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New York - Manzanillo

Leg details

September 29 - October 5, 2005
New York (US) - Norfolk (US) - Savannah (US) - Manzanillo (PA)


Leg map (click to enlarge in separate window)

Thursday, September 29, 2005

New York - Norfolk, USA

The day begins with rain and only 23° C and strong winds. But it improves during the day.

In the late afternoon we arrive in the protected bay of Norfolk.

The pilot is a very nice person and gives good explanations on the equipment used and the special software that was developed solely for the pilots in the harbour of Norfolk.
He also gives good tip for the tomorrow's shopping tour.

Outside of the harbour we pass some interesting ships.
The above is a LPG-gas-tanker that for safety reasons is only allowed in the harbour to unload and is now waiting for his slot.

The largest military base of the US-navy is located in Norfolk.
Lots of large ships of all types can be found anchored here. We are especially impressed about the aircraft carriers.
Of course taking pictures has been prohibited ..... it is anyway already getting to dark for pictures.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Norfolk , USA

Even though we have nice weather the temperature today don't climb much higher than 20°C!

The "matisse" will leave in the early afternoon and we have just a bit of time for some shopping.
We needs some jeans and Roger is after a iPod or external hard disk as his Mac is overflowing with all the pictures he is shooting.

As we leave the "Matisse" work is already in full swing and we have time to watch for a while.
In Norfolk the containers are also unloaded with the same large cranes as in all previous harbours but they are then loaded onto trucks with solid rubber tyres to be transported to their next destination.

Being mainly an Army-base Norfolk does not offer the service of a shuttle for crew or passengers.
As we enquire on how to get transport to the entrance a charming lady called "Candy" packs us onto the tray of her Dodge-RAM pickup and takes us to the gate.
Roger, being a good tourist, takes a picture of her outside of the gate. Sure enough a guard shows up and enquires what he just had taken a picture of.
As Susi tells him that Roger finds Candy cute he grins understandingly and walks off.

We land at the "MacCarty Mall" as instructed by the pilot.
We are a bit early and have to wait for the shops to open.

While Ruedi inspects the shop windows of an electronics shop Susi gets stuck in front of the teddy bear shop.

It is a clothing store for soft toys!
Thank God there is not space left in the OKA and the 5 teddy bears that are coming along already have clothing ....

While hunting down the correct jeans we find this lady playing on a grand piano.
Her music is transmitted over the internal radio system on all floors of the shop giving it a very exclusive atmosphere.

At the "Spüngli"-shop we stock up with real swiss-made "Lindor" balls.
Our stocks have diminished quite a bit as we have supplied the presents for the last two birthdays and the promotion.

The fountain is very interesting. The water "jumps" from one basin to the next one in squirts.
It looks very beautiful but is close to impossible to be photographed.

Norfolk has a history of floods.
Parts of the city can be closed of with gates to prevent such damage in the future.

There would have been much more to be seen in Norfolk but we had to be back at the berth by 4 PM.

Before the "Matisse" was able to sail in direction of Savannah she had to wait for the "Hanjin Portland", a ship already met in Europe, to be pushed into the berth.

Today the light was much better than yesterday and also the captain had not said a word regarding forbidden things ...... :-)

Ruedi checked the Security-boats with his binoculars and Susi shoot photos from behind of Ruedi's back .....

Here some of the examples.

Even though we both are against violence and war we found those massive boats quite fascinating.

On the way out of the bay we had to cross two "bridge-tunnels" ... bridges that have tunnels in the middle allowing ships to pass over.

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Saturday, October 1, 2005

Atlantic, latitude Washington (N 38, W 74)

Today the weather is a bit overcast, later we even will get some storms. But with 26° C it is pleasantly warm.

Savannah is situated aprox. 50 km upstream.
The "Matisse" will have to travel aprox. 3 hours on the river to reach it.

Twice a day Ruedi records the current position on his GPS. Later on he transfers the data to the QuoVadis program and generates the pictures of the route for the web page.

