Wednesday, October 21, 2015
Sept. 18 at sea
We were well on our way across the Atlantic Ocean for the next four days with time to relax, breathe and enjoy this fabulous Regal ship. We made our way south through the channel until we passed Rochester point where we disembarked our pilot and adjusted our heading to a south-westerly one and started our voyage towards St. Johns, Newfoundland, Canada.
At about 1p.m. after sailing for about 15 hours our captain announced that we were turning back due to a medical emergency. A passenger was to be evacuated via helicopter in a life or death situation. Since our ship doesn't have a helicopter landing pad we are going back to Ireland off shore of Lands End to rendezvous with a medi-vac helicopter who would lift the patient off the ship with the rope/gurney technique. The helicopter couldn't carry enough fuel to come all the way to us so we'll meet half way. Throughout the day there was much ado about the rescue. The captain asked that all passengers on deck 17 leave their staterooms and nobody was allowed to be on the deck either inside or out except for the rescue team. Naturally many curious people wanted to watch, photograph or videotape and so they went to find possible viewing locations on other decks that they might see the action from. They were warned not to use flash photography or do anything that could jeopardize the rescue in any way.
Meanwhile I had awakened this morning with a very sore and stiff back and it wasn't getting better. I thought of going to the Dr. but i know he'd just give me pills that i don't want so after sitting in the Piazza for awhile i decided to see if i could get an appointment in the spa for a massage. I went to the elevator to go to my cabin to phone for an apt. In the elevator was the distraught daughter of the desperately ill woman who had just been told that she wouldn't be able to go with her mom on the helicopter. She would have to sail with us to St. Johns and then fly to wherever her mom was being taken as the helicopter couldn't handle the extra weight and the extra fuel needed to take her along. What a terrible life/death situation they were in as she said it was her moms bucket list trip and she had been given a clean bill of health before boarding the ship. Now she had a blood clot that involved the need to amputate her leg asap. It was gut wrenching as the ship wasn't equipped for such a surgery and the Drs. onboard couldn't safely perform such a task. The daughter was also concerned that the passengers would be mad or upset as the delay could change our itinerary. The passengers in the elevator assured her that we were all ok with it and glad that Princess cruise lines was taking these steps to get her mom the medical care she needed. Nobody cares about the itinerary when a life is at stake! We all know they'd do the same for us.
Well, i was enjoying my massage when the helicopter arrived and i didn't even hear it from the spa on deck five as my muscle aches disolved at the hands of the skilled masseuse and then i lay in a darkened room with hot stones on my back, listening to serenity music. Apparently the rescue took about 30 minutes with the ship still moving and the helicopter hovering 50 feet above the aft deck. It seems the rescuers prefer to use the proven method of hovering the helicopter over a moving ship instead of bringing the vessel to a halt. The weather was favourable and the sea was all but flat, thank goodness. I understand it all went well and i'm impressed yet again with the Regal Princess. I heard there's video's of the lift on YouTube now, but i couldn't locate one to show. It was also on Seattle t.v. news at the time of happening. We eventually learned that the woman actually thoroughly enjoyed doing the gurney thing to the helicopter and it was a highlight of her life. She did lose her leg however and that couldn't be avoided but she is recovering now. I'm glad she was on such an awesome ship with such an awesome captain and crew.
I went to the $10. sales and a trivia game and later enjoyed the formal dinner with lobster and crab cakes. I also ate crawfish for my appetizer, corn and potato chowder and coffee ice cream for desert. I would have gone to the Legends of Rock and Roll show but when I arose from dinner my sore back was baccckkk so i retired to my cabin for the rest of the evening.