Real Estate and Forex and Life, Oh My!

Apparently I don't know what it means to be a consistent blogger. Anyways there are a few things to be updated in my life. 1. Real Estate Investing Since last November I have been interested in investing in real estate. I Read more

Time Keeps Marching

The summer has been a whirlwind of fun. My parents were here for about 6 weeks, though they did travel a lot during that time. I was able to spend about 8 days with them down at my sister's Read more

Made It Through The Winter!

Well it seems that the winter is finally over. In fact there wasn't much of a spring around here. As my friend Casey put it, in Wisconsin there is winter, and then there's a death match between winter and Read more

New Job Finally

I've been back in the States since October and have had a couple of jobs here and there, but they weren't very good and didn't last long. Well it's been just a bit over four months and I finally Read more

I've Been Everywhere Man

Well I have now come to the end of my career on cruise ships. I thought it'd be nice to provide a little list of all the places I've been in the last 3 years. Most of the names Read more

I'm Off to See the Wizard

The wonderful wizard of Alaska!! Yeah I can't wait to be back in Alaska. Sounds strange to say that because it's gonna be 5 long months of hard work but it's gonna be a nice change - at least Read more

Skydiving in Honolulu

Well, this is definitely something worth writing about. I jumped out of an airplane. The airplane was 14,750 feet in the air. The free fall was 60 seconds. It was amazing. I had never thought about sky diving before Read more

Next Contract - Panama Canal and Alaska

With also a few other places thrown in such as Tahiti, Bora Bora, Hawaii and Christmas Island!! If you're interested please see below my itinerary for this next contract on the ms Statendam. I'll be joining it during dry dock Read more

Australia 2011

Seal Coast Safari

The last month since I’ve posted on here has been an incredible experience in many ways. The begin with, our printer continued to have a lot of electrical problems which has prevented us from doing any printing. We had Fuji service technicians come on board 4 times before they actually got it fixed. The first time they came and replaced some parts but the main issue wasn’t fixed. This happened a couple more times before finally a technician came and actually sailed on the ship with us from Melbourne to Sydney. He figured out that the problem was that there was a large static buildup between the printer and the computer and it was continually frying the firewire cards. We have installed a properly grounded static matt which has prevented the static from harming our equipment. So now the machine works, but we still need to figure out why there is a static build up in the first place.

So that whole situation has been taking up a lot of my time and energy. Several times I spent almost the entire night staying up late printing everything that I hadn’t been able to print so that we would have something to sell. Aside from this our ratings on the ship haven’t been the best either so Ocean Images sent out the S & R class operations manager to give our team some advise and pointers on what we can do to improve customer ratings at the end of each cruise. It has helped a lot and we are doing some things differently now. Ratings are improving so that’s always positive.

One of my photographers on the team is finishing his contract after next cruise, so he’ll be going home on January 4th. Then Niamh and I are finishing our contract on January 17th, so there will be a lot of changes in the near future.

Next cruise Niamh and I plan to go to Hobbiton, which is the place where they filmed the Shire in Lord of the Rings. Originally they had to tear the whole set down, however it has now been rebuilt because they are filming The Hobbit there. So it’s going to be pretty cool to see the set how it really should look. I’ve heard from other people who have been there that we’re not really supposed to post photos of it, but I’ll see what the rules are when I get there. I might be able to post a photo of a Hobbit hole or two.

Next cruise is also the Christmas and New Years cruise for us. I will be in Dunedin, New Zealand for Christmas and Auckland for New Years Eve. We’ll be at sea when the new year actually arrives.

A few days ago I went on a tour in Wellington to the coast and got a chance to see some amazing landscapes and some seals. We rode in some heavy duty 4 wheel drive Toyotas. The path that we took was off-road and very rough. You can see here the path that we took on the beach. The vehicle pictured is one of three that were in our group. There were only about 5 seals that I saw, I guess because in the summer they go other places. The winter is when they are here in large numbers. If you’re a little confused, it’s because it is currently summer in New Zealand, as we are south of the equator. December 1st was the first day of summer.

Posted on in Australia 2011, Cruise Life 4 Comments

More Fun On The Volendam

Back when I was still in Alaska, as you might remember I rented a car and drove up to Emerald Lake in Canada. My internet at the time wasn’t working very well and so I wasn’t able to upload photos. Here you can see Niamh at Emerald Lake. It was very beautiful, reminds me of hot springs that have really weird vibrant colors. There’s actually some of those places around here in New Zealand which I might try to go to before my contract is over.

