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Water, all kinds of water

November 12th, 2011 1 comment

As the sun comes up in the morning the sea colour changes to the most amazing shade of blue. Knowing the science behind it (lots of particulates in the water reflecting back the light and the sky) doesn’t detract at all from my enjoyment of the endless sea and white froth splashing away.

At night, the ship is moving through what appears to be an endless tunnel. Below us is reflective black with white spray and droplets dancing close to the ship. Lights from the portholes below deck 5 glimmer on the sea. The air hangs heavy and humid; warm and enveloping. Over head a patch work of clouds obscures most of the stars so that forward motion is only detectable in the rocking of the ship and the movement of the spray away from the ship’s sides.

That covers the sea. Now on to the ship and water. This ship, like most cruise ships, has an onboard desalinisation plant and makes almost all of its water. Apparently they use fluoride rather than chlorine to accomplish sterilisation after filtration. Similar to military camps (and unlike cities) waste water is divided into grey and black water.

Everything comes down to money and regulations. The ship has holding tanks with a 48 hour capacity. More than 48 hours at dock and they have to hook into city sewer and pay accordingly. What is probably obvious is that ships discharge directly into the ocean when outside the International limits. Black water (true sewages which means toilets) is first treated. Grey water – everything else from sinks and showers to swimming pools, dishwashing and laundry. Since there should be no contamination issues – can be released directly.

Neither the Captain nor Chief Engineer at the particular information lecture delved into garbage, but sea dumping has to be part of the agenda for organics. Certainly just about everything else is recycled.

This is my last day on the ship, tomorrow we dock before 0700. All those friends I have made on this cruise will head home as I head back to my regularly scheduled life. Paperbacks will replace the ubiquitous ebook reader which has become the standard of cruisers everywhere (why carry 1-5 books when you can, for barely a couple of ounces have hundreds of books in your pocket).

Today, relaxation – tomorrow Panama.

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