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Europe Cruise Day 12
Friday, September 17th
At Sea

As noted, today is "At Sea". Most of the "At Sea" days are not very interesting with nothing but water to see for miles around. This one is a bit different in that there is some "scenic cruising" on this one. At some point the ship passes through the Strait of Messina which is the narrow passage between the Island of Sicily and continental Italy or as some people call it the "Boot of Italy". Here is the map.

Day 12 Map

I crossed the Strait of Messina on my 2003 Italy motor coach tour. The route the tour took went from Rome to Naples then by overnight ferry to Polarmo on Sicily. The tour then covered most of the important sights of Sicily ending the Sicily portion with the ferry crossing back to the mainland across the Strait of Messina. Here is a link to this portion of the 2003 trip. If you want to see more of that trip you can navigate around from where the link takes you.

There is a possibility that Mt Etna, the well known volcano on Sicily, may be visible depending on the route the ship takes and the weather. Etna is often covered in clouds on this side. It will be interesting to see.

After this, the route crosses the southern end of the Adriatic Sea heading for Katákolon, Greece and Olympia tomorrow.

How it actually happened!!!
(written October, 2011)

Today was one of those "At Sea" days with the only planned event of any note was passing through the Strait of Messina between boot of Italy and the Island of Sicily. There was one other event that was not planned to have any effect on the passengers but it did not execute the way it was expected to which made it an event for everyone. At the time this occurred I was busily writing the blog entry for yesterday in Rome. This is what happened as described by me almost as it happened. From the blog....

As I write this at 11:45AM on Friday the ship has had a technical problem with its diesel generators which has required them to shut down most of the major systems. It appears most of the local systems are still running as my TV is still on but many other things are not on. There is a backup system just for this sort of thing but it can only keep so much of the ship operating. This also meant that all the propulsion had to be shut down and the ship was drifting. The captain assured us that the water is 3 nautical miles deep here and there are no ships anywhere near by so there was not anything to worry about.  The greatest importance of course is that all the air conditioning was off as well. The problem must have been fairly major as it required a complete electrical system reset. It is just 12 noon now and the air conditioning is back on and the ship is slowly moving forward. It appears work is still underway to resolve the problem.

It turns out that the ships technical people were doing their “routine monthly test on the Gas Turbine generator”. The captain’s comment was that this test turned out to not be “so routine”. From the way he described it, when the gas turbine generator came on line it cut off most of the main power that should have continued to come for the diesel generators. For you technical types, it sounds like a transfer switch problem. Apparently the only way to resolve the problem was to shut all the high demand systems such as most elevators, air conditioning, the galley vent systems and the like down, reset everything and restart. It is 1:45PM now and most things appear to be back to normal except for a couple of elevators.

I shall start off with some pictures on some islands I saw as the ship approached the Strait. Actually they are mostly of one island but there is one of one other island. I am afraid that I do not know what islands these are.

Island 1 Island 2
Island 3 Island 4

The ship arrived at the western side of the Strait of Messina between 2:30 and 3:00PM. We had to wait for a while to allow the ferries that go back and forth between Italy and Sicily to complete their tasks. Here are some pictures.

Sicily Coast 1 Italy Coast 1
The coast of Sicily. And on the other side (the port or left side) of the ship, Italy.
Strait 1 Bow 1
The entrance to the Strait, Italy on the left and Sicily on the right. Passengers were not normally allowed on the bow of the ship but were for this passing through the strait.
Bow 2 Sicily Coast 2
More of the people along with me on the bow. More of Sicily.
Strait 2 Sicily Coast 3
The ferries crossing between Italy on the left
and Sicily on the right.
The tower on the left edge of this picture is on the shore by the entrance to the strait.
Entrance 1 Entrance 2
Entering the Strait at 3:23 PM. A few minutes later at 3:37 PM.
Italy Coast 2 Sky 1
The matching tower on the Italy side of the strait. These once carried electricity from the mainland to the island but the wires have been removed and replaced with an underwater cable. At bit farther along the Italian side.
Italy Coast 3 Italy Coast 5
The Italian coast was easier to photograph because the ship was farther from it than the coast of Sicily. More of the Italian Coast.
Italy Panorama 1
This panorama shows the southern tip of Italy as the ship sailed through the western end of the Strait.
Sicily Coast 4 Sicily 5
The ship Nieuw Amsterdam's, that had been docked in front of us in Civitavecchia, next stop was in Messina, Sicily.
You can see it here on the left.
The ferry docks in Messina, Sicily.
Sicily Coast 6 Strait 03
The coast of Sicily at the eastern end of the Strait. Looking back through the Strait.
Italy Panorama 2
Another panorama of Italy from the eastern end of the Strait.
Dolphin 1 Dolphin Wide 1
A dolphin was putting on a performance for us in this close up. This is the wider view of the same picture
with Italy in the background.
Italy Coast 6 Sicily Coast 6
Our second to last view of the Italian coast. Our last view of Sicily

Sky 2

The sky looking back through the Strait
with our last view of Italy at the bottom.

This day concludes with the last of the blog entry that talks about today......

The ship has now passed through the Strait of Messina and it is too hazy to see Mt. Etna. If the route we took had gone a bit further south we may have seen it but not today. Well there is nothing much more to report until the ship arrives in Katakolon, Greece tomorrow morning. The only reason for going to Katakolon is because it is the closest port to the ancient site of Olympia. After that, on to Piraeus for Athens and the end of the first cruise and the start of the second.

On to Greece.

Page Created: August 3, 2010
After Trip Update Started: October 18, 2011
After Trip Update Completed: October 21, 2011
Last Updated: Friday, October 21, 2011 10:33 AM

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