All At Sea
It’s Thursday 17th January, our fourth day at sea since leaving Cape Verdes. I’ve only mentioned the day and date because it’s so easy to lose track of time. One day seems to effortlessly morph into the next, and with each day following more or less the same routine it becomes difficult to distinguish one day from the next.
However, and somewhat paradoxically, each day brings with it a new experience, and there is always plenty to do, with lectures to attend (the ones by Dr Louise Bonner on the Amazon ecosystem are particularly popular), craft and painting classes, competitions, and of course the evening entertainment shows – always very good.
We continue to sail south-south west and our journey across the Atlantic is now almost complete. We’re less than 500 nautical miles from the mouth of the Amazon (not a Delta, as Dr Bonner point out), and will be crossing the equator at around 3am tomorrow morning. For that reason we are having the "crossing the line" ceremony at 3pm this afternoon. That’s when King Neptune will be rounding up all of the ‘virgin’ line-crossers and subjecting them to some sort of pennance. At least that’s what used to happen in the Royal Navy, but I doubt they’ll be inflicting the same sort of humiliation on the paying passengers of this ship! And in any case, I’m an old hand at crossing the equator – this must be my sixth or seventh time.
So, what’s to report on the past four days at sea. Well, quite a lot actually. Yesterday I spotted my first whale (no, not one of the more portly passengers wallowing in the pool – it was the real thing). It was about a mile away on the starboard stern, spotted at 17.05. I could see it spouting, and saw it’s great fins as it dived. It was good fortune that I had my binoculars with me, so I had a very clear view. I’m afraid no photos though – so you’ll have to take my word for it!
Other wildlife that we’ve spotted include a Storm Petrol, which sort of blundered into the ship one evening, no doubt attracted by the lights. Lynda (wife) has also seen several Sheerwaters circling the ship during the day. Since we are many hundreds of miles from any land I can only assume they were on a migratory route and were curious to see what we were.
We’ve also seen lots of flying fish, usually fleeing from the bows of the ship as it breaks through the water.Sometimes singly and sometimes whole shoals, gliding over the waves for fifty metres or more. Note to self: must get a photo!
The other noteworthy event was a visit to the bridge. This is available to any of the passengers if you add you name to the waiting list. Our turn arrived yesterday and we spent fifteen minutes or so having a tour of the bridge and navigation area. Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to press any buttons, switch any switches, pull any levers or play around with the steering wheel, but interesting nevertheless – as you can see!
Popeye the sailor man.
Beware! Women drivers!
The finger belongs to Lynda (wife)!
So, our journey across the Atlantic is now almost complete, and we expect to reach our first port of call on the mighty Amazon river, Santarém, in the state of Pará, Brazil, sometime tomorrow. That’s when the adventures really begins!