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Day 2: Cruising the Inside Passage

You can never find your ulu when you need it

overcast 57 °F

"The Inside Passage." I find the phrase to be at once romantic and adventuresome. large_fa2f2020-8df0-11e8-bb63-8d9d18bdc66f.png

We awaken early to fog so thick you could cut it with an ulu*.

large_727FoggyMorning.JPGlarge_727PositionMap.JPG*According to Wikipedia: An ulu (Inuktitut syllabics: ᐅᓗ, plural: uluit, English: "woman's knife"[1]) is an all-purpose knife traditionally used by Inuit, Yupik, and Aleut women. It is utilized in applications as diverse as skinning and cleaning animals, cutting a child's hair, cutting food, as a weapon and, if necessary, trimming blocks of snow and ice used to build an igloo.

After about an hour, B4 uttered to me--with a straight face--"I think the fog might be lifting a little bit. I can see a little bit more water than before." She loves to cheer me up. Knowing from the map on the in-suite television screen that land is nearby on both sides of the vessel, being able to see a little bit more water is not reassuring to me. B4 made that statement without her glasses so you must take it with a grain of salt--or in this case--salt water. The temperature is 54 degrees outside and we are on a northwest heading at 17 miles per hour into a breeze of 28 miles per hour. The wind is not enough to move the fog.

I ordered black coffee for two and it arrived in 15 minutes. Then, I ordered black coffee for two again and it arrived in 5 minutes. Tomorrow, I'll order black coffee for four and expect it in 10 minutes.

Today's weather forecast is for sunny skies with a hight of 86 and a low of 5 degrees warmer than it is right now at 7:15am. My fingers are crossed but I can't see them because if I hold them at arms length they are shrouded by fog.

This is a "sea day" meaning that we have but two things on our agenda: enjoy each other and perhaps participate in items on the ship's schedule of activities. My love has booked herself a "Body Composition Analysis" at 9:30 at the ZAGARA spa. Later, B4 is drawn to the 11:15 "Cooking Demonstration with Executive Chef Grant. Come and learn the culinary secrets of our chef and impress your family and friends back home." I am uncertain as to what that means but I suspect that he will teach her how to cook for our next party of 382 guests without employing a caterer. She is keen for the Martini Cocktail Demonstration as well. I've no idea where that came from.

Tonight at 7:00 in The Show Lounge, Captain Failla cordially invites all guests for "Welcome Aboard" cocktails and later on at 10:00 Silversea proudly presents: "Argento" featuring the Voices of Silversea. Our Swing show charts the success of this great distinctive style of music, from the early 1930s, right up to modern day interpretations of the genre." Looking around, there will be plenty of eye-witnesses to that period to testify to the accuracy of this portrayal.

Here we are at sea but not. The literature boasts: "Always within reach of land, Silver Shadow glides past isolated communities nestled beneath hills which turn into mountains which turn into sky. There are seals on ice floes, glaciers, calmer waters than one would find outside on the Pacific and sea life below that reveals itself and then hides again." The swells are such that Silver Shadow--and this is the major downside of opting for a small ship rather than a larger and/or behemoth sized one--is rocking and rolling at a modest rate but enough so that I, normally unaffected by seasickness, lost my 8:00 breakfast at 10:30. Both B4 and I had vowed to come home without gaining weight. I am feeling good about my prospects as we pass through this more unprotected portion of our routing: Queen Charlotte Strait.

Trivia: Last night around midnight we passed through a narrow channel called the Seymour Narrows of the Northwest Passage. Here, tidal currents can be downright treacherous approaching 15 knots (about 17 miles per hour) where once stood submerged Ripple Rock, twin peaks blocking or partially blocking the narrows (2500 feet side to side) as they were a mere nine feet below the surface of the water at low tide. Mariners would hit the rocks or get caught in eddies created by the swirling currents around the rocks. Over 100 people died here. In 1958, Ripple Rock was exploded (one of the largest non-nuclear planned explosions in history) in a nationally televised event. Google "Ripple Rock" and see for yourself. It was pretty spectacular. We barely noticed our passing there because we were sound asleep.

At precisely 3:27pm, Silver Shadow emerged from the dense fog bank and into clear air, albeit beneath a cloudy sky. We still cannot see land off our starboard side (and there is only Pacific Ocean at port) but we can see from charts that are just about abeam of the southern end of Aristazabal Island. Said another way, there is still fog masking our vista but it is far away. Like a skunk, it's impact is diminished with distance.

The seas have calmed a bit so Silver Shadow follows suit. The headwind has actually increased to about 32 miles per hour and our speed has decreased to just under 15 miles per hour. Somehow, though, being able to see farther off the starboard side than a hundred yards or so is uplifting. B4 snoozes but I am energized and will now find total concentration on my book (Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man's Fight for Justice by Bill Browder which is referenced in front page news of the current day) will be more difficult. Read this book. 2625de20-91ee-11e8-a0f2-9d9ef7aad4eb.jpg Were she awake, she would strongly agree with this recommendation.

Energized by the fog's departure, we head up one deck to the Panorama Lounge for afternoon tea. I am more of a coffee person but B4 orders tea and is given a brew timer to ensure the perfect cup.

Scones, a pianist and our first clear view of the passing sea help us fritter away 45 minutes or so before we are back to 719. My suits are freshly pressed, Abraham delivers afternoon snacks and there is a fresh bottle of Bianca Vigna Prosecco extra dry on ice in the sterling bucket.

Our dinner reservations are at 7:30 at La Dame, obtained after much to do, angst and wrangling. Offering seating at a mere 7 tables for a maximum of 30 guests, this tiny restaurant is in high demand and most passengers are disappointed--even angry--to not be allowed in or to find reservations they thought they had lost or otherwise not honored. We attempted to make reservations 30 minutes after the opening date for requests--weeks ago--and found that every slot for every night was already taken. Or, not. Cajoling and persistence seems to have paid off because we have a table for four at 7:30. From a public relations perspective, Silversea would be better off not having this dining venue as it causes upset among those not admitted. No one, from a fine dining experience, wants a bad taste in their mouth. The service was quite good; B4 said she thought the food in the main dining room was slightly better. So, our advice is: save the money and the aggravation and worry about getting into La Dame only if you feel the need to check it off your bucket list.

By the way, the "dress code" is in no way enforced on this ship. I saw one tuxedo and only a handful of ties and, oddly, a few t-shirts. My theory about dress codes is a simple one: if you have it, enforce it; if you're not going to enforce it, for heaven's sake, don't have it. (I wore a black suit and a black and white tie over a crisp white shirt and felt good about it. But then, uncommon among men (I am told) I love to "dress up."

Captain Failla's cocktail soiree featured introductions of the senior staff. Argento was nothing to write home about even though I am, here, writing home about it. Clocks are set back tonight one hour and, behold, when we arrive back at 719, the staff has already performed that task on our bedroom clock radio. That's service.

Oh, about that weather forecast:large_bb7ef320-91fe-11e8-8dae-f100da726c18.jpgOops.

Posted by paulej4 06:15 Archived in USA Tagged inside passage

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