A reader from New Brunswick asked about the word “flutterby” that I used in an earlier post about our visit to the island of Aruba.  She says it’s a great idea to call a butterfly a “flutterby”. It’s not a fly, nor does it carry butter!   It flutters by! Well, thank you.   
For a long time I’ve been using the word flutterby, even in one of my Apologues (children’s stories), “The Boy and The Monarch”, written in 1972.  [The etymologists tell us the “butter” part is derived from the Old English word to “butor” (“beat”, as in its wings) and “fleoge” (to fly). Another theory is people used to believe they ate milk and butter (old German word is “botterlicker”, i.e. butter licker.] Or yet again, that they excreted a butter-like substance.] 
Interestingly, on our recent sailing, at the “Flutterby” sanctuary in Aruba, there was an Australian family with a 6 year old girl.  When I asked the guide “Why butterfly and not flutterby”?, the guide gave a vague reply.  Later the little girl said to me very seriously (and her mother proudly confirmed it), “at school, back home, we also call it now a “flutterby”, like you.” Well, that was nice to hear.  Let’s see now how long it takes before other countries wake up to this misnomer.  At least our reader from New Brunswick says it’s a good idea.  
But household words, like “red” cabbage, “red” onion, “blue” berries - - - all of which are purple, are not easy to change. How about you, readers, is it fluttering by, or is it a fly with butter on it? Ho-ho. In Holland, it’s called a vlinder.  In French, papillon.  In Spanish, mariposa.  None translate as a “fly with butter”. Enjoy!  
Henri van Bentum


Part Four: Creative Exploration. Quotes from the Captain

Ships are known for pampering and spoiling their pax. An over-abundance of food; a full “what’s happening” program of activity; heavily-promoted and tempting sales for those who shop (not us);  evening entertainments; casino; lectures, leisure around the Lido pool and for those who desire, a Spa. However all the time this activity unfolds, there is another reality taking place aboard ship:  the challenges of the elements faced by officers and crew on the Bridge. The Captain on our recent sailing, Master Albert Schoonderbeek, has his own Blog, sharing some of this other reality. Here are some excerpts:
 Henri with Captain Schoonderbeek

April 14 (at sea) “We got the full brunt of the Caribbean Sea winds. Normally called the Trade Winds but this went beyond what a Trade Wind is supposed to be.  Winds of 30 knots sometimes peaking at 40 knots are not Trade Winds. They are gales.  For the pax luckily the winds were mostly on the bow so it did not affect life o/b. The front superstructure of the ship is nicely shielding the winds from reaching the walk-around (promenade) decks.

April 15 (Bonaire) “The wind kept pounding away and pushed the current up as well.”

April 16 (Willemstad, Curacao) “The port entrance, St. Anna Baai, is perpendicular on wind and current. If you head straight in on course line, you’d run aground.  Wind and current push you onto the west side of the Channel.  It is not one of the easiest ports.

April 20 (at sea) “After a long but good day in the Panama Canal it was time for some relaxation

Flying Fish

We saw turtles paddling by, dolphins showing off, and a few flying fish trying to take off.  There was no wind and they fell back in the sea after a few feet.

April 24 (Puerto Chiapas, Mexico)  “The rising of the sun was eagerly awaited by us on the bridge so that we could see the breakwater and how the swell was doing.  Sunrise was at 06h50 but we do not need the daylight to have a good look. 

"For the sailor, sunrise exists in three stages. First: NAUTICAL TWILIGHT, the moment you can still see the stars but also the horizon, so you can take star observations from your position fix.  Then there is CIVIL TWILIGHT, the moment the stars are too vague to still use the sextant. That period lasts until the sun comes above the horizon.  Each period lasts about 20 minutes.  By 06h30 when civil twilight started, we could already see enough of the breakwater to get a good estimate how the swell was running.  The breakwater was doing its job, breaking the water.  It was low tide, and that meant there would be no more than 12 feet (!) under the keel.”

