Saturday, 25 of March of 2023

2003 World Cruise – Nagasaki-Mahe, Part 4

Queen Elizabeth 2 World Cruise 2003 – Nagasaki – Mahe, Seychelles.  Part 4

Saturday, 1 March – Nagasaki.

Rainy – We were turned around before docking on starboard side.  It felt like we were aground, heeling somewhat to starboard, but perhaps they shifted ballast to accommodate the gangway.  Spent the day on tour with Select Traveler going first via countryside of cultivated potato fields – mounded furrows – and other vegetables – decorative cabbages, and numerous valleys terraced and planted.  Eventually we arrived at Shimabara where we went through the Shogun castle (only a Christian museum now), which is deeply moated and built up with massive walls.  We then walked to see three Shogun homes.  We had to take off our shoes to tread on the matted floors through the empty rooms.  A little canal of water flows down the street.

We had lunch and did a bit of shopping at a hotel, then drove back to Nagasaki to view the Atomic Bomb museum and Remembrance Park.  We returned to the ship too late to view the official Japanese welcome ceremony on board.

America’s Cup update.  The New Zealand boat lost its mast in high wind and waves.  Now it is 4 to 0- in favor of Alinghi.  Grrrrrrrr!

Had dinner in Mauretania and all of the tablemates were there.  Attended the show with the Lees, Jack and Audrey.  Horlicks with Valerie.  I tried the movie but left the Theatre.

Sunday, 2 March.

I missed our departure last night, but at least I saw some shoreline going by with ships and blinking lights at dusk.   There is not much to report today, but my wanderings.  At breakfast I was joined by a British and Swiss couple who were great conversationalists.  We discussed genealogical searches, roots, intensive hiking, and we were so animated that we missed the start of Norma Joseph’s talk on pearls.  We stepped in and parted, then at some point I joined Nancy Pelletier and Tony in a discussion about yesterday’s tour and how Select Traveler and Giants works.

Although the beautiful clear and crisp air was cool (50º F) I spent an hour or so on Boat Deck reading and gazing at the East China Sea or maybe it’s plain Pacific Ocean by now!  Anyhow, it was sheer joy out there and after the navigational information; I retreated inward to find someone to eat with, ending up at the Lee’s table in the Lido.  Margaret is not well at the moment.  I then went to the Pavilion and chatted with Nancy P. and her sister, then Marion too.  Back to the Boat Deck for a while and aft to One Deck Lido to lie in the sun out of the wind.  By three o’clock I was ready to head down to the cabin for a putter and tidy session.

Noon:  Lat. 31º 34′ N: Long. 132º 14′ E.  40 nautical miles East of land – gone 247 nautical miles @ 20.4 Knots.  225 nautical miles to Kobe.   13º C   55º F.  Clear .

I watched the movie, “Blood Works”  at 6:30.  Lido dinner and show.  Photographed the Queens Room all decorated for Japanese Cherry Blossoms and the first time I tried, a Japanese wedding was taking place!   When I returned to my cabin just before ten o’clock, I caught the celebrations for “Alinghi’s” fifth win. Grrrrr!  The America’s Cup was handed over to the Swiss.

Monday, 3 March –  Kobe – Japan.

Early morning harbor entrance.  Fire boat, spraying escort.  Breakfast with the professional sailor.  Coach to Nara – saw Shinto Shrine and Buddhist Shrine.  Fabulous lunch at Le Benkei hotel.   Back to Kobe via Osaka.  Suspension bridges – Ferris wheel – extensive harbor near Osaka.

On my way to 6:15 dinner I went on deck to see us pull away from the pier.  The darkness having arrived, the ship terminal and the whole city were lit up in many colors in varying neon hues, the “hourglass” tower glowed in red and way up the mountain backdrop to the city were:  KOBE 2003 which looked like the characature of a baby (probably not).  The ship was pulled away fore and aft with a middle tug standing by as the bow slowly turned away and closely past the right-angle dock.  Had a short chat with a Japanese lady newly embarked, from Nagasaki.  Then I headed for the Maury.  Sat next to Vernon, and Dorothy sat on his other side.  Bill and Richard asked me about the “Norway.” 

