Saturday, 22 of June of 2024

2007 World Cruise – Part 5

Queen Elizabeth 2 World Cruise 2007

Yokohama, Japan – Durban, South Africa

 Tuesday, 6 March – Yokohama, Japan – 35˚ 27.1′ N x 139˚ 32.9′ E

The ship rolled a lot last night and a little past one o’clock, during a most pronounced sideways lurch, the water tray slid off the bureau and a glass shattered.  I cleaned it up then, and couldn’t get back to sleep for a long time.  At least I awoke in time to grab a muffin and report to the Theatre by seven-fifteen and was on my way well before eight.  Our bus took us across numerous bridges, along freeways to three major stops.  Maji Temple Shinto Shrine, Edo Castle and most wonderful Japanese lunch prepared at our table, then the Akasuka Temple and shopping stalls.  We were back by three-thirty, and fairly promptly the ship was pulled away from the dock, turned around and headed out of the harbor under the beautiful new suspension bridge.  I fell asleep.

I ate in the Lido on my own, then joined the Lees and company for a nice chat about the lurch, damage etc., then stayed for the fine performance of the pianist from Shanghai, Tiar Jiang.

The ship is passing through the Inner Sea, along lit up shoreline.  However, around ten o’clock, when I turned on the channel 3, there appears to be a strong wind on starboard beam and we get bashed by the occasional wave.  She is also listing noticeably to port and my closet door wants to stay open.  Water and spray occasionally washes up over and along the bow to the Bridge windows. 

Without the A/C going, I actually woke up cool enough to want the duvet over me.  Now, that’s a welcome change!

A leak of some sort developed under the Lees’ shower and poured into the alleyway.  Eric said it is because of the starboard list we’ve been having.  I suspect it was at the roll we had last night.  Tokyo Bay.

Wednesday, 7 March – Osaka – Osaka Bay.

We were docked near nine o’clock but it was ten before the ship was cleared.  Meanwhile the tour people piled up so much they had to tell people to go to the Grand Lounge when the Theatre filled up!  I decided to take the Osaka tour at the last minute and was on bus 18, able to sit alone in the back row.  We saw the Shitennoji Buddhist Temple (quite extensive), and the Osaka Castle; the latter was way up a long road and granite way to the top of a hill.  The views were spectacular over the city and harbors.  We returned to the ship just before three o’clock and the restaurants had been kept open for us.

The Osaka amusement center is right next to our dock, complete with its huge Ferris wheel.  Our bow faces the suspension bridge.  There was a welcome ceremony in Queen’s Room at eleven, but I had chosen the tour instead.

After a quick lunch, I went to the complex next door and wandered around trying to find something to spend my last 100 yen, but there was nothing of interest to me.

Dinner was with Carolee and Bob as the evening lights came on, including the slowly turning Ferris wheel, which I photographed before heading down to the cabin to watch “Pride and Prejudice.”  We are due to leave at eleven.

Imagine my surprise, when just as I was drying myself off from my shower, the alarm bell went off just forward of my forward wall.  I thought it prudent to dress and check it out, and just then an officer passing by explained they were closing the water-tight doors on Six Deck and the Five Deck bells went off.

I think we backed a lot, then proceeded out of the complex harbor toward a bank of flashing lights and through a gap in lights to more distant lights. 

 Thursday, 8 March – Yellow Sea

After breakfast on my own in the Lido, I sat with Sheila from Toronto for a long chat till nearly time for Richard Hayman’s talk on Shanghai, followed by Judy Cornwell’s talk on “Surviving ‘Keeping Up Appearances.'”  Lunch ensued with Celia from Oxford and Wales and eventually Paula joined us.  I spent the afternoon with the Lees in Queen’s Room, then with Paula we talked till teatime.  I am now knitting tea cozies.

Noon Report:  34˚8’N x 133˚1’E – into the China Sea.  Speed: 16 knots.  Course: 233˚ True. Temp.: 54˚F.  Wind: Northwest at Force 5 – 25 knots over the decks.

Since Paula and I get along so well, and since she most always eats in the Lido, I decided to join her for the whole meal.  She has had jobs in America in the early sixties, including Jordan Marsh in Boston so she knew about Cape Cod.  By nine o’clock we parted and I headed to my cabin.  Clocks back one hour.

