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119 current location


We dock in Charleston tomorrow.


Oh ya, Heading 280 degrees at 13 knots


October 31, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments


119  My first day at the reins

And so begins my slow decent into madness.  When I first signed on board the good ship Mercury, I was billeted (so to speak) in passenger quarters and they were sparse, but nice.  Now I am in the crew quarters and that is another story.  Here is the thing.  I have it really good.  I have a room to myself, I have a porthole, so some measure of natural light comes in, I have a bed that is slightly larger than the twin beds that are bunked up in most of the rooms.  So when I want to complain I have to think that there are guys 4 to a room sharing a bathroom that makes port-o-lets look roomy on deck 2, which is fucking underwater.  I’m not so sure that wouldn’t freak me out, I’m close to the water, my porthole is 8-10 feet above the waterline, but when we are in heavy weather, the sea lapps at my window.

So given how much I have and how good my quarters are by comparison….. let me describe them not with the intention of bitching about them, but just to describe what they are like.

Bed:  slightly larger than twin, but that is because someone sewed on extra mattress along the long side to widen it.  There is a foot’s length of mattress that flaps up and down on the somewhat jury rigged bed frame, rigged to extend it out to support the addition to the mattress.  Don’t get me wrong it is fine, big enough and I slept well my first night.

Closets:  closet is a generous term for where I put my clothes.  It is a, let’s say inexpensive, shell that has been screwed to the wall, which is the back of the closet. It is about as big as a gun safe. The edges of the closet have been taped to the wall for a reason I cannot understand.  They used that off yellow masking tape and judging by how dry  and not sticky it is, I am guessing it has been there for a while.

TV:  My 13” macbook has a bigger screen and the TV remote doesn’t work.

Fridge:  YES!! my room has a dorm fridge….. that doesn’t work.

Desk:  Same kind of thrifty tin as the closet, I suspect that without being screwed into the wall, it would fold into a heap if you look at it funny.

Bathroom:  When you open the door, there is a soupcon of sewer gas and if you leave the door open the gas tends to somewhat color the whole room.  It has all the charm of East German public housing.  The roll of toilet paper is located in a place that, from a seated position, requires yoga to reach.  The shower is about…. imagine a floor that is about a meter square, but with one corner lopped off.  But I can’t decide if the best part of the shower is that the liner for the shower pan has a hole in it and is puffy with old soapy water that squirts on you when you step in it or the fact that it takes about 5 minutes to get any water that you might consider warm enough to shower in.

I do have a very good reading light.

Now…. understand, that I have it good and you get a pretty good picture of ship life.

I’ve got mail.  Jenny sent me a care package.  You send care packages to a shoreside service center and then when the ship docks, they bring the mail onboard and sort it to get it out to the 900 crew members, except that the person who does that is sick and has been declared unfit for duty.  So the package that I have been looking forward to, I get to look forward to for another couple of days.  It is like if at the last minute you told your kid that Santa got sick and so Christmas is going to be on the 27th this year, maybe the 28th.

We have a USPH inspection in port tomorrow, which is some public health arm of the US government that I have never heard of and they come on ships to make sure everything is going according to plan, you know, public health wise.  This ship had a norwalk virus outbreak earlier this year, the crew calls it GI and it is treated like some kind of monster lurking in the bilge.  There is an automated Purell stand about every few feet and when you come back onboard, there are two crewmen standing there with half gallon squirt bottles of Purell, offering you a squirt.  They take GI very seriously on this boat.

All in all it was a pretty frustrating day for a first day on my own.  But I know it will get better.

The good news is, I can get crew internet in my new cabin, the bad news is that I have to prop open the door.

October 31, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Send me something

If you want to send anything to me….. and you do.  You would send it to

Celebrity Mercury- David Jones LAc

c/o intercruises Shoreside and Port Services

1213 J Liberty Road

Eldersburg, Md 21784


October 28, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 6 Comments

121 wake up location

almost to Baltimore


We had 3 sea days, but it will really be 3 whole sea days plus 7 hours after St Marten and 8 hours into Friday before we hit land for a whopping 87 hours at sea, which for me, is a lot.  Today is all about tying up loose ends.  The acupuncturist who is going off the ship had done a really good job of getting me acquainted to ship life and she is flying back to Canada and then a quick stint in Vegas to hit some poker tournaments.  As eager as I am to take the reins, she is to get off the boat.  5 contracts over 3 years and she says she is done.


October 28, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

122 Current Location

Sorry about that.

THIS is my current location


Can’t seem to get the embed link to work like it did last time, Oh well.

Smooth sailing and the air is getting a little cooler as we head North.

October 27, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Few more pics

The big hump you see in the background is Nevis which is right across the channel from St. Kitts.