As the way to Savannah is very challenging Ruedi decides to stay up and track the whole route.
He will then tomorrow on the way out backtrack it and see how much the 2 routes differ.
He learns a lot but the most important lesson out of this exercise was that he needs to read the manual of QuoVadis and exercise a bit with the software .....

As the whole travel upstream happened during the night there are no pictures, sorry.

Sunday, October 2, 2005

Savannah , USA

For today's visit of Savannah we have sultry weather conditions with 26°C.

While waiting for the cab we can observe this monster of a stacking truck.
It can lift 40-foot containers weighing up to 35 tons up to 20 m, no problem.

In Savannah we learn how tourist should be treated.

We are picked up by a "Stretch-Limo" from the booking office of our sightseeing tour and driven to the departure point of the tour.
All four of us could not believe our eyes once we saw the interior.
What a fun idea!

Savannah is famous for its parks.
On many of the trees there is Irish moss growing.

The town hall and the cathedral are quite impressive.

But from the most impressive building we don't have a photo.
Here the story:
The jewish congregation wanted to have their own synagogue.
There was only one architect available with Savannah at that time and he only had one set of plans: the ones of a catholic church!
So Savannah has the only synagogue in the world that has a floor plan in the shape of a cross.

Savannah was spared during the civil war and passed on to the president as a present.
Due to this it has a nice selection of old buildings, most of them nicely renovated.

Savannah has many cast iron buildings left.
During the civil war many cast iron housed in other american towns were destroyed and the iron turned into bullets ....

Also some very pretty rows of houses can be seen.

A specialty of Savannah are the spouts of the gutter in form of a fish.
Of course this gives a good motive to be reproduced in plastic as souvenirs ....

Savannah used to be the largest cotton exchange place. There was even an official cotton stock exchange!

Savannah has a all-year-christmas shop.
Also there is "Hanna, the vamp of Savannah" keeping a watchful eye on shoppers.

Our favourite shop was the candy store with all the different candies and jelly beans.

So much to be seen and photographed ....

Savannah has some cobble stone roads and houses with stones imported from England.
They were used as ballast in the ships over to the US.

At the river there is a statue of a waving maid with a dog at her side.
The story is that there was a maid that fell in love with a sailor.
As he sailed out she waved him farewell and vow that she would wave to each ship until he returns.
Well, she did that ever day, had dogs trained to keep her company as she stood there but he never returned.
To her 80th birthday Savannah had that statue done so the lady can retire in peace.

We did not have enough time to see all and would have loved to stay longer but the "Matisse" was ready to sail.

As we returned to the "Matisse" we found that they were still taking crude oil and the sailing time had been moved backward by 2 hours.
Nobody had thought about informing us. We could have stayed two more hours in Savannah!! Ah well, next time ...

Here some impressions from the Savannah river and bridge taken on our return to the ship.

The tide is almost at maximum and it is time to sail down river.
All large ships need to get upstream first to be turned.
We have to wait for a large container vessel to get passed us.

Then another one is turning and gets passed us. Then it is our turn and the tugs start pulling and pushing.

As we turn we pass the "Hanjin Portland" ... seen already in Europe and in Norfolk ....
The views of Savannah at night are quite stunning with all the lights of the harbour and the bridge.
Nice, nice, nice ....

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Monday, October 3, 2005

Atlantic, longitude Bahamas (N 26, W 76)

Even though the sun rise is very beautiful the day turns into a cloudy, rainy day with some strong winds at times.
The 26°C feel cold with the strong wind.

As yesterday was a working day in Savannah for the crew "Sunday" was moved to today.

So we start breakfast with some chocolate croissants ....

As already found out the last Sunday, lunch on Sundays is special.
Today's "Tartare de barracuda with eggplant mousse" its a delight.

After lunch the weather deteriorates into a very strong rainstorm.

In the middle of the storm suddenly the power goes off and the engine stops.
Alarms start ringing in the rooms.
We all run to the bridge to find out what is happening.
It is a bit hectic but soon the power is back.
After a few minutes the engine room calls the bridge. The captain picks the phone and all we can understand is "... sh ....."
One of the power generators has blown and the required spare parts are not available on board.
But as usually only 2 out of 4 generators run one of the spare ones is taken into service.
Soon the engine is back and we continue our travel.
By then the storm had also passed ...