Friday, 9 March – Yellow Sea

Breakfast again with Marilyn, Nancy, Leeann and the Brit friends.  I attended Gail Seymour’s tour lecture, then found the Lees some seats on starboard side of the Grand Lounge away from the smokers and knitted all while the cooking demonstration was going on. 

The Yellow Sea is shallow and actually has a yellow-green look, and also there are lots of little fishing boats and lobster pot buoys, through which QE2 plows at the rate of 16 knots.  Jenny and Paula joined me for lunch, and afterwards we attended the RADA performance of Shakespeare excerpts.  The next thing for me to do was simply return to the cabin for a television session and knitting.  Dinner in the Mauretania was with my tablemates and then I enjoyed the piano concert by Tian Jiang – who is most virtuoso; “whizbang” with real class! 

We are slated to dock at 2:30 AM because of high tide, which the ship needs.  The noon report was: 31˚6’N x 124˚E:  Speed: 16 knots (18 miles an hour)  Slight seas and negligible swell.

 Saturday, 10 March – Shanghai. 31˚ 25’N x 121˚ 38.8 E

I awoke to a foggy, misty day, so there wasn’t much point in videoing the harbor.  However, I was intrigued to see numerous containers dumped into a backwater by the ship, pretty much in a long line by a tugboat dock!

I reported for my Shanghai tour and we were off to see the TV Tower, the Bund, The Children’s Palace (a school for the arts, set in a former European style mansion).   A little girl in blue danced with me!  A walk through Chinatown and Yuen Gardens, lunch at an old Cathay Building – Buddhist Temple, walk by the river and back to the ship way down at the cargo port.  We were back by five o’clock.

After dinner in the Maury, I joined Janet, Marguerite and Jeri for dessert and a long chatting.  I talked with Eric a long while by the Library, then sat with two Brit ladies for the Acrobat show.  Wow!  “AIFU”

 Sunday, 11 March

We left at 12:30 last night.  I am writing this with the fake Mont Blanc pen acquired yesterday on our bus tour!  As usual I was sitting way in the rear of the coach, and a couple sitting with me acquired a handful of pens, watches and other trinkets from vendors who tossed the stuff through the window for a at twenty dollar bill (I think), and with so many pens in his lap, the man gave me two!

I had breakfast late with Jenny and then attended Richard Hayman’s talk on Hong Kong – followed by my delivery of the first tea cozy.  I changed money for Hong Kong dollars and allotted tips for my stewards and Sylvia.  David leaves for vacation in Hong Kong when Omar is due to return.

Course: 209˚  Position: 28˚12.6N x 122˚11′ E.

I had lunch with the Berlin gent, Albert, and we discussed the special high -speed train in Shanghai to the airport.  He knows all the engineering.  We also got deep into digital cameras.  I then sought out Eric and Margaret, having decided not to participate in the Talent Show.  Paula came along and I videoed the beautiful Viennese Tea display and shared the festivities with her in Queen’s Room with an Aussie couple.  Paula and I then went to dinner together.

 Monday, 12 March – Hong Kong – 22˚ 17.7 N x 114˚ 10′ E

The foggy weather greatly hampered the view of Hong Kong as we slowly wound our way past Stanley Peninsula and through the anchored ships, barges, dredges and cranes and past the high-rise buildings along the way.  We were docked by 11:30 AM, so I had lunch with Celia, Jenny and Claude (French woman) before heading out along Salisbury Road and Nathan Road.  I searched for a hairdresser, and had a hair cut.  I also visited the Diane Fries shop, bought more DV cassettes and returned to the ship for tea.

After dinner alone at my table, I headed for Boat Deck to watch the fantastic Laser Show on the buildings across the harbor at eight o’clock.  “Pisces” went out and “Wasa Queen” came in.  I also made a couple of phone calls back to the States, and was in bed by eleven o’clock.

Omar is back!  David is gone home to Sri Lanka!

 Tuesday, 13 March, Hong Kong

I shared breakfast with May, who unknowingly tempted me to have crisp bacon, eggs and tomato when she expressed alacrity for what she had before her! Yum!  After a fiasco trying to coordinate with Gisele, I set out on my own to retrieve my Gore-Tex jacket from the hairdresser, where I left it yesterday by mistake.  I am ever so glad I noticed it was missing, and for the fact that this past overnight was one of the added nights because of having to skip several ports.

I had called Geoff and left a message with Chris.  G. wants ethnic instruments still and Michelle wants teas from England.  Fortunately I am in a great place to purchase these things.

