Webmaster's Note: This was sent via satellite from the ship.
Feb 12th - March 5th - Trans-Pacific Voyage, Pacific Ocean:
On February 12th, Joey and I left our secure cooshy lives in Studio
City, CA and said goodbye to our rad friends. We caught the train to Long
Beach and luckily we got to stop in Compton, CA birthplace of all of our
favorite Eazy E lyrics. We met a nice lady with two black eyes and a 1
qt. ziplock bag filled up with "prescription" medication. Now I'm a
physicist with some street cred. Then we got to Long Beach, started walking to
the port and ended up catching a ride from an El Salvadorian Mack truck
driver to the Hanjin shipping terminal and there we feast our eyes on our
mighty ship - the Punjab Senator.
The boat 964.9 ft long, longer than than three football fields, it is
151.5 ft tall (from water level to the top), and 105.6 ft wide. It has
55,819 horsepower - how does that compare with your 1984 Civic with the
spoiler and giant muffler? It weighs 82,505 tons.This is a mighty
vessel. All that space was divided among 21 crew members, Joey and a Dutch
couple in their 70s (who unfortunately had to leave the ship in Tokyo). There
were 8 Germans, 3 Russians, and 10 Kiribati and one drunken American
with giant bleached hair.
The first part of the voyage was from Long Beach to Oakland, CA. The
2nd mate sat us down in our cabin and said in his thick Russian accent 1.)
You are crazy 2.) The north Pacific in winter is the worst body of water in
the world for traveling 3.) You are crazy 4.) You will definitely get
very sick 5) You are crazy - but good luck. Then a German crew member
brought us a beer and said, "You never forget a storm at sea, you will remember
this for all of your life". After hearing all this we got pretty
anxious. Joey's stomach started acting up already on the voyage from Long Beach
to Oakland and we were still in calm water. I made fun of him and then he
threatened to throw me overboard and told me that action figures don't
float so I shut up.
The thing about traveling on a freighter boat is that they go max speed
the entire trip. It is not like a passanger ship where personal comfort
is an issue. They go balls fast and it feels exactly like an airplane in
turbulence, not to mention the 20 degrees of sway in either direction.
The sway was first noticed when Joey was taking a shower and all the water,
instead of going to the ground fell sideways out the bathroom door
because we were tipped at such an angle. On our second day he completely soaked
the carpet OUTSIDE the bathroom by taking a shower sideways.
After a few days, the sea didn't phase me at all, but we were still a
little big nervous about impending storms. We were on the bridge and we
saw a weather printout that looked like a bullseye. Apparently we were
headed straight for a hurricane. The ship diverted slightly north
through the Aleutian Islands and into the Bering Sea. After many years of
watching the Discovery Channel I knew that the Bering Sea was one of the most
violent bodies of water in the world and thanks to it the Alaskan King
Crab fisherman earned the honor of having the "Worlds Most Dangerous
Job". As we got to the Unimak Pass, entering the Bering Sea, the news got
even better. There were two hurricanes north of the Aleutians and we were
stuck there north of Unalaska Island. Apparently we were going to try to
thread between the two hurricanes and the movie A Perfect Storm came to mind.
The next day we woke up in the Bering Sea and everything was eerily
calm. I posed in my yellow sweater for some glamour pictures on the front of
the boat. The sea was remarkably calm and sunny around our boat. In the
evening we watched a gorgeous sunset and the clouds that surrounded all
of our sunny patch of sky turned cotton candy pink. That evening Joey and
the Captain got trashed together (they've since become quite good drinking
buddies) and he passed out. At 1 AM,he woke up being thrown out of his
bed. He ran up to the bridge to see 30 ft waves crashing into the boat
which was being thrown around like a toy. Apparently the day's calm was
because we were in the eye of the storm. He was so stoked about his
first big storm at sea and realized that all hopes for seasickness were lost
if this storm wasn't affecting him. After a few hours of being a spectator
he returned to his room which was trashed by the storm and attempted to
sleep in his bed on its rollercoaster ride.
After two weeks, they saw land on the horizon and we descended upon an
island called Japan...
- Albert Einstein
Next adventure: The Far East:Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore