Spirit of Adventure blog
Another early wakeup call with pilot scheduled for 4 o’clock in the morning and 28NM of pilotage ahead of us with the intention to be alongside for 8am. The Pilot was a relaxed and easy going chap who adapted to the team quickly. Weather conditions were great with good visibility and light winds. I was surprised when the pilot told us that the new requirement in good conditions dictates that ships dock starboard side alongside – bow in, as my plan was to swing on arrival and have the bow pointing out for departure. The Pilot couldn’t answer why this requirement was imposed since the last time we were here, however the Agent could. He told me that the residential buildings next to the bridge, just in front of the cruise terminal, had complained that the funnel and engine noise are impairing their peace. Fair enough, at least now we know the reason. Staff Captain Kirill was the designated driver for the day with both arrival and departure well executed.
I have previously been in Rotterdam, but never got the chance to go ashore. Pilot suggested that I should go across the bridge for a 3k walk and visit the Marketplace. Chief Officer Vincent confirmed it was open regardless that it was Sunday. It seemed like a good idea and when I mentioned it during breakfast, CETO Stipe and Nurse Vukashin asked if they could tag along. The Marketplace is well designed with shops and small restaurants spread all around. I couldn’t resist the temptation so I bought 3 cuts of local matured cheese. I wonder if they will survive till the end of my contract…. I have my doubts.
Next thing on our to do list was lunch. We saw the same franchise restaurant we visited on more than one occasion during our time in the Meyer Werft while we were building Discovery. Sumo restaurant offers varieties from sushi to grill. An entrance fee is paid that grants you an order of up to 25 small plates per person in a series of 5 per order. One has to be very careful how many orders are placed as the restaurant has a fine if the order is not finished to reduce the food wastage. We did not complete the full challenge but we were able to finish 17 plates each, ordering shortened a 4th round. Needless to say, we all skipped dinner.
On the way back to the ship my phone rang with an update post on social media. My mate Paul from South Africa posted that he was in Rotterdam for a conference. We used to sail together for years and the last time we saw each other was in 2012. I asked him where exactly he was. He told me he was staying in a hotel that overlooks the river, the bridge and the passenger ship with blue hull and yellow funnel. A ship with those colours sounds familiar, wouldn’t you agree? We met at the terminal entrance and went across the street for a cup of coffee and an hour of chat. It’s interesting how time is a strange thing. We haven’t seen each other for 11 years, but we felt like it was both in another life time and like it was yesterday. We updated each other with what we had been doing over the last 10 years, and also revisited some of the great times we had together.
One hour wasn’t enough as it flew by fast, but he had to return to his conference and I had to prepare for departure, which was unfortunately delayed as our bunker barge finally turned up less than an hour before departure. Luckily, we had a relatively slow speed run to our next port of call, Zeebrugge. As I did the pilotage in, Kirill offered to do the outgoing one which was much appreciated. What can I say, apart from great teamwork and the workload share.
Captain Franko Papić
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