On my way to the hairdresser I overshot, and took a wrong road, thus quite happily I came across a shoe store and bought Clarke’s sandals.  I continued to browse till near noon when I returned to the ship for lunch in the Caronia Restaurant with the Garringers.  After lunch I spent the rest of the day on deck watching the harbor activities till five o’clock.  It became cloudy and mist most of the day.  Dinner alone- Lillian’s Birthday cake was shared with us diners in Omar’s section.  I returned to Boat Deck for the evening and sat with Linda and Paula till our departure at eleven o’clock.  A tug turned the ship around by causing it to pivot and we headed back out the way we came, dodging the numerous anchor lights of ships moored by the side of the channel.  Farewell you most spectacular port of all time!

 Wednesday, 14 March

I slept till nine o’clock after early rising as usual!  I chatted with Jean B. at the Lido, then spent the next two hours on deck while crew drills went on around us all.  Richard Hayman’s lecture on Vietnam was next and he told us about the places we will visit.

Noon Report:  19˚41’N x 112˚28’E.  Speed: 17.6 knots, Wind: Force 4 – Course: 230˚, slight seas, short easterly swell.

I wasted most of the afternoon back in the cabin, sleeping.  I did, however, see the movie “Prairie Home Companion,” followed by dinner with the Bishops in the Lido.  Clocks back one hour.

A nice commemorative pen gift was on my bed, along with notification of a $15 charge for the Vietnam Visa.

 Thursday, 15 March – Chan May, Vietnam. 16k 20′ N x 108˚ 1′ E

Since my tour to Hue was due to leave at 7:45, I gauged my muffin collection and deck check to coincide with reporting to the Theatre.  The fishing boats are long and narrow and one boat had about 6 coracles in tow.  My tour to Hue took us through rice paddies with water buffalo, aqua-culture pans, over a mountain pass with scary passing maneuvers, then gradual urban development with conical-hated people on motorbikes, bikes and so on, everywhere by their little stalls with the occasional three-storey dwellings looking posh in the midst of shabby tin and tarp-roofed stalls.  The main sights were the Imperial Citadel (2804-1835), Thien Mu Pagoda (1601), Tu Doc Royal Tombs and lunch in between at a nice hotel on the Perfume River.

We were back at the ship before five o’clock, most exhausted by the heat and humidity.  I bought a large yellow fan with a beautiful scene of the long bridge over the perfume river in Hue.

Janet and I dined together while we were leaving the harbor.  We shared one entrée plus potatoes.  It worked well!  We have ordered coconut shrimp for tomorrow!  When I went to chat with the Lees, Valerie Huljich was there, having come on at Hong Kong and she will leave in Singapore.  We got caught up quickly!  We saw the Benny Hill Comedian, Lenny Windsor.  The three doggies sold yesterday at the charity table.  Now I will try knitting pigs in pink!

 Friday, 16 March – South China Sea

I was a bit lazy and only emerged for breakfast near nine o’clock and sat with Jenny while enjoying my bacon and eggs.  I put my second tea cozy on the teapot, which attracted favorable comments from those around me.

Richard Hayman’s talk on Thailand was followed by brief chats with the Lees, then I chose a new book called the Plimsoll Sensation, which is brand new and I am the first to check it out.  This deals with the multi-year struggle to get regulations limiting the amount a ship could be loaded with goods.

Paula, Claude and I enjoyed lunch together and I had three crèmes caramels.  Saw the movie,  “The Departed.”  A horrible blood bath!

Noon Report:  11˚34’Nx 109˚9’E at speed of 20.5 knots.  Wind southwest at Force 3, rendering 25 knots over the decks.

At dinner, Janet and I had our specially ordered coconut shrimp, and the section manager added a spicy dip of honey and chili powder!  Not wanting to see the acrobat show again, I returned to the cabin early, missing the gala midnight buffet. 

The weather continues sultry with calm seas.  Boring!

Saturday, 17 March – St. Patrick’s Day.

So near to the Equator, in the Horse Latitudes at 9˚ or less, with no wind (only our forward motion) convinced me to stay inside all day.  I attended R. Hayman’s last lecture on Singapore and the talk on Benny Hill by Lenny Windsor and the afternoon movie “Flags of Our Fathers.”   In between I had breakfast with Marilyn and friends, and then lunch with Jenny by the great mural and Paula, having found me there, we retreated to the Crystal Bar to chat or better still, to bare our life’s experiences. 