Also, here’s a photo of me on the back deck of the Volendam in Auckland during the final match of the 2011 Rugby World Cup. There were several huge outdoor TVs setup on the docks around where the ship was and there were thousands of people watching. I can’t imagine what it must have been like in the actual stadium.

In other news, life here on the Volendam is going well. We had a bit of a hiccup last cruise when our printer had major issues and stopped working for a few days. There is a huge problem with static electricity in the lab and it fried a few firewire cards in the computer and the printer and it caused it to not work. So that was fixed in Sydney by a couple Fuji technicians, but then it got fried again about 2 hours after they left. When we got to Melbourne another tech came on board and replaced the firewire cards again, and suggested that I also replace the actual firewire cable, and get a static mat to go under the computer. It seems that one or both of those two things has fixed the problem as we are still up and running several days later. I have my fingers crossed that it won’t happen again.

I’m also starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Only the remainder of this cruise and four more cruises until the end of my contract. That means just about 2 months left. I’ll be leaving on the 17th of January. It’s been a super contract so far but I’m also very ready for vacation. Who knows where I’ll be next, but I’m hoping for a ship in Europe.

Posted on in Australia 2011, Cruise Life 7 Comments

What I’ve Done

So it’s been like a month since I’ve written anything on here, so here’s the low-down on my life recently.

Been to Hawaii.
Visited my cousin Heather in Hawaii.
Been to 5 country islands in the South Pacific.
Been to Australia and New Zealand.
Visited Jael, friend from post college, in Auckland, New Zealand. Twice.
Planning to visit Chris Loh in Melbourne, friend from high school.
Taken over as photo manager of the Volendam.
Been to glow worm caves in Bay of Islands, New Zealand.
Bought snacks in a convenience store from an extremely happy Egyptian who loves speaking to Americans. He gave us free gifts.
Witnessed New Zealand madness during the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
Learned that my contract will be finishing on January 17. Niamh and I will be flying to London.
Uploaded more photos to my photo gallery.

Well that’s a pretty good list of what’s happened in the last month and a half. Please check out the photo gallery for a few photos that I took. All of the square photos were taken in Fiji and the other 4 were taken in New Zealand.

Posted on in Australia 2011, Cruise Life 7 Comments

I’m Going To Hawaii Yay!

I’ve been having a lot of fun in Alaska, but I’m so glad it’s over now. Yesterday was our last embarkation in Vancouver and we are currently somewhere along the coast of Oregon. We’re on our way down to LA, where we will embark a few hundred more guests, and from there we’ll make our way over to Hawaii. We’re gonna have 5 days at sea straight, so it’s gonna be a little boring. I think I’ll be able to catch up on a bit of sleep. After that It’s Australia and New Zealand for the next 3 months or so until the end of my contract.

My last week in Alaska was quite nice. Niamh and I rented a car in Skagway and drove up to a place in Canada called Emerald Lake. It was gorgeous. The lake is a very pleasant green color, I suppose this is why they call it Emerald Lake. Because Emerald Lake is in Canada, we needed our passports in order to get there. The ship always holds crew members’ passports though, so I had to get the Hotel Manager to sign a request form in order for me to get my passport out for the day.
I’ve been promoted to Photo Manager, and I’ll be taking over those duties on Saturday when the ship ports in LA. Tino, the current manager is going to be leaving then, and I’ll be on my own for the Australia season. Should be fun! I’ll be posting plenty of photos from the South Pacific, I’m really excited about all the new places I’m gonna get to see.
Posted on in Australia 2011, Cruise Life 6 Comments

I Drove Something!

It’s been a long time since I’ve driven, and during my last contract I didn’t drive at all for the entire 8 months. Well I just had the opportunity to drive what is called an Adventure Cart! It’s like a dune buggy, and it’s extremely fun. Apparently they are modeled after an Israeli attack vehicle that can go up to 100 mph and has a machine gun on the back. Well mine only went about 20 or 25 mph and didn’t have a machine gun. Oh well, it was still fun.

