Category Archives: Cruising Ducks

Cruising Ducks

QuackMail

As usual, I’m probably overthinking things, but that’s how I roll.
Since people seem to think one major inhibitor of being notified about their Cruising Ducks or Pirate Ducks being found is the whole “joining the Facebook page” issue, why not invent another way to let people report?
I realize the idea of being notified is another can of worms, but so it goes.
So, while most plastic animals don’t have email, their owners do, so I decided email was the best way to communicate, at least until I figure out how to get a GPS reporting unit inside a plastic duck.
On the other hand, you probably don’t want your personal email address on a bunch of easily lost or discarded tags, so why not have a domain just for plastic ducks? That way, if one address gets compromised, we just throw it away and create another one.
That’s the idea behind QuackMail. I registered quackmail.net and it has 100 free forwarding accounts (I can always get more if this turns out to be popular), so you can now request a quackmail account that forwards to your real email. The only concern I have is making sure people have unique QuackMail names.
[contact-form to=”kjg@cruisexriva.com” subject=”QuackMail Request”][contact-field label=”Your Name” type=”name” required=”1″ /][contact-field label=”Your Email (where QuackMail is forwarded)” type=”email” required=”1″ /][contact-field label=”QuackMail Name (your name@quackmail.net)” type=”text” required=”1″ /][contact-field label=”QuackMail Name (Second Choice) ” type=”text” /][contact-field label=”Comments” type=”text” /][/contact-form]
It’s probably overkill, but we are talking about people who think leaving plastic ducks with personalized tags in various places on random cruise ships is a reasonable activity.
The webpage points back here for now, but eventually, I will get around to creating a real site to let people register online and replace the form above. Eventually.
I realize this is the first step towards re-inventing geocaching, but that was my first thought when I heard about cruising ducks.
We’ll see what happens.
 

Pirate Duck

Pirate Ducks invade the Norwegian Bliss

So, after discovering there were not only Cruising Ducks, there were also Pirate Ducks, we set some pirates loose on the Norwegian Bliss last week. (My only complaint is that you have to join the proper Facebook group and wait to be approved just to announce a find, which seems like a lot of work. So, all our ducks have email addresses for those too lazy to join a group.)

We know one has already been found (while we were still onboard), one was donated to our room steward (who seemed delighted), a couple were handed out in the Local (the kids seemed pleased, Mom wanted to know how to join in), and the rest are all running free. For now.

Crew MemberDeploymentStatus
Sir Francis DuckCagney’sCaptured at Coco’s
Michel ConfitStarbucks
Blackbill the PirateArchie (Room Steward)Captured
Bluebill the PirateObservation Lounge Couch Pillow
Redbill the PirateCabin 8726 Safe
Pierre a l’OrangeThe LocalCaptured
Manuel PatoThe LocalCaptured
Sir Henri CassouletCagney’s Statue
Victor CanardObservation Lounge Windowsill
Sir Robert MallardStarbucks LobbyCaptured (per Facebook)
Duckie CupidAtrium Piano
Captain Katie MallardMaltings (in table menu)
Cruising Ducks

Cruising Ducks

(Editor’s Note: for our first example, please see here.)

Sometimes, you hear something so strange (and possibly insane), you wonder why you didn’t think of it yourself. This is one of those occasions.

First, an aside – After all the time I’ve spent with GPS units, you really think I would have become more serious about Geocaching

Geocaching is a sport / avocation / hobby where people hide caches and then leave the GPS coordinates and hints on a website, so others can go out and find them. When you find a geocache, you sign the log book if it’s available and then log your cache on the website. There are also trackables – small items that look like dogtags with serial numbers, so their position can be tracked by serial number. You can watch trackables move around the world, as geocachers take them along on trips and leave them in new and exciting places. 

Someone either didn’t know about trackables, or someone did, and thought, “Serial numbers. Tracking databases. Logging. That seems like a lot of work.”

It’s also impossible to do on a cruise ship, since the GPS coordinates change frequently, and even if you just use the coordinates at the pier, it’s not like the security team is going to let somebody onboard to “look for a geocache since you’re here”. 

Why is life so complicated? Why not just hide something on a cruise ship, have people find it, tell you about it on Facebook, and then hide it again, either on the ship or on another ship on their next cruise? 

Hence, Cruising Ducks.

My wife discovered this Facebook group and immediately ordered rubber ducks (plastic, actually, I think), some custom labels, adhesive labels to print the Info to put on the custom labels, and began chatting incessantly about how fun this would be. 

So, the first secret to getting her involved in anything (she has zero interest in geocaching) is to require her to go shopping. If it’s shopping for something cute, so much the better. 

She is not spoiled by geocaching so she thinks hiding ducks is brilliant. I’m thinking “How do you track the duck from ship to ship? There’s no serial number. There’s no name (well, I named all of her ducks.) There’s no space on the label to write where it has been, just where it started.” 

Apparently, I’m sucking all the fun out of this. 

So, there are a multitude of people (I joined the Facebook group) who go around hiding rubber ducks on cruise ships. Most of them are hidden in plain sight, but most of the passengers are slightly inebriated, so it cancels out. When you find a duck, you follow the instructions on his name tag (hopefully – as in, hopefully, you follow them and hopefully, the owner put them there) and post a photo to the group and then either keep the duck or hide it somewhere else. 

Apparently, the crews all tolerate this. This may be why the daily service charge keeps going up. Duck maintenance. 

The bad part is that there are twenty ducks labeled and ready to go in my house, ten for this cruise and ten for our next one (the second ten are actually Duck Pirates.) I’m wondering what of mine will be left home to make way for ducklings. 

The good part is that someone else posted in the group this week that she had hidden 50 ducks on a five-day cruise and my wife said, “50? Fifty?!!? That’s CRAZY.” 

We’ll see how long she thinks fifty ducks on a cruise is crazy. I give it two cruises.