I need to exchange my Cochin ticket so will do it at dinnertime.  St. Pat’s Day requires all to wear green, and a Leprechaun was seen occasionally!.  Actually I had dinner on my own and eventually moved over to visit Marguerite and Jeri in the Lido.  I waited too long in Queen’s Room for the entertainment so left, but managed to see the three Irish dancers practicing their steps.  It was very pleasant on deck during the evening.

Sunday, 18 March – Leam Chabang, Thailand – 13˚ 42’N x 100˚ 53.7 E.

Today was very hot and humid, so I decided to stay on board with the exception of a brief visit to the stalls inside the Terminal, where I bought a nice cotton wrap-around skirt.  I read my book in the Yacht Club, which always seems to be the coolest spot on the ship with the exception of the Theatre Balcony.  I chatted with Celia and Jenny in the Board Room and ate lunch in the Caronia with them and attended the movie “Inside Man.”  Teatime in the Queen’s Room rendered me with two delightful new acquaintances.  However, I retreated to the cabin, which is quite warmer than usual.

Dinner in the Lido was with Elaine and David, then Janet who had a good visit to the orphanage told us about it.  The local show consisted of lovely Thai dancing and I sat in the balcony with Frank.  Hot, hot, hot!

Monday, 19 March – Bangkok, Thailand.

I reported at seven o’clock for the bus tour to see the “off the beaten path sites” consisting of the Wooden Palace, cuisine demonstration and lunch, plus the Jim Thompson 6 Teak houses put together.  These were his home and he made them a museum.  The temperature wasn’t as hot as yesterday.  We also had a two-hour ride to the city and we reached the ship by five o’clock.

I had dinner in the Lido with Valerie and Bill Noonan.  The ship was two hours late leaving and when she did move, she backed up about a kilometer along a deep channel with cargo docks.  Then the tug in the stern – pulling her starboard, backed off and we slowly went forward.  The pilot was let off soon after, and as QE2 gathered speed the “gunboat” to starboard sped up also as we gradually turned about 90˚ to Port.  The forward wind grew to a minor gale, and I eventually went inside.  Clocks put forward one hour.

 Tuesday, 20 March.

I awoke late and emerged after nine o’clock, joining Jeri.  We both then joined the travel lecture on Indian ports and tours.  I eventually caught up with the Lees, who were busy consoling Betty (from our neighboring table with Martha and Mary), who was flooded out last night on 4 Deck.  That was the Priority One I heard.)  Lillian escorted her to John Duffy, who was most apologetic and appalled.  We trust things will be made right.

Valerie Huljich and I talked in the Yacht Club and ate together in the Lido, then I spent a long time with Eric and Margaret and read them the account of the Bridlington Gale in 1871 from the Plimsol Sensation book.  The movie was “Little Miss Sunshine.”

Noon Report:  7˚N x 103˚E:  Rhumb line 156˚: calm and no swell.  We had a thunderstorm in the afternoon.  Our speed: 26.6 knots.

I had collected my Passport by G stairway with everyone else after lunch.  We must have them for Singapore.  Dinner was in the Lido with the usual women, then I listened to the Cantabile quartet from England.  They are a very versatile group!  They sang a marvelous Psalm chant with a detailed weather report!  I loved every note and word, especially because it reminded me of my numerous times singing with The Royal School of Church Music in Salisbury Cathedral during this period.

Wednesday, 21 March – Singapore – 01˚17’N x 103˚45.7′ E.

We are docked as usual way out on distant quays!  I took the shuttle bus into town twice, #1 to buy my Sheseido cream from Tang’s, and after lunch, to video some of the changes in growth.  I walked under Orchard Road via intricate subways to Borders and other stores.  Rain poured down on the way back!

We had to show our Passports going and returning.  Lunch was with Gwendolyn in the Caronia Restaurant.  Dinner was in Mauretania with Janet.  We now have new tablemates from Australia, Diane and Golda.  We feel a bit at a loss, because they seem incompatible with us.  I went to the Lido with hopes of relief – with Bill Noonan, Geri, Marguerite and Valerie.  I watched ships being loaded, plus the very slow turn around and docking.  I was back in the cabin by ten o’clock.  We will leave an hour late because the oil bunkering started late.

