The first stop after leaving Seattle was Vancouver BC, a city I had visited last in 1983. We left Seattle around noon and arrived near the entrance to Vancouver around 10 pm and dropped anchor to wait our turn for a pilot to take us into the harbor. About 2 am, I woke up briefly realizing we were on the move again, then turned over and went back to sleep.
I was able to take shore leave the next day although it was raining and cold. It was two days until New Year’s Eve and we were expecting our cargo to be changed out and on our way before the year turned over. I wanted to see a bit of the city while the crew was busy with the unloading and loading.
My Uber app said that Uber was coming to Vancouver soon (therefore yet to arrive) so I found a Vancouver taxi app and arranged a pickup. The fare of $8.80 CAN turned out to be more like $13.50 US when I paid my driver in US money instead of using a credit card. Note to self, plan a bit ahead and whip out that currency conversion app in a new country to understand the exchange rate.
I found a mall downtown, near Chinatown, that had a movie theatre, food court and a drugstore. I wanted to pick up a few things and see what the downtown was like. The cold wet weather kept me from exploring much though. Saw “Manchester by the Sea” which I liked until the end. Strange ending, it seemed unfinished to me, but then I prefer happy endings.
Our second day in port was much nicer and I was able to explore a lot more. I hit up the local tourism office for a map and recommendations. I also got the timetable for the planned fireworks on NYE. I caught a bus to the Public Market on Grandville island and had fun wandering around watching people.
The market hall was jammed so I found a quiet restaurant with views of False Creek. I hopped on a cute little ferry going up False Creek to the TELUS Science World and then tried out the train, heading to another mall at Metropole.
At the mall, I found a dollar store and picked up a few decorations, noise makers, hats and photo props for our New Years Eve dinner on the ship.
By December 31st, we could tell that the loading had at least another day to finish and as the port was closed for the holiday, the schedule was updated to a January 2nd or 3rd departure. The chef and steward had laid out a great feast for us and I was invited to join the crew. We all had fun posing for pictures with our hats and horns. Later, the karaoke started and I quickly bowed out before I was handed the microphone.
We headed up to the bridge just before midnight to watch the fireworks. Everyone shook my hand at midnight and we wished each other a happy new year. Several of the crew and officers had gone to town looking for wifi to call loved ones and wound up walking all the way back as taxis were in short supply. I was invited to join the captain and chief officer in the recreation room for cake and soda. We had a nice chat about the ship and I got some great recommendations about places to visit in Romania, which is their home country.
Every one slept in late on the 1st and there was minimal work with longshoremen having the day off. We instead worked on eating leftovers from the night before and napping.
The cargo loading resumed early the next day, and by early, I mean at 2 am I could hear the cranes picking up and putting down containers. I treated myself to one more shore excursion while the loading continued and wandered around town. I have figured out on the bus routes by now and can recognize several landmarks. The day was cold and clear so my wander gave me some nice rosy red cheeks.
I got back to the port in daylight and got a lift from the gate to the ship. You are not allowed to walk in the area due to safety concerns. When I returned one of the big cranes had moved to right in front of the gangway. That was my fastest trip up the gangway so far as having a huge crane dangling big metal boxes over your head is a little scary!
As I write this, we are still being loaded and the space in front of my cabin has a huge hold to fill with containers. I would guess that there is somewhere between 400-500 containers to come just in the first section in front of the bridge.
The entire ship hold 8,488 TEUs. TEU stand for Twenty foot Equivalent Units or 20′ container equivalents. That is a lot of boxes!
I have been working on getting fit. Between walking around town exploring and climbing stairs, my legs are getting stronger. There are 4 very steep flights between my cabin and the mess hall. With three meals a day that is 24 flights of stairs at a minimum just to eat and return to my room!!
The bridge is two flights up and if I want to get off the ship, it is six flights down to the main deck and then a very long, steep gangway to get to the dock. By the time I get off in Malaysia I hope to drop a pound or two.
Update: our planned departure has been postponed by about 4 hours as they are still loading. One of the gantries was out of service I think. Our pilot is onboard and will be with us to Victoria.
I spent time on the bridge this morning to grab some sunrise photos.
Update 12:45 pm
Pulled away from the dock at exactly noon and passed under the Lions Gate Bridge at 12:36. On our way….