Thursday, September 13, 2018

50 Easter Island - the port that never was.

It is official, we have missed our first port for this World Cruise.
Chatting to someone who has not done a lengthy cruise before, we reassured
them that we have been very lucky on this cruise. In our experience on a
cruise this long, it is not unusual for $%#@ to happen. Ports missed or
changed at the last minute comes with the World Cruise Territory.
Our two biggest risk factors on this cruise were Greenland and Easter
Island. Thanks to Captain Lye's determination to keep his wife happy (she
was on board and she hadn't been before), he actually swapped our Greenland
ports around, rather than miss one altogether. Cross at first because it
meant that we missed our Ice Cap tour in Qaqortoq, but thankful after
spending the day in beautiful Nanortalik, which we would have otherwise
Easter Island has the reputation of hit or miss, with the latter being the
most common outcome. Our odds were really low as the 2016 Round South
America and World cruise both made it in.
Decision was always going to be last minute. We pulled up, "hmm those
crashing waves against the rocks do not look good" but still no
announcement, no news is good news. The Gangway direction signs are up, but
those waves!, still no announcement, no news is good news. Line starts to
form for tender tickets and security are out in force for crowd control;
don't like those waves! Still no announcement, no news is good news.
Announcement asking people not to line up as we are now blocking the atrium,
no one moves from their prime position, security stop anymore from joining
the line, still no announcement, no news is good news. OMG they start
handing out tender tickets. well that was one way to disperse the mob,
hearts start racing, we are getting off!! Then there is the announcement:
it is deemed too rough to tender with the forecast that it will get worse.
Bugger. so close but yet so far.
Then to rub salt into the wound, the sun came out the sky shone a brilliant
blue, but the waves still crashed with vengeance upon the shore. Paperwork
and clearance still had to be carried out as we had three medical
emergencies that had to be disembarked.
There we sat for the next five hours, Easter Island teasing us in the
sparkling sun, but the swell rocked and rolled us around reminding us why we
were staying put. So bad was the swell that the small zodiac sent out to
retrieve the sick passengers failed in its efforts to safely transfer them
across. As the small boat kept moving back and forth against the pontoon,
the elderly patient refused to make that step across, not sure if the life
jacket they decided to fit her with actually instilled more confidence or
made the situation worse. "No, no, I am feeling better" she screamed, were
the reports from those on Deck 7 trying to cheer her on. With the
evacuation abandoned, and all the formalities done, we were finally off.
With still at least six hours left to run of our scheduled port time, we all
scratched our heads as to why we needed to sail straight out instead of
completing an entire circumnavigation of the island.
Easter Island is an attraction for people to sail this cruise, but yet such
a bitter disappointment to many when it is missed. Add to that the angst
the Captain caused when he made the announcement the previous day, that all
Princess tours would be tendered first and that independents should not
expect to be off until well after 10 am. You must wonder why Princess
includes it at all.
With all these time changes I am not sure if my fit bit is keeping up and
jumbling up my days. but I figure the final count must be correct 1,137,627

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