February 2 – We were underway as of 6:45 am, but again idled shortly thereafter. Latitude: 30°42’35.11″N; Longitude: 125°11’16.92″E. I have learned that our idleness is intentional: The ship is killing time until its berth is open in Yantian, and is doing so at a location with less ship traffic than the area immediately east of Hong Kong. Our brief trip this morning was to take us away from smaller ships in a fishing area into which we had drifted. Again the weather is very pleasant and I enjoyed my walk around the ship, where I discovered a regulation basketball hoop on a lower deck at the stern. You would need at least 3 ball-minders or a container load of basketballs to have a decent match, for obvious reasons. I would pay to see a game that pitted ze German size against Filipino speed in gale conditions.
The ship is 984 feet in length and 140 in width so a couple of laps (including several stairways) gives me a chance to stretch my legs. There is exercise equipment and a sauna that I haven’t used. The Captain does use the sauna and pool, which is filled with unheated water from the ocean when the seas are calm. I am too far removed from my Nordic heritage to find this in any way appealing.
The Chief Engineer is a good guy and, like most of the crew, a family man. He is passionate about his work in an endearing way and invited me after dinner to the engine control room to engage the lever to restart the massive three-story engine after our long drift. I enjoyed his overview of the engine and its operation. His English is quite good.
Late in the day the Captain had a deck chair delivered to my cabin which allowed me to enjoy the sunset on the adjacent deck, though with a down vest. It is getting noticeably warmer as we steam south.
The schedule is starting to worry me as I have set hotel and airline commitments in China, and the ship is still scheduled to stop in Yantian (near Hong Kong) and in Taiwan before it reaches my jumping off point in Shanghai. I may try to bail in Yantian and take a train to Shanghai.
There are lots of DVDs on board. Today I watched Tom Cruise in “Valkyrie” and thought it was well done, with a great cast. Knowing the outcome of the conspiracy to assassinate Hitler eliminated most of the suspense though. Quentin Tarantino chose an unhistorical but more satisfying end to the Fuhrer in Inglorious Basterds.