Through the night I could see ship lights ahead of us, and the occasional light beacon blinking as we passed through the Straits of Malacca, the busiest waterway in the World (so they say).  Lightning persisted for a long time as well, so my cabin lit up a lot.  I have an appointment to eat with Paula for lunch in the Maury tomorrow.

Thursday, 22 March – Bay of Bengal.

I awoke early, probably because lightning flashed frequently for a long time.  I had breakfast in the Lido looking out to starboard as we passed a continuing array of tankers and cargo ships.  This continues all day since we are in very busy shipping lanes across the Indian Ocean.  I attended the two lectures, Gems, and how busy and potential a hot spot is the Indian Ocean.

Eric and Margaret were in the Grand Lounge, so I chatted and observed more ships from there.  The pink knitted pigs have embroidered snouts and eyes plus eyelashes, and look most charming, thanks to Margaret!  I went from there to meet Paul Bell for lunch, during which we related our Bangkok adventures, especially her experience at the luxurious Peninsula Hotel.  I had urged her to take this tour, because that marvelous hotel was where I stayed with the Select Traveler tour a year or two ago.  Such luxury!

Noon Report:  3˚42Nx 100˚ 4′ E.  Speed: 24.6 knots.  Course: Rhumb line 306˚ with light west northwest winds 35-40 knots over the decks.  We are still in the Malacca Strait.

Saw the movie, “Dream Girls,” then knitted till time for dinner at the Lido with Faith and Wendell Bishop.  Showtime presented Jennifer Fair, soprano from Dayton, Ohio and Kentucky.  She was very good.

I spent time on deck in clearing weather, counting up to ten boats or ships lit up with one running masthead light.  The moon is visible straight ahead and lights our path!  Bill Noonan was up there so we chatted, including the gripe about smokers in the Pub.  Valerie likes sing-alongs there.  Clocks back one hour.

Friday, 23 March.

I was awake by six o’clock new time and lingered, knitting until about nine.  I had my banana and nuts in the cabin.  I talked with the Lees and read portions of Plimsoll to them till time for the lecture on Afghanistan.  Terry Waite, Molly, Betty and Jim were in the Mauretania celebrating Betty’s birthday, so I joined them.

Before and after lunch I enjoyed deck time in beautiful, clear and delightfully comfortable low humid weather, then saw the movie “All the King’s Men.”

Noon Report:  6˚17′ N x 90˚ 34′ E.  Speed: 24.9 knots.  Rhumb Line 269˚ true.  Negligible swell and calm.  Wind speed over the decks, 21 knots.

I knitted till dinnertime, which Janet skipped,  so I had the 2 Aussies!  Brief visit to Geri and Marguerite in the Lido, then I sat a long time waiting for the Huber Marionettes.

The waxing crescent moon is to starboard while we cross her lighted path in the water.  Pleasant; and as always, a very welcome sight.

Saturday, 24 March.

After my late shredded wheat, I went to Boat Deck under number 14 to spend the rest of the morning reading and enjoying the calm seas as we continued to head westerly.  The Noon Report found us at 5˚ 24′ N x 281˚ West.  Note:  The Officer of the Watch gave the West reading, whereas Captain Perkins gives the East readings of Longitude!  Our speed average is 25.5 knots.  Course: 269˚ Rhumb line True.  Calm seas and “negative” swells from southeast.  I don’t know what was meant by that, but that is what I heard!  Humidity was relatively low.

I had lunch with Pierette and daughter Louise from Victoria.  I then caught up with Paula and we spent the next hour with the Marionette puppeteer, who answered questions and demonstrated their manipulations.  It turns out Phillip Huber is a grad of Principia College, 1973, and when I heard that, I contacted him and we made arrangements to meet for dinner in the Lido.  I too am a Prin grad.  Paula and I continued to chat and had tea in the Lido.  She introduced me to Helen, whose family has a house in Brewster!

I spent some time in my cabin and went to meet Phillip Huber.  We chatted incessantly about the Principia experience and his career.  Since I missed the show, I spent a short time on deck.  The humidity has picked up and the crescent moon was at its zenith.  Oh yes, on my way to dinner the other Ben spotted me on the run and yelled out my name, which was very impressive.”  We chatted a bit.  He is aft on portside of 3 Deck. Clocks back one and a half hours.

QM2 had to skip Alexandria, according to Phillip, because he was supposed to meet it there, and was sent to us.

