Saturday, January 19, 2008

Ship's Log - Sailaway and beyond

This should really be before the post 'Post from the Red Sea' but I kinda did things in the wrong order and can't find a way to alter the order of posts... so sorry about that any any confusion it may cause.

Sailaway was on Sunday 6th at 10pm; no band playing dockside this time but we did get a good firework display send off. Oriana was late back from the Caribbean cruise, and had come back up from Portugal and to the English Channel in a Force 11!!! This, as you can imagine, filled me with a little trepidation!

So, I arrived about 9.20am on the Sunday, but Oriana hadn't finished even docking. Usually the ship arrives in the wee hours of the night so it's ready for crew to board first thing and for passengers to disembark during the earlier part of the morning. Because of the late arrival there were no passes from the ship ashore and ready for the joining crew. The queue was already pretty long when I arrived and didn't start to move until gone 11am. I boarded the ship just before noon. Everything was then behind schedule. Spent the afternoon traipsing up and down the stairs (determined not to use the lifts) going to and from offices in efforts to get all relevant paperwork done, have lunch, attend both crew safety induction and passenger muster (emergency drill), read through most of paperwork working out where I needed to be for when and what as part of the joining process - like getting my Laminex (pass to get me on & off ship at ports)... oh and yeah... unpacked as well.Which brings me to the matter of my cabin......... For some unknown reason I have been allocated a passenger cabin.... not just any old cabin, mind you, but a posh inside cabin - so no windows - but I do have a MASSIVE double bed, a small corner settee and table, a fridge and a bath!! Quite the lap of luxury - no lugging all electrical equipment to be PAC tested before I can use any of it, no crew rounds (Officers check crew cabins for tidiness, food, breakages etc) and no watertight doors. I also get my bed turned down at night and a chocolate left on my duvet! Yup! Am being totally spoilt. Not sure how this came about - I've just been told 'it's the luck of the draw'.

So, back to Sailaway.... we were informed by a Bridge announcement that the weather ahead was going to be 'slightly uncomfortable'. But the good news was that as we head across the Bay of Biscay and down the Iberian coast it would get better. Having seen the fireworks I went back to my sumptuous cabin. I went to bed with my acupuncture travel wrist bands on and after swallowing 2 Sturgenon 15 (can't remember how tis spelt) tablets. I emptied the kettle and placed it on the floor, along with the bottle of water and secured all doors, drawers and odds and ends.... just in case they start clunking around in the night when it gets rocky.

Woke at 3am - We had found the rough stuff. I lay in bed feeling fine and even smug after switching on the Tv and looking on the navigation channel to see it was Force 10. The ship was pitching forward and aft - I wasn't exactly rolling in my bed but I was moving gently from side to side. Ha! No worries! Still I couldn't get back to sleep again so ended up drawing one of the cabin lamps to use in class the next day!Walking about was another matter, as I found out later when I went up for brekkies at 8am. It was like the ship was full of blind drunk people - no-one having much sense of stability or direction! (One poor guy nearly fell into my lunch in the restaurant as he stumbled in the ship's motion) Some of course were too ill to leave their cabin and there are the obligatory 'motion discomfort bags' placed on the stairwells. I was doing extremely well... not a smidgeon queasy or off colour or anything.... well pleased with that.

The first two classes went well with 60 and 78 respectively. I expect that to lessesn as it gets warmer and they're all out enjoying the sunshine. Had fun trying to draw in the first class, by that time it had dropped to Force 9 but it was still very rocky. I had a mike in one hand, drawing with the other on a loose piece of paper that kept moving and it was a little tricky trying to keep still and not lose my balance.

By the time we got down near the bottom of Portugal and it had lessened to a lovely Force 5.

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