The show was loud and hard for me to take.  Feeble jokes and raspy loud voice.  Horlicks – then cabin.    At 10:30 the ship listed to port so much things slipped.  Must be turning to starboard – or she is really “tender:  Clocks back an hour tonight.

Movie, “Gosford Park”   Stiff wind off starboard quarter – cold.  Could this cause the list to port?  Eric said later that the ship changed course to starboard 30º at a speed of 24 Knots and this was the reason for the list to Port.

Tuesday, 4 March.

Cold wind, sun with gathering clouds and dark white-capped seas were deterrents to comfortable outside reading, but I managed less than an hour out on deck before ten o’clock.  When I was too cold, I ducked into the Board Room and chatted with Faith Bishop over coffee.  Went late to the most interesting talk on the history of tea, then returned after the noonday navigation report to the lecture on China, and Hong Kong’s past history in it.

Phil, Phyllis, Marilyn and her sister, Elaine joined us for lunch at Mauretania, then I returned to the cabin for a nap which kept me in all afternoon.  The Times paper came after the ship internet satellite problem was finally solved.  All day yesterday the Internet  was in and out causing frustration for all.

After lunch I returned to the cabin intending to regroup and go to the movie, but I slept instead till nearly five o’clock.  Cashed a check, collected the British news and emerged in formal attire at 6:15 to join my tablemates for the Baked Alaska parade.  Bill Greenwood gave me his card.  I sang Auld Lang Syne loudly and “passed his approval” Ha Ha!  He is a recording engineer and had expressed a critical nature.

Concordia did their last show ” Picadilly to Broadway”  and Gillian sang show tunes very well as did her protégés.  Went to the movie, “Mean Machine” then had shrimp and sweets at the Gala Buffet.  Sat with Doris (Am) Phil and Pearl.  Bed by one o’clock.

Wednesday, 5 March –  Keelung, Taiwan.

Breakfast with Lees in Mauritania.  Checked on the weather on Boat Deck – mild with bright clouds.  I watched our approach to Taiwan from misty outline right into the harbor of Keelung, past a prominent small mountain island, fishing boats, through the channel lights on jetties, into the outer harbor where yellow and green water spouting tugs.  All the tugs helped turn us 180˚ ready for a  L  O  N  G backup around a corner to the longest quay with many cranes on wheels.  Dockside are potted trees alternately placed with red and blue inset Taiwan flags.  Speculated with Dorothy and later, Stan about Captain Warwick’s skill in backing QE2 around the corner with tugs only standing by to help nudge if needed.  Fabulous!  All this was accomplished by noon, and I simply had two pieces of key lime pie outside on Lido balcony, then changed $20 into 680 Taiwan BT at Midships Lounge.  At 12:30 I found bus 4 and we set out along elevated highway between numerous mountains and through tunnels into Taipei where we saw three major sights.  Palace Museum, National War Memorial Shrine, and the Chaing Kai Shek Memorial.  Upon my return I changed my remaining 500 BT and got $15.  Bought a key ring with the 120 at the museum shop. 

Upon our evening departure there was a large statue lit up atop a mountain.  Light blinking on her chest.  Some sort of Temple up there also.    Movie in cabin – long line in Lido – two lines, one for Japanese food.  Saw “Four Feathers” in the Theatre.  Watched the ship leave near 11:30 after two freighters left.  Police patrols all the time we were in port.  Two tugs pulled us out sideways, then the aft tug kept its line taught while we rounded the corner, and then we were off.  Chatted with Perle.  Midnight buffet.

Eric said in the back up, the rudder is virtually useless and more likely the Captain was using the bow thrusters and engines, even more impressive to me!!!!!

Thursday, 6 March.