Also, besides getting to drive something, I had some AMAZING food last week. We had a team meal at this Italian Mexican restaurant. Being in Alaska however, they had some really great crab. So I ordered King Crab. One pound. That’s a lot of food. I also ate clam chowder, some spaghetti, garlic bread, meatballs, and some kind of desert. I don’t know how to spell it, but it was something like baclava. It’s a Greek desert and it tastes great. So that was lunch around 2. Then a couple hours later at 5:30 I went to the Pinnacle Grill on the ship for dinner with Niamh. If you’ve ever eaten at the Pinnacle you know that it’s extremely good food, and they also give you large proportions. I ordered some kind of beef. It turns out it was on a kabob, and the way they prepared it was really interesting. They held it up on a plate and then literally poured fire over it. I don’t know what it was doused in, but the fire just kind of fell onto the kabob and the whole thing went on fire and then went out. It was super tender and very tasty. I almost finished it even after that whole pound of crab meat just a few hours earlier.

Anyways the Alaska season is still going great. Time is going pretty quickly though. The season is already half over and it seems like we just started. We’re making lots of money, significantly better than last season. When we leave and go to Australia it will be much less, but I’m really looking forward to going to that part of the world.

Posted on in Alaska Summer 2011, Cruise Life 10 Comments

New Yet The Same

It’s kinda like saying “The road is smooth except for where it’s bumpy.” Well that’s what my life is like right now. I’m going to all the same places in Alaska as last year, and I even have the same boss. There are several other people on this ship that are the same from the Ryndam. But boy is life different. It’s so strange to think that I’m sitting on a park bench next to the Skagway library, doing exactly the same thing as a year ago. It feels so normal to be doing this and yet I would never in a million years have thought that this is something that I would have been doing. Last year at least it felt weird to be doing this. hahaha.

I don’t plan to go on so many excursions this year – last year I went on like half of them. There’s just a few that I wanna go on now that I wasn’t able to hit last year. So dad I’m sorry but there prolly won’t be all that many photos from Alaska this year. I do expect some though of course. Next week I wanna go on the Bering Sea Crab Fishing tour. Apparently there are hundreds of eagles that come around trying to catch the crabs that get thrown back into the water. Tino went on it last year and got some awesome photos. I want that.

Here’s a photo of some downright beautiful people. From left to right it’s Dorrance, Beth, Hana, Amber and Zach. Unfortunately Beth, Hana and Zach have all finished their contracts and are now either on vacation or on another ship. Dorrance and Beth were both with me on the Ryndam. It’s likely that as long as you’re working on ships you’re gonna meet someone you know on your next ship. And the longer you stay on ships the more people you start to know.


Posted on in Alaska Summer 2011, Cruise Life 2 Comments

Home Sweet Home Ketchikan

Well I’m back to Alaska. To be precise I am sitting in a Mcdonalds in Ketchikan enjoying the free wifi. I received my replacement camera and lens in the mail when I got to Juneau. Thank goodness! I was really getting tired of that backup camera because it just wasn’t quite up to snuff and it’s not good to have bad photos when you’re in the business of selling photos! Anyways my new one is here and it’s so nice.

Although Alaska can get really annoying and very cold and frustrating when you’re half way through the season and just tired of life being so crazy all the time, right now it feels very nice and familiar. I was at all these ports so much last year that it almost feels like home.

One of our photographers went home as it was the end of his contract, and we got two new ones on board. Our team is really good right now and I expect we’re gonna have a really great season.

In case you haven’t seen them all yet, the remainder of my Asian photos have been posted to my photo gallery. Enjoy!

Posted on in Alaska Summer 2011, Cruise Life 7 Comments

May 11th

I’ve never done one day twice before, but there’s a first for everything. We crossed the international date line last night and at midnight it went from May 11th to May 11th. So I’m currently in the middle of doing the same day twice. The ocean is super rough and I think most people are sick. It’s supposed to be formal night tonight, but we’re only going to be setting up one studio. Bering Strait….yikes.

Well I do have an update for my address while I’m in Alaska. It is as follows:

MS VOLENDAM – Ian Kee – 77538
Cruise Line Agencies
1330 Eastaugh Way #4
Juneau, AK 99801

Posted on in Alaska Summer 2011, Cruise Life 3 Comments

Good Bye Asia

Well I spent today in the frigid city of Petropovlovsk, which lies in a northern part of Russia, in Kamchatka. This marks the end of my travels in Asia, as the next port is Kodiak, Alaska. I’ve been to 8 countries in the last month and 5 of them have been new to me. This cold Russia sure isn’t one of the ones that I’d like to live in though!

