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Heading towards the sun (hopefully) – At sea

Sat 4 Jan ‘14 – day 21   It was a bumpy night and one of the cupboard doors in my cabin would not stay shut and so it was swinging backward and forward and then making a loud thump as it hit the frame before opening once more when the ship lurched again.  So a disturbed night’s sleep and I wondered what the people in the next cabin thought about all the noise.

Having dozed on and off for a few hours it was the broadcast at 08:55 hours by the Officer of the Watch that finally brought me back to consciousness and so I rose, showered and prepared for the day ahead.

It was a grey day with low cloud, heavy seas and a very damp atmosphere; all the open decks were closed due to the ships motion, but people were moving around, however how much longer this will last is anyone’s guess as the weather was set to get worse later in the day as we encounter yet another storm.

I headed for the cyb@study where there was a steady stream of people coming in to purchase a Wi-Fi package so that they could read their e-mails and stay in touch with relatives and friends.  When I am on a cruise I stay off-line for the whole time that I am away as I have no interest in keeping up with what’s happening on-shore and will action any e-mails that need it when I return home.  The need to stay in touch at all times has passed me by.

The Captain gave an update on the weather conditions which he said would continue to be poor for at least another day.  But at least the weather was better here than north of the Azores where the swells were nearly twenty meters high, because even Oriana would have great trouble in seas as bad as that.

As I am feeling rather full and couldn’t be bothered with getting dressed for the first formal night I decided to have an early night, so put out the ‘Do not disturb’ sign and went to bed.


Sun 5 Jan ’14 – day 22   This is the start of the fourth week on-board and as the weather is still very poor the speed of the ship has been reduced so that it is commensurate with helping the passengers keep their feet as the containers holding the motion discomfort bags have emptied.

I awoke to much reduced visibility as the ship was sailing through a fog bank, but there were less white caps on the waves now, so hopefully we were reaching calmer waters having crossed the Bay of Biscay and rounded Cabo Finisterre.

The first thing this morning was a sea weed rub which was designed to sweat the toxins from your body and this was followed by a massage so my leg and lower back muscles are feeling much looser.  The only down side was that alcohol should only be drunk in severe moderation for the next 24 hours, but that was absolutely no bother as I just had lots of orange squash to keep up my fluid levels.

I then went to a talk by Captain Tony Yule, an ex Concorde pilot, who talked about a ‘Day in the life of a Concorde pilot’, basically what he did when flying to and from New York or Barbados.

I had cut down my consumption of food as I had not been able to any significant exercise because the poor weather conditions had closed the outside decks so I and many others had not been able to plod our way around the promenade deck so that we walk a mile or much further.  Even the gym had been closed on occasions as using the various exercise machines had been considered to be too risky while the ship was experiencing severe pitching and rolling.

I spent more time in the cyb@study working on my laptop writing this blog as well as putting photos and postcards from the last few ports of call from my Christmas & New Year cruise 2010 / 11 on board Azura into the album.  So three years behind and I hoped to have completed up to the end of 2012 before this cruise is completed.

During dinner I told one of my dining companions about the magnificent website Man in Seat 61 and how easy it was to travel by train across Europe and Asia, because most people think that it was very difficult to book tickets, or they are scared of what they perceive to be ‘not normal’ conditions.  Conditions on Russian trains may not be ‘normal’ compared with the jam-packed trains that you sometimes get in Britain, but as everyone always has a seat or berth, they are totally normal by Russian standards and it was the experience that you get when travelling with local people that was the greatest pleasure.

I had a small dinner and then went to the Crow’s Nest for a soft drink nightcap.


Mon 6 Jan ’14 – day 23   I had a good night’s sleep as the sea has moderated somewhat and although the ship was still pitching and rolling, the degree to which this is happening was much less than yesterday.  The weather must have improved as the throttles had been opened and the ship was now making over 17 knots as the Captain tried to make up the time that had been lost when sailing through the stormy conditions; however it will be interesting to see if we actually arrive in Madeira on schedule tomorrow morning.

It was still a grey and misty start to the day, but there were few whitecaps on the sea, so definitely less wind.  Having watched the news about the polar vortex that had swept down across the North American continent causing record low temperatures and the probability of more gales and flooding in the UK, I know where I would rather be even if it had meant putting up with a bouncing ship.

I did the Individual Quiz at 10:00 hours in Lords Tavern and the topic today was sport; I got 15 out of 20, with the winner having 18 correct answers.  I stayed in the Tavern having a drink while updating the blog before heading down to reception and collected todays ships newspaper and daily Sudoku.  My next stop was the Theatre Royal where I listened to Captain Tony Yule give the last of his Concorde Trilogy talks with this one entitled “The Crash & Demise”; he used open source material and was passionate that Concorde would have flown for many years more if it there had been the political and industrial will to make it happen which there was on the side of British Airways but not Air France.

Then it was time for lunch.

During the afternoon the ship entered another fog bank and the outside decks were now very wet and slippery; the sea state was about the same so the throttles had been opened a little bit more.

More work in the cyb@study filled the rest of the afternoon until it was time for the daily general knowledge Individual Quiz in Tiffany’s where I availed myself of a cappuccino, the first for a few days.

The Captain held his “Welcome On Board Party” this evening so another black tie night, but I got a chance to drink some of P&O’s G&T’s again, the first alcohol since before Southampton.

Another small (ish) dinner before my regular nightcap in the Crow’s Nest and then it was time for bed.  I do hope that the weather in Madeira is fine tomorrow as I want to walk around Funchal to get some exercise.