This has been a thoroughly misty, cloudy and mild day, which I avoided outside-wise to preserve my hair for the Talent Show.  I attended the two lectures on Hong Kong and photos of a car trip from London to Hong Kong via Beijing. In between I rehearsed the “Dove Sono” aria with Philip, the best accompanist.  Joined Virginia, Dorothy, Perle and Rosemary at my table, then retreated to prepare for the Talent Show, before which I managed to knock a glass of water off the nearest table.  Several singers did good presentations, two Japanese little girls demonstrated Karate moves, dancers tapped, and others tangoed.  Maria again signed her song.   On the way to tea in the Lido, I was stopped by people who congratulated me, even Trevor!

Movie, “Enough” Dinner in Lido with Marion Morgan: tail end of the show and back to the cabin by 10.  The ship again listed to port for a while.  That course turn to starboard shows on the chart display on Quarterdeck.  Rain.

Friday, 7 March – Hong Kong.

I was awake early, so I got up but remained in the cabin till nearly eight o’clock when I could see we were well in toward the entrance to Hong Kong.  The Lees joined me as we went by the first high rise buildings and outer harbor busy activity of tugs, lighters, junk trawlers.  Water-spouting tugs came along side at our pace and escorted us to the dock.  Along the way, a yellow police boat sounded its siren at a smallish lighter coming up to our starboard aft at a fast pace.  The police boat ran interference before ascertaining the lighter was okay.  We were tied up a bit before ten o’clock, and we are here for the next two days.

After we were cleared of customs, I went ashore and on the way through the terminal I noticed Captain Woodall on his way to embark.  I walked to the Chinese Arts and Crafts store for my quest of fans and other trinkets.  Was accosted several times by tailors, but shook them off.  After lunch back at the ship I sat on Boat Deck watching the harbor traffic as well as the funnel being scrubbed and pressure sprayed.  Two men on top were operating the ropes up and down.  “Star Leo” is in port.

Select Traveler – Nancy in charge, laid on a magnificent evening of touring through the tunnel to Hong Kong Island to the double decker tram on which we sat on top as we went up and back along the busy street.  We were let off near the Hong Kong Club atop the old Hong Kong Bank Building.  Many course Chinese dinner with a historical talk given throughout.  Back to a leather- seated coach to the ship by 11:30. 

 Saturday, 8 March – Hong Kong.

I went to the Lido to get two muffins, and found Jack and Audrey, who disembarked today.  Was glad to say goodbye and bon voyage home to Brisbane.  Went on the tour with Select Traveler to Hong Kong Island, Victoria Peak, Aberdeen and Sampan ride through the sampan village in the harbor.  This is also where “Jumbo” restaurant is.  Back through a tunnel to the business district to see a Temple on Hollywood Road, and a brief side trip to buy trinkets.  Lunch at Intercontinental Hotel.  Shopped.  I bought a Diane Fries dress.

Had dinner in the Lido facing the harbor, then spent a long time watching harbor traffic, before attending the Chinese acrobat show in the Grand Lounge.  The quick mask changes were most intriguing.  

 Sunday, 9 March – Hong Kong

I had breakfast of blueberry pancakes with Vernon, Perle, Margaret and a new Margaret also from England.  I then headed for Queens Room to chat with Eric and Margaret, and also talked with Terry Waite who showed me his new black jacket.  The weather on deck continues to be overcast and cool, but I managed a few sessions of harbor watching all morning.  More Star Cruise ships, “Gemini, ” “Pisces, “etc. came and went with very few people on board.  At departure time the oil and water bunkers pulled away and two tugs attached bow and stern for pulling away from the dock.  We were then pivoted on bow 180º to head back out the way we came, past all the high rises, which soon faded in the smog or mist.  As usual, we took a long time winding with the channel past anchored ships, buoys, crane barges, sampans et al.  I joined the Zimmermans for a very busy lunch in the Mauretania.  It feels good to be a sea again.

