FeMO4 Dive Cruise 2009
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I’m on watch again from midnight to 4:00 am. About halfway through the dive Jason is 1,116 meters below the surface and a big white octopus swims by - flapping its wings. Wings?!? It actually has two big, rounded wings! Emily tells me it’s called a Dumbo octopus because of its wings. I watch it swim by the camera in awe. We follow it with the Jason cameras until it swims out of view.
Next, the most beautiful, translucent, fluorescent pink jelly (no longer called jellyfish because they are not fish) floats by the camera’s view. Another amazing midnight watch!
About a half hour later Jason’s dynamic positioning (DP) system stops working. DP allows the Jason navigator to send signals to the ship, telling the ship where to be. When the DP signal is not working, the Jason navigator can’t control the ship’s position and so the responsibility returns to the bridge. An hour passes by waiting for the Jason crew to troubleshoot the DP system. The system will not come on line so Jason continues to work on the ocean floor with the bridge controlling the ship’s navigation. It’s been an exciting watch and 4:00 am comes all too soon.
The next morning as I head down to the galley for a late lunch I begin to wonder how, after fifteen days, the food is still so fresh and the meals are still so unique and delicious. We have had prime rib, pot roast, shrimp scampi, enchiladas, baked fish, crab Louie, and many other delicacies. Dessert is served every evening ranging from fruit torte, to cream puffs, chocolate mud pie and baked Alaska --Not to mention the fresh-baked cookies, brownies, and muffins available at all hours of the day.
I decide to talk to the ship’s chef to find out how this is all accomplished. Debby Gall is the Kilo Moana’s chef. She tells me the story of how all these delicious meals come to be.
She explains, “I order the majority of my food from three different vendors. It is delivered to the ship in pallets. Twelve pallets of food last about two weeks. I also shop at Costco and the local supermarket for smaller items. I don’t really plan out menus before I shop – I just stock up on everything to last the length of the trip. I also try to buy local items that represent Hawaiian food since we’re in Hawaii.”
I ask if she has a budget. She says, “Not really, I’m just told to ‘feed them well’.” I ask, “Where do you store all of the food? How do you keep the fruits and vegetables so fresh?” So she gives me a tour of her storerooms, refrigerator, and freezer. “Storing food on a ship is a challenge. You can’t just stack up the cans on the shelves. Every time the ship rocks and rolls the cans fall off.” So Debby created a unique storage system. She cuts slats of cardboard, stands the cardboard up on the shelves and lays the cans in between them.
The larger cans are laid on specially built steel shelves, and then tied down with bungee cords.
There were rows and rows of spices. Only a third of them fit in my camera view. I also counted fifteen different types of tea and eight types of coffee!
Next we moved on to the walk-in refrigerator and freezer. The refrigerator is kept at a cool 34 degrees and the freezer remains at minus five. She says she plans out her visits to the freezer ahead of time, runs in, grabs the items she needs, and dashes out. I would have to agree with that plan. We were in the freezer less than 30 seconds and I already had frostbite on my nose.
After I warm up a bit I ask about the menus and the planning. Debby tells me that often one meal leads to another. I plan out my menus a week at a time but if something is left over, I make sure to use it in an upcoming meal so nothing is wasted. Donnie cooks all of the breakfasts and takes care of the salad bar. Adam, our mess attendant is in charge of cleaning and stocking. I find the title mess attendant fitting since he is in charge of cleaning up the messes.
At the end of my visit, I ask the question that everyone is eager to know. “So, what are you planning to serve for the final dinner?” The Kilo Moana has a reputation for serving unbelievable last suppers. Debby casually responds, “Oh, maybe some grilled Fillet Mignon, baked lobster, and Death by Chocolate for dessert. Nothing too special.” NOW I’m excited
The breakfasts, lunches, dinners, desserts, and even the snacks have been truly extraordinary. Thank you Debby, Donnie, and Adam!
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