 Sunday, 25 March, Cochin, India – 9˚ 58′ N x 76˚ 16′ E

We are docked at a man-made island, away from old Cochin.  My tour took us in vans for ten people, south to the backwaters of Alappuzha for a lovely ride on a wooden and rattan houseboat.  This was in Kerela.  The term is ketuvallam and plies Kerala’s canals.  The scenery was simple as we passed rice patties and small spice plantations.  We had a nice Indian lunch at the Mirmari Resort on the way back, and we were back on the ship after three-thirty.  It was very hot and humid, so I tried to cool down in the Board Room with iced water and sprite and cookies, as a group of us chatted.  I am glad I will stay on board tomorrow!

As usual, I ate in the Lido with my friends, and was back in the cabin by nine o’clock.  Cochin is where the unique fishing nets with multiple booms are placed along the shores of the sea.  Kerela is a province or state, and the earliest India DNA has been isolated.  Brahmin ancient chants tell about it.

Monday, 26 March – Cochin day 2.

I had breakfast, fruit plate, grapefruit and toast, with Jenny and a Brit couple, then sought out the Lees in Yacht Club, where it is comfortably cool.  I had vowed not to set foot outside in the humid heat, and only managed to stay comfortable in the cool of Yacht Club till lunch time!

During lunch with Paula and two California women, we watched the shore workers in whites, tour buses, tour leaders etc, waiting to see us off.  The ship’s whistle hooted at least three sequence times during pull away, turnaround and forward out the channel.  We passed by low, reclaimed land that will be part of the port, and also the old Cochin point with a few hotels, a pretty white Spanish-looking church and the special Chinese fishing contraptions with nets.

After the tour lecture I saw the movie “Trust the Man” at three-thirty.  After dinner with my tablemates I ventured on deck to enjoy the warm winds in first quarter moonlight as we proceeded northward.  I stood on observation deck dead center, looking forward toward many little boat lights.

When I returned indoors, I joined my usual ladies in the Lido till nearly nine, when I returned to the cabin.  The Indian flag has a “wheel” in its middle.  Ashoka Wheel of law.

Tuesday, 27 March – Goa – 15˚ 24.2 N x 073˚ 48.5 E.

This port was added to our itinerary to compensate for other ports we had to skip because of swells too large for entry!  My tour today took up most of the day visiting a lot of Catholic churches in Old Goa, as well as a Hindu Temple.  I saw a lot of river traffic as the very rusty iron ore ships plied up river empty and down river full.  Also I saw several ship yards along the way as we skirted along the river shoreline.  New Goa or Panaji, was highly influenced by the Portuguese who were her in 1498 on.  Goa is a trading port larger than Cochin, but it was not readily apparent to me.  We were back by three o’clock.

I cooled off and knitted with television on until dinnertime.  Janet didn’t appear.  I then sat in the second row of Grand Lounge to see Phillip’s marionettes – an opera singer, violinist, a panda and scarecrow.  Jennifer Fair also sang this shared program.  Before quitting time I spent a moment or two in the warm breeze on deck.

Wednesday, 28 March.  Mumbai, India – 18˚ 55.9 N x 072˚ 50.6′ E.

With the exception of a short visit to the terminal and the little stands there (to buy 2 tablecloths and 2 silk scarves) I stayed on board keeping cool, reading, knitting, and attending the movie “Rumor Has It.”

Jean B, Nellie and I had breakfast together, then I talked a long time with Eric and Margaret plus Jean in the Yacht Club.  Also I chatted briefly with Richard Clay, Bill Greenwood’s friend.

Eventually I ventured off the ship for a look at the merchandise in the terminal stalls.  I don’t like to bargain.  One woman asked if I would get her a QE2 tote like mine.  Sorry!

Back on board, I had lunch in Caronia with Peter and Grania, then went to the movie.  Dinner at 255 minus Janet.  Birthday cake from the Minister’s Margaret.  I also chatted with Marguerite and Geri plus Rich in the Lido.  I was back in the cabin by 8:30 to knit, and watch “Calendar Girls.”  Looking forward to three days at sea! – Arabian Sea.

I had a Lido breakfast with Ted and Linda Bland, followed briefly by Gisele.  I then decided to sit in the Queen’s Room to knit while the art auction preparations were taking place.  The Queen’s Room is all decorated for the Raj Ball this evening.

I attended the two lectures on Bin Laden and the Spice Road, both of which were very interesting, especially the history of the trading of spices and silks far before Marco Polo!