After a while in the cabin, a bit of motion, I walked around a bit, eventually settling in the Board Room for tea and chats with Valerie,  Diane Spaziani and her friend, and at departure, a chat with Donna Hartstone from Sudbury.  She looks very good – lost weight.

Had dinner with my tablemates.  David, the new host, from  Manchester, Warren, Vernon, the two Margarets.  Valerie Huljich has moved over to join us.  Sat with the Lees and had a good chat with an American couple, newly arrived.  Jacquie Scott, the singer was very good.   Washed my hair by ten o’clock and was happy to be in for the night.  Still a bit of motion, so I again inserted a menu back in the slot of the adjoining cabin door to stop the noise of knocking.

Monday, 10 March – South China Sea.

I managed an hour or so on deck in warm humid and eventually rainy weather, after a Lido breakfast with Linda, Warren and eventually Marion and Lilian.  Two lectures:  1.  Cecil Beaton and 2.  Vietnam.   Lunch in Mauretania with Virginia, Marsha, Perle, Valerie and Rosemary.  This Valerie is a different Aussie.  Movie – “The Affair of the Necklace: then tea in Board Room with Diane S.

I wore my new Diane Fries dress to dinner and everyone thins it is beautiful, as do I.  I suffered through the Sinatra tribute show.  Noon report:  Lat. 14ºN;  Long. 111º47’E.  148 nautical miles East of Vietnam – 209º direction, 23.4K, 445 nm to go.  26ºC – 79ºF.  Humid.  Clocks back one hour.

Tuesday, 11 March – Vung Tau, Vietnam

Since I was awake very early, (I suspect the watertight doors awoke me),  I watched our arrival on television while puttering in the cabin.  I could see there was a stiff breeze from our starboard side (bow flag) but couldn’t tell how we were facing.  Eventually the anchor ball was raised and we were all set.  I emerged with my tour gear after seven, ate two muffins and juice with Phyllis, then went directly to the Theatre before 8.  Got my ticket and immediately headed for the hydrofoil on 5 Deck G area.  Sat in the stern compartment for the fascinating ride up the Saigon River to Ho Chi Mihn City, from whence we proceeded by bus northward to see rice paper being “cooked” then on to picnic lunch at the Ku Chie Tunnels. 

We returned to the ship near seven o’clock by Hydrofoil.  Dashed to dinner in the Lido where I chatted with Stanley and Nelte about WWII in which they both served, and Vietnam pros and cons.  Sat with the Lees for well over an hour waiting for the dances and instrumental music by a local Vietnamese group.  Hand flute, special marimba-type percussion instrument.  Fan dance, pointed hand dance etc.  Very graceful . Bed by eleven.

Wednesday, 12 March – Vung Tau, Vietnam

This was a somewhat different day than I had planned early this morning.  After having breakfast with the Lees, I tried the weather on deck and decided it was too hot, and I wouldn’t be going to Vung Tau.  I found a sofa in the Queens Room for an isolated reading session, then a similar spot in Yacht Club, then upon wandering a bit, happened upon Nelte and Stanley, who were talking with Madeline tucked in her habitual spot outside Yacht Club.  We joshed around,  and were introduced to Stanley’s friend from Japan.  These two men acted like flirting teenagers!  I then tried Boat Deck, Port Side, which was windy and quite comfortable.  Velocity must have been up to 30K if not more and increasing.  The boats really battled the waves as they bucked this wind toward shore.  At lunch, with Madeline and later Rod and Betty and Gemma, we learned the boats won’t be taking any further passengers ashore.  Rod confirmed the rough ride he had coming back.  I returned to Boat Deck to finish Christopher Lee’s “8 Bells and Top Masts”.  The wind continued to increase and white caps grew as well.  The boats bounced more each trip.  Quit the deck at 3:45.