Its a good day to work on the computer and sort out the hundreds of pictures from New York .
Ruedi has installed the small wireless LAN, that will be used in the OKA later on, on board and all three can access each other's PC and the network-disk.
This makes the exchange of pictures and movies easy.

We reach the Bahamas and pass the Crooked Island Passage.
Even the captain did not know if the Bahamas are USA-territory or not, but his books held all the required answers.

Later in the afternoon we ask Xavier, the cook, if we can visit the kitchen and the storage rooms.
But he already is very busy with the dinner (Sundays are the busiest days for him).
But he agrees to a visit for tomorrow, Tuesday.

Tuesday, October 4, 2005

Caribbean Sea, between Cuba and Haiti (N 19, W 74)

After a rainy and stormy night a beautiful day awaits us.
The temperature has risen to warm 27°C, there is almost no wind.

Today's route will takes us between Cuba and Haiti.

In the morning Susi sees that the lifeboat is open and somebody is working inside.
As she sneaks up to get some pictures one of the officers, Adrian, looks out and invites us in for a visit.
It is amazing, what they carry in this small boats.
But imagining to have 32 people in this raft in rough sea, just 3 liters of water for each of the passengers .... we all agree that we rather not want to make that experience.

At 10 AM we all gather at the kitchen. Xavier is already in full swing getting lunch going but finds time for a guided tour.

Roger takes the opportunity to play maître d'hôtel. Marian then poses for the picture with the correct maître d'hôtel.

The guided tour include cold- and freezer-rooms.

Ruedi and Xavier play "Star Wars" with frozen French sticks .....
There is always time for a bit of fun on the "Matisse".

Details of the lifeboat, the kitchen and storage rooms will be displayed on the "CMA CGM Matisse" later on.

In the afternoon the ocean becomes complete calm, no waves at all.

The "Matisse" seems to glide on the water, no sounds, not stumping, no rolling, just bliss ....
If one looks out to the water it is like flying through the blue of water and sky ....

Ruedi takes the opportunity and takes the guitar to the bow to play a bit.

The crew takes the opportunity of the nice weather to perform some maintenance on the lights in the bow.
Even though the ocean is as calm as it can get the crew member attaches himself to the mast with a harness.

Later in the afternoon we travel along Cuba.
The Matisse stays just outside of the 7-mile zone to get the shortest route.
Even by being so close to Cuba one does not see much than an island in the ocean ...

In the evening the first helmsman celebrates his birthday by shouting an apéro for the whole crew and passengers.

Wednesday, October 5, 2005

Caribbean Sea, east of Panama (N 12, W 78)

Today we have another day of classical caribbean weather: sun and already 27°C early in the morning.

Today is it time to cut the hair and the deck outside of our cabin is changed into a hairdressing salon.
Access is restricted to clients only ..... and of course to the "paparazzi".

First it is Ruedi's term. Susi already has some experience and Ruedi is pleased with result.

Then Ruedi gives it a try.
Susi is very skeptical but the outcome is quite good.

Two more happy customers in the salon on hairdressing deck E!

In the afternoon the pool is calling.
The water temperature is close to 26°C.
Susi and Ruedi invent a game called Pool-Ping-Pong ...
A ping-pong ball is placed in the middle of the pool.
Then both players need to get the ball into the other player's goal without touching the ball.
It is a mixture of technique in squirting and splashing and trying not to swallow too much water while laughing ...

Outside the electrician gives the motor of the winch that was lifted on board in Rotterdam another try, but he still can not get the motor running.

Another day on our 3-star hotel in paradise goes to end ...

Thursday, October 6, 2005

Manzanillo, Panama

The sunrise is beautiful. The temperature already is at 27°C and there is a small breeze
Mist rises out of the jungle and it looks like it will be a hot day today.