It’s really hard to believe that I’ve traveled so far. Singapore was just 4 weeks ago and I was sweating like crazy. Now I’m near the north pole and I saw tons of snow today. Sometimes I feel like the world isn’t real and that I just imagine things. Being able to travel so far so fast, just seems like it shouldn’t be possible. I know going at 25 miles an hour isn’t exactly fast, but you can cover a lot of distance when you do it continuously. I suppose it’s the traveling at a slow speed that makes it seem unreal. The world just doesn’t seem so large anymore when you travel like this. When I’m here in Russia, it’s hard to imagine that the people in Hong Kong are still in hot weather. It seems like I’ve been traveling at such a slow speed that everywhere must be like it is here. It’s just weird wonderings that I have.

Posted on in Asia 2011, Cruise Life 4 Comments

Shanghai Etc.

A lot has happened since my last post! Probably the most important thing is that I went to China!!!! And boy can I tell you, being the only person in a group of friends who speaks mandarin in downtown Shanghai, is F-U-N. In the afternoon of the first day I went around town with my friend Cheryl and we saw a lot of cool stuff. We went to one of the old town parts of Shanghai. In my photo gallery I uploaded a photo of her eating some noodles. As you can see from the next few photos after that there is a lot of exotic food in Shanghai. Then we went to the Jade Buddha Temple and saw a bunch of Buddhas. The people who worked there were very impressed with my Chinese. Then we went on a walk near the canal and had some Haagendazs Although 2 scoops of ice-cream was 60 kuai, it’s hard to pass up Haagendazs.

Later that night two other friends joined us and we went to a couple clubs. One of them was on the top of the tallest building in Shanghai, which is also the highest club in the world. It’s on the 92nd floor. I took a photo from the 87th floor, and you can see my ship the Volendam all lit up in the top right of that photo. That was one hoppin’ club! I sure wasn’t drinking too much there though as drinks were $11 each. The next club we went to was only on the 24th floor of a different building, but it was probably even more fun. We went back to the ship surprisingly early actually – only 2:30am.

The next day I went out with Tino and Nicoleta to a different old part of Shanghai and had some amazing food. I ordered Di San Qian, Tang Tsu Rou and some sort of fried fish. I think he called it Zha Jin Yu. Gold fish or something. haha. It didn’t look like gold fish though. We couldn’t spend too long out there because it was an hour drive from the ship and all aboard was 3pm.

Today we were in Nagasaki, which was kinda fun, but not really that amazing. I’ve uploaded a few photos from there. Tino and I walked around and had a pretty good meal however just my portion of the meal was about $9. The other day in Shanghai all that food I mentioned cost a total of $8 and fed four adults and one kid. Japan is a lot more expensive than China.

Tomorrow is the last day of this cruise before we have our next embarkation in Kobe, Japan. We still need to make like $18,000 tomorrow in photo sales alone in order to make target. I’ll tell you right now, it’s not gonna happen. That’s alright this season in Asia is mainly just about seeing new places and having fun, once I get to Alaska I’ll make more money. Speaking of that however, my company has asked me to go back to just photographer because they need to provide a job for someone else. The someone else who will be joining our team has been a manager for many years and I guess they just don’t have enough ships to employ everyone, so they are giving him the assistant manager position. They told me I’ll be photographer just for the Alaska season, and then it’s back to assistant manager. This means about 20% less money, but at the same time it’s at least 20% more free time, so whatever. Not the coolest thing they could have done but I’m just going with the flow at this point.

To end on a happy note however, this contract so far has been a lot better for me photographically speaking than the last. In the last 2 weeks I have taken almost as many photos as I took my entire last contract. I’m talking about just photos I took for myself, not work related. Many of the really nice ones I’ve uploaded in my photo gallery but there are tons of other great ones too that I just don’t want to overwhelm people with. I suspect once I get to Alaska it will slow down because I’ve already been there, but then once we go over to Hawaii, New Zealand and Australia I’m sure I’ll take a bunch more again.

Posted on in Asia 2011, Cruise Life 2 Comments
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