Had cabin time till dinner at 6:15.  Meanwhile, several announcements were made for passengers to return Passports before we could up anchor and turn around.  We were off late because of this delay.  Duggie Brown presented his usual humor show.  Smooth sailing – slight roll.  Clocks ahead one hour.

Thursday, 13 March – At Sea.

Early immigration was called off, but I was there at Queens Room, not having received the notice early enough.  Ate breakfast with the Lees, then at 9 had my hair cut by Carol from Wales in Steiners. 

Shared tramp steamer information with Eric, turned in my book, then checked the shops and chatted with Diane S. in the Board Room.  Attended Norma Joseph’s last lecture on Singapore.  Too bad we won’t be there longer.  Captain Warwick bade us farewell after his final noon report.  Lat. 05º38’N;  Long.106º54’ E, 58nautical miles west of Sacata – Compass 183º.  20K speed, 322 nautical miles since Vung Tau – 347 to go.  Wind Force 6, 22K  Temp. 31ºC – 88ºF.

Lunch at my table in Mauretania – Capuccino bread pudding.  I then spent a couple of hours on Starboard Boat Deck, reading until the sun caught up with my legs in hot but comfortable wind – cooling weather.  Collected my Passport on the way downward after buying a brocade evening bag.  Movie:  “Anna and the King” with Jodi Foster.  Attended the Select Traveler cocktail party in QR before the movie.  Met new people there.

Friday, 14 March – Singapore.

I was awake very early, probably prompted by the watertight door closing, because when I peeked out, it was already in place about 4 AM!  Slept a bit more between checks on the bow picture, but by seven o’clock I was getting ready to meet at Yacht Club at 8:15.  We were docked by 7:30 anyway.  The Select Traveler tour was a good one: 1. Bum boats on the Singapore River, 2.Tea ceremony, 3.  Trishaw ride to Raffles through Little India, where we visited a Hindu Temple and other sights.  4.  China Town.

Back to the ship by 3:30 to prep for the World Cruise dinner.  I wore my new Diane Fries dress!  Busses to the Singapore Millenia Ritz-Carlton Hotel.  Marble curving staircase over black water fountain, cocktails with dancing entertainment, table 15.  Captain Warwick spoke for the last time as Captain of the “Queen Elizabeth 2.”  He goes on to “Queen Mary 2” now – in France.  The President of Cunard,  Pam Conover, spoke.  As we went through the receiving line I shook and held Capt. Warwick’s hand and said:  “Hello, and Farewell” He graciously responded. Danced with Terry Waite.  Sat with Tony and Lorraine plus the Bishops and Yo Yo.  Live band.  Back to “Mummy” near ten o’clock.  Turned in my Passport at the gangway.  The women had been given small orchid corsages, and the men, red roses. Rod came up to me and agreed in disappointment about the occasion.  Others expressed it later.  Paul Wright is now Captain, but will go to QM2 when she is finished. 

The Queen Mary telescope, which has resided on the Chart table on QE2 till now, was presented to Captain Warwick to be placed on the Bridge of “Queen Mary 2.”  It has been appropriately inscribed.  When Paul Wright goes to QM2, QE2 Staff Captain will become master, Ian McNaught.

Being awakened near 0200 by an officer’s two-way radio conversation with the Bridge about one (1) outstanding Passport counts in with this day’s happenings.  The ship was about to cast off but couldn’t leave till this matter was cleared up.  The watertight door had already been closed.  I returned to sleep and the next thing I knew we were well under way.

Saturday, 15 March – Malacca Strait.

When I awoke just before seven o’clock it was still quite dark and dawn came while I was dressing.  The watertight doors were still closed and only opened near 0800.  We are passing along the Strait of Malacca with Malaysia to Starboard and Sumatra to Port, plus various little islands on both sides.  We are in one of the busiest sea lanes of the world and are overtaking numerous ships, including a relatively small passenger ship.  By noon we were past Kuala Lumpur. 