We reach the entry to Manzanillo early in the morning.
The pilot gets on board shortly after 6 o'clock.

We reach the harbour at 7 in the morning.
There are two entries into Manzanillo:
The one to the left is for the harbour and the one to the right for the Panama Channel only.

The pilots guides us through the narrow entry.

The harbour of Manzanillo is strewn with boats in all sizes.

Looks like every so often a boat does not make it whole into the harbour ...

As we glide into the harbour we see another wreck .....

There are some nice apartments houses with some good views of the harbour at the tip of the land.
Looks expensive .....

On the way to the allocated berth in the back-section of the harbour we pass the newer parts of the "Port of Manzanillo".

The "Matisse" is turned and pushed backwards into the berth.

The pilot and the captain co-ordinate the efforts of the tug and the crew of the "Matisse".
The manoeuvres are also closely watched by Ruedi and Roger.

Our berth place is right behind the "P&O Nedlloyd Evita" that must have arrived just before the "Matisse".
Cooling water is still splashing out of the bow of the ship.

Then the local people arrive and even though there are security guards we have to especially ensure that all doors on the "Matisse" are locked.
Usually only one of the outer doors in one of the upper decks is kept open.
Also there is a door with a number-lock on deck "A" so in any case we can get in and out.

Manzanillo is considered to be an unsafe harbour and the captain recommends not to leave the boat.

It is a shame that Manzanillo is in such bad a state with all the rotten-looking old and unused warehouses.
Manzanillo being one of the gates to the Panama Channel and with so many ships going through its gates a well designed tourist mile would be good business.

The newer parts of the harbour, where the container ships berth, looks a bit better.
But there is not much there to write home about ....

As we stay on board Ruedi has time to assist the maître d'hôtel Marian with fixing the chairs.
But the tools given to the poor Marian by the crew don't really match and it turns out to be a pain of a job.
Marian decides to leave it to tomorrow and come back with screws and drills that actually match in size ....

Susi finds time to take close ups on the technique of fixing the containers on deck.
And of course there are still the pictures of New York to be taken care of .....

The "Matisse" receives some more crude oil.
Manzanillo is the last harbour where crude oil can be bought for a reasonable price.
Neither of the next few destinations Tahiti, New Zealand, Numea or Australia provide crude oil.
So the "Matisse" needs to bunker fuel to last until Singapore.

After 4 PM the barge is towed away and our tugs arrive.
We have to wait until the "P&O Nedlloyd Evita" has left the berth.

We pass the berth of the "Maersk" shipping company.
According to the captain "Maersk" gets special treatment in the Panama Channel as it is the largest shipping company of the world.
Any "Maersk"-ship, no matter at what time it has come into harbour, will the following day pass the channel before the other ones.
Well, money seems to talk in Panama too .....

We are out of the inner harbour and now the captain needs to watch out for all the larger and smaller ships and boats.

Even though we have a pilot on board manoeuvring in the harbour is hard work for the captain ... especially if he has the bridge full of nosy passengers like us!

We follow the track of the "P&O Nedlloyd Evita" but she seems to have instructions to go straight back in through the other opening in the breakwater and stay inside over night.
Guess she will be going through the locks over night.

As we head out of the harbour the depth increases and we reach our anchoring place.
The position is neatly entered in the cards with pencil by Adrian, the officer on duty.

All details of the legs are entered in the corresponding cards in regular intervals.
This is done to be able to track the position should the electronics fails and they have to use the sextant for definition of the position .
They always reuse the same set of cards but erase the old entries.

After the anchor has been lowered we are allowed to go to the bow.
Amazing how hot the anchor cable gets and how mush rust comes off during this exercise.

It is save to climb onto the lockout at the bow and of course Ruedi and Roger don't miss the opportunity ....

An absolutely beautiful sun set can be viewed.
It is so beautiful that one could already almost call it kitschy.

On the way back there is more to be investigated and seen.
Isn't life great if one can see things through the eyes of a child every so often?



No liability for timeliness, integrity and correctness of this document is accepted.
Last updated: Friday, 08.02.2019 9:05 PM

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