“Ladies and Gentlemen,” booms the voice over the PA system. “This is Captain Henk Keijer.”
Typically passengers don’t meet the captain of the ship unless they attend a ‘cocktails with the captain’ party toward the end of the cruise.
Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting Captain Keijer mid-week on our seven day Alaskan Explorer cruise as a guest of Holland America Line.
When I heard his voice broadcasting through the Ms Westerdam cruise ship with an important message, I was not alarmed, but I knew something was up.
The September wind was blowing and the swells were picking up size as we were leaving Juneau, Alaska. Captain Keijer had decided to by-pass Sitka, our next port of call. Instead, he would guide our cruise ship up the protected and scenic Tracy Arm and was sharing the change of plans with the passengers.
Captain Keijer has spend 17 and one half years with Holland America Line and clearly enjoys his job. Originally from Holland, Keijer has traveled extensively and knew that he wanted to sail ships early on in his life. When he’s not piloting the Ms Westerdam, his days are spent in Seattle. His schedule is typically three months on and three months off the ship.
While I was interviewing Captain Keijer, the Margarie Glacier was calving in the background. I asked him if calving, or breaking off of the glacier, was a result of global warming.
“Calving is prefectly natural for glaciers,” explained Keijer. “It means that it is flowing, growing and advancing. If they stop calving, then there is a problem. That’s a bad sign,” concluded Keijer.
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I was a guest of Holland America Line. Photos and video by Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown
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