Captain Wright greeted us at noon after the whistle, then turned to the Officer of the Watch to give particulars: Lat. 02º26’ N; Long. 101º5’E (between Sumatra and Malaysia.)  Compass 297º  Speed 23.5K, 1427 nautical miles to go to Colombo.  Temp. 38ºC, 88ºF.  Wind: Force 2 – 4K.  Over the deck, 20K with slight seas and nearly no swell.

I sat under boat 7 for about 2 hours before the sun drove me out.  Chatted in Board Room with Terry, Valerie Bennett. and Valerie from Wirral, Woods I think.  We discussed Jean Lewis’ whereabouts.  Don’t know.  Lunch with Vernon and Perle and Rosemarie joined us.

Movie:  “The Rookie” then I found a deck chair on Starboard (7) and enjoyed the sea and read till nearly six o’clock when I walked via the bow observation deck to my cabin. I realized we have been passing freighters and tankers coming the opposite direction.  I think we must be near or in the Andaman Sea by now.

Had dinner alone in the Lido.  Show “The Three Divine Divas”  They were very good, and sang in good operatic voices.  I watched the long and distant parade of lighted ships on the horizon to Port as they headed South.  Clocks back an hour.

Sunday, 16 March – Bay of Bengal.

During the night when I awoke, I could see moonlight reflections on the water just ahead of us.  We are in doldrums and the lack of ripples on the water made this possible.  I could also see the occasional lights of approaching ships (on Channel 3).

After breakfast alone, and briefly with Stanley, Phyllis and Mary in the Lido, I staked out my deck chair under boat 9. I stayed there reading and soaking in the gentle forward breeze and sunny water scenes to the North from 0900 to 1214, when I went to attend the Explorer’s lecture. Lat. 06º22’N; Long. 93º10’E; 45 nautical miles southwest of Great Nicibar Is.  266º Rhumbline at 17K.  554 nautical miles since yesterday at 21.8K ;  885 nautical miles to go:  31ºC and 89ºF.  Wind NE Force 2 at 5K, doldrum weather.  Rain storm during lunch at Mauretania with Joan and John.  A lot of water poured from the scuppers down the stairs on Port upper deck to Lido deck.  Movie “All at Sea.”  The balcony was quite full.  Afterward I went with Terry to the Board Room for tea with a lady from London and Florida, originally from British Guiana.

There is some question as to whether or not we will go to Mombasa, since there is impending terrorism and our government has urged travelers to stay away as a precaution.  We should know definitely by Monday. 

Joan Zimmerman says the Protestant minister is forming a choir and will meet Monday at 9:30. 

I joined my tablemates in Mauretania.  Conversation covered  1. QE2 morgue, 2. David’s marriage from hell and 3. metric versus “Imperial” measures.  The entertainment in the Grand Lounge was great; excerpts from opera by Randazzo Opera at Sea a link to NYC opera.  When it was over, I walked Boat Deck to see the ships to Starboard, and I think I finally located the Southern Cross.  Clocks back an hour again.

Monday, 17 March, St. Patrick’s Day – Bay of Bengal

This has been a very different day for me.  First, when I emerged from my cabin for 8 o’clock, I made contact in the Lido with two of Fannie Cole’s friends, Clara Talbert and Anne Perdue (cabin 4112).  They embarked at Honk Kong and will leave in Cape Town.  At 9:30 I attended the Chaplain’s Hour where Mr. Bernard Prince, Rev. Hans Uittenbosch and Rabbi Leonard Cutler held forth.  After that a group of us formed a choir and I was roped into accompanying on the piano.  Hymns were selected and we eventually met in the Crystal Bar for the first practice.  We wanted to use the Theatre, but the opera group was there rehearsing.

I dashed into lunch as two o’clock approached, managing to eat at my table with Virginia, Michael, Kathy and another lady.  Phyllis corralled me to type up more of her journal, so I did it in her cabin on Phil Hays’ computer while he stayed on hand lying on the floor.

