Saturday, October 29, 2022

It's 10 Years Since Superstorm Sandy...

 Ten years ago today, October 29, 2012, while  Superstorm Sandy was wallopping the Jersey shore, I boarded a cruise ship and headed to Bermuda. It's probably the craziest thing I've ever done...

A cruise ship in a storm
Photo credit:


Our pleasure cruise to Bermuda with Aunt Carol Harris,

Cousin Marie Gioia, and our friends Bob & Patti Ley,

on board Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas,

during Super Storm Sandy, October, 2012.         


As Sandy travels northward along the east coast

intent on ripping up the Jersey Shore

we board the Explorer of the Seas

in Bayonne—


Surely, we think

Royal Caribbean won’t set out to sea

with 3000 passengers on board if it isn’t safe


If they haven’t canceled

surely there’s a plan…surely


The plan, we discover, is to sail through

the very heart of the storm—

Thus begins our pleasure cruise

to beautiful Bermuda


The clerk at the Accommodations Desk says

This ship is built to withstand storms

fifty times worse!

as we heave high, plunge low

hour after hour

day, night, day, night

aware of the locations of our life vests

aware of the locations of the lifeboats


I peer over the balcony

at twenty-five-foot waves and imagine

if we have to man lifeboats

we’ll be swallowed up in an instant


Meanwhile, the three-masted replica

of an 18th-century square-rigger

featured in Mutiny on the Bounty

sinks off the coast of North Carolina

(right where we are heading!)

The captain and a crew member perish

and fourteen crew members are rescued

by a daring Coast Guard helicopter crew

as Sandy’s ferocious winds blow

and their little life raft thrashes about

in the angry Atlantic


Meanwhile, my Dramamine isn’t working

and I become ill

and passengers are becoming ill

all over the ship

They close public restrooms

because housekeepers don’t know

where to take their slop buckets next

A putrid stench permeates the corridors

Here, there, stacks of little white bags

wait for pending emergencies


The old ship plunges and lunges and groans

as deckhands perform duties with calm normalcy

and water bottles fly off countertops

glasses smash onto the floor

food trays slide off tables and crash

We learn that there’s damage on deck

and plenty of broken glass


Some shows are canceled

but most go on

even as the theater curtain quivers

and the stage rocks back and forth

and comedians make light of our plight

Somehow I can’t help thinking

about the musicians who just kept playing

as the unsinkable Titanic sank, 101 years ago


I appear to be somewhat inebriated

as I grip the handrails

and stumble along swaying hallways

stateroom to dining to shows and back again

as the ship heaves and lunges

ad infinitum


Finally, on day three, we drop anchor

at the harbor in Bermuda

where the island sun is shining

island music is playing

and pink sand welcomes us

to spread our blankets and just say…




Maude Carolan Pych

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