I found the weather was quite pleasant at noon, so I sat under boat 14 for an hour knitting till lunchtime in Mauretania with Jenny by the mural.  I spent the rest of the afternoon in the cabin finishing up the next pink pig.  I’ll make more as long as the yearn lasts.

All four of us were at dinner for once!  They went to Martyn Moss’s cocktail party for singles, but I spent time with the Lees.  When I left them, I found Paula in the Lido, having left the party for a dessert.  We spent a fair amount of time talking till we parted for my cabin.  I walked by Queen’s Room where all the people were awaiting the start of the Raj Ball – in their lovely Saris.  I started another pink pig.  Clocks back one hour.

Friday, 30 March.

I had breakfast of poached eggs on port Mauretania with Nellie, Jean and Eileen, then sought out the Lees in the Grand Lounge where I delivered one more pig.  The ten o’clock lecture was on Pearls, then I sat again with the Lees, knitting while we heard the cooking lecture demonstration.

Noon Report:  7˚ 42′ N x 063˚ 46′ E, 610 nautical miles west of the Maldives.  Speed average: 23.8 knots.  Course: Rhumbline 216˚.  Flat seas and no swell.  We will cross the Equator between three and four o’clock tomorrow.  I delivered the pig to Marie’s charity table.

Paula and I spent the lunchtime in Mauretania by the mural talking animatedly with Paula, she talking mostly but it was fun!  Banana split.  The movie was “Stranger than Fiction.”  Before that I had a frozen yogurt cone.

Diane Hertlein and I sat in the Golden Lion Pub chatting well over an hour.  Lido dinner with the girls.  Hi to John Duffy – Cabin – knit. Bed by ten forty-five.

 Saturday, 31 March – Equator

We crossed the Equator at 1:50 p.m. at 00˚00′ x 58˚ 10.7′ E.  Now on South Latitude.  I missed the changeover because of the time used to show all those wretched charts!  Grr!

I awoke very early this morning and stayed up, finishing off two knitted pigs and reading till time for breakfast in Mauretania on portside with Nancy and the Brit couple/lovers!  I then delivered the pigs to Margaret and griped because my GPS won’t register due to lack of satellites!  At ten o’clock I attended the talk on Iraq, followed by a review of the Mariner explorations for the spice routes.

At noon I stayed on deck long enough for the report of our position and the Pollywog ceremony was in progress aft.  Diane Hertlein and I had lunch together in the Maury near the Maître D’s desk.

During the afternoon, I kept a short vigil in the cabin to see the Latitude switch from N to S, and the best I could do was see .1 N and after all the charts – then .15 S.  I then saw the movie “Casino Royal” which lasted till nearly 5.  I finally started sewing up and stuffing the last Cinderella doll before dinner with my tablemates.

After chatting with the Lees, I strolled on deck under the nearly full moon, then sought out Paula in the Lido.  We eventually went on deck and talked over two hours by the sports deck.  She has invited me to visit her in London some time.  I was back in the cabin after eleven.  Clocks back one half hour.

 Sunday, 1 April – Victoria, Mahe, Seychelles

April Fool!  QE2 is calmly pushing through calm waters BUT – the channel 3 view is of a sunny, ocean swell and oncoming waves plowing over the bow with spray flying up the deck to the Bridge.  I LOVE IT!  HA HA.  As a matter of fact we were already anchored!

I had breakfast with the Lees then found Paula in the Queen’s Room waiting for her tender number, so we chatted a while as I proceeded to sew Cinderella’s skirt on.  Martha Garringer came by. I made myself go to observation deck to video the island, then joined the Lees and Jean B for the rest of the morning.  Lido lunch – Yacht Club reading, doze,  and the movie,  “Black Dalia” – assembled Cinderella.  Dinner alone in the Maury.

Sail away – turn around, lights, full moon.  Again, a long chat on Boat Deck under the moon till ten thirty with Paula.

Monday, 2 April. – Indian Ocean.

I shared breakfast with Elaine and David, then Gisele.  I then moved to chat with Jane and Geri.  At ten o’clock I heard Arjani tell us of his conversion from Zoroasterism to Christianity at Chaplain’s Hour.  I followed this with the talk on Mauritius.