Back at noon Captain Wright informed us the stop at Mombasa is definitely cancelled because of the terrorism threat, but no alternative has, as yet, been decided.

Lat. 5º47’N; Long. 84º15.3’E. 155 nautical miles off Sri Lanka:  Compass 266º rhumbline, 20K; 529 nautical miles since noon yesterday, 1254 from Singapore at 21.6K – 356 nautical miles to go.  27ºC; 81ºF.  Rain.  Wind SbE, Force 5 (17K) over deck 30K. Moderate sea and moderate swell.

I cancelled my Cape Town tour because of Peter Garland’s tour, which will ask for a charity donation.  ($100) for the tour. 

Everyone was at my table this evening and we had good conversation all around.  It being St. Patrick’s Day, the menu included liquor flavored desserts and black sausage, all of which I avoided.  The lamb was great with mint jelly!  On the way out of the dining room, Joan and John waylaid me to see my Diane Fries dress.  I went to the Lido on a wander via Boat Deck and stopped to chat with the Bishops.  Had chocolate cake too!  Eventually, I headed for the show and since the Lees weren’t there, I sat on the front, right side and was able to see Susan the cellist and Valerie on piano plus Con and Yuri Mavridis as they performed with operatic voices and accompaniment.  Excellent all around.  They are Australian and Con has sung with Joan Sutherland in Sydney Opera.

I went again to Boat Deck to hang over the railing and catch the breeze.  Upon returning to my cabin, I found a very nice garment bag from Cunard with the 2003 logo on it.

Tuesday, 18 March – Colombo, Sri Lanka

We eased into the “shallow” harbor to the close docking area as dawn was rising, and landed starboard side.  When I emerged from 5 Deck, C stairway, the familiar sad elephant with gold robe was standing in greeting to us.  I boarded my bus (4) for the tour of Colombo.  It took a long time to leave the dock areas and reach the city streets, and during the tour we saw temples, Hindu and Buddhist, a museum and a Dutch house museum, numerous market streets, holidaymaker people, closed shops.  Etc.  We were taken to a hotel for refreshments by the sea, where we saw many dark-skinned Indian types enjoying the seaside.  Back to the ship around one o’clock, where I checked out the stalls by the dock.  I bought Ceylon tea packages in woven basket boxes.

I tried the movie, but walked out to visit in the Board Room with the Bishops.  Spent several hours in the cabin, eventually falling asleep, only to awake at 6:30 when Captain Wright announced the tentative itinerary plans.  We will add a day in Mahe, a day in Mauritius and a visit to Réunion, plus a day extra at Cape Town.  I hastily dressed and managed to eat at my table with the others.

After dinner I went out to watch our departure, but since two busses hadn’t yet returned, we had to wait over an hour for them.  As soon as the people were on board, the lines were laboriously cast off. (it seemed one eye splice was stuck).  We were pulled away by the stern tug, and bow thruster on starboard, till we could slowly back down to position for going forward out the channel with the green lighthouse to port and red tower to starboard.  Along south we could see the nearly bell-shaped Hindu temple by the harbor.  When the pilot was dropped to the pilot boat, I headed inside via the Lido and back to my cabin. Clocks back an hour again!

Wednesday, 19 March – Indian Ocean

I joined my table friends for breakfast, then headed for the Theatre to ascertain what the Rev. had in mind.  Not for me! –  Gave my money to Peter Garland and chatted a while with the Lees.  Attended the lecture on slavery, then sat on Boat Deck till the noon report:

Lat. 03º26.8’N; Long. 75ºE 140 nautical miles East of Mali:  229º rhumbline at 21.5K; 317nautical miles from Colombo – 21K – 1374 to go to Seychelles 32ºC; 90ºF.  Wind SE Force 3 (9K) 30K over deck, slight seas – low swell.  After this a strong line squall came in from forward quarter, eventually pouring down rain.  I had already retreated to the Board Room.  Saw Donna and read the Colombo newspapers.  The Captain announced the revised itinerary.

