted to broadcast this one ship wide...even into people's cabins. He felt he should explain what had happened this morning. It was a generator that malfunctioned, he said. The crew performed admirably, he said. There was lots of smoke, he said. But there was never any fire...he said. To that I call "BULLSHIT!". Cause you know the old saying...if it looks like a burnt duck, and it smells like a burnt duck, and it sounds like a burnt duck...then there's been a FIRE near that duck.

*****And just as a little aside today, I want to point something out. And, quite frankly, I'm a bit surprised that none of my faithful readers have picked up on it. Or if they did, no one's ever commented on it. The titles of my daily entries have reflected the lyrics to that popular series of the 70's...Gilligan's Island. I prepared all the titles in advance of my departure from home. Yup, I DO have too much time on my hands. Point being...look at the title of today's. It is definitely one of those things...those things that make you go hmmmmm!!*****
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Not to worry -- I'm pretty sure we all clued in to your post titles, Gilligan. And if the name of your ship is The Minnow that would really make me say, "hmmm!"