Episode 204 – A Fair At Sea

Transatlantic Sea Day Logs: Day 7 of 9

February 21, 2022. 84 °F/29°C

#myvikingstory

As so often is the case on sea days, mine started with a lecture, this time Michael Bradley’s fascinating talk about navigation in Polynesia during the early spread of people onto those islands. The idea that wooden canoes under sail, their construction lashed together with coconut fibre, some of them with an outrigger that made them look a bit like modern catamarans, moved people thousands of miles across the Pacific is frankly terrifying (so is the concept of the Vikings crossing the north Atlantic in their ships, frankly).

Navigation was done with no “equipment”, not even a sextant, but instead used collected knowledge of wind, waves, ocean swells, and the flight habits of birds.

Birds do 2 things: (1) they tell you where fish are, and (2) their flight direction tells you where land is. In the morning, birds fly FROM land to fish; in the afternoon, birds fly TOWARD their nest on land!

Top: Navigation charts made of shells and sticks could help: in this “map” below the shells represent islands, and the curved sticks represent ocean swells. Amazing!
Centre: a modern star chart created by Hawaiian navigators wanting to recreate a trip using old methods.
Bottom: a young man being taught to navigate using a Micronesian star compass made of shells or rocks and sticks.

Fun fact: the constellation we call Orion, is in Hawaiian called “Cat’s Cradle”. Find a picture of Orion and you can see why!

Mike also shared pictures of boats currently being built using the original specifications and mostly original materials. Interesting was his anecdote that the stretchy natural fibre ropes used by the Hawaiians to rig their sails actually has an advantage over using modern ropes or steel cables that don’t stretch, because in a strong gust of wind, the sail itself would be able to flex, rather than the entire boat tipping and dumping its passengers.

At noon today, the ship had set up an onboard county fair! Each department on the ship created a “booth” with various contests and games, my favourite of which was the Housekeeping Department’s towel folding event (I made an elephant). The scariest booth belonged to the engine crew; any activity requiring goggles, helmets and a safety vest can’t be good! (It ended up being hammering a nail, and assembling nuts and bolts.) The grossest booth belonged to the Restaurant staff, who had a “guessing” booth: put your hand into a box whose contents you can’t see, and guess what’s inside. I thought I’d lucked out when the person in front of me got the bowl of cold creamed spinach, but then I got a thin slice of raw meat floating in liquid (that I incorrectly guessed was a wet cleaning cloth). Eww.

The event being set up. Once the crowds arrived, it was much harder to get photos.
Can you believe I’ve never played Beer Pong before?
Yet, I “sunk” 3 balls out of 5!
Assistant Cruise Director Damian ran an “above the mask” face-painting booth, but first he practiced on his partner in crime Sarah-Leanne.

Of course the Food & Beverage Department went all out with county fair treats: freshly made spiral potato chips on skewers, corn dogs, and fresh hot beignets. Naturally there were lots of colourful drinks being passed around along with tall glasses of cold beer. The Viking Band provided live music to add to the festive mood.

Each passenger had the opportunity to pick up a “Chilean passport” (an in joke, since passemgers and crew worked for weeks to obtain our Chilean vaccine passports, and then we were not ever asked to show them) which, if stamped at every booth, could then be entered into a prize draw.

L to R: Shore Excursion Manager Rob, Hotel General Manager Johann,
and Financial Office Chris.
At our Medical Team’s booth, we had to use a pipette to draw up enough spiked punch to drink. Notice the Coronavirus balloon decor.
Captain Olav invariably leaves the bridge during special events
and snaps photos of his crew having fun.
Guess what? I won a prize!! It’s a Carelian soapstone Swedish massage tool – that’s Guest Services Manager Mara beside me. (Photo credit AY)

At 3:10 p.m. we crossed the Equator again, making us all eligible to wear a gold hoop in EACH ear and put BOTH feet on the table while eating! Captain Olav suggested we anticipate a bump as we traversed the “line” on the globe.

A fellow passenger, Ted Meeks, kindly shared his compass shot
taken just before we crossed.
A booby hitched a ride across the Equator with us.

On to dinner at Manfredi’s with Karin and Allan, which is always a fun way to spend an evening.

After dinner, magician/comedian Greg Moreland performed his second show of the crossing. We’ve seen lots of magicians on TV, and a few live, but none of them ever made us laugh as much as Greg. Oooooooh….Ahhhhhhh.

2 comments

  1. Oh, such fun, Rose. Did you win your prize for beer pong??!????? LOL! Can’t believe you never played at any of the staff parties….

    Boy, the Viking folks sure go all out, don’t they? Who’d ever have thought of “Country Fair”? Did Ted have fun too?

    Like

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