Revised Itinerary:    Mar. 31 – At sea, March 22-23, Seychelles  Apr. 1-3 – Cape Town,  March 24 – At sea  25 – Réunion  26 – Mauritius  27-28 – At sea  29-30 – Durban

We had choir practice (hymn 308) in the Theatre, then I went to lunch and chatted with Laura from Oakland.  She is sharing with a gent (2 for 1) and got an upgrade from Caronia to Princess Grill.  Hmmmm!

Tried the movie, but walked out.  Earlier I bought another skirt and shirt (blue).  Spent most of the afternoon in my cabin.  Formal dinner – then the show with the Lees.  Back to the cabin.  Australian “Doc” comedian. Clocks back again!

Thursday, 20 March – Indian Ocean, Equator Crossing, again.

I awoke very early and watched early dawn.  While watching CNN I first learned of the invasion of Iraq and the start of a potentially interminable war.  Presently we are one hour ahead of Iraq!

I emerged for breakfast with the Lees, then spent an hour and a half on Boat Deck on Starboard, eventually adjusting to the hot humid forward wind.  On my way to the ten o’clock lecture, I passed by the extremely long line at the Tour office, and dropped my tour request.  After the lecture on Seychelles, I chatted with Terry, Marion, Billy and Perle while drinking my fruit punch.  A check at the tour office confirmed I do have my requested tour.  While there, the mermaids and pirates passed by on their way to the Equator pranks.  We crossed the line just before noon.

Lat. 0ºS; Long. 60º3’E.  280 nautical miles west of Maldives – 254º rum line at 20K.  518 nautical miles in 24 hours at 20K.  835 nautical miles from Colombo at 20.7K average.  856 nautical miles to go – Temp. 32ºC – 90ºF.  Wind N, Force 3 (7K) over deck 20K.  Slight seas, moderate swell.

Choir rehearsal in the Theatre with Rev. Hans Uittenbosch.  When asked how to reach the high notes, I was able to help – as railroaded director!  Lunch at my table with Phil and later Phyllis, who is back in good health.  Tapiocca pudding in Lido with Stanley, Margaret and Klaus.  Having no direction for the afternoon, I spent some time in the Library looking up ships, then back to my cabin.  I had forgotten to watch the charity tug of war.

The first time since New York City, there was no key lime pie.  I miss Alex!

Had dinner in the Lido where Marion joined me.  I finished just in time to get a good seat in the third row next to Valerie Bennett for the Divine Divas concert.  These three sopranos are all most accomplished and operatic, but they are also versatile in the different styles.  Before heading downward, I spent some time at the Boat Deck rail looking at the moon and its light on the water.  Again I spotted the Southern Cross.  Yo Yo and Tim were in sports clothes.

Friday, 21 March.

Breakfast at my table with Rosemary, Perle, Virginia, Mike and Vernon.  Then I joined the Lees to read the Cheevers log.  Showed Margaret and Maria my earring case and we agreed this pattern would be easy to make, and it will be presented to the sewing circle.  Attended the lecture on scurvy, then met Virginia and Maria in the Board Room as we discussed lots of topics.  Eventually, Virginia and I had lunch in the Lido and were joined by Australian Valerie and a gent from Lake Constanz.  Virginia and I spent the entire afternoon in her cabin, and the Queen’s Room, ending up in my cabin talking about her freighter travels in the 60s. 

At the stitching group, all agreed to pursue that earring case idea.  Back to my cabin by five o’clock, happy to be alone!

Noon Report:  Lat. 02º12.1S; Long. 60º24.2E.  300 nautical miles East of the Seychelles.  Compass 254º rum line at 20K.  Since yesterday, 483 nautical miles; average 20.1K speed.  89ºF, 32ºC – Wind: NE at Force 3 (8K), 20K over the deck.  Slight sea and low swell.  Rain off and on with sun later. 

Lido dinner – Black tie show – moon and stars.