Monday, September 11, 2006

#34 Who’s Driving This Ship, Anyway?

On a plane, it’s the flight deck - on a ship, the bridge. On a plane, it’s cramped - on a ship, it’s sized for the masses. Today we toured the bridge, deck 7 forward. The bridge consumes the full width of the ship. A bank of sloping windows from port to starboard affords the most panoramic of views. Front and center perch two black high-backed leather chairs surrounded by three radar displays, a GPS-driven electronic map, various banks of communication gear, engine and thruster controls, but no cupholders.
With the auto-pilot engaged, we sat in the big chairs, wore the white hats, and spied off our starboard bow a small volcano-shaped Japanese outer island (33.101 N, 139.800 E), our first view of land in over a week.
As we near Kobe, a harbor pilot with local knowledge of the waters around Kobe will board our ship to assist, and our captain and first mate from these chairs will guide us alongside the dock at Kobe harbor.

Yours in yelling “Land ho” a day early,


  1. So, the big question is, where do they put their drinking cups?

  2. Kelly! You've read Bill Bryson's "I'm a Stranger Here, Myself" haven't you? Your description of the bridge reminded me of the column he wrote on the American obsession with cup holders.

    Happy sailing!