Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Doubloon

Tonight we visited the POLYNESIA, a Windjammer tall ship that was docked in Bonaire.  The Windjammer ships are not supposed to no longer allow non-paying persons aboard to visit, but the purser made an exception in our case.  Why?  Because we had saved a doubloon from the last time we were passengers on the POLYNESIA.  So the purser (Abbie) allowed us aboard as guests of the captain so that we could spend our final doubloon at the bar.

Windjammer uses a non-cash system to purchase bar drinks.  One must purchase a paper doubloon from the purser.  This doubloon is simply a circle of paper with black dots all around the edge.  Each bar drink requires a certain number of punches to remove the black dots.  Our one doubloon was enough to purchase 2 beers and 2 pina coladas.  When we originally purchased this doubloon back in 1989 or 1990 aboard the POLYNESIA in St. Martin, we paid either $5 or $10 for it.  Today a doubloon costs $20.  We think it still buys the same number of drinks.

While aboard we met a woman named Sam who was planning to dive in Bonaire tomorrow.  Looks like hurricane DEAN will change those plans.  We also met a nice man named Steve and chatted with him a bit.  The captain called a meeting of the passengers in the horseshoe on the top deck.  The horseshoe is a covered area where meetings are usually held. 

Captain Cesar proceeded to tell the passengers about the formation and predicted track of hurricane DEAN.  This was news to the passengers because none of them had been tracking weather like we cruisers have been doing all week.  The captain passed around a laptop computer showing the passengers the current location of the hurricane and its predicted path.  He told them that the ship would be taking on fuel at 5:30 a.m. tomorrow morning.  Then they would have to make a decision as to whether they would remain in Bonaire until noon before departing back to their scheduled final destination of Aruba, or if they should leave for Aruba immediately after taking on fuel.  There was no doubt what the passengers wanted to do --- they wanted to leave as soon as the ship was fueled.  They did not want to take any chances of encountering bad weather from hurricane DEAN.  In fact, some of the passengers wanted to leave tonight; but that was not possible because the ship could not be refueled until tomorrow morning.

As for Bill and me, we plan to wake up at 1:00 a.m. tonight and make our decision then as to whether to head south to Venezuela or to wait until morning and head west to Curacao.  Neither of us wants to stay in Bonaire with westerly winds and large westerly swells predicted to start here tomorrow night.

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