Noon Report:  11˚55.5′ S x 66˚ 32′ E.  Speed: 27.1 knots.  Course: 168˚ altered to avoid Typhoon (or T.S) Jaya, slated to cross Madagascar soon.  We are beginning to see the “short, sharp swells, as we head more southerly to avoid it.  I see white caps but little pitching so far.

I spent the afternoon under boat ten very comfortably reading as the blue waves and white caps went by.  Tea alone – cabin knitting till 7:15 when I attended Captain Perkins’ cocktail party in his quarters.  I met his wife Lucy and son, Lawrence.  That being over, I headed for the Lido and dessert.  The show presented a flutist.

Tuesday, 3 April – Port Louis, Mauritius.  20˚ 8′ S x 57˚ 26′ E.

We were already docked inside the neat and protected harbor facing the beautiful waterfront promenade and new shopping tourist buildings.  The backdrop is a lush green series of volcanic peaks forming a circular span reminiscent of a possible volcano caldera.  I had a light breakfast in the Lido before walking into town on my own.  I saw a Hindu temple across the road and kept on along the dual carriageway to the sugar mill, Astrolabe shopping area, along the promenade, past a museum to a statue of Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolan – 100th Anniversary monument.  More restaurants and shops were all along the promenade and then a hotel or two.  All most impressive and new!

I took a taxi back to the ship and later found I could have take a water taxi across the harbor to a dock right at the ship’s bow.  I cooled off in the cabin till Lido lunch, when Archie Cooper joined me.  I then found the Lees and chatted with Lillian and Marie till movie time. “The Guardian” – a very dramatic Coast Guard plot!

I spent some time leaning over the observation deck with Richard, talking ships.  We are delayed leaving because bunkering is running late.  We observed an entertaining goat chase unfolding below us on the dock.  The poor goat had gotten away and was scampering away from at least three men in pursuit. 

When we did leave after dark around seven thirty, the tugs pulled us away from the dock and about half way down the channel before we turned 180˚ right by the two small ships moored together in the middle of the harbor.  I ate with “the girls” then sat with Richard and Bill about an hour talking ships.  At nine-thirty I took a deck walk to admire the full moon and stars.  I think I spotted the Southern Cross.   Chocolate fudge cake before retiring!

 Wednesday, 4 April

I had breakfast with Martha and Beverly, then checked the deck possibilities, which proved to be sunny and humidly warm.  The “Driving the QE2” lecture by Paul Bryson and the lecture on South Africa, were outstanding and I took notes profusely!

Had lunch at Maury with Jenny and eventually Paula and I followed that with the movie “The Illusionist.”  When we left the Theatre, the Board Room was cordoned off for some reason.  We had tea with Anne and George from Colchester, then found Richard and Bill talking with Jack in the Queen’s Lounge.  I showed them the beached “Norway” photo.

Noon Report:  23˚ 17.5’S x 50˚38.7′ E.  Speed 26.9 knots.  Course: 238˚ Rhumb line – moderate seas and moderate easterly swell.  Wind 10 knots over the decks.

Janet was also at the Lido when I joined the queue, having eaten in the Maury with our mates.  We talked a long time, then I left and found the Bishops to whom I talked a long time.  Finally I went on deck to enjoy the mild, damp moonlight night and atmosphere.  Stars were brilliant and the wind was a gentle caress as we plowed across the moon’s path aft, making soft water sounds and producing bubbly foam.  Southern Cross?

I returned to my cabin at around nine o’clock and immediately set my new watch and clock back one hour.  I am busily finishing up the details on my last Cinderella doll.

 Thursday, 5 April

The day’s main event was two one-hour lectures on the history of South Africa with a Cunard booking pitch in between.  I had spotted Bill and Richard at breakfast so we chatted at length then and at lunch as well before settling in the Queens Room to view the DVD about Peter Knego’s trip to document and purchase stuff from the ship breakers at Alang, India.  Strangely, we can’t find the place in the big Atlas!

By the way I have delivered the four dolls to be auctioned and publicized for the charity.

Noon Report:  27˚28.5S x 39˚ 42’E.  Speed:  26.3 knots, average 25.3 knots.  Course: 253˚ Rhumb line; slight seas, low swell.  We are crossing the Mozambique Channel; that is between the island of Madagascar and Mozambique the country.

I spent a couple of hours in my cabin, emerging for dinner at six fifteen.  All four of us were there and then I briefly visited with the Lees and surrounding friends!  Eventually I found Paula in the Lido and we spent moon- time on deck!  Clocks back one hour.