April 30 (at sea)  “The highest winds we observed were around 15h00 when it breezed up to 43 knots.  That is a wind force 9 on Mr. Beaufort’s scale.  The 30-40 knots of wind slows the ship down and then the swell that comes with it (13-16 feet) will do the rest”.

May 2 (at sea) “Entering the North Pacific. No more wind. Very low hanging clouds and so thick that visibility was reduced to about 150 feet.  In the old Atlantic days they would call that a “one funnel fog”, you could only see the first of the three or four funnels.  The bridge went to battle stations, double manning, all watertight doors closed, and the foghorn blowing every 2 minutes so the whole world could hear that we were there, and that the Captain was on the bridge.

We had a mix of sunny, hot weather, rolling seas, strong winds, fog, calm seas – all in three weeks.  When we reached Juan de Fuca Strait it was sunny, with the ocean like a mirror.  (Living in this region, we know how rare that is when sometimes major storm winds barrel down the Strait, which is also often shrouded in fog.) 
The ship arrived at the pilot station on schedule at 17h30, ready to dock an hour later at Ogden Point in Victoria.  From the sports deck, starboard, we sighted with binoculars the “White House” and two windows of our apartment.  Welcome home. Enjoy!
Henri van Bentum


Part Three Panama Canal voyage: Creative Exploration, Mexico

Hualtulco, Mexico (April 25)  29oC.  Not long ago, Hualtulco was a sleepy fishing village.  
Locals Can Buy Coconut To Quench Their Thirst
Now transformed into a major tourist resort.  Hualtulco was “created”, like Cancun, by FONATUR -  the Mexican government tourist agency.  The agency’s computers determined it to be a good spot, then they flew over the region, mapping out its design.  According to the local guides, this enterprise seems to have paid off. From late autumn through winter and spring, it’s packed.   
Relaxing in garden restaurant, Hualtulco
80% of its tourism is domestic because of limited air access. There are 9 bays and many small coves stretching over 26 kms of coast.  Dozens of beaches, with one just 5 minutes from the ship.  
Manzanillo next.   The movie “10” was filmed here. 
With local beauties at pier
It’s still a laid-back place, surprisingly, compared to Puerto Vallarta which also came alive after a movie was filmed on location (“The Night of the Iguana”  of Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor and Ava Gardner fame.)   
With the mega Swordfish sculpture
The centre of town is dominated by a huge, blue sculpture of a swordfish, adopted as the symbol of Manzanillo which calls itself the “swordfish fishing capital of the world”.)  But this industry puts them under threat. One day this sculpture might be our sole memory.  
Puerto Vallarta - we know PV very well, having spent about a dozen winters there. The day of our arrival a major Triathlon was in full gear.  So we stayed around the pier and visited the nearby parrot rescue station. 
 "Sorry, I don't have a cracker"
Great fun.  They make a racket.  A fellow aboard ship told us he used to work at an animal rescue centre where there were macaws and parrots.  One of the parrots learned to mimic the sound of a neighbouring dog that happened to be a Rottweiler.  As he did his chores, sometimes he would hear growling, but was never sure whether it was the parrot, or the dog! He said it was a bit unnerving.  
Natasha aboard ship  Bahia de Banderas in background, Puerto Vallarta
In San Diego a group of birdwatchers embark on the ship. The next 3 days they were on deck all the time, morning to night.  With very expensive camera and telephoto lens equipment. 
Passionate Birdwatchers
However Natasha was the only one who spotted the black-footed albatross, just with her eyes. Coming up the coast of California and Oregon, we had stormy weather with a Beaufort 9 reading one afternoon. Boiling seas, perfect for the "storm bird". 
Albatross enjoying the 'breeze' on its endless journey
Overall we noticed once again how sea life is becomes less and less visible.  The odd family of dolphins, a whale here and there, flying fish (especially in the Caribbean). I spotted a large sea turtle paddling away all by itself close to the ship, and a couple of swordfish. May 4 we arrived in Victoria, BC.  Our home port. And for the first time we disembarked right at our doorstep.  A great way to come home.
Henri van Bentum