This was the view from my office window today.  I was, however, not in the office I was on the beach for some of the day, but was trying to hike to the top of a hill that had radio antennae on it to see if it would be a good paraglider launch.  I think if the winds are from the East and not howling, it would be great.  It has a fairly clear launch, a quick turn to the right would have you ridge soaring an even higher face and then if you can thermal up, I think you could make it to a ridge that is about 3 km long and there is a big area along the pond where you can land.  Maybe next time.  If they let me off the ship next time.  I went to a training today but intentionally missed one this afternoon.  This kind of fell under the “easier to ask forgiveness than permission” thing…. which it totally is.  I got a little chewed out by the spa manager, well let’s just call it a reminder of the commitment that Celebrity has to Safety First. 

The spa manager, by the way, is great.  I’m sad that the next cruise is going to be her last and we will get a replacement.  Part of the revolving staff that is boat life. 

Speaking of Celebrity’s commitment.  These ships generate A LOT of trash, sewage, recyclables.  They have to have a waste treatment plant, incinerator and  desalinaters (for shower and waste water).  They sell off recyclables at the end of the cruise, discharge things that are safe to discharge (but only 12nm offshore which is cool because the law says, I think, 9nm)  Pretty impressive operation and one of the things you probably don’t think of, where does all my trash, water, bottles go.

That is a twenty gallon bucket full of cantelope scraps.  JUST cantelope.  They go through a lot of melon on this ship.  I guess if you are going to feed almost 2,700 passengers and crew, you are going to go through a lot of something.  I just caught the bucket of cantelope skins. 

3 sea days and 1,500 nm to Baltimore, then the show is mine.  I’m OK with that and am ready to start making some cash.  Let’s see how the next few days go.

October 25, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment



St Kitts is not a crappy island, or I just didn’t get far enough off the reservation to see it.  It is, of course, gorgeous- verdant mountains in an unreal caribbean blue sea.  Across the channel is Nevis, which at this distance looks like a stand in for King Kong island.  Today the pressure was just right so that the top of Nevis had a cloud cap most of the day.

I had to go to Sexual Harassment training this morning (it is a requirement for all new crew) and it was as exciting as you might imagine the head of training and development, tried to breathe some life into compulsory corporate training, but the patient was dead on arrival.  Then, later, as part of the employee appreciation week, they closed the messes and put on a multicultural buffet in the big fancy-pants restaurant, the Manhattan.  The food wasn’t so multicultural but seeing the most part of the crew in one place was.  I’m still amazed by how many nationalities are represented here and interestingly enough people tend to cluster by nationalities to certain jobs.  The “bridge stripes” tend to be Greek, engine room guys seem overwhelmingly Ukrainian, cabin cleaners overwhelmingly from India.

I got to go ashore today and decided to get out of the port mall and take a walk along the shore.  Now as pretty as the island is, when I say shore you might be thinking beach.  Don’t.  It was the kind of shore that is laid with concrete with huge boulders set in it.  The crevices between the boulders serves as a fantastic collector for trash and the walkway was…well, it could be charitably described as unimproved.

Not far from the spectacular deals on Rolexes were a group of young boys swimming off a small pier, just kids having a good time.  Further down was a clutch of older men sitting in the shade on the breakwater, one of them was working on a small flask sized bottle of some kind of white liquor.  This stretch of the island wasn’t for servicing tourists, it was not clean or kept, things were rusting and falling down.  It is a shame it was Sunday because I passed a small restaurant that had a chalk board and yesterday’s special was garlic curry conch,dammit, a day too soon.  This was the part of town where you get your hurricane shutters and your rent car, where boats are parked on trailers and have been there long enough to have plants growing out of them.

I really wanted to get to the peninsula because it looked, on google earth, that it would be a good place to fly my paraglider, but it is farther away than a good walk and will have to wait until next time and I will have to get a cab.  On the way back, I passed the old man who had been drinking and he called me over.  I wasn’t sure if I was about to get panhandled or what, but went over anyway.  His name was Oliver, old with more fingers than teeth.  He was just interested in where I was from and what I was doing.  I asked him what a fair taxi price would be to get over to the peninsula, and he told me, “Oh maybe $50 US.”  I told him that that was way too much and he agreed then told me that if I bought him some gas he would take me.

Tough decision
cheap ride
drunk old guy
Maybe next time

Tomorrow is St Maarten and my day off, except for STAR training at 9:15.  I have been told to go to Orient beach, the riviera of the caribe and the premier clothing optional beach.  Hmmmm Naked elderly dutch men.   Guess I will have to sleep on it.

October 25, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Let’s try that again

actual location, not my ship, but actual location for about another hour.



October 24, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Current Location




October 24, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 6 Comments

couple more pics

for some reason, I really wanted to stand in front of one of these cheesy photo ops.



Again, this is the view out of my office window.



and this is a little bit better idea of what the whole place looks like.

October 24, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment