Thursday, 25 of April of 2024

QE2 WC 2005 – New York, LA, Part 1

QUEEN ELIZABETH 2

WORLD CRUISE 2005

CABIN 3023

JANUARY 3 – APRIL 22, 2005

 Monday, 3 January – New York Harbor.

I flew to LaGuardia airport an hour before my original flight, because they had room on the earlier flight.  I arrived at the baggage claim area just as the Cunard hostess raised her Cunard sign almost before my eyes.  After a few more passengers gathered, we mounted our bus and were on the way to the ship.  I was given a group 4 ticket, checked in, waited about twenty minutes and was on board easily a little after two o’clock.  Peter Garland spotted me as I saw him, and we hugged – with a few accompanying quips!

My cabin, 3023, is in a small ‘”cul de sac” with three outside cabins and one other inside one, just before A stairway access, on Starboard.  I started settling in, and shortly the two suitcases arrived.  I immediately unpacked both, trying to fit everything into the double dresser and twin closets.  That having been accomplished, I read my greetings from the Cruise staff, and the program.

At about three o’clock I went to Yacht Club for the welcome cocktail party.  A very trim Elaine McKay greeted me along with Thomas and the new young Cruise Director, Martyn Moss.  I found Peter Garland again as well as Perle Coles then Eric and Margaret came to sit with us on the starboard raised section.  Next I had to attend the Boat drill at station A in the Mauretania Restaurant, followed by time on deck forward watching us back away from the Pier into the Hudson to face downstream with the outgoing current.

I eventually met Cornelia Müller and her friend Ann Haynes, who is a long time sea-faring woman working on ships for her whole career.  We chatted till we all froze then we parted.  I stopped in the Board Room to see Yoyo, and while there she called Wendell and Faith Bishop.  I also had a cup of tea as I watched us pass under the Verrazano Bridge.

I proceeded to my assigned table number 266 located on port side toward the forward side of the dining room, and I enjoyed my new tablemates, John from New York, Agnes and Betty from Toronto and a new dance host, Peter.  I had mushroom and garlic soup, and steak with tomato stuffed with peas and corn, beans and spinach.  I had an ice cream sundae as well!  I then went to joined Eric and Margaret Lee, but they informed me there would only be the late show, so we went to the Theatre Balcony to see the movie “Mona Lisa Smile.”  I thought it very good.  Carrying on our tradition from years back, we did our usual trip to the Lido for Horlicks, and I was in bed by eleven o’clock.

While watching us back away from the pier I struck up a lively conversation with a gal named Marguerite- all about ships, naturally!  I am sure we will meet again as she too is traveling alone – to Sydney.

 Tuesday, 4 January – At Sea.

The night seemed long on my hard bunk.  When I arose after seven o’clock I put up my Cunard scarf over my bed and then the World Map on the opposite wall over the second bed and television.  Ooh yes, I found a lovely flower array of anthurium, carnations, aster and tall, purple sprigs from David Hamilton, the Hotel Manager.  Also, a bottle of Dom Vincent wine awaited me, which I will give away.

When I emerged from my cabin I went to Five Deck to pay homage to cabin 5181, which was home for my 2003 World Cruise, then did the round walk on each ascending deck to 2 Deck then a part of 1 Deck to the Lido, where I passed nearly an hour with Ivan Pell, a dance Host from England, and eventually, Rod from two years ago.  We talked at length about the Indian Pacific train trip across Australia, which he has done.  He says I must get up early to see the camels and kangaroos in early light.  Another Brit Host named Jim joined us.  I then sat with Marguerite McLean, Suzanne and Sheila (Brit) and talked about QE2 and QM2.  We all love both ships.  By ten o’clock the sun had come out so I emerged aft to lovely balmy air and bright sunshine.  After making my way along by the tour office, Grand Lounge and by the Library I saw Joyce from 2003, who was also on that Tandem crossing (but we missed each other then). 

I returned to 3023 to collect the lighter jacket and “Bounty,” and I am now on Boat Deck under boat 4 behind the huge stanchion and davit.  The ocean is bright blue and ripply!  Boat Drill for Crew is taking place all along the deck.

After a while I decided to retreat inside to pursue the idea of lunch.  I found Eric and Margaret in their usual spot in the Lido so I joined them.  I told Eric about my GPS experiments.  Lillian, the Brit, joined us as well.  I had salad, tomato soup and creamed cauliflower, followed by lime pie!  When I left them I wandered back to the cabin to check the program and finding nothing to take my fancy, I gathered my 30 post cards, labeled them and went to Purser’s office to get the 2005 World Cruise stamp.  I stamped them all and wrote most of them while enjoying tea with Valerie Bennett, Molly and Fran Caldwell (Am.) in the Board Room.  We each received nice QE2 ballpoint pens so I used mine.

Just before four o’clock I made arrangements for the two QM2 voyages next year around the Horn.  Presently I am seated outside Yacht Club facing aft as the sun starts to set to the west.  On my way here I passed through Queens Room and spoke briefly with Doris McKeller and May.  I managed to pass up the teatime goodies.  Somewhere along the way I turned in my tour requests, and they have arrived already in my cabin.

I watched the sunset from Boat Deck where I had been reading.  I showered and arrived at the dinner table by six thirty-five.  Peter Eiderly and Betty were there. I wandered a bit and then headed for my cabin just before nine, after a crème brulée in the Lido and a brief stop on Boat Deck to gaze at the bright stars.

Wednesday, 5 January – Port Everglades – Fort Lauderdale.

After a fitful night on the very hard mattress I awoke about seven-forty to see we were just easing onto our accustomed dock next to both “Volendam” and “Rotterdam.”  I finally met my stewardess, Anemie Barnard from Durban, South Africa.  I guessed her accent correctly and mentioned how uncomfortable the mattress is and she will switch it with the one on the other bed, as well as attend to the steady dripping under the sink. 

I ate my breakfast in the Mauretania with Vernon Conway, who is on again for the whole World Cruise. We had been at the same table together previously in 2003.  Up on deck I had a brief chat with Cornelia on the observation deck.  She kept getting emails on her small iPod.

Eventually I met Margaret Lee at Mid-ships Lounge and took the shuttle bus to the Galleria from whence we took a taxi to a stitchery shop and back by bus to the ship by one thirty.  Eric joined us for lunch at the Lido and then I watched the Tom Hanks film “Terminal.”  By the way, Holly is back on board with a new husband, Hollis Latham.  She had a huge diamond ring on her finger.

Presently I am on Port Boat Deck under boat number 4 waiting for the ship’s departure.  Both HAL ships tooted simultaneously as their boat drills began.  Other ships in port are: “Crystal Symphony” “Caribbean Princess” plus a couple of those gambling ships.  First the “Volendam” backed out then “Rotterdam” then surprise, “Silver Whisper” followed down the parallel channel.  Then as it nearly reached the main channel we began to back away, and turn bow outward.  At the apartment buildings the whistles started the three blasts and odd toots back and forth from each ship and sirens, spotlights, whistles, horns etc., till we were well away.  Presumable, “Crystal Symphony” and the others soon followed suit.

I quickly changed for dinner and joined my tablemates plus Nellie Burns from Virginia.  The show was quite good, consisting of folk and country-western songs and patter.  After a Horlicks with the Lees I returned to the cabin by ten o’clock.

Thursday, 6 January – At Sea.

I had breakfast near the Lees after delivering my wine to them.  My grapefruit spoon served well and I am glad I brought it with me!  The logical segue for me was to head upward to Boat Deck and I sat on port side under boat ten.  I observed a sailboat sailing north and an oil tanker.  It is windy but warm.  After an hour or so reading in the brisk wind, I migrated inside to the Library to browse.  The Nautical section has been moved to the opposite side of the center stacks, and greatly increased in scope.  I then checked on my booking request and found no action had been taken.

I chatted with Eric and Margaret then found May to greet.  On I went aft to the singles party in Yacht Club, where I met a nice British widow and also Lucy Williams from the first welcome party.  Maureen Ryan is also serving with Elaine, who by the way has been on 23 World Cruises!

I returned to Boat Deck in time to hear the noon whistle and navigation report – too hastily given.  We are east of Cuba and will be taking the westward passage.  Again I joined the Lees and returned upward for more deck time.  The movie, “Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius” was my next occupation, and when that was over I grabbed two sandwiches and returned again briefly to Boat Deck before cabin time, where I started on my doll project.

After our formal dinner I attended the Ventriloquist show; I wandered outside, before returning to the cabin and advancing my clock forward one hour.

Friday, 7 January – At Sea.

I did three and a half deck treks from five to 2 on my way up to the Lido.  I emerged at the Fantail and had a brief chat with “American” Valerie (Noonan) as she was finishing her yogurt.  I next had my fruit and yogurt while sitting at an aft table with two ladies from Ohio.  After a bit of a wander and browse in the Library and Bookshop, I attended the terrorism talk.  Now at eleven o’clock I am on Boat Deck under boat 12 ducking behind a life raft pile to avoid the very strong headwind.  The waves are boisterous with whitecaps to the horizon in misty blue atmosphere and sun.  Beautiful!

At noon I took a fix with my GPS at 16˚ North and 72˚ West.  The wind is blowing so hard from forward motion plus the velocity from southeast, that one could hardly hear the whistle!  I went to Yacht Club for the Ensemble Travel cocktail party, where I chatted at length with John and Pat Sagar from Brewster.  Evelyn from two years ago recognized me as I did her!  Also, I saw Mrs. Levy and Perle (who is in the Caronia category)!

I had lunch with Gemma Loughnane and a very interested English lady.  I am once again under boat 12 behind the life rafts in the strong wind.  Again —-it is so very beautiful!  At three o’clock I went to my cabin to putter and watch television.  I showered, dressed in my black dress and new black and red silk top for the six fifteen movie, “Troy.” When the horse entered Troy I left for dinner in the Lido on my own way aft.  I then caught the end of the show, a good Broadway and West End mezzo. 

The ship is swaying slightly, but the stabilizers are keeping her from rocking.  I was ready for bed by ten, and found three travel books on my bed.

Saturday, 8 January – Curaçao.

This was a very soggy day.  We were already docked at the outside Mega-dock by the time I awoke.  I had a muffin with Cornelia in the Lido then joined my Ensemble World Explorers in the Yacht Club prior to disembarking via Five Deck C portside exit.  We walked through the mini-tent terminal past where the little coral figures used to be.  They are all knocked down, alas!  The tour on a “trolley bus” took us to the Aquarium (dolphins) Curaçao museum, Liqueur headquarters and a nice lunch under a leaky roof.  I walked barefoot back to the ship on my own.  Torrents of rain and deep puddles rendered all who braved it, soaking – so much so, that upon re-entering the ship under the new “Welcome Home” sign, towels were placed along the path to the cabin.  I dried off, watched a television movie and took a nap. 

I had dinner with my tablemates and enjoyed the show by a very virtuoso harpist – Shirley Dominique from Montevideo.  After that I spent a long time on Boat Deck watching people walk to the ship in small groups.  The weather had cleared and the evening breeze was most welcome in the lingering dampness.  The departure was delayed till after eleven o’clock, but most of the time I stood by the rail anticipating the slackening of the four or five bow and stern lines on the bollard islands fore and aft.  Finally, men in little stubby boats poised themselves ready for their orders.  When this was finally achieved the spring lines were slackened, tugs nudged us away from the dock and we eventually turned 180˚ (as I predicted) leaving the long lit-up shoreline of Curaçao behind.  As we completed this turn I walked aft and down to the Lido where the midnight buffet was in full swing.  I ate cheese and crackers plus ice cream.  Tut tut.

Sunday, 9 January – At Sea.

Having returned to the cabin last night with cheese and crackers and a banana, I skipped breakfast and immediately headed upward to check the weather.  I found it very comfortable and dry, so I secured my deck chair under boat 15.  Since we are headed westward there is little wind over the deck, but the seas show another story of white caps in moderate waves and swells coming from behind.  The noon readings confirmed this.  GPS reading N 11˚ 56′ and W 73˚ 47.’  We are traveling at 210˚ west by south.  Wind Force 5, 18knots 10 knots over the deck.

I have spent the entire morning reading “The Bounty” reveling in all the seascape, and sounds of the seas as we plow forward!  At one o’clock I joined Eric and Margaret Lee for lunch in the Lido.  Margaret says I’ve got color.  I guess this is from the wind, because I always avoid the sun.  Then I returned to Boat Deck under number 13, having moved chairs to remain in the shade of the funnel – at least for a while!

I checked with Dell after three o’clock to see what progress was made on my booking and the report is “none.”  For a while I returned to Boat Deck, but went inside to the Board Room for tea, where I chatted with Holly and a British lady till time to dress for dinner and the Captain’s Cocktail party.  My moment with Captain Ian McNaught included name-dropping.  Portat and Bennell.  I basically passed through the Queen’s Room on my way to dinner with all the tablemates.  Had lobster tail.

After a short check in with the Lees in the Grand Lounge, and a browse through the shops (red handbags and black at $10), I watched the movie “Welcome to Mooseport,” then headed for the cabin.  The Panama Canal video is now showing.

Clocks back an hour.

Monday, 10 January – Panama Canal Transit.

My first objective upon emerging was to go straight to Boat Deck and find a chair.  It turned out to be the sunny side, but at least it was cloudy for a while.  We were delayed just short of the Gatun Locks so we had to wait stationary with tugs holding us in line because, of course, we had no steerageway. I stayed on deck till we started to enter the first lock, and then I went inside to avoid the sun.  I had green tea in the Board Room while talking with Ann Haynes who lives in the Barbican district of London.

We left the Gatun Locks at 11:40 or so.  The shops are open, which is a surprise to me!

On my wanders toward noon I stopped near the Lido threshold to chat with Doris McKeller.  She had a beautiful cream outfit of pants and an embroidered top.  I then ventured to Boat Deck where I found a great spot under boat 10 as we approached the Golliard Cut.  I noted the position on GPS for noon: N 09˚ 08′ and W 079˚ 48′   While noting this we turned to port per lighthouse alignments and channel buoys.  A tug was standing ready to nudge us if we didn’t have enough speed to do it on our own.  Speed 14.4 knots.  A rain shower came but I remained safe, behind the life raft pile and boat.

I went up to Hellideck to photograph the aft scene in the Golliard Cut, the tallest terraced cut area, the Continental Divide, and eventually the new Zekim type bridge, not yet open to traffic.  It was fun to watch the QE2 funnel pass under the span with who knows how much space to spare.  Again a tug came along side to ensure our proper ability to turn slightly in the narrow cut.

Oh yes, I stayed pat earlier when a rain- squall came by.  Others ran but I got only a few drops under my boat and behind a raft pile!  I went to get my club sandwiches and potato chips plus a plum from the Board Room.  I ate on deck and spent more hours in the pleasant breezy warmth very comfortable as we slowly progressed through the cut to the two Mira Flores Locks.  We were still lowering in the last lock by 4:45 leaving the next major landmark ahead to the bridge of the Americas or Balboa Bridge for after five o’clock.  I watched these from my cabin on Channel 3.  The best view was forward from the Bridge, affording a great sense of perspective.

Dinner – show – ventriloquist and singer.  Horlicks with Agnes and Betty.  Cabin by 10:30.  We are circling tonight to anchor off Fuerte Amador tomorrow.

Tuesday, 11 January – Fuerte Amador, Panama.

I heard the anchor line drop just before seven o’clock.  Just before eight I had milk and a muffin on my way to the Theatre and tender to the island.  What a happy surprise I had to find the replica of Captain Cook’s “Endeavour” tied up to the Yacht Club along with many super yachts!  We then boarded our buses for the scenic ride through Fuerte islands and causeway to the train station.  We boarded our beautiful Pullman cars refurbished in mahogany and green wall lamps.  Our tour guide kept us busy with canal descriptions, as we passed by the various locks and ships all the way to Colon.  The girl conductors entertained us with a medley of Panamanian songs and rhythms.  At Colon and the Gatun Locks we climbed stairs to the highest outlook to watch the ships enter the first locks.  We returned by bus through the rain forests to our tenders.  While there I photographed the “Endeavour” and returned to the ship just in time for a dessert and iced tea in the Lido with Marguerite.  I went to my cabin, puttered and slept till time to shower and dress informally for dinner and the show.  Good chat session with the Lees.  Stayed for the frenetic show and returned to my cabin before ten o’clock.

Wednesday, 12 January – At Sea.

There was a lightning and thunderstorm last night.  The flashes lit up the television screen. Since I awoke early I tidied and washed my culottes, then emerged at eight o’clock to join the Lees in their nook by windows and served by faithful Omar.  An elderly lady with much spunk sat with me, eventually and we compared family voyages.  When finished I went to Boat Deck, found a free deck chair and read, enjoying the semi-sun and very comfortable breezes.  At eleven I reluctantly left my chair for the Yacht meeting in Yacht Club.  Tandem crossing jerseys were on 60% off sale, so I bought the only size XL usable as a nightshirt!

The sailors’ meeting was most fun with all sailors and racers.  Mike has crewed on J-boats – and is an active member of the New York Yacht Club.  He has access to YCs all over the world and we may be able to attend as his guests.  Another man sails on the great lakes – Wisconsin.  Another man has a 40-foot ketch in refit.  Most of us are East Coasters.  Holly Latham (her new name) crews but says she doesn’t sail.  Come on!

After a brief return to the cabin, as yet not made up because of the crew fire and boat drill,.  I again hit Boat Deck where I finally found a place under number 13.  Just before noon I took the GPS fix, and compared with the noon report from the bridge. N. 07˚ 45′ and W 084˚59′ Rhumb line Wind 13K. Seas slight and low swell.

After assessing the crowds in the Lido at one o’clock, I decided to have lunch in the Mauretania.  I sat with five other women, two from Canada.  I had a nice mixed salad with chicken.  Back I went to the Boat Deck after getting a very drippy ice cream cone!  However,  soon rain forced me inside.  Cabin time from about three o’clock on.  I found another Cocktail party invitation – David Hamilton’s at Yacht Club tomorrow night.

At six o’clock, all dressed formally,  I went to see “My 50 First Dates,” with Drew Barrymore.  I then joined the long reception line just behind Edith Inghram and Stephanie Holloway.  They had received Platinum pins on their beds! Hmmm!  After shaking hands with the Captain, Rona and Dell, I drifted into Queen’s Room and found the Lees sitting on a high divider back to Arthur and Frieda.  Margaret and Eric never even received an invitation!  At any rate, I left after the toast and speeches for dinner in the Lido.  I ate by myself, crème brulée and fudge cake, then went upstairs to hear Melanie Stace sing and belt out her songs.  She was very good – She wore a red dress and her super slender figure was best exhibited by this.  She also donned a beautiful beaded, white shawl for her Evita number.  After a few moments leaning on the railing on Boat Deck, I headed down A stairwell to the cabin by ten o’clock.  This route always takes be by the Synagogue which faces the stairwell and elevators.

Thursday, 13 January – At sea.

I took the two finished dolls with me to breakfast in the Maury and ate with Vernon and Claire plus a not too likeable lady from San Diego.  I sat a while with the Lees and Arthur and Frieda, who admired the dolls.  Passers by also stopped to see them.

At eleven I and many others attended Sheridan Morley’s talk on Noel Coward and John Gielgud mainly, but numerous other fine actors were also referred to.  Earlier I had a nice chat with Perle who is in Caronia category this time.  Vernon came by to join us in the alleyway at C Stairway.  I missed the noon whistle and report so here is my fix:  N 11˚ 34′ x W 094˚’16’  The ocean is very deep here.  Light seas and practically no swell.  The temperature is a very pleasant 70s on the shady side and the light wind adds to our speed of 24 knots slightly.

At one o’clock I left Boat Deck for Mauretania.  I spotted Cornelia at a round table for six, consisting of her friend Ann Haynes, two black girls and a large man.  Our conversation was about cruises and in some cases very opinionated on the part of one “snobby” girl.  I tried to curb my tongue several times lest she light into me!

I am now back on Boat Deck under number 11 after a swing through the Lido (very warm) for three strawberries.  I became chilly so went to the Board Room where I ate a beef sandwich in sun shining through the tall slotted windows.  While there Mike (NYC guy)

came and said he will help me with my GPS later on.  We then went to the movie “Jersey Girl.”

I joined my tablemates for dinner.  Nellie quietly told me she will leave our table for Jean Burns’ table!  Now I don’t know if I want to go with her or not.  I attended the Hollywood show shared with the Lees, then after a Horlicks with them and a stroll forward on Boat Deck, I returned to the cabin.  Clocks back one Hour.

Friday, 15 January – Acapulco.

During breakfast with Vernon and Claire and later, the San Diego woman, the ship was easing into the Bay and dropped anchor.  I headed directly for Boat Deck and spent the rest of the morning gazing at the Acapulco shoreline as the ship responded to wind direction.  I had to change from starboard to port to avoid the burning sun, but in the shade of the boats it was quite pleasant.  The tenders continued all day to ply back and forth, and numerous obnoxious jet skiers ruined the serenity of the scene. I briefly returned to the cabin for my camera and photographed Britannia Dining room and various harbor scenes.

At lunchtime I headed for the Lido and ate with Eric and Margaret.  Fudge cake – yum!  Back on deck I now await 2:30 for the movie “Captain and Commander”. Oh yes, I had a brief chat with Edith Inghram by Queens Grill Lounge as she waited to go ashore with Stephanie. 

After the movie I went back to Boat Deck and found Marguerite relaxing after her stroll ashore.  At five o’clock I watched the Mexican Folklorico dancing.  The costumes were very colorful and so familiar with the Mariachi band, singers and dancers plus a rope twirler.

During dinner, minus Nellie and Peter, we saw the ship turn and head out to the ocean.  Also, even though in the noisy dining room we could feel and hear the three whistle blasts!  Mexican food on the menu was gazpacho and rice and chicken.  I asked for salsa, which greatly improved the flavor.  I joined the Lees and Arthur and Frieda for the very bombastic piano show.  The pianist was fabulous, but he was too much!  I call this “whiz-bang” playing.

I returned to my cabin after a brief stop at the Library.  Finally, I got the pronunciation of Annemie’s name down pat.  Ann – Emie.  Simple when you know the spelling!

Saturday, 15 January – At Sea.

I made myself do my systematic deck walk from 5 Deck upward and when at three deck  I collected my bag for the day.  Anemie was doing my cabin so we had a nice chat about her hometown, Durban.  She knows where the C.S. church is, near where she grew up.  Then I told her our experience where the old church was.  She said that area is going to be rehabilitated and they hope to make it up-market.

I went to the Lido and before entering the queue I was required to “sanitize” my hands.  They are on a scare right now.  I ate with a Japanese lady from Melbourne!  During the morning from there I chatted with the Lees, checked with Roma about my QM2 booking and finally got the details, 2 cabins and the bottom line.  Wow!  Only had to pay $500 up front.  More later!

By this time it was eleven when I had to report to Golden Lion Pub to register for the talent show.  The biggest turn out in my experience showed up.  I then went to the usual rehearsal room back stage to run through my “Mother Hubbard.”  The pianist is okay.

After a brief time on Boat Deck in wind and sun, I took my daily fix on the GPS, which of course matched the ship’s report after the noon whistle.  N20˚ 04′ x W106˚ 39′    Direction is 305˚ Northwest and speed is 27 knots.

I then had lunch with Vernon and ladies.  Claire, the Scottish lady from Ayrshire and a new pleasant American lady were there.  Claire shared her fresh chips with me.  Not being thrilled with the desserts on the menu, I returned to the Lido for rice pudding and chocolate sauce, this time with Barbara and Lucy.  I later found Holly eating alone.  She is a “Turtle” and says she will put my name in for membership.  It is secret she says with a chuckle!

Back at the cabin near three o’clock I found a lovely gift from my travel agent and World Ensemble Travel.  A leather -bound travel diary with gold edged velum paper, maps and many more features.  By four o’clock I was ready to go for the talent show.  We had 14 acts including singers, a very poor pianist, jokesters and of course, Mary Mastony.  She did her usual schtick plus a book sales pitch!

At dinner we all took photos of each other and had marvelous Chateaubriand with asparagus, carrots and medallion potatoes with hollandaise sauce.  Then came the Baked Alaska parade with the loud scratchy march and Auld Lang Syne.  I briefly chatted to the Lee contingent in the Grand Lounge and saw the QE2 Calendar Girls calendar with Maria, Marion Morgan (who isn’t with us this year yet?!), Elaine and others.

Since the movie doesn’t start till ten forty-five after the string trio, concert in the Theatre, I went on deck to see the half moon, and then returned to my cabin.

Oh, Arthur said I received a standing ovation of which I wasn’t aware.  Also the first singer, a fairly good bass voice, the large man at my lunch table a few days ago, was very complimentary.  He was dressed in his new Serape and sombrero, for the Mexican fiesta dance later on. Lennie is his name.

I left the cabin again to see the movie “13 Going on 30” and after a few minutes I decided to leave in order to check out the gala midnight buffet.  There were a few ice carvings and many very beautiful cakes, tortes, profiteroles plus a whole cafeteria line of delicatessen –type goodies.  Everyone was ordered to cleanse the hands before even entering just to look!  While Valerie Bennetts and I ate together by the window, waiters were wiping off each chair newly vacated!  We parted for our cabins.  Clocks back one hour.

Sunday, 16 January – At Sea.

I awoke too early, but got up anyway to look over again, the beautiful travel journal from Ensemble.  I also made decisions on what to off load to Chris and Cherie to save weight.  Eventually, I did the lesson and showered, emerging around 8:30 to meet my friends Myra and Claire and Vernon.  After breakfast I tried to wangle a new table, but I think I am still at 266 with all new people.

When I checked in with the Lees – Fran was with them as was Peter Garland looking for sponsors for his parachute jump in New Zealand.  Fran showed us her marvelous porcelain painted miniature round egg- shaped and square boxes, hinged delicately.  She will make them for sale at the charity fair.  I also produced my knitted dolls and learned how to chain stitch from Margaret.  She did a whole panel for me while I tried the same thing on the bagpipe.

I tried to explain the GPS to Eric, who unfortunately doesn’t see much.  He retired way before the GPS was developed.  I was on deck for the noon report, which follows:

N 27˚ 2′ x W 115˚ 16.’  Compass reading NW 324˚; Temp 67˚ F.  Wind northwest by north at Force 4 or 13 knots.  40 knots over the decks.  Slight seas, low swell.  Coastline of Baja California has been visible all morning to the East.

Earlier I had a nice chat with Norma and Ken plus the other neighbors.  They are busy packing.  The railings and walls are being repeatedly washed down everywhere.

At lunchtime I went to Vernon’s table (361) and joined him as he received his mahi mahi entrée.  I ordered the same, but mine didn’t look like the same fish.  Anyway, the Protestant Anglican Priest and wife joined us.  He is Roy and I’ve already forgotten her name.  Myra also came a little later.  We discussed gambling and lessons learned!

Despite the rather strong and cool headwind, I spent an hour forward on Starboard Boat Deck reading Captain Kidd, and trying to keep warm behind a vertical seat cushion.  I still got cold, so headed aft where the sun lights up the decks.  I am presently at a table by the fantail pool.  The stern sways a bit causing it to be difficult to write in a steady manner.

After reading there in sun and wind, I went inside for tea.  However, with the Lido and Queen’s Room filled to near capacity, I headed for the Board Room.  I sat with two American ladies whose names I forgot, and a nice English gent (a widower) named Steve or Stan.  His wedding band is a melding of his wife’s ring and diamond with his band.  Quite original and beautiful.

We 266 tablemates had our farewell dinner.  Salmon especially.  We had had such a good time and acknowledged our mutual enjoyment.  Agnes and Betty will be off to Florida before heading finally for Canada.  John will be off to another table as will Nellie (to Jean Burns’ table).  I guess I will remain and Peter doesn’t know where he will be assigned.

At eight thirty I watched “Shreck 2” then joined Maria and Frank Sotile for a nice chat over Horlicks in the Lido.  Cabin at eleven o’clock.  Clocks back one hour.

 


2004 Tandem Crossing with QM2

QUEEN ELIZABETH 2

TANDEM CROSSING WITH QUEEN MARY 2

25 April – 1 May, 2004

Cabin 3011 – Single, inside

 Sunday, 25 April, 2004 – New York Harbor

My plane circled Manhattan, and with difficulty I managed to see all three huge ships at their respective piers.  “Norwegian Dawn” at Pier 88, QE2 at Pier 90 and Queen Mary 2 at Pier 92.  I managed several photos of the latter while our bus unloaded passengers for QM2.  On we went to Pier 90 and I was on board QE2 by three thirty.  Gregory was at the Mid-ships Lounge and we hugged.  He said Mrs. Levy got off today, and he is working in the Caronia Restaurant.

After unpacking my suitcase, which had preceded me to cabin 3011, I set out with my life jacket for the four fifteen Lifeboat drill, but since embarkation was going very late, I carried the life jacket another hour while I wandered all over Boat Deck observing the Queen Mary 2.  Along the way I greeted John McFarlane and partner, Russell Taggert so we talked a while then met up again on the stairs to Heledeck as the QM2 was pulling out of her berth unassisted.  I met up with Ted and Suellyn Scull facing aft as we clicked shutters furiously.  By this time the drill had taken place at five fifteen in Mauretania.  Trevor Stevenson was one of our attendants.  Somewhere along the line I chatted with English Fred and wife.  Anyhow, all this time we were watching us get under way to the enthusiastic hype of Bill Miller’s lecture on the Tannoy.  We eventually caught up to QM2 and watched fireworks with the Statue of Liberty in the dark background.  Whistles sounded their series of three plus one numerous times.  When this was over, QE2 overtook QM2 to starboard and I had dinner in the Lido with a friendly Brit couple who had been on QM2 maiden voyage.

At ten o’clock I tried the movie “Big Fish” but left it.  Clocks go ahead one hour tonight and I was in bed by 1:00 a.m. new time.  Seas calm.  Verrazano Bridge was all lit up.  Great whistle sounds earlier.

Monday, 26 April.

I sat with a young couple in the Lido for breakfast.  QM2 was fairly far back to starboard, but as the morning wore on, she eventually came up parallel about a mile away.  Meanwhile, I did three decks worth of walking and found little Ben right on 3 Deck midi-ships.  I attended the lecture on Concorde and afterward the Flight engineer, Ian Smith (a Scot) confirmed that at 7:50 a.m. each day, Concorde did indeed cut to sub-sonic speed prior to landing in New York.  I told him of my sliding doors rattling on Cape Cod at that exact time daily.

I took several photos of QM2 in the distance with us in the foreground.  Also I made my purchases of commemorative shirts and a lovely mug before the hordes descended.  The Maxtone-Grahame book, the official Souvenir book about the QM2 was displayed at the Book Store, so I had to buy it.  I was shown a lovely print of all four Queens titled wrongly, “4 Monarches!”  Len Thompson the friend I met on the “Norway” in 2001 is on board with his wife.

I arrived late at the singles party in Yacht Club and sat with Joyce Boylen and Cynthia Kent who were lively conversationalists about our ships.  I then went to lunch with Joyce in the Mauretania.  By this time QM2 had caught up with us and crossed our path to Port at noon.  All I could do was to snap a photo showing what was left of the crossing wake.  We have strong 40 knot wind over the decks.

I took tea with a nice British gal, Marilyn, from Durham.  At 6:30 I watched the movie “Mona Lisa Smile.”  At my dinner table,  table number 224, were two British couples and an American lady and son William from Moorepark, California.  I told Ted Scull about William – a ship enthusiast.  I missed the concert and Stephanie and Edith again!

 Tuesday, 27 April.

I had breakfast on Portside in Mauretania with a great view of Queen Mary 2, and chatted briefly with Howard, a Dance Host.  Throughout the morning I composed four verses to Capital Ship re: our tandem voyage with help from Ted and Suellyn in the Lido, then another couple (Hope) who contributed the last verse.  I gave Ted the Lapland photo.  I was outside just in time to hear both ships’ whistles blast at noon.  QM2 faint.  Finally I met up with Stephanie and Edith in the Theatre Balcony as we waited for Bill Miller’s enthusiastic lecture.  I introduced Edith to Ted as she told of the luggage placed on QM2 wrongly. Both Stephanie and Edith have to improvise with the few clothes they wore, and with some they were allowed to buy, and they have managed to look outstanding and artistic!

I had lunch with Joyce, Norma and friend, and we were treated to a closer view of QM2 after she crossed our wake back to Starboard.  I took more photos, then typed up the lyrics in honor of QE2 in the Computer room.  I wandered with a Scottish lady from San Francisco area, and gave her batteries, and she gave me her Cunard pen.    Dressed formal again and took in the movie “Something’s Gotta Give.”  Our dinner table is at 224 on portside by a window in the aftermost part of Mauretania.  Carol and son William, Rosemary and Doug Jackson and Diana and Gerald Davies.   I stopped briefly at the show in progress and then the dance at Queens Room.  The QM2 across the way is all lit up so I gazed at it a while before returning to my cabin.  Clocks go ahead an hour.

Wednesday, 28 April.

I spotted QM2 way ahead, on the television channel 3, working to Port.  She must have crossed our bow quite recently.  With abundant sun all day, both ships sailed one mile apart really side by side and everyone photographed her, never getting enough.  Even my breakfast by a window on port side was eaten with head turned toward her.  In my wanderings through Queens Room, Gail Roberts waylaid me so we renewed memories of the 2001 World Cruise Select Traveler tours including the fabulous freebee trip to the Peninsula Hotel in Bangkok.  Ralph came by and set off again.  Later Valerie Bennetts waylaid me (2003 W.C.)

I had lunch in the Mauretania restaurant with Cynthia Kent, Marilyn Riley, Pat and daughter, and we had great conversations powered by the joy of experiencing this first tandem crossing.  During this time the QM2 very slowly dropped back all day on the way to complete her third circle around us!

 Saw the “Last Samurai” at three o’clock after a very pleasant time watching QM2 and freezing.  I checked her again at five thirty then headed to the cabin via the shops.  There was no more than a water trickle so I couldn’t take a shower.    In spite of not being clean, I attended the Officers’ Cocktail Party, where I chatted with Hugh and Hope.  Captain Ian McNaught greeted us and pointed out the Boston Cup, which was on display before QE2 has to give it up to QM2 when the latter becomes the Cunard Flagship and as QE2 retires from the North Atlantic run.  Dinner was again lively with great conversation.  Clocks ahead another hour.

 Thursday, 29 April.

At 7:35 Queen Mary 2 crossed our bow way ahead of us.  She remained in the bow picture a while.  Actually I learned at the Captain’s Interview that in all these maneuvers, the ship astern does the crossovers.

I was supposed to rehearse with Carol Golow, but the sound system in Yacht Club was buzzing loudly, so we had breakfast together by Port window in Mauritania, and William as well.  As we exited through Crystal Bar some smoke was wafting up a window gasket.  We left quicker and parted.  I spent a little time on Boat Deck then eventually attended the World Club cocktail party. After Brian Hoey’s talk in the Theatre about Princess Diana, I went to lunch on my own in the Mauretania restaurant.

I took notes furiously at the McNaught interview, and later I found the other Ben on 1 Deck by C Stairway.  Tea ensued in the Lido with a Brit couple – good view of QM2.  I shifted to join Jackie, Pat and Marilyn.  When I returned to my cabin, I tested the shower, which trickled slightly, so I sponged off; did some laundry and eventually dressed for dinner.  We joined in with the Baked Alaska parade.  The Westenders performed their great show tunes in the Grand Lounge.  They are a troop of six former and current West End performers and are very professional.  For the first time in a long time I tried out the midnight buffet. 

On my bed waiting for me was a  lovely Wedgwood commemorative plate and a certificate of the Tandem crossing.  Clocks ahead one hour.

Friday, 30 April.

I didn’t sleep much last night.  When I emerged, QM2 was way ahead of us in low cloudy weather.  I joined William and Carol for breakfast in the Mauretania, then I proceeded to wander hither and yon till time to register for the talent show, at the Casino Bar and rehearse in the practice room.  I caught some of the final Concorde Lecture, then had lunch in the Lido with two different British couples.  For the next hour or so we all congregated on deck for the rendezvous of the two ships, planes, a helicopter and fishing boats off the Lizard.   Had a great vantage point on observation deck as the ships closed ranks, slowed down and were saluted by a Hawk plane then a Nimrod plane.  The Talent show was next for me.  I did my QE2 lyrics to the tune of “A Capital Ship.”  That was followed by tea with Stephanie Hollowell and Edith Inghram.  I cashed in my performance voucher for a “lousy” pack of cards!

At six thirty I watched “Love Actually,” then joined my tablemates for our last dinner. 
Most of us had the superb roast beef.  I received hugs and compliments on my performance, and Carol presented me with a Hollywood t-shirt!  Again we took photos all around and Rosemary was presented with a tasty Birthday cake burning with a substantial sparkler.  We said goodbyes with hands and hugs then realized we’d be back for breakfast!

I attended the final show of all three main groups then prepared the suitcase to place outside my cabin with a special tag stating it is to be delivered to the Queen Mary 2.   Still no hot water, so I took a sponge bath.  There was only a trickle of water all week!

Saturday, 1 May – Southampton.

We arrived in Southampton early, and we who were to return on the QM2 that day, were treated to a very nice free tour to the New Forest and Salisbury while our stuff was transferred.  Instead of touring the Salisbury cathedral and close, I walked to the Tesco to do some food shopping, and met the tour bus in the car park nearby.

During this time the Britannia cup, sometimes called the Boston cup was transferred from the Queen Elizabeth 2 to Queen Mary 2 at a special dinner on board QE2 for the Captain-Commodore Ron Warwick and Captain Ian McNaught.  Queen Elizabeth 2 is now officially retired from the North Atlantic run, and will be doing European cruises mostly with the exception of World Cruises.

Words to the special song I sang at the Talent Show.

A CAPITAL SHIP A LA QUEEN ELIZABETH 2

APRIL 2004 and OCTOBER, 2008

TANDEM CROSSING WITH QUEEN MARY 2

1.

A Capital Ship for an ocean trip,

Is the Queen Elizabeth 2.

She plies the seas with greatest of ease,

And visits Continents too.

Her tiny wheel they tried to steal,

But it never laid her low,

And she triumphed still, and bided ’till

Her Master had ‘er in tow.

Refrain:

O, Blow ye winds hi ho,

A roving I will go,

I’ll stay no more on England’s shore,

So let the breezes blow, oh, oh,

I’m off on the morning train,

To sail the raging main.

I’m off to my love with a boxing glove

Ten thousand miles away.

2.

In time of war, she was a star;

to the Falklands her troops she took.

South Georgia waited while soldiers rated,

From luxury, volunteer crew.

Helicopters hovered while men recovered,

Her triumphal run to South – Hampton.

To a welcome loud, which made her proud,

And greetings from the loved Queen Mum!

Refrain;

3.

The Atlantic best she loved of the rest,

But other Oceans knew.

Her hull of red and black, or blue,

Not to mention grey by few.

Adaman or great Oman, or Red,

She well traversed with ease.

She paused below Suez with ships prepared

To face the breeze.

Refrain:

4.

A fond farewell we bid to you,

On this grand voyage of two.

We sailed together what e’re the weather,

Queen Mary, our partner true.

And though she moved from Starboard to Port,

And forward and aft each day,

QE2 still stands on top for us and earns our loud

Hooray!!

Last refrain:

Oh —– blow ye winds, hi ho,

A sailing she must go,

She’ll stay no more on England’s shore,

So let the breezes play – hey – hey;

We’re off on the morning train,

To sail the raging main.

We’ re off, Oh My, to old Dubai,

A thousand miles away!

 


2003 WC – Seychelles -New York, Part 5

2003 World Cruise – part 5

 Sunday, 23 March – Mahé, Seychelles.

The ship returned to anchor by seven AM.  Lido breakfast with Betty and Gemma.  I tried walking Boat Deck, but had to duck back for cool shelter, because of the tremendous humidity and heat.  Tin gave me a fruit punch in the Board Room, and then I joined the Lees for a short time, only to wander a bit more. 

The scene toward Mahé is beautiful with the main island and several small ones to the left and in perspective behind.  The four ships anchored appear in my final analysis, to be fishing boats off loading their fish to the refrigerated cargo ship.  Several smaller boats, 2 schooners, a catamaran and motor boats pass by.  Had lunch by the starboard windows with John and Joan plus Elaine Dickie, then we adjourned for the afternoon.  I went back to my cabin for a nap and preparation for the 4:40 church service.  During the service, in which our little choir sang, QE2 left Mahé.  When I emerged, I saw the islands beginning to recede into the humid atmosphere.

Rev. Uittenbosch asked me to meet him before dinner in the Crystal Bar to choose hymns, so I sang each one in question for him.  When one was chosen, I spent ten minutes in the Board Room before the movie “Remains of the Day.”  Dinner with Holly and Gemma, then attended the opera show “Randazzo Opera at Sea.”  Great job!   I went to the cabin at ten, where an email was waiting for me from Ann.

Monday, 24 March – South Indian Ocean.

The sea routine of very hot, steamy, clear weather goes on, and I am becoming less active.  However, I managed deck time way forward on starboard.  During most of that time, crew boat drill was going on, and the Filipino deck crews and boat crews were standing behind me waiting for orders.  The sun crept to my feet by eleven o’clock, so I went in, had a brief chat with Maria and the Lees, then I attended the lecture on Durban, which sounds a bit dangerous for unwary tourists.  Had a brief chat in the Board Room with Tony, and took the noonday position, briefing and retreated to the cabin till scheduled choir practice at 1:15.

Rehearsal went well and Marion, a Brit and the Australian couple joined me for lunch in the Mauretania.  I headed for the Lido then and had a long chat with Nancy Pelletier, who is again “among the living.”  Checked out another library book “The Floating Brothel!”  Oh yes, Nancy told me that Phyllis was late back to the pier and missed the last tender.  Calls were made and the last tender that hadn’t been raised yet, returned for her and she had to climb up a rope ladder.  Will quiz her later on.

Noon report: Lat. 12º4.7S; Long. 55º7.5E.  300 nautical miles northeast of Madagascar.  170º rum line at 24K, 500 nautical miles since Mahé @26.3K.  493 nautical miles to go to Réunion.  Temp. 32ºC; 90ºF; Wind ESE, Force 3 (8K), 30K over the deck.  Slight seas and low swell.

Ate at the Lido with the Bishops, then went to Boat Deck.  There was a very slight drizzle and lovely forward wind.  I sat a short while under #17 listening to the passing water.  Went to the cabin by 8:30, choosing to miss the show.

Tuesday, 25 March – Réunion.

The ship easily entered Le Port between the two small lighthouses on the jetties, and was slowly pushed parallel to the inner quay.  All was secure by 7:45.  I left via the Port B-C stairway on 4 deck and went directly to the one bus (73) for our tour to Cilaos – way up in the central volcanic mountains.  Cirque = Crater.  Gemma was the host and Mike and Rod joined us way back!  We drove along the western shoreline by lava and sandy beaches first to a Blowhole, then through St. Leu (Louis) up the river valley along the very curvy road of about 400 switchbacks.  The scenery was beyond spectacular, and the views back down the gorge and up and across to the mountains, peaks, tunnels, hamlets, defy adequate description!   Lunch in Cilaos at a chalet-type hotel dining room, a visit to a lace maker, and then back down the valley road – Fantabulous!!!!!   The final stop on the way home was at a lava flume formation, which causes the sea water to boil in and out.  We were back to the ship, near 5 o’clock.  I looked at the trinkets at the quayside, then retreated to my cabin.  Preparation for leaving started toward six o’clock.  I went to dinner at my table, and had an ice cream at the Lido, then retired to my cabin.  Clocks back one hour.

Wednesday, 26 March – Mauritius.

We eased between the breakwaters and slid to the quay portside, very close to the city of Port Louis.  My special Select Traveler tour commenced with three small subs.  We followed a busy itinerary on this order; 1. Citadel, 2.  Marie Reine, 3. Floréal to shop, 4. Extinct volcano – lush, 5. Grand Bassin sacred lake and Shiva temple, 6. Black River Gorges, 7. Lunch at the Domaine de Sainte Denis, 8. charmarel – waterfall, 9. Colored earth, tortoise and 10.  Central Plateau and along shore back to Port Louis by five o’clock.  I bought a couple of dodo souvenirs.

The ship is delayed till nearly eight o’clock, because of late plane arrivals.  The gangway was on 5 Deck C stairway.  This morning it was at 4 Deck. 

I shared dinner with Lilian and Tim in the Lido.  Tim didn’t have time to go through the line, so I gave him my salad and he asked for Lilian’s potato!  Naturally we obliged!  I then went on deck and realized the ship was about to cast off, so I remained on the bow to watch the tugs pull her away from the pier and commence the pivoting turn around on the bow.  The bow tug slackened and stood by, then pushed as the stern was continually pulled out and the bow pivoted as it slid by her own 963 foot length to an anchored ship across the harbor.  Then she headed slowly out between red on starboard and green to port – tooting three plus one as she departed the harbor.  Lovely mild, gentle breezy evening.  I went directly to the cabin by 9 o’clock.  Clocks back one hour.

Thursday, 27 March.

Beautiful, comfortable morning on deck, boat #3 from 9-11, reading and enjoying the beautiful blue, sparkling ocean.  At eleven I retreated from the creeping sun, and spent an hour talking with Perle in the Board Room.  Lunch in the Lido after the navigation information – with the Lees.  Lat. 23º43’S; Long. 51º37.3E.  210 nautical miles west of Madagascar.  Direction rum line 241º at 24.5K.  397 nautical miles from Port Louis, 25K.

Temp. 30ºC – 86ºF.  Wind ENE; Force 4 (12K), same over the deck.  Following, moderate seas and light quartering swell.

Choir at 1:15 had been cancelled because the concert pianist was practicing.  Cashed $60 worth for South African Rand. 

Watched the Theatre movie “High Crimes” then went to Crystal Bar to present my earring case pattern, but when Elaine wasn’t there, I left the pattern with Margaret and departed.  Bought a video for Trevor Jones. Chatted in the Golden Lion Pub with Nelte, then returned to the cabin.

Dinner with my table companions.  Long sit and chat with the Lees – Maria and later Frank.  Randazzo Opera scenes.  They are great!  Piano recital by Allen Schiller in the Theatre.  Late to bed – almost midnight, as I organized for my Trevor Jones visit on Saturday.

Friday, 28 March.

This was another glorious day after an early morning of rain.  Our breakfast table in Mauretania was a lively spot with all places filled and political discussion.  I then went forward on Boat Deck to sit in a 30-knot forward wind.  Stayed there from nine till eleven, then I attended the safari talk, and joined the Lees for lunch after the noon navigation report.

Lat. 28ºS; Long. 40º4’ E. 260 nautical miles southwest of Madigascar.  Direction 257º,  28K  644 nautical miles @26.8K. 1,041 from Mauritius at 26.1 with 520 to go.  Wind S at Force 4(13K), over deck, 30K; moderate seas and long moderate swell.

Had choir rehearsal at 1:15.  Randazzo Opera – “Merry Widow”.  Met with Virginia in Yacht Club and we talked an hour or so outside YC then in Lido with Gemma.  Attended a show and piano recital.  Chatted with John and wife from Glasgow.  Bed by 11.  Clocks back an hour

Toward midnight Phyllis called me from her temporary cabin, 1008.  This was right across the small hallway from 1012 which Aunt Audrey and I had in 1987.  Phyllis’ cabin floor was hot because of a stream pipe bursting.  Several of us went to check out the cabin, which is a Princess Grill cabin and quite posh!

Saturday, 29 March – Durban, South Africa.

I was up in time to see QE2 ease by the jetties with crowds of people to greet her.  I held up my old QE2 Cunard scarf all along the way.  When the ship eased sideways to her quay, the “Saga Rose” was ahead of us.  A Zulu troop was dancing below on the quay at the terminal entrance.  I went ashore a bit past 8 and joined the long queue for screening in the terminal.  I asked for Pat Bukes, the Terminal Manager, who phoned Trevor Lloyd-Jones for me.  We set a time 2:30 to meet at the Royal Hotel, so I took the shuttle bus to Gateway Mall.  Virginia waylaid me to join her and a banker, and local resident, Mark Wenning, who kindly drove us north to see residential areas and shore-side resorts.  We treated him to lunch, and he drove us back to the Royal Hotel by 2:30.  Trevor then picked me up and showed me all over the port and the University.  We watched the departure of “Saga Rose” from the jetties, then returned to QE2.  Great day!  Fabulous shopping in the Terminal. Called Ann and Geoff.

I had Dinner in the Lido with Danny Walton, an entertainer from London.  Zulu show in the Lounge and late night Horlicks with Mike and Marion.  Harbor lights on deck, a beautiful 360º sight, including the lit-up harbor tower.  Located the Southern Cross for sure.  Alpha and Beta Centauri are the pointer stars directly toward 3 bright crux stars and one lesser magnitude star.

Sunday, 30 March – Durban.

Virginia phoned me right after seven o’clock, suggesting we try to go to church, which we did by taxi to Greyville.  Afterward, Ed and Sarah Goltman drove us to Mitchell Botanic Gardens where we had tea and scones.  We then headed north to Kloof where they showed us the C.S. care facility (fabulous view), and the church.  Back in town we drove by the former church building in a black area.  Here we experienced a potentially dangerous incident.  As Ed slowed and pulled partially into a parking spot, Virginia prepared to take a photo from inside the car.  A black man came to the driver’s door and opened it.  Ed quickly grabbed it back and shut it while I reached to lock the other car doors.  It didn’t end here.  Ed started very slowly to pull away, but another black man was placed in front of the car and Ed carefully continued to ease away till the man finally had to back away.  We were all a little disturbed, and Sarah asked that we return to the ship so she can return home.  Consequently we were back at the ship by 2:30.

The choir sang at the 4:30 on board church service.  The pianist didn’t show up, so I played the hymns and filled in during the communion. 

The major excitement of the day was our departure.  Hundreds, and maybe thousands of people gathered as close to the terminal and quay as allowed, to watch us be pulled parallel by tugs away from the quay in fading daylight.  Many boats, from a rowboat, small sailing craft, motor boats, launches, booze cruise etc. waited while we turned around by bow pivot, till it was completely dark and boats had their lights on.  All around the large harbor, lights twinkled as we slowly built forward momentum.  The tugs followed at the ready.  One on port almost got squeezed between our port side and a caisson.  QE2 hooted her three – twice, one as the turn was completing and once at the jetty channel.  Hundreds of people cheered and waved as we passed by, then the crowning thrill was when the Durban port helicopter came up, hovered, moved over the bow and lifted the Pilot off in great style.  It lifted again, went backwards away from the ship, then turned back to the port landing.  I had seen the helicopter close to us on its landing pad earlier.  Green and white.  I noted the lit-up charm of the new harbor beacon.  I truly have a special feeling for this harbor.  I assume Trevor was there, and maybe Mark.

Went to dinner alone in the Lido.  Danny Walton’s show was very good.  He was the first lead in West End production of Fame.  Was in the cabin by 10.

Monday, 31 March.

The day started with winds and rain, with rough seas, but as the day progressed, the sun broke through.  I had breakfast with my tablemates, then briefly joined the Lees and left Trevor’s monograph for them to peruse.  I met Virginia in the library.  Since the crew Boat Drill was about to commence, we headed out and stopped at D stairway to discuss the incident yesterday.  We then parted and I headed to the Board Room where Tony and I compared our activities in Durban.  While there, all the Fire Doors were closed from the bridge and it was up to the local crew to open them.  Apparently something was amiss, because when I was ready to leave the Board Room, the fire door outside it was still closed.  Warren tried to open it like an elevator door, but he needed help of another crewmember.  We were eventually able to cross that threshold and I went to register for the talent show.  After rehearsing “A Capital Ship” with Phil, I departed through the practice rooms. 

Lunch with the Lees.  Choir practice was a fizzle.   Talent show at three o’clock.  Several singers.  My song was amusing!  Each woman received a beautiful Cunard collapsible umbrella!

Dinner at my table, included formal photos because this was Valerie’s last dinner all together with us.  She leaves at Cape Town.  Randazzo Opera:  La Boheme, Sampson and Faust.  Trevor’s cocktail party in Queens Room with the African decorations of giraffes, shields, jungle vines overhead and balloons.  The new ship will be named “Queen Victoria”

A new 2,060-foot ship will be built!  300,000 megatons, due 2007.  QM2 is 150,000 ton.  Keel to funnel 474 feet (32 decks).  OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOPPPPPPPPPPPSSSSSS!

April Fool!!!!!!! A little bit ahead of the day!

Navigational Information for March 31: Lat. 34º 17.1S, Long. 25º1.5E 15 nautical miles south of Port Elizabeth.  256 nm from Durban @23Knots, 409 nautical miles to go at 24.1K   21ºC, 70ºF   Wind Southwest at Force 5 (20K) 45K over deck.  Moderate seas, and moderate swell.

Tuesday, 1 April – Cape Town.

I watched our approach by early sunup as we drew in toward the harbor with Table Mountain off our Starboard beam.  Clear and bright.  The pilot boat came speeding to us as we waited, then we picked up slow speed and turned straight on toward the narrow double jetty entrance to the harbor.  Two tugs came out to meet us and escorted us up to the inner harbor and to the long empty space at the far corner.  Two oil rigs were towering at the far north end.

Took the Table Mountain and city tour, and returned for late lunch with Betty.  Spent a couple of hours on Port Boat Deck watching wood loading and girder piles.  Cabin time after a quick glide through Lido etc. and Board Room for a snack.  Dinner with my table mates minus the 2 Margarets.  Marvin Hamlish concert; a one night stand!  A swing around Boat Deck to view the lovely harbor lights.  There is a cricket inside one of the rope ladder covers.

Wednesday, 2 April – Cape Town.

We spent the night in harbor.  My bow picture showed lights and mist blowing by.  Dawn comes after seven o’clock here.  Had a brief breakfast with Frank and Maria, then we all headed forth on Peter Garland’s Fun Charity Tour to places all over the Cape, including Hout Bay (seals), Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Kalk Bay (fishing), fabulous large fish lunch, penguins, Scratch Patch, Cape Point etc. ending at Signal Hill for twilight finger food and champagne.   Back at QE2, I had only ice cream, then decided to call it a day since the local show was on for 9:45, too late for me.

Thursday, 3 April – Cape Town

After my breakfast in  Mauritania, I went to the Lido in search of Valerie to no avail.  I paced here and there through Queens Room as all the disembarking people gathered.  I went to the Victoria and Alfred shopping area on the shuttle bus and came across Valerie twice there, so we said proper good-byes.  I wandered for a couple of hours, then returned to the ship for lunch – at Caronia, the Mauretania being closed!  Virginia came to extract me for a Reading Room visit, but I refused.  Spent time on Boat Deck looking toward Cape Town, then watched containers being off-loaded from “Louis Pasteur” cargo ship and chated with Frank.  Up to 800 are embarking!

I was on deck for our departure, and nothing was happening.  We were delayed at first because some new passengers hadn’t completed the required paper work, then after dinner, (at which we have gained Mark and Ida, from South Africa to England respectively), the Captain announced the Southeast wind was too strong to take us out between the jetties safely (55 mph gusts).  Tugs couldn’t handle our weight when blown. 

The show was painful and harsh.  Chatted with Marion Morgan and Stanley before checking the wind and retiring.  We still can’t leave.

Friday, 4 April.

I saw us leave around six o’clock as I gazed at the television.  We were pulled out of our space backwards, then turned toward the narrow channel entrance.  Slight rocking soon thereafter.  Had breakfast at my table with Mike, Rosemary, Perle, Vernon and Scott.  Although the weather was brisk and windy, I got my windbreaker and spent an hour or so on deck, Port side, reading and getting progressively colder.  Checked in with the Lees briefly, then went to the author’s talks at eleven with Virginia.  Again I tried to read on deck till the noon whistle and report.  A plane flew by at port deck level.  Lunch with Virginia at our table.  A cappella choir rehearsal 1:15.  More deck time after lime pie and the Lido. Movie:  “Men of Honor,” followed by dinner on my own at the Lido.

Saturday, 5 April – Walvis Bay, Namibia.

I was awakened early when the watertight doors closed around five o’clock.  When light came, I could see we had fog, and upon emerging, the fog was very thick.  This continued as we steamed ahead and eventually slowed way down for the channel.  Chatted with the Lees as the buoys slowly passed by, numbers rising.  Jannie found me there and we hugged in greeting, then caught up on all the news.  We by-passed our dock in the fog so had to back up a lot for us to settle into the long outer space for us near moored little boats.    The fog finally cleared up around noon as Jannie and I had lunch in the Pavilion.

My tour to the desert took us (19 four wheel drive vehicles) to the Namib Desert among salt basins, sand dunes, (vehicles stuck) and finally a long drive to the Topnaar people village and a demonstration of the NARA melon, plus their poor way of life.

We left the dock a little after six o’clock, with us being pulled sideways by two blue tugs, and a simple forward motion toward the channel.  Dinner at my table, then Jannie and I joined the Lees for an insipid magic show.  The concert was a baritone and piano duo.  Camomile tea with Jannie, then a quick check out back and bed.  Clocks back one hour 

Sunday, 6 April.

Had breakfast with Hans and wife in the Lido, after practicing the piano in the Yacht Club.

I then attended and directed the choir at the church service in the Theatre.  I also shopped and spent time on Boat Deck reading in the lovely cool air.

The noon information: Lat. 20º 35.1’S Long. 07º52.3E: 265 nautical miles west of Africa. 290º rhumb line direction: 23ºC, 70ºF @ 21.8K Wind: SSE Force 3 (9K). Slight seas and light swell.

Lunch at my table with Mark, Bishops, Virginia, Perle, Marion and Rosemary.  I slept all afternoon.  Allen, my steward, walked me to the A lift and delivered me to the Captain’s quarters for the cocktail party.  Virginia looks great in her newly clipped, short hair and slim black gown.  Rosemary, Betty, Rod and others were there.  Captain Wright is very personable, and we talked about nautical things.  He has read part of “QE2 is Missing.” I was escorted to my place next to the Captain by Muredoch!  Fantastic dinner!  We were done at nearly 10:30.  Saw “Notting Hill” till midnight.  Deck time in between.

Monday, 7 April – At Sea

Cloudy, but pleasant on deck.  I contacted Rev. Hans re: choir, then headed to Boat Deck for an hour or more, conversing with a lady next to me.  Two very tired and ill birds were resting close to the wall.  Talked about landmarks from Cape Town to Lisbon.  Lat. 17ºS, Long. 0.31º West, nearly on the Prime Meridian!  700 nautical miles west of Africa – 290º rhumb line at 21 knots.  507 nautical miles from Walvis Bay. 322 nautical miles to go to St. Helena.  Temp 25ºC. – 77ºF.  Slight seas and light swell.  Very smooth.

Had lunch with Phyllis, the Zimmermans and Phil Hayes.  I typed Phyllis’ journal on the computer while Phil slept and read.  Had my own nap.  Movie:  “Possession” – Lido with Diane Spaziani and a show.  Clocks Back One Hour.  We are now on Greenwhich Mean Time – GMT

Rhumb line is a line on the surface of the earth that follows a single compass bearing and makes equal oblique angles with all meridians.

Tuesday, 8 April – St. Helena

We anchored in the dark.  The island glowed in dawn colors and was revealed in green valleys and sparce mountain vegetation.  It took me till 11:15 to board the tender for the 15 minute ride through moored boats to the landing stage.  I walked up the main street for views back toward the ocean over the houses. The hospital is at the top of this main street.  On the way up I went into the castle gardens for a look at the lovely blooming flowers everywhere, and occasionally I admired the various churches and pastel buildings along the way.  The people seem very friendly.  When I returned to the main square where the big hotel and veranda was accommodating  several QE2 people, I went into a grocery store for a look.  Upon spotting Mars bars, I decided to spend my English money for one of them.  I returned to the ship after a short ascent up Jacob’s Ladder toward one o’clock.

The afternoon was spent on Boat Deck reading and gazing shoreward, eventually linking up with the Lees on port, then Jannie after four o’clock.  We pulled away northward at the end of the day, with 3 blasts of the ship’s whistle.  Watched the sail away dancers.

Dinner in the Mauretania was with the usual people.  I sat a long time with Jannie in the Grand Lounge waiting for the Crew Show.  Vernon joined us.  Jeff Canono sang with his group and danced as well.  There were great acts all around!

Wednesday, 9 April – At Sea

I shared breakfast at my table with the usual suspects and there was much jollity.  Had lunch there too.  I attended Marian Davies’ round table discussion with all of her student and professional performers.  I also sold raffle tickets for the Cinderella doll alongside a couple from South Africa who was selling tickets for a very tall carved giraffe and 2 other carvings.

At noon I was on Observation Deck and heard the whistle very loudly.  I also sat in a cool spot on Boat Deck.  Lat. 8º23.9’S: Long. 9º20’W.  Rhumb line 335º at 27 knots. 495 nautical miles from St. Helena @26.5knots. 2,346 nautical miles to go to Teneriffe.  Temp. 28ºC and 82ºF.  Wind: Force 4 (13K): 15K over decks.  Moderate seas and low swell.  Movie:  “Cookie’s Fortune”  Lido dinner – Italian menu.  Was in the cabin by 9 o’clock.

Thursday, 10 April – At Sea

This was Country Fair Day!  We crossed the Equator for the last time today.  Noon report:  Lat. 1º11.5;North:  13º49.1 West.  316 nautical miles southwest of Monrovia. 335º direction, 26Knotsw.  636 nautical miles since yesterday @26.5K. 1,131 nautical miles from St. Helena @29.5K.  1,710 nautical miles to go to Tenerife.  Temp. 29.5ºC: 85ºF. SSE wind Force 3, (6 knots).  20Knots over decks.  Light sea, moderate swell.  Storms north of the Canaries. 

Choir rehearsal in parts.  Sold raffle tickets, decorated and served at the Fair.  Donna Hartstone won the doll.  Lots of booths and raffles.  We were through after five o’clock.  About &75 collected for the doll raffle.

Dinner at my table.  Sat with Jannie for the magic show, then the Baritone recital.  William Allenby.  Clocks ahead one hour.

Friday, 11 April – At Sea

Today was surprisingly cool and windy.  I went on deck after my usual dining room breakfast, and settled on a deck chair with a towel on my shoulders for warmth – less than an hour, when I went to the shops and bought a skirt on sale.  At eleven, I attended Marian Davies’ lecture on Callas, then Stewart Winslow’s talk on Cunard, using his stamp collection. 

Had lunch with Phyllis and Phil, then typed her journal into Phil’s computer.  Slept the rest of the afternoon, then went to the movie “Sweet Home Alabama”   Lido dinner and the show with Jannie.  Margaret Lee helped me send an email to Louy.

Noon Report:  10º22.6’N, Long. 18ºW. 250 nm south of Dakar.  Steering due north 0º at 16.5k. 607 nautical miles since yesterday, 1,738 nm from St. Helena. 1,103 nm to go.  Temp. 23ºC, 73ºF.  Wind: NNW Force 4, (14knots) over deck 42K.  Moderate seas and swells.

Saturday, 12 April – At Sea

After breakfast at my table with the gathering friends (in early morning sun shining through),  I headed for the Boat Deck (clear, cool and windy) and settled on starboard under boat 13 with the chaise facing away from the water.  I remained here till eleven, reading and retrieving other people’s flying papers.  At eleven, I heard Marian Davies’ talk about Benny Hill.  Sat with Eric.  Back to Boat Deck – same chair until after the noonday very long whistle and navigational report. Lat. 20º35’N.  Long. 18º1’ West – Off Mauritania coast.  Compass 0º (N) 25K speed.  613 nautical miles since yesterday at 15.6 K.  2,351 nautical miles from St. Helena (36.3K) to go 405 nautical miles.  Temp. 18.5ºC, 70ºF.  Wind N, Force 5, 20K.  Over deck, 40K moderate seas and moderate swell.  Storm coming East from Mid-Atlantic. – F9 gales.  We may have to skip Madiera.

Lunch with Phyllis and Phil, followed again by more computer journal typing.

I dressed in my Hong Kong formal for dinner and the World Cruise cocktail party.  Happy greetings with Captain Wright, Ian McNaught, John Duffy and other officers.  Sat with the Lees on the opened up port side and chatted with Jannie and the Zimmmermans respectively.  After the Captain’s humorous remarks regarding his right to decide where the ship goes, (á propos of the itinerary change), and presentation of the Staff Captain Ian McNaught,  the Lees and I left for the movie “1 Hour Photo”.  Because of a storm heading Eastward toward Madiera, we will not call there, but will instead head for Vigo, Spain.

When I returned to my cabin to decorate my hat for the Garden Party Parade (which I ultimately didn’t attend) I found a lovely Wedgewood teapot with Cunard Logo on it.  Now that’s classy!

Sunday, 13 April – Tenerife

At 6:40 the watertight doors closed.  The ship slowly eased into the harbor, deliberately creeping toward the long outer quay with two cruise ships, “Topaz” (formerly “Empress of Britain”) and “A’rosa-Blu” (a huge ugly top-heavy P&O ship).  We nosed close to “Topaz’s” bow and were pushed sideways.  Gangway 5 Deck Port – C stairway.  My tour – Pyramids and Candelaria.

Back on board, I had a Lido lunch then sat on Boat Deck, dockside reading till 3:30 in cool sun and wind.  Church and choir at 4:30.  Thanks all around.   VIRGINIA’S BIRTHDAY.

We were delayed leaving because of bunkering from a huge ‘tanker.”  During dinner around seven o’clock we backed out of the harbor into the Atlantic and eventually turned around in reverse till we could go forward and around Tenerife island.  The seas and wind gradually picked up as we emerged from the lee of the island and the Jazz players played, braced against the rolling.  Surfaces cleared against dropping.

Monday, 14 April – At Sea

When dawn came and the bow picture was visible, I could see substantial spray occasionally sweeping over the bow!  The ship tossed all night.  I headed for fantail deck to watch the ups and downs of the stern and water churning in the stormy waves.  I ate two muffins while sitting aft, then went up to Boat Deck, where I walked against the wind to far forward, where I hung over the rails to watch the deep swells and waves with white foam from the ship’s water-slicing.  Attended the charity auction in Grand Lounge.  Sat out some more in clear weather, then heard Marian Davies’ talk on music.  Noon report:  Lat. 34º3’N:  Long. 41.3ºW.  Very long noon whistle.  187 nautical miles northeast of Santo  Madiera, Compass 022º, 26K – 410 nautical miles since yesterday, 500 nautical miles to go.  Temp 16ºC, 61ºF Wind NW Force 7, 30K.  50K over deck, rough seas, very heavy swells.

Earlier a man told me his closet doors came off their hinges and the safe spilled out.  Lunch at my table.  All afternoon, napping and watching the bow waves and spray up to the bridge window!  Rough!!!   (See Jan.22) Same.  The rains came as well!  Lido dinner, then the 3 Irish Tenors and Dierdre – GREAT!  Madrigals and catches in the Theatre by 3 crew – Medical Officer, Electronics Officer, and Publics Rooms Officer. OK!?  Clocks ahead one hour.

Tuesday, 15 April, Vigo, Spain

We eased to the long quay a little after eight o’clock, when Virginia arrived.  I was finished eating but stayed with everyone.  Spent an hour or so on Boat Deck while the crew drills were taking place.  All the Port lifeboats were out on their davits for the drill. Had lunch with Virginia, then said our good-byes, since she is leaving today, and will be spending time in Europe till August!  She gave me her World Cruise jewelry box, which I am thrilled to have.

Tour to La Toja, Cambados, a manor house and two churches.  Graneries.  Back by 6:30 and we set off shortly thereafter.  We were turned around 180º then sedately headed out the Bay, past the many shellfish platforms, past two lighthouse points to starboard and northward toward our destination – Southampton. Had my dinner alone in the Lido, then sat with the Lees and Jannie for the show by Allen Stewart.  Recital by William Allenby: Victorian songs.

Wednesday, 16 April – Bay of Biscay!

Smooth, comfortable sailing, pleasant on deck.  Lectures on Grace Kelly, English Historical cities.  Talent Show.  Tea in Board Room with Phil Hayes.  Lido closed!

Last show with the Lees and Jannie.  3 Irish Tenors, Irish dancers.  Coral – slinky red, Trevor – Evita and a cleaning lady.  Milk and tea with Jannie.  Full moon and cool outside.  Emails from Ann and Virginia.

Thursday, 17 April – Southampton, UK

We were dockside just before 7 o’clock.  Beautiful sunny, warm day.  Took the train to Portsmouth to meet Louy Lative, who showed me all over the harbour, including a boat tour.  Saw the “Mary Rose, “”Victory” and “HMS Warrior” – all vintage square-riggers.  Back to Southampton in his borrowed car.  We stopped at an aviation museum, and a pub with ship photos.  Louy delivered me to the ship by 4:30.  Left the dock and went down the Solent and around the outer side of the Isle of Wight. Only Dorothy and I are left, but we gained John and daughter Sue from Yorkshire, Leigh, Paul and Hugh.  Turned in early.  Clocks back one hour.

Friday, 18 April, At Sea

Good sailing.  Practiced piano before breakfast, then played for the Good Friday service at nine o’clock.  Time in the Board Room etc.  Lunch with Phyllis and Phil, then typed more for Phyllis.  Lat. 49º26.1’N; Long. 11º2.1’W. 120 nautical miles Mizenhead, Eire.  Heading great circle course 266º 24.5K.  402 nm 23.4K, 2,800 nautical miles to go.  14ºC – 57ºF.  Wind NE Force 4, 10k , 15K over decks.  Slight seas, moderate quarterly swell.

Movie “The Good Girl”.  Lido supper.  Caught a bit of the show, not my interest.  To cabin to read and organize my stuff.  Clocks back an hour.

Saturday, 19 April – At Sea.

Met Helen at the Yacht Club at 7:15 for solo rehearsal.  The early clouds and sprinkles gave way to sunshine, but by noon the clouds had returned.  Breakfast with Rosemary, Perle plus and man from Toronto and a couple from LA.  Attended Ted Scull’s talk on Liner Odyssey, then introduced myself as a linerlister.  Also saw him and his wife in the balcony the next hour when attending the lecture on the history of the Buckingham Palace site.  Gielgud lecture.  Lunch with Phyllis and Phil, then typed for two hours for her. 

The Captain says tomorrow will be rough.  Noon report: Lat. 47º39.1’ N.  Long. 26º3.3’W: 500 nautical miles north of the Azores.  Great Circle, 254º at 25.5knots.  623 nm since noon yesterday: 1,025 nm (24.3K) 2,177 nautical miles to go.  Temp 13ºC – 66ºF.  Southeast by East, Force 4 at 13K over the deck 30 K.  Slight seas: moderate swell.

Perle helped me send an email to Virginia.  5:30 Announcement from Officer of the Watch.  Hold on: extra care on stairs: secure items and doors, etc. “We don’t expect it to be too severe.”  Skipping the Captain’s cocktail party. 78-m big list to Port as we fight strong starboard winds and 21 foot waves.  Several Priority One calls! 

My new steward is Manolo!  Had dinner in the Lido with Paul (Toronto). Tables lurching and food flying.  The ship listed to Port traveling in wave troughs, rising and falling but little pitching.  Sat by starboard windows in Grand Lounge during the show, watching the foam and spew a long time.  Things in the cabin are slipping on the floor and across the bureau.  Fun!

 Sunday, 20 April – Easter

The weather has calmed down to clear and cold and brisk.  Breakfast with Perle and Rosemary, then the Protestant church service at which I sang a solo.  A crew group also sang.  I tried a short, cool time on deck, then read a while at the Grand Lounge, while facing the window scene of ocean.  Found an Easter basket on my dresser, 1. A rabbit, 2. Jelly beans and 3. Two eggs!  Also Phyllis gave me an Easter card.

Had lunch with Faith and Wendell in the Mauretania with Jack.  I spent a short time at three o’clock listening to a Cabaret singer, but soon left!  Packed more stuff.  Noon Report: Lat. 44º23.3’N: Long. 39º17.5’W; 580 nautical miles East of Cape Race, Newfoundland.  Compass reading, 245º True @ 24.5 K.  567 nautical miles since yesterday @23.6K – gone 1,592 nautical miles from Southampton with 1,610 to go: The sea has flattened to nothing.  Movie:  “Blood Work” – Watched a short bit of the “Can’t Stop the Music,” then returned to my cabin.

Priority One = Medical.  Priority 2 = plumbing.  Clocks back one hour.

Monday, 21 April.

It has been cloudy most of the day with rough seas, but there is little movement.  Breakfast and lunch with Rosemary and Perle, plus the Steamship expert and Scott.  Attended three lectures, Judi Dench, The Broadway Show, and Ted Scull’s Ocean Liner Art.  Gave him the Cheevers log and lent him Trevor Jones’ monograph on Durban Harbor.  Finished Phyllis’ journal on the computer and then she took me to the Library to choose a gift book:  “Warrior Queens” I then chatted with Ted outside the Library and there met Richard Smith for tea – which we shared with Nelty and Paul in the Lido.  Richard is very young – from Bristol.

Noon Report: Lat. 40º55.5’N; Long. 51º49.2’W; 40 nautical miles south of Titanic.  “Sea Smoke” (mist), 279 Knots since yesterday, 605 nautical miles @ 24.2K.  Since Southampton, 2,197 nautical miles.  1,005 to go.  Temp. 16.5ºC; 62ºF – Wind: E @ Force 6, 24K.  5K over the deck.  Rough seas, moderate swell. 

Had dinner at my table with John, Sue, Hugh, Dorothy and Leigh.  Baked Alaska parade and Auld Lang Syne.

Attended the Shirley Jones concert, which was well done.  She can belt it out as well as sing quietly.   Peeked in to see the Red, white and blue Ball.  Nansea Pelletier was beautifully dolled up in those colors.  Had a Horlicks with Gemma and Mary Mastony.  Clocks back an hour.

Tuesday, 22 April.

Awoke very early again.  Emerged for breakfast at eight o’clock and on the way to the dining room, I heard the fog horn – it is foggy.  Ate with Perle and Rosemary plus the two English ladies.  At ten o’clock I attended the talent show rehearsal.  “Oh Sleep” Next, I attended Ted’s talk on the evolution of New York and then the talk on Peter Ustinov.  Bought the Dench biography. Had lunch at the Lido with Lorraine and Tony.  I thoroughly enjoyed the Shirley Jones interview, followed by the Talent Show.  Both Mary Mastony and I did the last of our respective song collections, she in her frills and bouquet of roses, and I in plain dress!

Noon Report: Lat. 40º38.6’N: Long. 65º03.1’ W; Cape Race is 70 nautical miles north of here.  606 nm since yesterday, 24.2Knots.  Wind ESE at Force 4, 12K.  13.5ºC; 56ºF.  

Had dinner with Leigh, Dorothy, Hugh, John and Sue – photo.  Last visit to the Board Room.  Said my goodbye to Maria and Frank.  Movie:  “The Importance of Being Ernest.”  Clocks back one hour.

Wednesday, 23 April – New York Harbor

I was awake a little before four o’clock and shortly after, the watertight door hissed to a close.  I went on deck (very chilly and dark) to watch the pilot boat deliver the pilot.  2 Marshalls and eventually the immigration officials came in three boats.  The skyline was lit up as was the Verrazano Bridge, which we eventually went under toward six o’clock, to the tune of Ted Scull’s narration.  The distance between bridge and funnel top is 30 or so feet, but it looks spectacular during the pass-under!  I did my passport inspection at 6:30 (the line snaked clear around the Lido), then headed for Mauretania for breakfast and farewells at seven o’clock.  By this time we were docked, and I missed it all.  Cleared out my cabin and plunked my heavy stuff in the Chart Room. I didn’t need to do the customs.  Disembarked by ten thirty and claimed my stuff.   Arrived home by 6:30 PM.


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.


2003 WC-Sydney-Nagasaki – Part 3

Wednesday, 12 February – Sydney, Australia.

Was up at five o’clock watched shore beacons and channel lights as I dressed, then emerged on deck just as QE2 was passing between the high cliffs of the famous Heads, on the north and the point on the south at a pretty good pace.  I stood aft on sun deck so I could go from side to side as we followed the channel to and past the line-up points and curved toward the Sydney Harbor Bridge.  We passed Fort Denison to port – built during the Crimean War – in case Russia were to invade!?  On we went past McQuairie Point to the Opera House, where the tugs assisted us by pushing and pulling us 90º for the back-in and sideways to the  quay.  Meanwhile, the sun rose over the shore from horizon clouds, revealing the beautiful skyline and glittering reflections off skyscrapers and neon signs. – over Manley as well as Sydney.

I almost regret I will be off the ship for the next four days, visiting Norma Hoad in Brisbane, but glad I’ll be returning for the original itinerary booked last Summer.

Breakfast with Virginia Dolan in Lido.  The bow camera is set on Harbor Bridge, a great view.  Taxi to Airport – Flew to Brisbane. Norma met me.

Wednesday – Saturday – Brisbane

Norma took me to her house in Clayfield.  Hot!  Coot-tha-Hill lookout over vast view of Brisbane.  Supper there.  Feb 13 – Caloundra – Point Wickham – Light mast, memorials – Tavern lunch – Mooloolaba – walk by the shore – view to Point Cartwright light and Pilot station.  Norfolk Pines, slash pine forests, Cook Island Pines, tall Condos – Glass House Mountains)very pointed volcanic necks.   Feb. 14.  Met Iris Towell at Sheraton Hotel downtown Brisbane for buffet lunch.  Yellow Fever injection at three o’clock – bus back.  An interesting development here is worth recording.  While at the Doctor’s office waiting for the injection to take effect, and while I was being observed, the Doctor mentioned that there was an enquiry as to how much serum they had on hand because they needed 400 doses in Sydney.  As I told her bout the requirement, she realized the reason why!  QE2 passengers needed those pronto!   Bruce, Norma’s son, took us to the seaside for fish and chips and a walk along the shoreline at dusk.

Saturday, February 15 – Brisbane

Spent the morning at Norma’s home in Clayfield.  She delivered me to the ship by two o’clock.  There were many security people and I was required to take the shuttle from the road to the dock.  This dock is the most remote spot of the seaport, and all around on the horizon toward the city.  To the north and east are N. Stradbroke and Moreton Islands and further north and west are Caloundra Head and Cartwright Point where I was yesterday.  Alas we will pass Fraser Island and myriad other landmarks during the night!  Ship turned 180˚ push and pull by tugs.

Tried the Austin Powers movie (ugh).  Dinner in Lido alone, watching coastal lights – our zigzag course, then settling down.  Show with Lees, who had a harrowing elevator experience in Sydney.  Horlicks with them, then a look at the distant blinking light on shore.  Moon clear and nearly full.  Calm, gentle, warm breeze.

Sunday, 16 February

When I emerged for breakfast, I couldn’t see any land to port and soon found we were well east of the Barrier Reef, and we won’t see any of it all day.  I was comforted a bit as I shared my wrath with Eric and Margaret.  Eric suggested I check the television for latitude and longitude to find our position.  We were East of MacKay far outside and heading northwest.  I decided to go to Boat Deck anyway, which I did (under boat 14) for about 5 hours.  I read the Cook Journals, gazed out westward to beautiful blue white-capped water, talked with Madeline and eventually ate club sandwiches and apple and grape juice gleaned from the Board Room.  At noon the report was :  Lat. 20º51′ S,  Long. 153º08′ E, 30 miles east of the Barrier Reef, 398 nautical miles from Brisbane at 25.6 knots.  Compass direction:  302º true – 504 to go.  Temp. 30º C: 86º F – Wind SSE at Force 6 (over the deck).  Around 2 o’clock  I left the Boat Deck and encountered Valerie on her way to her cabin then sat with Irvin and an Australian couple, chatting till nearly three o’clock.  Back at the cabin I found my tour tomorrow is canceled, so I rebooked another.  Oh yes, I wrote more post cards and a thank you note to Norma!  Tea with May and Doris.  Invitation to World Cruise Society Dinner in Singapore, March 14. RSVP.

Dinner at Mauritania – Ann Hampton Calloway concert – Horlicks with Lees.  Met Violet Crafton finally! 

Monday, 17 February – Yorkey’s Knob

We were nearly anchored when I awoke, and the bow picture showed headlands to the north.  At Lido breakfast I could see knobby islands and a promontory toward shore.  A rainbow appeared between tropical showers as four of the tenders bounced around waiting for the passenger process.  I was one of the early ones and joined the bouncing and wet trip to shore.  I think the hilly peninsula is the “Yorkey’s Knob” right next to the Yacht Club.

Did the Port Douglas tour, including a wildlife park trip in sun and rain, and we went about 50 K along the Cook Highway northward.  Back at the landing, I switched to the Shuttle Bus for a trip into Cairns.  Found more soft kangaroo leather pouches, which I promptly bought for gifts.  The boat ride back to QE2 was rocky and pitchy, and the helmsman zigzagged to the wave troughs to avoid a very wet head-on pounce!

Tea in Queens Room with a Japanese lady.  Watched boats being raised.  Too hot out.  Cabin time.  Movie 6:30 “Bedazzled.” Lido dinner with Faith and Wendell.  Show:  A British comedian.  Violet joined Eric,  Margaret and myself for Horlicks.  Bed at 10.

Tuesday, 18 February

What I anticipated would be an exciting day turned out to be a complete washout, because I thought we would be doing a close pass through the Torres Strait.  I went to Boat Deck under boat 4 and staked out my spot for strait sights.  Upon seeing no landmarks, I surmised we were still way east of the Barrier Reef.  At noon the position of Latitude 90º 35′ S and Longitude 144º 33′ East put us far north and near Bligh entrance and Bramble Cay light.  Compass reading was 322º, speed 26 knots.  Temp. 29º C  84º F.  Have traveled 495 nautical miles from Cairns at 27.19 knots: water 30º C; 86º F. 1040 nautical miles to go to Darwin.  Wind NWN Force 4, 16 knots.  We were in the Coral Sea, wind over deck 44 knots and moderate sea.

I continued on deck, and obtained my sandwiches and grape juice from the Board Room.  An Aussie spent some time next to me in conversation about our position and speculating between brief showers, not very wetting.  I observed distance islands for a long while until by three o’clock we had strings of islands to port with white sands and aqua waters.  The Pilot boat came splashing toward us from our bow area and the Pilot came aboard by 3:25 on port side.  Dr. Peter Crimes gave brief remarks from the bridge in short fits and starts, then put us off by four o’clock stating the narrowest part of Torres Strait will be after dark.  At this point I gave up after six hours on deck – waiting for “nothing.”

I joined Doris and May for tea then retreat to the cabin.  I washed and set my hair too late for it to dry before dinner or the movie, so I puttered in the cabin watching for possible sights on the bow camera.  I did notice a blinking beacon or two but didn’t know if one was truly Booby Island or not.  Anyway, I checked the chart on Quarter Deck which showed us passing through Endeavour Strait after all. 

Lido dinner with Tim, then I sat as usual with the Lees and Doris for the magic and comic show.  A Brit.  Horlicks again with Violet joining us.  Then the movie “One Hour Photo” followed by Gala Buffet and dessert with Violet and the two Canadian half-sisters, Marilyn and Elaine.  Bed after midnight.

Security observations.   Some sort of boat, QE2 tender, or pontoon rescue boat patrol is active while we are at anchor or at a dock.  One day off Yorkey’s knob, I saw an orange Zodiac with two divers.  I.D. card and bar scanned on return to the ship and required at entrance to terminals.  Brisbane agents everywhere and no one unauthorized allowed near the ship.  From Darwin on- watches will be posted fore and aft for pirates.  Day and night, there have been many more on Security duty in white uniforms.

Wednesday, 19 February

Carpenteria Gulf – Another cloudy, very humid day.  I vowed to stay inside.  I was supposed to have breakfast with Tim in the Mauritania, but ended up eating on my own at the window table forward of the Lees.  On my way up there I detoured to see the stormy shipwreck oil painting on 2 Deck where the B Stairway ends.  Spent the morning with the Lees finishing up the Cinderella doll.  Many ladies stopped by to see her.

The crew had a complete fire and lifeboat drill, with the different crews doing their designated jobs.  Phoenix, priority one et. al was  called out.  All we saw were the lifeboat station people in Queens Room.

At eleven fifteen I delivered the bag of extra stuffing and yarn to Elaine’s office on my way to attend the tribute to Andrew Lloyd Weber – done by that great duo, Joseph Garry and David Frazier.  I then joined Wendell and Faith for lunch in the Mauritania, where we were joined by a couple from Melbourne.  Afterward I spent most of the afternoon basically hunting for Phyllis, and on the way sat with Virginia Dolan in Lido for a while.  I read a little in Yacht Club, but loud music drove me out.  Tried in Grand Lounge, then joined May and Doris for tea. May encountered a cockroach last night!

Conferred with Betty about upgrading my QE2 booking for April 25-May 1 to a Caronia double  cabin with Phyllis.  Prospect is good C5 (with porthole) $3,309 – 10% -5% = $2,829 per person.       To the  cabin near 5.  Movie “The Good Girl” – Dinner in Lido with Virginia. 

Thursday, 20 February –  Darwin

Clocks were set back 30 minutes last night.

QE2 slowly eased forward and sideways onto the outer dock still facing toward the land.  Cloudy and rainy.  Sat with Violet and eventually Phyllis at our hasty breakfast, and I exchanged addresses with Violet Crafton.

At 8:30 we were all allowed off the ship and Quarantine inspectors did spot checks of our bags.  One of them only looked at mine, but inspected Virginia’s.  She and I sat together on the Darwin Discovery tour, including the town military area, wildlife in the wild and Botanical Gardens where I saw a preserved Weslyan church which had survived the 1978 Cyclone, which devastated Darwin. 

Lunch with the Lees.  Rice pudding, made specially for them by Andrea!  Puttered in my  cabin till 3:30 when I went to get an ice cream cone from the Pavilion.  As I walked through Queens Room a lady indicated she would like a cone as well, so I fetched one for her.  I then went to the Board Room and found Valerie having tea.  We talked a long time and were joined by Rod from Birmingham.  We discussed the canals there and big tides of the Severn etc.

I returned to my cabin to emerge at departure time.  On the way to Mauretania for dinner I paused to watch the tugs pull us away from the dock and turn us around, tug pulling on stern and a tug on bow pushing clockwise.  There are two new men at our table, a new host (Alex) and Beryl from Canberra.  Pearl went to late sitting.

Sat with the Lees for the show.  Horlicks, then I chatted with Boston Valerie, Marion Morgan, an English Valerie (Woods I think) and Sheila till we adjourned at 10:30.  Clocks back 30 minutes again.  Cabin via H stairway to 4 Deck.  5 is for crew there now.

Friday, 21 February – Banda Sea

Today has been mostly stormy and rainy.  The noonday information was as follows: Lat. 07º 03′ S – Long. 128º 54′ E.  12 1/2 miles from an island Dadoar (?)  Heading 338º  23 knots – 370 nautical miles from Darwin at speed 21.14 knots – 1,403 nautical miles to go:

Temp. 28º C. – 82º F.  Wind NWW Foce 6.  24 knots – 50 knots over deck – moderate seas.

After Mauretania breakfast with an Australian woman and soon joined by Tim at table 257 near the Lees, (good discussion with him about Cook, gays, is it psychological etc.?)  I met Phyllis for our potential QE2 booking.  Betty informed us  the promised 10% was no longer on – so we decided to let our idea go for now.

Attended the tour lecture.  Oh yes, on my way forward and up to breakfast, I paused at the top of Stairway B to study the “lee shore” shipwreck oil painting.  Had a nice chat with Jefferson Canono, who indicated he may leave in the future – It seems he and wife may go to QM2 and live in England.

Lunch in the Lido with Lees.  John Duffy came by to chat because those two used to be shipmates in the 50’s.  Wandered around through the stores and went to Cruise Office trying to deliver the finished doll to Elaine, but had to wait till the movie “Road to Perdition” was over.  When I did find Elaine she was delighted.  Back to the cabin during tea.

Dinner at 7:30 in Lido.  Sat with Rod from Brum.  Show – singer with powerful voice and great Judy Garland impersonator.  Horlicks with Lees, then bed.   Clocks back an hour tonight.

Some of the Seas we will be in this section from Darwin to Kota Kinabulu, are Banda Sea, Molucca Sea, Celebes Sea, Sulu Sea, Flores Sea, Selat Makaser.  Who knows where the begin and where they blend into another sea!

Saturday, 22 February – Equator crossing again.

We crossed the Equator again today.  As I started to do my deck walk, I came across Joan and John across from me on Port, so I joined them for breakfast in Mauretania.  Betty joined us too.

Read the Bisset passages about the frozen compass to Eric and Margaret and Eric was practically on the edge of his seat with interest.  At ten I attended the lecture on Kota Kinabulu.  Back to the Queens Room for more chatting as we admired the glitzy decorations for the ball tonight.  “Puttin’ on the Ritz.” Virginia came along briefly on her way to the POSH lecture while I went to the cabin to “regroup.”

Lunch with Virginia in the Mauretania then Diane came along to tell me the America’s Cup races will be broadcast on channel 15 at 8 am.  The 4th race was postponed because of fluky winds.    Attended a reading in Yacht Club.  Bought a black small purse.

Noon reading: Lat. 01º N – Long. 125º 38′ E/ 528 since yesterday.  Speed 21.12 knots.  100 to go.  21.17 knots – 30º C – 86º F: Wind: NbW, Force 3, 12K.  Slight sea and low swell – passing between several islands east of Borneo.   Spent a long time in my cabin watching films on the television.  P & O ships – Des Cox – “Upstairs, Downstairs.”

Tim joined me in the Lido, dressed in his dress blues.  He is enjoying Captain Cook’s Journals.  He thinks I am interesting because I can talk on many subjects!   The Concordia show was most interesting, dealing with the life and music of Ivor Novello.  Gillian Humphreys sang along with her troops.  She is ever so close to past it.

Stayed a short time at the Ball, photographed the decorations and left.  Margaret and later Maria told me about the seat saving altercation before the show.  She has filled me in on a suicide on the Christmas Cruise.  2 in fact.  One man left a note with instructions – namely he was terminal and wanted to go quickly. 

A package awaited me on my bed.  A beautiful wooden music box, jewelry case, which I have immediately started to fill with my nighttime chocolates, which is a World Cruise special gift.

Sunday, 23 February

I finally found channel 15 as it broadcast the America’s Cup race.  However, since there was a race delay, they re-ran race two and race one, which I was thrilled actually to see.  I went to Lido to pick up a quick two muffins, banana and milk and returned to my cabin.  Was there to hear the daily watertight door test.  Race 4 postponed.

When I emerged to stay, I joined the Lees briefly while Maria and Frank were tap dancing, and Peter Garland was with us too.  Spent some time on Boat Deck somewhat exposed to the sun, and soon went to the shady side till noon and the whistle signal and navigational information.  Read Bisset’s Commodore till time for Mauretania lunch, which was with Andrew and Joan from Australia.  John Zimmerman joined us for a lively discussion on memories.  Afterward Phyllis and I wrestled with Phil Hays’ computer as I typed her dictated journal.  I do mean “wrestled.”   I had to track  Phil down for help.  While hunting for him I walked all over the ship, eating ice cream!  By the way the temperature was quite comfortable.

Lat. 05º 43′ N.  Long. 119º 34′ E.  28 nautical miles northeast of Borneo.  Traveled since yesterday = 497 nautical miles at 20.71 knots.  Temp. 28º C,  82º F.   Wind:  NE Force 3, 12 Knots – 30 knots over the deck.  1,397 since Darwin @21K.  376 nautical miles to go – slight seas.

Had to wash and set my hair (I look scruffy) so read and puttered in my cabin till time to go to the Lido.  Tim joined me again for his hasty meal before dancing.  I went to the show a little earlier, so didn’t have to feel guilty about the Lees saving and “defending” my seat next to them!  (Doug Cameron) from LA.  He gave the QE2 band a very challenging set of charts, which they performed magnificently, eliciting a standing ovation at the end as the band members came forward for a very lively jam session!   Went directly back to my cabin.  No Horlicks since the Lees went right down too.

Monday, 25 February,  Kota Kinabulu – Borneo

The watertight doors closed just before six o’clock.  The television screen showed our approach to the East as a colorful sunrise glowed over the mountain silhouette of Borneo.

After breakfast with an Australian couple, I walked up to Boat Deck for a look across from the ship to the island opposite the city of Kota Kinabulu, which has a large village on stilts and a bright white mosque with two minarets.  Back toward the city shore, I could see the oval tall skyscraper, the City Mosque, also with two minarets and further along, the high rise buildings and the ships of the harbour.

Took a tender (#13) from five Deck G stairway to shore, where we were greeted by a small percussion group dressed in native costume, and presented with a beaded lei.  My tour took us past the city streets and shopping “malls” and to a brief five-minute stop to photograph the 13 domed State Mosque and children on recess from school there.  The uniform was green long dress and white head dress.  On we went to the train through villages and jungle – hotel culture show and back to the ship by one o’clock.

Lunch with Gemma, Howard and Bill (hosts) then a long conversation with Vernon on the side of Queens Room while enjoying tea.  Shortly before six o’clock the watertight door closed for our departure while I watched “Upstairs, Downstairs.”

Dinner in Mauretania with Margaret, Dorothy and Vernon and later the two American gents. Who turned out to be Bill Greenwood and Richard Clay.  Previously I had spent cabin time debating on where I’d go!  The Lees didn’t show up for the show, so I wandered a bit to the shops and on deck, where I found the air still warm and damp, but forward wind was effective to cool to a degree.  However, I didn’t want to linger there, so returned to the usual lounge area and sat with Doris and later, Betty from Scotland for the humorist from Ireland, Roy Walker.  Not impressed.  However, after that I attended the classical concert in the Theatre!  Yuri Kalnits (violin) and Mihou Sanou (piano) playing Brahms and Massenet.  I wanted to see the movie but left at 10:40.  By the way, they use a pretty hefty red jack to raise two piano legs to place in square solid non-slip boxes.  Great idea.  The one guy responsible for the Theatre can do it all on his own.   Watched “Mrs. Calicoto’s Cabbage War” with Pauline Collins, Michael Horden etc.  late into the night on TV.

Tuesday, 25 February

With more comfortable temperatures and less humidity I have spent several hours on deck under midship boats on both sides – avoiding the sun as it climbed over “the yardarm!”  At eleven o’clock I went to the Grand Lounge to hear the Concordia group talks on individuals’ theatre experiences.  Made contact with Tim to receive the Cook Journal return, then we met again on deck to await the noonday whistle and position report.

Lat. 100 22′ N,  Long. 118º 02’E.  47 nautical miles west of Palowan Island.  Wind NW   Copurse 025º  Distance traveled 421 nautical miles at 18.34 knots to go: 380 nautical miles – will reach port near six o’clock am.

Joined Wendell and Faith briefly at Crystal Bar to discuss our frustration about getting America’s Cup coverage.  A waiter joined in.  Had lunch with Phyllis by the window at 211, then we parted – me for the movie, which I left for more deck time till tea with May and Doris.

Someone told me Cunard still retains 42% of the shares and Carnival has 68%!!??   Attended Peter Garland’s Indian Curry Charity dinner in the Pavilion, and sat with Peter Phillips, the Civil War novelist and the Doctor, Martin.  Peter used to be a surgeon. The food was quite hot in spots and the dessert was a very sweet pudding.  I excused myself to attend the John Davidson show which was very active, frenetic, nostalgic, and I enjoyed it.  When the show was over, many of us went to Queen’s Room to witness the big drawings for the big stuffed rabbits, bears, booze etc.  It dragged on, so I left for the cabin at 10:30.  Earlier I had written a note with $60 in it for Welie, then learned he is going on leave tomorrow, so it was fortuitous I had planned to do this now.  He is Filipino for sure.

Wednesday, 26 February – Manila, Philippines

We arrived at Pier 15 at seven o’clock.  The ship was turned around and backed into the pier on port side.

I took the tour to Corregidor via a large catamaran hull high-speed boat, across the 26 miles of Subic Bay.  Saw Bataan to the right and a couple other islands to the left which figured in WWII.  Saw lots of ruins, greens, and memorials and had lunch at the MacArthur Hotel, followed by a stop at the significant Malinta Tunnel.  Back on board by four o’clock.  6:30 “Midsummer Night’s Dream” movie.  Busy Lido – show, Petrina Johnson.

Thursday, 27 February –  South China Sea

Bunkering went so slowly that we weren’t able to leave till one o’clock this morning, while I was sleeping.  Today dawned sunny and more comfortably cool, so after breakfast on my own near the Lees, I found a good deck chair under boat 4 or 6 (forgot) and read for a couple of hours. I then felt compelled to head for Eric and Margaret to whom I had promised to read the “Usworth”, “Ascania” and “Jean Jado” rescue in 1934.  Both were enthralled listeners.  By 11:30 I was ready to return to Boat Deck for more air and water and the navigation info at noon.  S. China Sea.  Lat. 17º 45′ N – Long. 119º 59′ E – 21 nautical miles west of Luzon.  273 nautical miles from Manila at 25.75K, 1,054 nautical miles to go to Nagasaki – need speed to make up time.  29ª C – 84º F.  Small fishing boats far out.  Saw whales on starboard.

Attended a great talk on Japan by Sir Roger Carrick, then joined Virginia, Iris, Tim, Stanley, Phyllis and Joyce for a lively lunch in Mauretania.  Heard about the canoe trip Tim and Phyllis made in Borneo.  I then went to the shops with Virginia and while there told an attendant about the wrong figures on the QE2 mugs.  They have 930 feet length but it is 963 feet in length – and later when pointing out the inaccuracy to the guys at the One Deck shop, they called the manager to tell him.  All surprise to everyone!  The speed statistic is wrong too!  Anyway, no one had pointed this out in all this time from Fort Lauderdale when they re-opened the shops.  Prior to this I had talked a long time with Virginia in the Board Room.  Cashed $40 worth for 3000 Yen.  Peter Garland caught me with my front curler still in – on 3 Deck D stairway on the way up.  Took it out with humor.  Lido dinner alone.  Tim didn’t show up till I was done.  “I have made a committment.”  Let him go.  As I stepped into the show last minute. Clocks ahead one hour.

Friday, 28 February – East China Sea

Cloudy but for the most part, comfortable.  Breakfast alone at a window near the Lees.  I returned to the cabin for my windbreaker then joined Eric and Margaret to show them my chosen library books, “Eight Bells & Top Masts” by Christopher Lee (no relation) and “Freighter World Cruising” by Philip P. O’Neill.  I also bought another QE2 book with space for a brief journal.

At ten I attended a great slide show on Japan, then went to the Yachting conference.  A Brit told us of his professional racing career.  He knows Coutts and Conner and told of his harrowing roll over experience in the Bay of Biscay, and Trans-Atlantic boat deliveries.  Diane also told in more detail her experience solo sailing – Freedom Sloop rigged for solo handling.     Lunch with the Lees.  Deck time under a starboard aft boat.  Movie “The Minority Report” sci-fi!

Dinner in Mauretania, then Captain’s Cocktail party where I mingled with Gemma, Virginia, Rosemary, and Phil,  Peter Philips (finally got his name right) Betty, and Valerie.  Today was YoYo’s birthday, so we all sang to her.  She has been here eleven years.  Doug Cameron violin – jazz show.  Another stander! 

The ship is rolling and pitching a little bit.

Concert in the Theatre – piano and accordion by Miho Sanou and Phuong Nguyen from the Concordia group.

Diane Spaziani told of a mistake the Pilot made coming out of Brisbane.  Apparently the ship was going the wrong side of a channel marker and went in reverse quickly to make the sharp turn and right the wrong.  A man from Wooloobaloo confirmed that channel is tricky.

A new term:  “Tender.”  When a ship is low on fuel or water, lacking the ballast value, it tends to heel one way or the other and become less stable.


2003 World Cruise, LA-Sydney Part 2

World Cruise, 2003, QE2 Part 2.

Just left LA.

Sunday, 19 January

It was chilly on deck when I checked around lunchtime.  During the morning, I sat with the Lees for awhile, and encouraged by Margaret, I went to the Cruise Staff Office to ask Elaine if she had extra balls of yarn. Sure enough, she opened two large sealed boxes with all sorts of colorful balls and I found the brown and white I needed, and returned to chat with the Lees.  Eventually, I saw Jean Burns approaching from the Lido.  We greeted and she presented Margaret and me with beautiful round crocheted doilies, made by her friend.

I went to the singles party at Yacht Club, where I met a lovely Scottish lady from Stirling, who is an avid walker. (Betty)  We compared experiences and decided we had something in common.

Tim has been assigned to another table, and he encouraged me to join him, which I have done – Table 321.  Lunch in Lido with two gents, then I sat in the Board Room a bit knitting before attempting the movie – “Rush Hour 2.” Ugh.  Returned to my cabin to rest.  Had dinner in the Lido with Jean and eventually Tim.  Joined him for the show, which was an American comedian.  Didn’t much care for him.

To the cabin just before ten o’clock.  Seas gentle all day – somewhat cool as we trace a “great circle” course toward Hawaii.  The new Select Traveler guide,  Nancy Pelletier left a letter and a zipper bag for me.

Monday, 20 January

Cloudy and rainy morning.  White caps.  Breakfast with Irvin.  Knit at the Lee’s stronghold.  Chatted with Terry W. and others in the Board Room, then spotted the other Terry from England about train spotters and ship spotters etc.  Attended a lecture on China then lunch with Madeline, the French lady from Hawaii.  Fog came around us – Movie “All at Sea.”  Saw Tim afterward and he was still laughing.  Brief visit with Eric and Margaret in Lido.  None of us has seen Jean yet.

Sat at my new table (321) tonight with Tim.  Margaret Cole from 2 years ago, Shirley, Joanne, Dorothy, Tim, Vernon and Pearl representing England, Wales, Canada and USA.  Called Jean (1080) to see how she is.  She has been quiet and in her cabin except for short trips to the Lido.  Okay.  Jack Jones presented a good show, which was well received.  Sang with a film of his Dad, Allan Jones – then “Donkey Serenade” with Jeanette McDonald.  His daughter sang with him too!  Had a Horlicks with the Lees before going to the cabin.  They have moved to a better cabin on 4 Deck. 

There is a fair amount of motion tonight.  Walking a straight line is not possible.  I put paper in my door to stop the rattle, but a door in back of the outer cabin banged all night.  I later learned it was the open safe door next door, and the steward closed it in the morning.

Tuesday, 21 January

Awoke very early to banging door in outside cabin next to me.  The ship is still tossing but seems to be calming down.  Took my letter to Jack Jones to Purser’s Office.  Then eventually I emerged to see still cloudy, wet skies.  At breakfast I sat with Anne France, an American widow of a Brit – living in Virginia.  We found a lot in common; discussing canals, books and experiences.  The most thrilling news she shared was that the ship will bypass Russell’s Bay and head for Hobart, Tasmania.  I later found Jean eating late in the Lido, but we soon parted as I wanted to attend the port lecture on Hawaii.

I have wandered on deck, trying to find a non-windy and dry spot to linger, but I was largely unsuccessful because rainsqualls came and went (or better, we went in and out of the squalls).  I eventually settled in a deck chair just next to the Observation Deck stairs on Port, but rain came again.  Crystal Bar offered a quiet haven.  At noon Capt. Warwick came onto the tannoy with the noon position report – after the noon whistle.

943 nautical miles to go to Honolulu.  Rain, sun, rough seas – lots of white caps on waves and swell.  Winds Force 7.  Our forward motion makes it 50 knots heading with 50-knot gusts!  Barometer 1004 milibars and rising.  Hopes for clearing in the evening.

I met Jean for lunch at the Lido and we ate with Stanley (Pendlebury) and two ladies.  From where I sat I could see the stern rise and fall radically in a might pitching motion!!  At  2:30 I tried out the film but left within 30 minutes, headed for Crystal Bar to watch the huge waves, spray and white caps while reading Darwin – on Tasmania.  Feeling drowsy, I returned to the cabin where I knitted and watched the Monty Python – “Meaning of Life.”

The ship occasionally varies the pitching motion with a sense of rumba bumps sideways.  I imagine side waves tend to slap back at the hull as the stabilizers gyro away.

I received invitations to the Captain’s party for World Cruisers at 7:15, but I won’t be going.  Another invitation to the Select Traveler party tomorrow evening.  That I’ll attend.  Meanwhile, I puttered in the cabin, skipped dinner – but did attend the Captain’s party and saw the ice sculptures and food.   Ship still tossing a bit.  To bed early!  Clocks back an hour.

Wednesday, 22 January

I did my progressive deck walking on the way up to breakfast in Mauritania and sat next to the Lees.  At 2 Deck just past D stairway, I came upon the closed zone 5 water tight door, so had to go to the port side.  At E I crossed back to see what was wrong and found three buckets placed to catch a persistent trickle of water and door hanging from the ceiling!  Very wet carpet too.  On 2 Deck I went forward to see 2007 and was reminded how very far forward it is.  Lots of motion.

Although there was no sun, I sat quite a while on a deck chair under Boat 4.  Cloudy with light patches; wind still strong but abated to sprayless white caps.  Swell going broadside from Starboard to Port so the pitch is minimal and the stabilizers are doing their work well.  Mild air.

After a while, with wild blown hair, I went to find the Lees in Queens Room.  Knitted a while, then got more yarn from Elaine’s office.  Lecture on Northeast Asia – then checked out the shops.  Then the legends of Hawaii before lunch.  Ate with Jean Burns then Irvin joined us.  More knitting afterward, then returned to my cabin.  Marilyn knitted with us.

Spent most of the afternoon in my cabin.  Attended the Select Traveler cocktail party in Queens Room where we met Nancy Pelletier our hostess.  Elaine and other cruise staff came by to greet us, and after the announcement, I slipped out to join my new tablemates for dinner.  Tim came later.  Saw most of the movie, a thriller “Don’t Say a Word.” Back to my cabin by 8:30.  Since I couldn’t sleep, I got up and knitted eleven of the twelve required roses for the Cinderella doll I am making, then ran out of pink yarn.  At least I don’t have to search out more pink.  Seas have flattened out significantly.  Clocks back an hour.

Thursday, 23 January – Honolulu

I was awakened  to the tune of pneumatic sounds and clunk of the watertight door at my bed-head.  Peered into the corridor and greeted Betty on her way up to observe.  Eventually I too emerged to watch us enter Honolulu Harbor at dawn.  The Fireboat spouted its welcome, QE2 blew her whistle 2 times, then in the harbor, blew three times.  We zigzagged to position for entering the dockside on starboard.  Aloha Tower is dwarfed by myriad taller buildings and our ship.  A band played and a single hula dancer did her stuff to the accompaniment of 2 singers.  Called each family and left a message for Ann.  Breakfast.

Took the free bus to Hilo Hatties- then Ala Moana Mall and back.  Movie “The Rookie”

Evening – Nansea escorted our Select Traveler group for dinner at Moana Surfside Hotel – Cocktails on the 6th Floor Verandah overlooking Waikiki Beach.  Saw the little museum before dinner in a special function room downstairs right next to the beach and encroaching water.  Sat with Stanley and Phyllis Reynolds on either side.  A Hula dancer and three piece band, provided the entertainment.  As we returned to the ship we did a tour of the historical highlights, Iolani Palace, Kamehameha statue (3 made – one sank and retrieved, one here, and one in Smithsonian), Missionary church (coral) houses, (wood).  We were back on board the ship by ten thirty.

Friday, 24 January – Honolulu

I wandered around the Aloha Tower market, and went up the tower to photograph the ship from above.  Made some purchases. Jean, Burns and I had lunch and then we took the yellow trolley to the International Market Place via a very circuitous route – it became comical!  Rather than figure out the return trip we took a taxi back.  Movie “Planet of the Apes.”  Dinner in the Lido with Terry and later Marion Morgan and Valerie.  Captain Warwick,  Kim and family were all there.   Hawaiian show.

At departure time the tugs did exactly as I predicted, namely, one at each end of the ship pulled her away from the dock and QE2 slowly backed out with stern leading to port.  The aft port tug pulled harder than the bow one, thus affecting the bow pivot.  They had to pause, however, before all this happened to wait for an incoming Matson barge to pass by.  Meanwhile, both tugs held her next to the dock, then the process described above began again.  When well away and stern to the channel, the port tugs eased off and starboard aft tug took over to nudge the ship and keep her in control as forward steerageway was slowly gained.  This tug, went a fair distance pushing and remaining at right angles to the hull of QE2 – rudder hard to port.  A lady near me was glad to hear my explanations.  The decks and railings were wet after rain. I was back in the cabin before one o’clock.  Watertight doors are still closed!  I sang “Lorelei” for Terry and Marion at the Lido dining table.  Laughter.

[This must be included here for my own reference, and has nothing to do with the ship.  At noon I met Faith Bickford’s namesake by name, Faith Bishop.   This woman’s mom and dad were married by Father Bickford and stayed in the Trumpet Shed many times, plus the Foster Homestead, which I knew as Elder Brewster Homestead.  Mrs. Bickford’s parents were Fosters.  The couple, Wendell and Faith, re related to the Bickfords of Brewster, MA.]

Saturday, 25 January

Around eight o’clock I greeted the gray day and had breakfast with Madeline in the Lido, then as she headed for her deck chair under the eves outside Yacht Club, I continued up to Boat Deck, where I sat a while reading on a hard deck chair under boat 13 in the shade.  There were two deck hands repairing the aft crane with weights and WD40.  When finished one of the heavy weights was rolled across the beam deck.  I read more of the Cook Journals till eleven, when I went to the Theatre to hear Des Cox’s lecture on his life at sea, complete with video and slides.  Was back on deck in a cushioned chair under boat ten in the shade of wind and lifeboat.  Noon whistle test of all tones. 

Our noon position today:  Latitude 17º North; Longitude 156º57′ E, 262 nautical miles south of Honolulu.  Direction 108º straight for next 4 days.  2150 nautical miles to go to Papeete.  Wind 24 knots; Temp.  28º C.  82º F.  Took my sandwiches from Board Room to eat on deck.  Dessert at Lido with Marion and two men, Tim and John (English), then Bob from New York.

At 2:30 I joined Eric for the showing of QE2 by Rob Rombout and Louis-Philippe Capelle in the Theatre – followed by tea with Eric and Margaret.  Washed my hair and knitted till dry.

Not wanting to eat so early, I opted for dress up and dinner in the Lido.  While waiting for 7:30 I struck up a conversation with Holly Hennicke.  We discovered her growing love for QE2 and shipping in common, so there was never a dull moment in conversation as we sat way aft in the Lido.  Crème caramel.  The show in the Lounge was unique – with two lovely lasses playing harp and ‘cello (both acoustic and electrified) from Cheetham boarding school in Manchester.  Joy Smith (Harp), Kirsten Spencer (‘cello). Was back in the cabin before ten o’clock.  Found a tan QE2 bag on my bed – World Cruise perk!

Sunday, January 26

This sunny, warm windy day for me was mostly spent inside.  Watched “Chocolate” first thing in the cabin.  I next went straight to the Theatre for the port talk on Tahiti, then quickly to Grand Lounge for a narrative and musical treatment on Gauguin’s life by two actors,  David O. Frazier (singer) and Joe Garry.  Sat in front row with Tim.  Next I went back to the Theatre to hear Rob Rombout and Louis-Philippe “Men at Sea.”

Lunch in Lido by starboard windows with Madeline and another couple, Fritz and Maryann. Upon emerging to test the air, which was comfortable and windy, I sat under boat 10 for a couple of hours reading and knitting till near teatime.  Ducked into the Board Room and out again to head downward.  At G stairway One Deck, I stopped to converse with Rob and Louis-Philippe about ships.  They will be on QE2 for the tandem Trans Atlantic and mentioned there will be filming maneuvers – near passes and a reverse passing like the old ships used to pass mid-ocean.  They also want to interview me.  Back at the cabin Thomas called me for an appointment tomorrow.  Will buy their DVD.

Formal dress for dinner in Mauritania with Margaret, Shirley, Pearl, Dorothy and Vernon.  New host.  Tim got moved!    Saw “Remains of the Day” film, then the comedian in Grand Lounge with the Lees.  Later saw “Emma” in my cabin.

During the day the sky was clear and beautiful with tropical blue waters and slightly wavy.  White caps were generally visible in the Force 6 – 24 knot winds.  Noon readings were:  370 miles north northeast of Christmas Island.  At 6 PM we will be abeam 210 miles west.  Heading 168º – gone 559 miles at 23.29 knots.  1556 nautical miles to Tahiti.  Temperature 29º C., 84º F.

Monday, 27 January –   Equator  Crossing.

We crossed the Equator today.   I had breakfast in the Lido with Stanley, Mary Ann and Fritz; then I joined Jean briefly before heading for Yacht Club to meet Rob and Louis for my interview.  Rob asked me a couple of questions and took notes.  Meanwhile there was interference by a lecture there and we had to relocate to a nook aft of the Chart Room in Queens Room.  There they filmed the interview.  I had to sign a release.  Terry was right after me. This finished at nearly eleven, so I checked out the shops a moment and found Eric already sitting in the Theatre to hear Des Cox present his rare, restored films of past ships.  Took notes furiously!

Wandered a bit till time to meet Jean, and we decided it would be nicer to eat in Mauritania, so we went to Lee’s table by the window and enjoyed a very peaceful lunch together.  We parted there and I checked the Board Room, where Peter was doing his script editing.  We chatted briefly, then I attended the movie “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.”  Sat with Doris in Queens Room for tea, then rudely abandoned the former in favor of an animated conversation with Phyllis about ships. esp. QE2 and the “Norway.”  I think there is a good friendship there.  She is an agronomist  and gardener.  We went to the bookstore where I purchased the DVD and 2 ship books. 

I joined Jean for dinner at the Lido.  Evenings are always quiet with tablecloths and linen napkins.  Afterward, we attended the electric strings duo (cello and harp) concert, which again was fascinating with classical and modern rhythms.  As is my regular habit, I walked a bit along the decks and tried locating stars.  Orion is directly above at 9:30.  Light pollution hinders any angle vision, so I gave up and was in the cabin before ten o’clock.  Seas are quiet with strong forward wind.  Pleasantly warm and humid.  Peter reported he saw the GPS indicate the equator crossing by going from north reading to south reading.  Knit small components of the doll well past midnight.

Tuesday, 28 January

This was nearly a lost day, because I didn’t feel well.  Knitted with Margaret and Eric then later Phyllis brought her quilting cross-stitch.  Eric and I went together to hear Des Cox’s film screening “The early Years of Cruising,” followed by cabin time and a short rest till time for lunch at table 205 with Jean.  Still feeling lousy I slept away the rest of the afternoon.  This being the evening when the Select Traveler group was to eat together in the Mauretania, ten of us gathered at the round table my family used on 1998-9 Christmas cruise.  We were given 4 metal and leather coasters with a wooden base.  I gave my gift to Stanley, who was glad to add to his set.  I was in the cabin near 8:30 to stay.  Someone says we avoided a waterspout last night.

Wednesday, 29 January – Papeete, Tahiti

I was on hand to see the ship pass between the narrow channel markers to the harbor.  Beyond the channel are surface coral reefs with waves breaking in long lines a long way out.   The ship was turned 90º with bow close to the Papeete shore and stern just clearing the quay extreme end.  We are now quayside with bow pointing outward with starboard side access.  I wathed my watertight door opening process.

I took my tour on Tahiti with the highlights being Point Venus where Captain James Cook did the observation of the Venus Transit on June 3, 1769.  I wandered by the transit monument, photographed the tall, distinctive lighthouse (white brick, with tiered storeys and a single window in each of the square sides.)  There is also a monument in memory of the missionaries.  Next was the Tahiti museum way the other direction and back through Papeete.  A Bougainvillea bust is in a local park.   There was a very large anchor purported to have been one belonging to the “Endeavour.”  After lunch back at the ship, I returned to Papeete to wander in the Marché, where I systematically walked along every aisle of the trinkets offered for sale.  The fish market also made itself pungently known!

I cooled off in the Theatre of the ship with the film, “Sabrina.”  Afterward I decided to have a look at the Bridge, so I photographed the full sweep of the ship aft and the Mast, which has always intrigued me.  Inside, I made note of the magnetic compass, which is mounted outside and above and is seen by a periscope over the wheel.  Some of the instruments had signs indicating they are not to be used.  “Men aloft.” – The GPS appears quite small for such a big ship!  But serviceable.

I next had a quick tea in Queens Room with Doris and the Lees.  Jean called me in the cabin, and we met aft in the Lido for dinner.  I went to Heli Deck to film the barbecue, received a lei from Thomas, then headed back for Jean.  We ate at her table in Mauretania with her British “mate.”  Spent some time on deck watching the harbor and city decked in the vibrant lights, then joined the Lees for the long wait for the Tahitian Show.  Actually, there were parties on helideck and bow deck simultaneously.  The crew part forward certainly out-sounded that aft!

I wandered a bit after the show, caught the end of “Sabrina”, and then had a bite in the Lido midnight buffet while watching the stern tug pull us away from the quay.  On deck again, I watched the very long and deliberate pivoting of bow and swing of stern with the help of the tugs.  When the two green lights on the hill were finally aligned, we were able to go straight out the channel, right next to the barrier reef and breaking waves.  Very dramatic!  To bed after one o’clock. 

Thursday, 30 January. – Moorea

We were still feeling our way into the Opunobu Bay between the opening channel of the barrier reefs when I turned on the bow television channel, but soon thereafter I noticed the black ball was hoisted into place, indicating we were fully anchored.

I ate my breakfast in the Mauretania and met my Select Traveler group in Crystal Bar Portside, soon thereafter to head to Queens Room and down to 5 Deck G Stairway.  The tender went a way around the island to the landing at Papetoai.  The octagonal church is right there.  The tour included Belvedere lookout down to Opunobu Bay and Cook Bay.  Saw QE2 and “Wind Star” in both bays respectively.  Then back down and around shoreline of both bays to Viare – the Ferry Port and back to the Sheraton for entertainment and lunch by the aqua lagoon and reefs.  We were back at the ship by 3:30.  Very warm and humid.  We were under way by 5:20.

I tried the movie “Unfaithful” but eventually walked out.  Dinner in Lido with Jean.  Show – Tony Marsh – a Liverpudlian-  In cabin by ten o’clock.

Friday, 31 January

Very hot and humid early.  Breakfast with Phyllis and the English couple from Eastbourne near Chichester.  Knitted with the Lees.  Des Cox talk re: Queen Mary’s maiden voyage.  Cabin – knitting.  Lunch at Mauretania with Zimmermans.  “Black Island” the documentary about life on an oil rig was playing on the television.

Noon position:  106 nautical miles east of Mangae Island.  Great circle course 233º – 24.5 knots, 440 nautical miles from Moorea – distance to go 1,758 nautical miles – Wind NEbN Force 5 – 20 mph.  4 nautical miles over deck – not enough following for comfort.  Dinner and cocktail party – formal.  Chatted with Jean in Grand Lounge then we both headed for our cabins.              Clocks back one hour.

Saturday, 1 February

Partly cloudy.  I spent most of the morning with the Lees.  Margaret kindly did the blue trim on the Cinderella ball gown.  I attended the New Zealand slide show, and after the noonday whistle and navigation report, I attended the “Queen Mary 2” filming lecture.  I feel more kindly disposed toward her after hearing the designer assured us (Stephen Payne) she will be a British ship!

Comfortable on deck – Deep nautical blue water with white caps.  Noon report:  Lat. 24º41′ South – Long 165º6’W. 418 nautical miles SW of Raratonga.  Direction 237º great circle.  Gone 1,040 nautical miles from Tahiti – 1,158 to go.  26º C and 79º F.  NE Force 4 – 16 mph.  Lunch with Jean at table 265.  Movie:  “Simone” – Tea – Boardroom.  At Queens Room I talked with an Aussie about America’s Cup.  Not started yet.

I attended John Duffy’s part at Yacht Club with Jean.  There is a bit of motion up there, not to mention at Lido afterward.  Trevor did his act at the show, singing and doing the cleaning woman act to the tune of “Don’t  Cry for me. . .bathroom cleaner”!!!  Starting to sew the doll components.

Sunday, 2 February really Monday the 3rd.

We crossed the International Date Line so we lost February 2 – Sunday!   I did my usual morning activities of Mauretania breakfast at my table.  There was a nice Scottish lady there with Rosemary, Vernon, Joanne and “Howard.” I am now finished with the knitting and have started the doll assembly process, so I sat with the Lees till I needed the stuffing.  I sat in the cabin an hour or so doing the detail bits, only to emerge by noon so I could glean the navigational information:  Lat. 32º.5′ S.  Longitude 174º52′ W.  250 miles southeast of Marie Is.  compass 242º  23.5 knots – 586 nautical miles since noon yesterday – 24.41 nautical miles from Moorea 1,628 nautical miles – 570 nautical miles to go.  Noon Pilot    Temp 21.5ºC ; 71º F  Wind SSE Force 6 = 24 knots   40 k over decks!

Attended the lecture on basic navigation – then met Jean for lunch port side in Mauretania.  On my way back to the cabin via A stairwell, I went to 6 Deck on F stairway and found out why my cabin floor is so warm.  The SPA is directly under 5181.  The girl in attendance turned on the turbulence for me to take a photo.  She also confirms the alley is also next to the spa on 6 Deck.

Movie, “Ice Age” Tea with Phyllis Reynolds and Betty in the Board Room.  Dinner in the Lido with Jean, and Show – Geraldine Doyle – Viennese Ball.

Tuesday, 4 February – Auckland, New Zealand

The day dawned partly cloudy with a strong headwind and white caps.  At breakfast I sat with a lovely Australian lady, Margaret Patterson.  She visits friends near Boston, so we discussed her visits to Concord and Wareham.  Also she suggested various ideas for traveling across her country and a visit with her.  She lives on Sydney Harbor shore.

Attended the Yacht Club sailor’s meeting, then spotted land on both sides as we approached New Zealand.  I stood on top deck for a while, enduring the strong wind, then watched an hour or so of “Lord of the Rings”.  Emerged at 12:30 to watch us enter the harbor and dock.  Caught a brief look across to a sailboat in the Hauraki Gulf.  Lots of sailboats under power, moored and a few reefed or only on jib.  One very long black sloop motored circles behind us. 

After a Lido lunch I set out to walk along the waterfront which was very rewarding, except that all the America’s Cup syndicate boats have either gone home or are under wraps.  There was a big delay in re-boarding, because the gangway moved away from the ship.  Called Chris, and we worked out that I am three hours ahead of him yesterday!  It boggles the mind to think about it.  I had dinner in the Lido with Jean then we saw the Maori show in the Grand Lounge.  I walked the deck and took photos of lots of the public rooms: Queens Grill, Mauritania, Britannia, Pavilion, Lido, and 1 Deck and 5 Deck.

Wednesday, 5 February – Auckland

I was off the ship most of the day.  The morning tour took place first by a walk to the Maritime Museum quay with two yellow water taxis waiting for us.  We toured Viaduct Harbor and the syndicate sheds and docks waterside.  On the way out we saw both “Alinghis” being towed out for practice. We continued on to the huge marina with 2500 boats, through to the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron where we viewed the America’s Cup itself and had tea.  We then returned to the museum in the water taxis, where we were escorted through the museum exhibits.  Saw the boat used in “Onedin Line.” 

After lunch I called Geoff and Michelle, then headed out to shop and go up the Sky Tower.  This was a rather long walk up the rising incline from the harbor, but ever so well worth the effort because of the absolutely fabulous views!!!  People were lined up to do the controlled parachute jumps off the platform back down to the street.  Back at the QE2., I spent a long time watching large sailboats milling around, waiting for I don’t know what.

At the last minute I decided to eat in my dining room where my tablemates enthusiastically  compared our tours of the day.  I returned to my cabin (watertight doors closed) and decided not to watch our departure.  She simply backed out of the slip and turned stern to 90º and headed back whence she came yesterday.   Clocks back one hour.

Thursday, 6 February

I sat with the Rabbi and his wife at breakfast and Margaret Patterson joined us for lively conversation.  I joined the Lees in the Queens Room as usual assembling the doll parts and talking with the various passersby who stopped to watch the handiwork.  At eleven I took notes on the Hobart tour talk followed by an hour under boat 12 tucked between the pile of safety stuff and the davit railing.  Sun peeked over the funnel, rendering shade and sun alternately as the ship pitched slightly on the swells.  Noonday readings:  Latitude 35º 19′ S – Longitude 169º.52′ E.  146 nautical miles WSW of  Rabga – Compass 245º in Tasman Sea.  388 Nautical miles from Auckland at 24.2 knots.  Wind ENE Force 5 = 20 knots – angle following.  Lifeboats in different davits 9 in 10 davit, 13 in 14 davit, 12 in 12. 

Jean and I met for lunch in the Mauretania restaurant at one o’clock, table 257.  More Boat Deck 2 – 2:30.  sun and cooling – clouds.  I had tea with Lilian Kenny, and she opened up.  She was a military wife in San Francisco; now lives in Florida.  Comes to dance only.  In Board Room..  Chatted with May and Doris in Lido.  May’s husband was a POW in Burma.  Back to the cabin at 5:30.  Movie “Moulin Rouge” not the same plot by any means as the one based on Toulouse Lautrec way back.  Show:  Gerard Kenny.  Clocks back one hour.

Friday, 7 February

The highlight of the day was simply trying to go through Australian Immigration, which was set up in Midships Lounge on 2 Deck.  The two largest restaurants were scheduled for 9-12 and the line snaked all around and back again for hours, so I waited till the last minute, only to be told the line was closed for lunch.  During the whole morning, after breakfast in the Lido with Margaret P. and an Australian lady, Mary from Perth, I settled in the stitching corner ahead of the Lees who had been nearly the first people to be checked into Australia.  I did more doll assembly between queue checks. 

Jean and I met for lunch in Mauretania, then we parted.  I read a book on Boat Deck before attending the movie for today, “Hope Floats” a tear jerker.  Tea in the Board Room with Perle and an American couple, followed by a brief shop check and return to Boat Deck on sunny side in the sunny, cooling breeze.  I returned to the cabin a little before six o’clock.

Noontime maritime navigation report:  Latitude 39º 33′ S;  Longitude 145036′ E – 406 nautical miles ESE of Cape Howe.  Compass 245º  23.5 Knots  Day run = 519 nautical miles 979 from Auckland and 568 to go.  Speed 23.5 knots  23.99 knots average.  Temp. 21º C, 70º F.  Sea same, wind 26 nautical miles NE Force 2 – 5 knots.  20 knots over the decks.  Slight seas and low swell.  

Lido dinner with Jean, then Lynsey Simon show.  Good soprano show biz!

Saturday, 8 February – Hobart, Tasmania

During breakfast with Betty from Scotland and Phyllis, we spied land to Starboard, which is a very high-cliffed island off the coast of Tasmania – with a tall white lighthouse.  Past that we turned more south past a river inlet and along the high and rolling coast.  I attended the Tasmania history lecture and when I emerged to Boat Deck after it, we were already well into the large Storm Bay surrounded by many forested and settled hills.  Sailboats were everywhere, enjoying the 60’s weather and us.  Tugs came out to meet us; pulled us 180º and pushed the rest of the way to the quay where a red-clad children’s choir was welcoming us in pre-recorded sound and their own voices.

I had a quick double dessert lunch in the Lido,; then went off to my tour to Port Arthur and Bush Mill steam train and wood mill.   This was a rather long ride along inlets, through dry rolling hills, farmland and gum tree forest.  The penal colony is vast and we wandered around a small part of it among ruined prison buildings, governor’s house, military barracks, the English garden and church and harbor vistas.  I bought a stuffed Tasmanian Devil.  On to Bush Mill for tea and small guage steam train ride among the tall gum tree forest.  Back through farmland outskirts, a low causeway and rising bridge across the Derwent River – viewing QE2 resplendent alongside the quay.  Tent shops were set up on the dock.

Dinner with Jean in the Lido, then we joined the Lees for a hilarious magic and comic show by Neal Austin.  Cabin by 10.

Sunday, 9 February

We left the dock in Hobart at 6:30, and headed out the River Derwent through Storm Bay before turning north back along the Tasmanian coast, past Port Arthur peninsula, Tasman Island with lighthouse cliff, through Bass Strait.  I was aware of our port turnings at 2 different times as I sat on Port Boat Deck right after breakfast.  Margaret Patterson joined me in the Lido.  Spent a little time with the Lees.  Margaret did my four cross stitches for the doll’s bodice, then I attended the Bush lecture. (Australian bush that is.)

At noon I went to 7 Deck at Stairway B for the “Frühschoppen” German lunch.  Didn’t want to stay there long, so after a few bites I retreated upward and joined Phyllis and the Zimmermans for a real lunch at the Mauretania.  Wandered a bit, checking the breeze over decks and finding it a little cool and windy, I watched the movie “Entrapment” with Sean Conry in Kuala Lumpur – the tall building.  Tea in the Board Room with Tony and Lorraine, then I talked with a man about France and QE2.  Beautifully clear with low swells and blue water.

John Duffy hosted his traditional cocktail party in the Yacht Club, where I finally caught up with Marjorie Cullen who has been on since Auckland and will disembark in Sydney.  I eventually migrated to the Lido to join Jean and Stanley at the aft corner table.  Marjorie came later and we four lingered in good conversation.  The Lido is being decorated for the Gala Buffet at 11:30. “Of Human Bondage” on TV.

I was prepared for star gazing and the midnight gala buffet, but fell asleep, so when I did awake after one o’clock I simply prepped for bed and slept through to daylight when we were already entering Melbourne channel.

Monday, 10 February – Melbourne, Australia.

QE2 was backed into her slip at the large ship dock. (“Welcome to
Melbourne” on the terminal roof.)  There was a jazz group to greet us.  Bus tour to Ballarat – Sovereign Hill and Animal zoo.  Saw the usual native animals.  The gold mining town reminds me of Old Tucson.  I noted the Cobb Coach Company – related to the Cobb brothers Elijah and Freeman Cobb from Brewster – They brought the Concord coach to Australia and to this day the company still operates under the name Cobb and Co.   I was back on board after 5 o’clock.

I went to Boat Deck to watch us depart and was rewarded with a fantastic tug pull – away sideways and slow acceleration forward with a perfect straight line with the two tall white line up light blinkers exactly in line.  Two loaded excursion boats kept pace on starboard and other smaller craft tacked and motored as best they could.  I took a photo of Kim and Capt. Warwick on the Bridge Wing, then passed by the nearly empty, breezy observation deck and down to Boat Deck from whence I heard the three very individually long farewell blasts!  The nearest excursion boat pitched in wake waves, wetting passengers who cheered when the boat whistled continually the three blasts..  When we were a few miles away, I ducked into the Board Room before attending tonight’s movie “The Importance of Being Ernest.”  When I emerged and looked out, we were still in a ceaseless channel and between islands and mainland.  Had dinner with Jean.  We then sat outside looking aft at Lido level watching the line-up beacons and various nautical lights as we continued past a large island and along a channel.  We all of a sudden realized the props had stopped and I suspect that the Pilot Boat was trying to keep up for pilot transfer.  We even altered course, presumably to lessen the wave action.  Eventually the pilot boat dropped back, and QE2 accelerated once more.  Met a gal named Gemma who lives in West Harwich.  Abel introduced us.  Am informed I will be required to get a Yellow Fever shot.  Ugh!

Upon looking at a Melbourne information book, I found a map, which explained the whole previous account of the long channel -marked route.  We were in Port Phillip Bay and emerged from a narrow opening at Point Lonsdale and the “Rip” into the Southern Ocean.  Glad I didn’t miss this!  All this took several hours.

Tuesday, 11 February

Had breakfast with Gemma from Cape Cod via Ireland.  Discussed the yellow fever controversy and wrote a note to John Duffy re: my protest.  Worked roses into the Cinderella doll ball gown – attended the talent show rehearsal, lunch with Jean in front of the Lilly pond mural – dressed for the show – sang “Old Mother Hubbard”  to amused clapping.  Tea with May and Doris.  Earlier I spent a little time on Boat Deck reading.

Doris called me to say a lady named Dolan wants to contact me.  Later in the evening we linked up by phone and she is a C.S.

Attended the movie “My Big Fat, Greek Wedding” then met Jean for Lido dinner.  We then caught the Lynsey Simon Show.  Said good-byes to Marjorie Cullen and Jean.  I then washed my hair.  Set the clock for five o’clock alarm and left the television on so I could see any beacons that would herald our approach to Sydney Harbor.

 


QE2 World Cruise – Part 1 NY-LA, 2003

2003 QUEEN ELIZABETH 2 WORLD CRUISE

CABIN 5181

JANUARY 5 – APRIL 23, 2003

Sunday, January 5, 2003

I flew to Newark, NJ on Continental #847, and as we were circling for the landing I spotted Queen Elizabeth 2 at her Pier 88.  When the few of us – six, were rounded up and loaded into a van, we set out across to Manhattan.  A very nice young man from Maine and I had a conversation about ships and boats.

After climbing out of the van and mounting the still escalator, I left my tote with this man so I could pop down again to take my photo of her bow.  Paul Danby greeted me and we hugged.

We eventually embarked around one o’clock.  Processing included a photo and security card issued on the spot, and credit card information.  Then we waited till one thirty or so, when groups were allowed to go aboard.  So far the Passports have not been collected.

I went down to my cabin 5181 at F Stairway and was somewhat dismayed at how small it is, even though it is a twin cabin for one – this trip.  A single sized dresser with four drawers is barely large enough for me, and both closets are jammed – 2 big suitcases in the inner one and clothes in the other.  The door to this cabin is directly opposite the F stairway entrance and when you enter through the door, the beds are to the left heading fore and aft, with the dresser in between.  The television is mounted above the foot of the far bed, which will serve beautifully as my extra shelf!  The bathroom is located along the wall adjacent to the far bed, and is entered just as a little hallway leads to a “rear” door to the alleyway for other cabins.  A closet is located between the bathroom entrance and this alleyway door, and a low round table fills in the space along there.   The wardrobe door stands opposite the bed layout.

I found two welcome letters, one from John Duffy and one from the Cruise Staff.  Elaine McKay is still here but Colin Parker, who got married, is gone.  In his place is Trevor Stephenson.   My first suitcase arrived long before the second one, so that made it easier to stow my gear.  The suitcase had been opened and sealed again with a plastic cinch lock, and I needed to find a steward to cut it open.  He appeared with a large knife from the pantry, and slit it open.  He had carried the knife hidden under his arm for some reason!

I went up to the Yacht Club for the World Cruise returnee cocktail party and chatted with Eric and Margaret Lee, who have been on board since December 15,  having been on the last Trans-Atlantic and the Christmas Cruise along with their other British cohorts.  Margaret reported that the Bothwicks did indeed make contact with them.  After a brief chat with slimmed-down Elaine, I prepared for lifeboat drill at three thirty.  Station L in Queens Room.

At departure after four o’clock, I went to Boat Deck to watch in the cold, raw weather.  Two large tugs, “Barney” and “Jean” pushed hard together on her starboard stern to counteract the swift outgoing current.  I noticed we were remaining at right angles to the current a long time, meanwhile drifting sideways at the end of several piers.

During my wanderings, I found two large ship containers on aft Helideck and the whole area cordoned off.  I went in by the shops and noticed that the whole area is all torn up with major renovations going on.  The stores won’t be open till after Fort Lauderdale.  I am wondering if the containers are “tips” for the work, or merchandise.  I later learned all the merchandise was contained therein.

We will not go to Cartagena because of the political unrest, and the substitute will be Curaçao, a very welcome substitution, although I was there years ago on a previous QE2 cruise. 

At dinner (table 281) in the Mauritania restaurant is one of the dancing hosts – Tim Carlin from Chicago.  He is quite young by comparison, a West Point graduate and a Lt. Colonel in the reserves.  Also he was in catering!    Next to me was Mary from Toronto and across, a gentleman who used to be an entertainer – Frank – on Broadway.  Two places were empty.  Eric and Margaret stopped by.  I chatted with them in the Grand Lounge before the show and my movie “About a Boy.”

Terry Waite from Flamborough is also on the whole World Cruise sharing a cabin with his “platonic” lady friend.  We had a brief chat by the photo shop.  After the movie I had a Horlicks and headed for the cabin.  The Theatre balcony seats have been nicely reupholstered in a brown plushy material – nice.  I am ever so glad they didn’t mess with the Theatre during the last refit, as was rumored!  I arranged more of my stuff, then read my letter from the Select Traveler guide, which was waiting under my door along with the Monday program.  I settled down to a smooth sway and good sleep. 

Monday, January 6, 2003

I got up near seven o’clock; then set out to check the weather, which is partly cloudy and already cool and balmy.  Being way too early for the Lido opening I did my deck walk from 5 Deck around and on up round each deck till I arrived at Mauritania dining room via A stairway.  I chatted briefly with the Lees at their table right by the starboard forward windows; then moseyed back to the Lido.  Sat with a German man, using my language skills, then Terry Waite joined us.  We reminisced about the ’93 trip with Christine who turned out to be Terry’s second wife.  The courtship began on that round South America cruise.

At present I am sitting on the aft part of Boat Deck overlooking the stern and wake while walkers constantly pass by.  Earlier I had a short chat with Tim.  Ten o’clock – Computer lecture on composing letters in Word – copy – paste and sending E-mail.

Found Eric and Margaret in Queens Room and started my knitting project.  At noon the Captain, Paul Wright gave our position etc. and informed us that Capt. Ron Warwick will take over in Los Angeles.  A lady stopped by to chat about the knitting book, and Doris McKeller also sat with us.  She remembered the Cinderella doll from the Christmas Cruise several years back!

Lunch with Terry and Christine (his “roommate) after attending a lecture on corals.  Spent the afternoon wandering, knitting in my cabin, and reading “The QE2 is Missing.”  Patricia Neal is on board and I met her on One Deck.   Later after tea with a lady from St. Louis and talking with two men from Canada then with Mae and Doris,  Doris said Pat Neal is next to her cabin.

Dinner time was better.  A gentleman originally from England and now Colorado, named Stanley joined us and the conversation elevated a bit to literature discussions among other topics.  He is a descendant of Charles Dickens!

Attended the “Salute to Hollywood” show, then a flute and piano concert in the Theatre.  While finishing up my evening and heading toward the Lido for my Horlicks, I stopped at G Stairway by Yacht Club to chat with the Paraguayan man, Abel.  Finished by watching the movie “Affair of the Necklace”.  To bed by one o’clock.

At boat drill yesterday, I noticed black granules along the bottom starboard window frames, then in the Queen’s Room forward center, there were similar granules along a line under the drop ceiling.  Hmmmmmm!

Tuesday, 7 January – Fort Lauderdale

Ships in Port :  “Seven Seas Mariner,”  Lyre Logo.  2.  “Volendam”.  HAL

Shuttle bus to Broward Mall.  Back by noon.  Key lime pie and lemon meringue pie – soup in between!  Chat with Eric and Margaret.  They told of why I noticed the ship looked strange on starboard when I saw her in St. Thomas last year.  A tug rebounded very hard on the hull amidships, causing a dent.  Authorities had to inspect the damage to assess if she was still sea worthy.

Saw most of the movie “In Bad Company”, but left early to return to the cabin a while.  Near five o’clock I went to Boat Deck to see us leave.  A tug on starboard stern was attached and revved slowly in reverse to counter the stern quarter wind as we slowly backed away and out of the berth.  While I watched on Port side, an orange Coast Guard speed pontoon boat acted as our protector as well as a white police boat.  Sure enough, as we proceeded out the channel, people rang sirens, blew horns, waved, and displayed Cunard flags and Brit flags.  QE2 also responded with her 3 toots and eventually two single boops.  Capt. Ron Warwick is now in charge.  YEA!

It looks like the shops are ready to open tonight.  The two containers were gone by the time I emerged at eight this morning and the crane was still in place.  We gained another man at dinner, so the table is complete with Tim, host:  Art, entertainer; Stanley, writer – Brit cum American; Mary and Irvin, Jr. High school teacher retired.   The show was an Irish comedian, Billy Boyle.   Horlicks before retiring.  I sat with Eric and Margaret.

Wednesday, 8 January

Clocks were set ahead an hour this morning.  I awoke at the new 7:45 in time to dress and  catch the 8 o’clock movie, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”.  Knitted also.

After ten or so I emerged via the Lido and managed to find oatmeal before everything was swept away at closing time.  I then found Eric and Margaret in Queen’s Room.  Was introduced to Peter Garland, a long time traveler from England.  I knitted continuously, then eventually went to check out the newly restocked shops.  Harrod’s is resurrected and most of them have stuff similar to before.

At present, I am in the Board Room where upon entering, Peter Garland accused me of following him.  With a bit of banter, we established that I was stalking!  Knitted some more here, and struck up a conversation with a Mac computer author who is working on a novel.  We discussed my copy of the “QE2 is Missing” and I will lend it to him when I finish reading it again.

Had lunch with Mary and a dance host named Bill from England.  He has a Dutch barge and lives on it, so we lingered to talk boats.  His story about his first 8-foot wide boat running aground and left high and dry, was very interesting.

Saw “Changing Lanes” then upon discovering it was warm on Boat Deck, I read in a deck chair over an hour.  While walking the deck  I thought I saw land to the west, but suspect it was an illusion.  However, I liked to realize we were passing between Cuba and Hispaniola!

Showered and dressed formal for dinner – my pink dress and rose fabric jacket with my new shiny gold pumps.  Tim Carlin, Lieutenant Colonel arrived in his full dress uniform, looking fabulous, and he attracted other retired military men.  Good conversation, with Mary being more subdued. 

Piano show by “Harry,” who did a magnificent job.  Before returning to my cabin, I strolled from amidships to aft decks in crescent moonlight and very humid breezes from forward motion.  We are truly in the tropics now and I am so glad I read comfortably on deck earlier.  It is very warm in my cabin right now.

Thursday, 9 January – Curaçao

Did my deck walking sequence on my way up to Mauritania for breakfast by the window next to the Lees.  On the way up I met “little” Ben on 3 Deck by F stairway.  Big Ben is opposite.

I bought some of my excursion tickets and chatted briefly with Paul Danby, who is now in the travel office where he wanted to be all along.  After a while in Board Room, reading, cooling off and talking with Yo Yo about the QE2 missing book, I attended the port lecture on Dutch Antilles islands, Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao.  Purchased two tote bags from Harrod’s then entertained Eric while Margaret was off helping a lady.

At noon our position was 60 miles away from Curaçao and we will be thirty minutes late because of headwinds.

Lunch at Lido.  The pie guy spotted me (Alex) and brought the lime pie from a lower shelf and sealed my decision to have dessert first – followed by mushroom soup and another lime pie slice!

I stood at Boat Deck port rail as we proceeded along the length of Curaçao, past the low shoreline, oil tanks, an inlet and on to the outer dock, bucking a very strong wind.  I watched two tugs push on our starboard aft beam to make us go sideways to the dock.  Stanley escorted me to town, bought me a hat and gave a dollar to the fruit vendor who proffered a sweet small banana.  When we had enough, we walked across the pontoon bridge and back to the ship by five o’clock.  We had taken the ferry across to town earlier because the pontoon bridge was open.

Oh yes!  At lunch Gregory (seven years ago in Caronia with Mrs. Levy) discovered me sitting by the window and we had a lovely catch up.  He says this is truly mostly a happy ship, contrary to reports on December Trans-Atlantic crossing. 

We were minus two at our table.  Irvin and Tim were away.  Stan and I left together but parted when we learned the show wasn’t till 9:45.  However, I slipped into the last exciting part of the movie, “Enough” and spent some time in the Board Room where I met three other World Cruisers, Bernice, Kathy and Ron.  I then went to Grand Lounge to await the Folklore show, which was guitar accompaniment and colorfully costumed dancers.  At ten o’clock I returned to the Theatre to see the beginning of “Enough.” When I had had enough tension, I left and discovered the crew was having a lively and noisy party on the bow with the powerful spotlights on.  I then checked the stern and a similarly noisy and musical party was roaring on Yacht Club deck.  As I descended to Lido deck, I saw preparations for a midnight buffet, so stuck around to indulge – cake and pie with Horlicks.

Sensing it must be time to depart Curaçao, I returned to the bow – lights off now – and waited a long time for the process to start.  A small tug maneuvered into position on the concrete piling to port – holding three bow lines – and remained nosed into the “piling” – held by the tug engine revolving steadily to keep it in position counteracting the moderate wind on its starboard beam.  I surmised the tug was waiting for orders to cast off the three lines on the bollards – and meanwhile two large tugs – Lima II and its sister – were to push on QE2’s starboard beam to make the dock lines slack.  It was just so!  My Maine friend was observing with me.  It was ever so long before headway was made after casting off, so I headed aft on Boat Deck (crew party still going in the dark, and aft party thinned out.)  I looked over the transom till a slight wake appeared, then called it a day!  The real speed gain took place after I reached my cabin. 

On the pull out part of the dresser was a tray with a bottle of champagne and flute glass – “Compliments of World Club.”  Clocks back an hour tonight.

Friday, 10 January

It is a lovely warm clear, hazy day.  We are heading southwesterly north of the Venezuelan coast and yesterday’s lingering trade wind is following us, however, sufficient to occasionally waft on deck to cool.  Brief breakfast with Mary, then on the way out I sat with Irvin and we talked about education and memories of our own educational lessons.

On my way to the morning lecture in the Theatre on Acapulco, I briefly greeted Eric and Margaret.  Eric came up for the lecture on the “Lusitania” and we had a brief chat by balcony D stairway landing.   I popped into the Board Room to see if anything of interest was on, but only had a brief chat with Peter Garland who wants me to sign a petition for a curry dinner in the Lido at Acapulco.  Didn’t sign.

At noon I checked out Boat Deck and found a chaise under number 12 lifeboat, all padded and in good condition, so I read my book about an hour.  Lunch time now!   At Lido lunch I sat with Ken and Donna from Minnesota,  first tackling my key lime pie – and another after salad.

Knitted a bit while listening to the awful art auction in Queens Room – then went to see “The Four Feathers” Left to shower and do my hair – actually I napped a bit, waking to answer a phone call from Irene Walker the Select Traveler Host.  Meeting Saturday at 5:30.

Attended Captain Warwick’s cocktail party and stumped him about the novel “The QE2 is Missing.” He had never heard of the novel.  Talked with Margaret Cole who had been at my table two years ago with Norma, Jannie, a Japanese girl and a lady from Jersey.  I headed for dinner after the Captain’s speech.  Hilarity prevailed.  Tim conspired to change Mary’s touchy subject re: Jews returning to Germany to make money.  Attended the show with Tim, Margaret and Eric.  To the cabin by ten, after a brief check on the moon and water.  Beautiful night.

Saturday, 11 January – Panama Canal

I viewed most of the transit from inside, with occasional trips to Boat Deck where nearly everyone else was to view the raisings in the three Gatun Locks.  “Seven Seas Mariner” rose at the same time next to QE2.  We traveled along Gatun Lake to the single Pedro Miguel Lock right after the Golliard Cut, then after a very long wait – down the 2 Mira Flores Locks.  It took us all day!  It was quite warm but not unbearably humid.  The “Seven Seas” must have turned back, because we never saw her again.

Just as we left the canal and passed under the “Bridge of the Americas” at Balboa, I attended the Select Traveler cocktail party.  Back at the cabin (watertight doors still closed), I viewed the David McCullough film on the canal.  Speaking of the watertight doors, my cabin is right next to the F Stairway watertight door and I have become very accustomed to the pneumatic hiss and jolt every time the door is closed.  This usually happens very early in the morning as we are approaching a harbor or in the case of the Canal, all day as we passed through every lock and channel.  The sound acts as a very efficient alarm clock, and not only do I hear this door, but the one under me and the Spa on Six Deck, moves with a bell warning, and this is very clear from my vantage point day or night!!

This was the night in which the ship anchored till late, then spent the rest of the night cruising away from land, only to return to Fuerte Amador anchorage for the sightseeing day.  I suspect this cruising was for security reasons.

Sunday, 12 January – Fuerte Amador, Panama

After breakfast I found Abel finishing up his, and we agreed to go ashore together, which we did.  The island was purely a “jump off point” for taxis to Panama City and tourist shops.  I only bought a Panama key ring.  We parted; he to taxi into town and I to the ship in the next tender before noon.

Watched the end of “The Shipping News: then went to lunch.  Found Eric and Margaret who had finished eating, but I stayed to talk.  They are booked on QM2 maiden Trans-Atlantic and may stay there in Barbados.  Won’t be on World Cruise next year.  I also sat with Stan for a long time.

“Three Weddings and a Funeral” all afternoon in the Theatre, followed by tea in the Board Room with Terry  and a French lady (who was on the “France” early in her career).

Dinnertime consisted of the usual banter.  Then I joined the Lees for the show by a lusty singer from Wales – Diane Cousins.  She told how she had to climb up the side of the ship from the Pilot boat because the ship didn’t wait for her late arrival.  QE2 had to up anchor and cruise twenty miles off shore over night for safety reasons.  I was aware because the watertight door outside my cabin, hissed and scraped closed and open twice. 

After the show I took a brief look at the decorations for the Pirate’s ball then drank a Horlicks, and on out to watch the water go by from Boat Deck and greet the moon at a little more than first quarter.  I wish there were less glaring lights out there.  Saw the beginning of three weddings again, then descended to my cabin by eleven.

Monday, 13 January

Was up by seven o’clock and emerged around 8 for a look at a beautiful, sunny warm day.  I spent a long time talking with Art about his life- starting at 13 as an actor and singer in musicals and plays.  He was in the cast of “The Producers” for several years.  We were still talking by the starboard Lido window at ten when the weekly safety drill started.  Soon after, we parted and I found a deck chair amidships on starboard Boat Deck and read my QE2 novel until nearly two o’clock!  Saw a large school of dolphins that jumped, breached and romped as we went by.

At noon we were fifty miles west of Costa Rica.  When I did go to lunch I was too late for my lime pie, so had bread pudding with custard sauce.  I ate alone, so finished quickly and went to the Theatre to see “Hud” with Paul Newman and Patricia Neal (who is on board).  I managed to write more postcards before the lights dimmed.  No wonder I didn’t want to see it when it came out.  I then dashed to Lido to have a quick tea and more reading on Boat Deck, starboard.  With the sun lower and a little more wind it was pleasantly cool.  Finished :The QE2 is Missing” by Harry Harrison.

I had decided not to eat in Mauritania because I wanted to see “Gosford Park at 6:30, so I dressed formal anyway and again headed upward for that purpose.  Had dinner in the Lido afterward by myself.  Walked all around the public rooms, checking on the show which appeared to be rock and roll type bands, and singing, so I passed onward to Boat Deck for a time in the moonlight and Orion.  I lay on a deck chair on sun deck, then headed downward around ten o’clock.    Smooth sailing.  Clocks back an hour tonight.

Tuesday, 14 January

I woke up at 5:45 – equal to yesterday’s pre-hour change – and tried to get news of Louis Vuitton races, but nothing!  Last I knew “Alinghi” won the first and “Oracle” the second because “Alinghi” did not finish.”  I emerged toward 8 by the new time and did my deck walk circulars on the way upward.  Found Jefferson, my former singing steward on 2 Deck Port between B & C stairways.  We chatted re: his music, the “choir” and especially I asked him if he thought crew was happy.  He thinks so.

I continued on up to Mauritania, greeted Eric and Margaret, then ate breakfast at a table near the window in my section.  Kenneth and Nelson served here as well.  I next went up A to Boat Deck and found a chaise under boat 3.  Stayed there two hours reading.  During the course of the two hours, the relatively quiet seas picked up as the wind increased and air cooled, so by eleven o’clock white caps and larger waves changed the outlook to clear- hazy blue and active white and spray crests.  When I went in I bought tote bags, mugs, magnets, biscuits etc. for Chris and all – then sought out Eric and Margaret in Queens Room, where I joined them for a knitting session.  Told Eric about the family book manufacturing business because he asked me what my father did.

At noon we were 107 miles west of the Guatemalan coast and have 400 or so miles to go to Acapulco.  Lunched with Donna and Ken, pigging out on lime pie, rice pudding and asparagus and macaroni – cones for dessert – and at 2 PM I sat facing aft outside Lido facing the fantail deck.  QE2 has a port list so it seems the northwest wind is affecting her.  A gent just lost his new visor hat overboard – First it rose in an updraft, then the ship continued while it hesitated and drifted off.  The man waved good-bye to it and laughingly said “There are more where that came from.”

A little after two o’clock I headed for the Grand Lounge to read and wait for Patricia Neal’s talk at three, and I am glad I did so early because the place filled up early.  Her talk was very spellbinding and inspiring, covering her life, career and trials. 

The ship is rolling (five o’clock) and continues to remain slightly listing to port.  The waves are large and spray is flying as we plow onward in our northwest course.  Somewhere along the way today I lost my new hat, alas!

I had decided to skip dinner in favor of the World Club cocktail party at 7:15, but decided at the last minute to go up anyway.  It was a good decision because Mary wasn’t there.  Irvin sat next to me, and Tim came later and filled Mary’s chair, giving an opportunity to chat with Stan and Art more easily.  Art by the way was in 42nd Street at Dennis Playhouse when Mark and I went 4 years ago.  He also was in shows in the 50’s on the Cape circuit.  The ship’s pitching and rocking slowly subsided while we were at dinner, but Tim still felt woozy.  He had crackers, which helped.  Ginger pieces “grew:”

Attended the show with 3 men!!! then went to see “Fountainhead” in the Theatre – Patricia Neal and Gary Cooper.  She was in the audience.   Received my Club “tie tack” in silver – A rampant lion – of course.  Bed at midnight.

Wednesday, 15 January – Acapulco

Was up early enough to see us enter the beautiful round harbor of Acapulco (on TV).  Saw the elevated lighthouse beacon.  I emerged at back of the Lido, ate a muffin and milk, then reported at Yacht Club by 8 o’clock.  Our Select Traveler group had to wait till 9:30 to head down G Stairway to 5 Deck where the tender awaited us.  The morning was warm and humid as we pulled across the bay – looking back lovingly to our beautiful ship.  She has rust spots at anchor hole and looks in need of paint touch ups where rather large other color scrapes are on port amidships.  The tender unloaded us at the large ship terminal, then we climbed into several vans 6 by 6.  We were taken first to La Quebrada for the divers, then around the bay to a hotel lookout and visit to Chef Suzanna’s fabulous villa overlooking the magnificent scenery over the bay, and a special punch drink.  Then to a chapel atop a high private mountain with a very tall cross.  We went on over the pass to another bay lookout and had a fabulous lunch at a beach club.  (Lox and seafood salad plus zucchini hollowed salad, then lobster tail, egg and caviar, garnish – then pineapple boat with sherbets, strawberries, kiwi fruit and garnish.)  Yum.  We returned to town to a jewelry market and then to the ship.  Patricia Neal took my arm for support getting off the tender. Back at teatime.  Found the Lees sitting outside the Lido in the shade.

After I showered and dressed for dinner, I went to sundeck to watch us depart from Acapulco Bay.  The very red, large and round sun was just setting between cloud and horizon as we passed La Rouqueta Island.  My lingering vision is of the sun within a triangle of lifeboat bow and davit!  The little blinking lighthouse to starboard marked surface rocks.

I wandered a bit, dropping into the Board Room to deliver “QE2 is Missing” to my “Mac” friend, Peter Phillips.  And he seemed very pleased.  The shops were open.  Eventually 6:30 came and I watched “Iris” in the Theatre – followed by dinner in the Lido with Abel. 

There is a new regime!!!! We have to let the servers put everything we want on our plates!! This leads to much greater quantities slopped onto the plates, and for me, a lot of “that’s too much” at every plop.

The show about musicals was the best song and dance show I can remember.  Sat with Eric and Margaret.  To the cabin and bed early – by the new time 9 o’clock.  Clocks back one hour.

Thursday, 16 January

Awoke very early on the new time and puttered till 8 or so.  On the television was a video about cargo ships.   Ate breakfast in Mauretania near Eric and Margaret.  Then found myself a deck chair on starboard – one which remained more upright for once!  I stayed there reading the “QE2 Murder She Wrote” and occasionally glancing at the sun-drenched easy waves.  I headed for Captain Warwick’s talk at ten and took copious notes.  I then met with 8 yacht enthusiasts, only three of which had sailboats.  The strawberry blonde, Diana Spaziani lives on her 45-foot sloop near Boston and sails it single-handed.  We all traded yarns for an hour.  I then bought several books at the library and carried them immediately to the cabin.  Once there I arranged them and more stuff for off loading in LA.

Lunch was happily spent with Eric and Margaret in their accustomed spot, then read my book near Queens Room while the wretched art auction took place. The 2:30 movie kept us all laughing as Patricia Neal played a crazy old lady who committed suicide in “Cookie’s Fortune.)  One of the recent best!!  Tea in the Board Room with Terry Waite, my Mac friend etc.

Art was missing from dinner.  Stanley reported he called in ill.  Anyway we remaining mates took pictures of each other and enjoyed our salmon, salads, and – —-Baked Alaska!  The parade and marching music went off only after the CD was restarted correctly.

I returned briefly to the cabin and met Lisa, who was going to replace my orchid stem.  Back up to the Theatre and found the movie wasn’t “Cookie’s Fortune” so left in favor of Diane Cousins’ show in the Grand Lounge, funny and loud as ever – very appealing.

Back to the cabin via Lido and discovered a grand buffet will be at 11:30 so I planned to return at least to look.  I heard that 5 cabins on 5 Deck starboard had plumbing leaks and the people had to be moved to other cabins.

At midnight I showered and washed my hair in preparation for the talent show tomorrow.  QE2 sailed calmly through the night.  The cooler weather is welcome.

Friday, 17 January

Not wanting to spoil my new hairdo, I didn’t step outside in the 68º temperature all day until the Talent Show was over at 4:30.  Up to that time my breakfast in the Lido, knitting session with the Lees, rehearsal at eleven took up the morning.  I met the participants and Cruise Staff member (Scottish) at the Casino Bar where we signed up.  Then we followed the pianist, (Philip Carr) through the little pantry to a practice room behind the stage.  I didn’t know about this one before.  In turn we ran through our music and left.

Had lunch with Stanley and his friends, Carmen and ? then sat a while knitting on the Starboard last chair with Eric and Margaret who were joined by Marilyn (wife of Peter, the Second Officer) and Marie who later “signed” a song in the show.  I wore my purple flouncy skirt and fuchsia shirt with gold belt and after a lengthy wait for my turn in the show, singing “Lorelei.”  Found Art and Stanley sitting several rows back, but went to sit on Art’s lap.  He joined in like a trooper.  Mary, the so-called “QE2 Diva) dressed in her 50s formal concert outfit, did her arias way off key as usual then posed while people took photos of her!  I made a point of thanking the band members.

May and Doris were enjoying teatime in the Queens Room so I joined them while knitting and chatting with them; then I sat a short while with Stan and friends.

Did a brief Boat Deck walk in the chilly winds; then descended to prepare for dinner at 6:15.   Art was there and was the subject of farewell toasts with champagne.  Again we created much hilarity.  Art praised my performance, as did Stan.  Eric and Margaret later said the same when we gathered for the show.  Tim joined us too.  Down for cabin time of television and knitting.  Clocks back an hour.

Around noon I had checked into the Board Room and sat with Peter G., who engaged in opinionated conversation regarding QM2 and Cunard – cum Carnival in general.  He too is wary of the new ship and upset about no single cabins.  He is also of the opinion (tongue in cheek) that she will sink because of the hype.

Saturday, 18 January –  San Pedro, California

We docked at 6:00 AM new time.  I watched the process on television, channel 3.  Had breakfast with all but Stanley.  Early fog low down, but clear in the restaurant.  I waited a long time with Eric and Margaret in Lido to call their friend.  Got their party on my own and also reached Chris.  The family met me at 11:30 and we went right to Ports o’Call for lunch harborside where we could see QE2 and “Star Princess” (P&O) and passing tankers and freighters.  We shopped a bit then headed for Queen Mary where the boys toured the Russian Sub “Scorpion,” and we all took the Ghost tour and wandered all over the ship.  Dined in the Promenade restaurant then returned to QE2 around 7:30.   While on QM the fog closed in and we could hear harbor noises, but saw nothing.  In fact, the back of the ship was obscured from where we stood on deck.  One time, when Chris and I were on one side of the ship, he phoned Cherie who was somewhere inside, and we eventually were able to meet up – in the fog.

I saw a bit of “Notting Hill,” but left in favor of watching the ship leave and WOW am I glad I did!!!!!  First the 2 tugs (Crowley & ?) bow and stern pulled her away from the dock (Piers 91 & 92), then proceeded to turn her around right there, bow tug pulling enough on starboard to keep the bow (which was somewhat headed into the 90º dock) from hitting the dock corner as it (the bow) pivoted.  Meanwhile, the aft tug was pulling on the starboard stern in the slow wide sweep.  I swear there was only about a 20-foot clearance on either end, which figures if the channel width was 1000 – 963′ plus 20′ plus 20′ – just a little over 1000.  I walked briskly from end to end, first observing the bow, then the stern as the turn finished. — All this while the ship’s fog horn sounded every minute or so.  Never the 3 blasts of the whistle.  At the bend, the stern tug tightened the cable, then went slack.  Never have I seen such a tight turn around in such a tight place.     Then, as we headed out the channel, we passed a ghostly ship and small boat, which had had to wait while we did this maneuver.  It loomed out of the fog at dead slow, while we passed it in the opposite direction.         To bed at midnight.

 


Hong Kong – Naples, 2001

QUEEN ELIZABETH 2

2001 HONG KONG – NAPLES

Cabin 3006

Martha E. Martin Hufford

On March 5, 2001 Hong Kong.

I flew into Hong Kong in early morning and was met by a young man who expected another three of us.  When we had all gathered, we mounted a mini-bus for the 40-minute ride from the new airport on Lantau Island into the city.  We traveled along a new wide highway and over the longest suspension bridge in the world.  Actually it looks like two bridges to me, since there is an island in between the two spans.  This bridge is tri-purposed in that it not only has the highest level for a large two way highway, and a middle level for the trains, but it also has a lower span for automobiles when there are big storms and the bridge sways.

As we approached Kowloon we could see the Queen Elizabeth 2 at her birth at Ocean Terminal where all the shops are, but we went on by to the Shangri-La Hotel where we alighted to spend the day in a very nice lower level area called Camomile Room.  It took several hours for everyone to gather, and I met several people I would continue to meet on the ship, namely Kathryn, Catherine and Rita.  The other singlewoman from the plane, Barbara, was adventurous and went out to explore a bit, returning with a purchase already.  Finally when the time came, we mounted another bus and were delivered to the Terminal and processed for boarding.  They have new method of identification, which is based on a computer system of photograph, name and cabin etc. My photo is horrendous, but so what else is new?  Finally on board, I left my stuff in cabin 3006 and proceeded to explore the ship for familiar faces.  The next day I popped off to the Chinese Arts and Crafts centre where I bought a small glass painted globe and various post cards. etc.  The ship left port in the afternoon, backed out, turned around and headed eastward toward the South China Sea.

We had one day at sea in which I attended a lecture on Vietnam, a movie and did deck time.  The next day we anchored off Vung Tau, and a hydrofoil boat came alongside to take us up the Saigon River to Ho Chi Minh City.  The boat ride was the highlight since we roared at high speed along the delta, past an interesting lighthouse on stilts (and looking in the distance like a vertical Rocket), into the wide river mouth and up the gradually narrowing expanse with palm trees, mud banks, mangroves and the occasional fisherman’s hut and dock.  When our hydrofoil approached, the fishermen would have to scurry out of the way or be mowed down.  After an hour or so, we came around a curve and the city loomed ahead.  We docked at Pier 57 and transferred to our tour bus.  While waiting to depart I noticed the countless motorbikes with one or more people astride, honking and making their way through the bustling traffic and smelly emissions.  We were driven through the city on a circuitous route along parks of every description “for the people,” past a Catholic Cathedral made of bricks, another Catholic church being renovated with white stucco, the People’s Palace (we went inside to see the rooms ready for conferences etc.) and which proudly displays a wrecked American tank within the grounds. We also saw the local museum with ancient statue pieces, and a delightful performance of water puppets.  Four men operate these puppets from under the water and I swear they must have powerful lung capacity and endurance, because they stay under very long while the little creatures, dragons and people act out the stories.

We had lunch at a nice hotel with a very extensive buffet of local Vietnamese food. I foolishly bought a conical hat for one dollar in aid of orphaned children.  Now I wonder what to do with it.  Perhaps I will give it to the Charity Bazaar at the end of the month.  Back in the bus for a final drive through the city along the streets with specialized shops to see motor parts, appliances, furniture, beds, etc. all concentrated on one street for that product.  Comment was made that the bike and auto parts had most likely been stolen or taken from other cars and bikes!

In the afternoon we re-boarded the hydrofoil boat and sped southward the same way.  I was in the stern this time and couldn’t see very well out the damaged plexi-glass windows.  However, as we approached the delta we were made aware of a very strong wind and increasing waves as the hydrofoil bounced heavily along what seemed like crest to crest of the waves.  We were informed we couldn’t breast up with the ship’s platform safely because of the waves, so were taken to Vung Tau for off loading, and reloading to the ship’s tenders.  We then proceeded to the ship and had a bouncy time transferring to the platform.  One person fell forward and I was very impressed at how quickly an attendant lifted the person’s feet away from the gunwales to avoid them being crushed.  I was reminded twice to keep my elbow inside the tender as I inadvertently leaned over to watch.  They are very observant and careful of us all.

The next day, all excursions were canceled because the strong wind still blew, and we had to await the return of the overnighters who were due back in the afternoon.  Some people were miffed, but what can you do?  I was grateful to be on the ship and not stranded ashore.

Bangkok was by far the highlight so far, since I was on a complimentary overnight tour, courtesy of my travel agent.  We were given an afternoon tour of the city, including the renowned Royal Palace temples and grounds.  The next day we had a boat ride through some of the canals.  The boats were driven by converted automobile or truck engines with very long drive shaft to the small propeller six or more feet away.  The weight of the motor requires a long tiller and the helmsman has to be very strong to counter that weight. 

The highlight, however, was the hotel room, which couldn’t possibly be beat!!!!!!  Hotel Peninsula.  I had a suite with computer, fax machine, email, television and — a television monitor mounted over the long, deep tub.  Needless to say I stayed in the tub an hour in bubbles watching a British television station.  It has to be experienced to get the feel of real luxury.  There was also a speaker-phone available from within the bathtub.   The next day, we took a boat tour in the rain to see life along the Klongs and to visit the Royal Barge Museum.  We got out of the boat and walked along the cement dock area to look closely at those highly ornate and very long rowing barges.

My stay in Singapore also included a boat ride.  We boarded 40 foot or so heavy wooden “bumboats” which used to carry goods up the river from the port, and which are now for tourists to travel up river.  There is a big basin where the warehouses and old homes have been renovated into charming vertical stores in pastel colors.  We could see the famous Merlion by the bridge at the end of the basin.  The next day I went to town to shop and rang up a rather expensive bill, jewelry wise.  Bought a lovely sapphire ring and lapis bracelet.  Interestingly, when I made the second purchase, the phone rang and the attendant was asked if the purchaser were a man or a woman.  Thereupon, I took the phone and had to answer the usual identification questions.  I thanked them profusely for taking this initiative, and felt well cared for in this respect.  I had no intention of buying this much, but I am glad since the jewelry was so reasonable.

My routine on the sea days includes the daily port lecture or such, a movie and lots of boat deck time reading and enjoying the weather and water.  My retired Captain friend and wife, Margaret and Eric are pivotal points each day since we share the same interests about the ship.

Phuket, Thailand is truly a gem of a spot. We took a boat ride in Phang Nga Bay where all around are fascinating tall outcrops of high cliffs forming incredible islands.  We stopped at a village on stilts; while very interesting, a scary place to have to live.  Years and years of stagnant water under the houses has contributed to utter filth.  However, the people seem to be thriving very nicely above it all.   Back on our boat in the water, we traveled further south in light breezes to and through a cave or grotto carved by the water under one of the outcropping islands.  Behind all this was a great place to embark on little three-man canoes.  We circumnavigated a lovely public beach island, also graced with the tall cliffs.

We have been crossing the Adaman Sea for the past two days, and the water was most placid with the only diversion being the occasional frolicking of flying fish and big excitement at the attendance of dolphins.  The latter I missed because I had gone below at the wrong time, alas. 

Yesterday was our stop in Colombo, Sri Lanka.  The ship slipped between two rather picturesque lighthouses on opposite jetties, and into the inner harbor where the large freighters go, and we were pushed sideways into our berth parallel to the quay by two rather large tugs. I didn’t actually realize how large they were till I saw a man standing on the expansive stern deck looking rather small amongst the huge winches and lines.  By the time we were eased into the thousand- foot space there was little to spare between the ship’s bow and stern.  When we disembarked, we were greeted by a large elephant draped in bright blue covering top to bottom,  and this was decorated with buttons and lots of glittering bits.  Even the ears and trunk were covered and the poor thing looked rather miserable but obedient.  At first out tour leader wanted us to pose in front of the elephant, but we were being positioned at his “small trunk” end!!!!  That would not do so they had the owner turn the elephant around so we could have the CUNARD in the background.  We then proceeded to the bus and set out for points north, including a working village à la Plimouth Plantation, then further inland to the elephant orphanage at which we saw babies being bottle fed a liter at a time, refill, liter, ad infinitum. I am glad they rescue these abandoned one, otherwise they might be shot or abused.  Sri Lanka is very lush and at least the average houses and other buildings are roofed with tiles unlike sprawl of a place like Bombay with tin and plastic roofs over hovels endlessly.

I approached Dubai with thoughts of my granddaughter Emily’s interest in horses.  Actually the weekend we were there was the big horse race week, but it was impossible for me to be there since the ship came in after the main events were over.  However, there were compensations because the Sheik came to us!  The new cruise ship terminal was to be dedicated and officially opened with the QE2’s presence, and therefore, Captain Warwick greeted him, and the entourage walked from the terminal along a splendid red carpet runner bordered in gold to the gangway and went up to the Queens room where a ceremony took place with exchange of gifts and plaques.  I took as many pictures as I could without being obtrusive.  Actually, the best views were from Boat Deck so I have the tops of everyone’s heads!  Before all this, there was much dancing, gun throwing in the air like batons, rowing dhow races, sailing dhow races in the harbor, and umpteen children dancing in honor of the occasion and the Sheik.  All this took place dockside and in the harbor so I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else at the moment.

The next stop was Muscat, Oman.  This reminds me of a much drier desert than Tucson.  I didn’t see a single cactus, and most of the land is absolutely rocky barren except where watered by treated effluent from used water made by desalinization. 

We are now on our four-day at sea period from Oman to Jordan.  My tour from Muscat took me inland and along the shore northward.  The first stop was at Seend fish market right on the beach.  As I was photographing a little fishing boat, the wind blew my hat off into the Gulf of Oman, and not wanting to lose it, I took off my sandals, threw my stuff on the wet sand and scampered into the receding surf.  I caught the hat and spent the rest of the day wiping myself off (rather quickly) and nursing the very fine black sand from the hat crown and brim interior.  Of course, the trousers dried rather quickly, but actually the damp hat helped keep me cool a long time!!!!! At least I can say I have been in the Gulf of Oman, not just on it!

The highlight of the tour was a visit to an Oasis; and believe me, they need an oasis here in Oman.  There was a large old fort nestled atop mountainous crags, which used to guard access to the precious mountain spring, and after exploring that, we went further into the mountain to see the source of the spring.  They have built hundreds of cement troughs to channel the water to their extensive date palm groves, alfalfa fields and homes.  Lunch at a moderately nice seaside resort was most welcome, and after wards we could stroll by the gulf again (this time, with me holding my hat).  Back “home” at the ship, I had time to admire the coastline at Muscat, which is mountains towering above the harbor side.  From my vantage point I could see absolutely no vegetation on these mountains since the desert conditions are close to Sahara’s.  They haven’t had rain for three years and are yearning for relief.  Not even cacti could live here and yet Oman thrives with their desalinization plants and Oases.

Four days have ensued since our last stop and we have entered the Red Sea. Aqaba, Jordan is next.  While there I took the city tour which didn’t include much.  It is not a compelling city but merely a sea port right at the pointy end of the Gulf of Aqaba, right next to the border with Israel on the western part of the “V” formed by the tip of the gulf.  Elat, Israel looks more prosperous that Aqaba but no one ventures that direction since there is no love lost between the Jordanians and the Israelis (‘nough said).  Anyway I toured the ruined fort from Mameluke times, reminding me of the poem fragment I heard as a child:  “A mesopotamian Mameluke was pricking it over the plain.  He met a Wolakian Hospidar riding about in the rain…..”  All I remember!

The highlight for the tour was the shop next to the fort in which fantastic needlework products were for sale, made by the Bedouin ladies to generate funds to improve their lives.  The Queen Noor Foundation was formed for this purpose and I was happy to support the efforts by buying a fantastic fabric handbag the shape of a rounded “tuffit”, patch-worked with fine crimson and gold and black and green woven silk(?), black banded at the top and fitted with a black fabric expander and draw-string.  The shoulder handle is also quilted in black.  When I took this back to the ship, I had a great time showing it to my needle working friend Margaret (who spends almost all of her time on the ship stitching fantastic works of intricate cross stitch.)  I puffed the bag, plopped it and then put it on her head, making her look like a very colorful chef.   Hanging, it looks like a Bedouin hanging pot, and upside down, it flops to look like a loose chef’s hat.  If I stuffed it, I could snuggle up to it for a good rest!!!   In short, if I can be short, it is a soft, biased quilted square collection of fascinating beauty and utility!!!!!

The next highlight was the Suez Canal itself.  We worked our way northward on a ten- hour ribbon of canal with civilization on the west bank and absolutely nothing on the east bank.  The whole area is as barren desert as you can imagine, and the west bank (Egyptian side) is very nicely irrigated for palm groves, gardens, plantations, peasant dwellings, military ramparts with soldiers on them, and fishing villages as well as expensive resorts.  Ten hours of life passing by, or should I say of us passing it by.  I took these notes as we coasted along, making practically no wake whatsoever!

         SUEZ CANAL, 2001

5:40 a.m. – We are on the move, and we entered the Canal by Port Suez at about 5:55.  The city is to Port.  Things we can see are desert, high- tension wires and a plant.  On Starboard is the Sinai Peninsula with mostly desert as far as one can see.   Most of the sights are definitely only on the Western bank of the canal.  Large floating dry dock – Suez Odense Marine Service. 

The sun rose over the Sinai Peninsula at 5:40 as we were getting under way.  Apartment buildings and two erector type towers – Monument marks beginning of the canal.  Arab graffiti and a drawing of a donkey at the park.  Pilot boat docks – Arab music by a part.

Mosque and a little harbor dredger – yacht harbor with sailboats.  You can see more city across another inlet from the sea.  Low single houses or- small minaret(single).  Small green fisherman boat with a red stripe and bottom.  More city in the distance – mountains taper into the mist.  Two white dogs on shore romping.

We could see the ship’s shadow in the low sun angle on shore.

At 6:10 we left the city behind.  Flag flapping on mast (I’m on Boat Deck forward. )  Outlying newish apartment buildings.  Birds chirping – frayed moon.  High wires over the canal.  Small remote mosque with white and aqua trim.  In the far distance you can see palm trees galore.  A funny large cement ball looks like a helmet.  Wonder what it is?

Parallel road – Left.  6:30 still outlying buildings.  Green and trees.  Little landing ramps for fishermen I guess.   Egrets in a green – wet field.

Army installation.  Men in fatigues.  Battered water tower in distance.

Trucks in a long line waiting for ferry.  Egrets on trees.

Soldier guarding shore.  Big sand piles border then green parks and trees.  A guard tower with sign:  EL SHALUEA and time mast behind with gaff.  Green fields.  This band of green is only about 1/2 mile to a mile wide, then real desert.

Dovecotes – Two tall adobe, dike-like mounds appear to be rock cored, then dredgings piled over them.

Stern view:  Freighters following in convoy. 

El Tinaffra – control station on port.

Little Bitter Lake.  Time board 7:43 – GENEFA station, entrance to Little Bitter Lake opens to Big Bitter Lake quickly.  Lots of crew observing on QE2 bow.

Great Bitter Lake.  Channel (bordered by cement short pilasters.  Channel turns a bit westerly.

Military Air Base in preparation.  Housing new and empty to the west.  Bunkers and Hangars.  Bunkers in background to port.   Nothing to speak of on the Sinai side, just barren desert.

8:37 – KABRIT Station.  Series of peninsular developments. AFB

Eric reports there are southbound ships lined up waiting for us to pass.  8 more miles of lake.  The southbound ships can pass but are waiting.

EL FAYID to port?   Two small sailing dhows and small rowing fishing boats.  10 ships waiting.

They slowed down to let convoy by.  New cut El Ballah Loop.

Early we used the starboard bow thruster to get anchor chain away from the bow and not scrape the painting.

Stopped in Great Bitter Lake.  10:05 we resumed speed at last.  One passed us to port going south. Ballah Loop –

10:22 DEVERS – entrance to Loop – Grand Highway with median – bow pan – short median.  Back in main channel.  Green houses – plastic Quonset shape – camel, a donkey etc.

Army installation camouflaged – “serapeum” – floating docks – life rings.

11:02  TOUSSON – Bird cliffs – low Large resort – Ismalia Sport Village – various sections called suites.  A nice lady gave me her chair under boat 6.  I had sat on the deck next to her all this time and she took a photo of me, and I her.  I am beginning to think this long band of trees – palms – olives etc. were planted for wind and dust shields.

Here comes the Turkish war memorial.  Damage hole in side mounted artillery gun – damaged mosque – Lots of chips – on statues.  Stacked pipes depot. My binoculars sure are helpful here!  Lake Timsah – We will change canal pilots here.

Sand dredgings, people claming – rowboat – green lots of new building on far shore, presumably Ismailia outskirts, clammers stand and stoop in the water.  This is a much larger city than last time through in 1992.  Car ferry – green  – whistling soldiers.

Mosque and Christian church together.  Long undeveloped stretch – then 12:40 we entered the east channel of the two -way stretch.  Blue tug – Desert both sides.  Sun creeping onto Port Deck and very hot, but breeze cools.  Ships in the desert heading south, looking like they are sailing along the desert!    1:10 Two -way channels merge – island ends.  Notable landmarks are few and far between.  Railroad close to road and highway.

Saw a sign for a bridge project.  Dirt dozing lads up to it.  Hardly begun.

1:25 A city coming up.  Ferry – Buildings more red brick looking than white Ismailia!  Small rowboats along bank out of water.  Whistles – Sunday trippers – cell towers.  Another ferry point.  Little military camp tent, another double dove cote.

A good-sized Ketch passed by.  – Minaret call?  Agrarian area, desert rural irrigation of rectangle fields in distance.

Cemetery – concrete tower.  Browning fields.  Long narrow rowboats, sub canal far side of railroad.  Train – toot whistle little adobe brick houses and cattle in small field – tractors rural and wide-open but not desert sand.  Tiny farmhouses covered with straw or rushes – little irrigated fields – cell tower.  In distance low pueblo -like buildings in a poor “city.”

12:10 EL CAP as above.  Margaret reported a tent village to the East with solar panels.  11 men carrying guns.  White dove cote and farm.  Sailing rowboat – steering oar.  2:49 TINAH  Rice paddies  3:27 EL ISH – cattle market. Trucks waiting – dovecote, Cows, goats, burros in various farms.  4:00 PM Port Said.

After that we beat tracks right across the Mediterranean Sea to Naples, where I disembarked and flew home.  Fabulous 33 days.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Singapore-Southampton -1999- Part 2

QE2 Singapore – Southampton, 1999 

Cabin 2007 – Part 2

Monday, 29 March – Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean.

I had breakfast alone.  Boat Deck time ensued.  I got credits straightened out at the Shore Excursion desk and returned to Boat Deck till the lecture on Islam was scheduled.  I returned to the cabin a while then bought a globe necklace and earrings.  After lunch at the Mauretania restaurant where I ate fish and chips, I attended the Andrew Neil lecture on “the press and the Monarchy.”  I bought his book, which he autographed.  I then read it on Boat Deck till teatime when I joined the Lees.  While in the Lido, we shifted course about five degrees westward as we passed a cape south of Muscat.

After dinner Jean and I eagerly awaited Mark Russell’s performance, which more than met our expectations.  A song about Dubai, scathing satire about the President and many hearty laughs were forthcoming.  We continue smoothly toward the Gulf of Aden.

Tuesday, 30 March – Indian Ocean to Gulf of Aden.

This has been a somewhat different day for me.  Several charity raising events took place such as the “swimathon” with June Applebee, Julia Johnson and Warren Smith doing laps for sponsorship, and the tug of war on Helideck both of which I didn’t see.  I did, however, attend the lecture on Israel, Jordan and Syria then joined everyone on Boat Deck to watch us call in at Raysut, Oman to transfer a crew patient to a tug for transfer to a hospital.  They cordoned off Starboard Boat 13 as a precaution, but the tug took the transfer from forward 5 Deck.  I then dashed to Grand Lounge to hear the interview with Andrew Neill who candidly answered many of our questions.  Eric and Margaret were there so I joined them.  They want to know about the Ocean Liner Gazette, so I’ll send them information.  We three ate lunch together then I joined Martha and Jean Burns for their dessert.  Martha and I went to the movie “Man in the Iron Mask.”  Jean Lewis and I had tea with a Scottish Lady from South Africa, Elizabeth.  I turned down an invitation to the Captain’s Dinner this morning!  Anathema!?

I has been sunny, warm and calm all day.  Oh yes, we could see a coastal range and a large cliff point where we pulled toward shore.  It was misty and hot. 

I spent some cabin time around five o’clock and saw a movie about Oscar Wilde.  At dinnertime I had a special salmon dinner with the two Jeans.  Olive was at the Captain’s dinner.  The men left early.

I wandered to Queens Room to see the Arabian Dance decorations then sat a while on Sun Deck.  It is Full moon.  I caught the movie “Starlite” at ten thirty and afterward, I talked with Donna Hartstone from Wayland.  She remembered me.  Bed after midnight.

Wednesday, 31 March – Red Sea.

During breakfast I had a chat with Olive by the back windows of the Lido.  There is a breeze with whitecaps.  I attended talks on the Crusades and Islam, then Egypt.

At some point this morning we passed by Barim through the Straits of Bab al Mandeb into the Red Sea, leaving the wind behind and whitecaps, which made for calm on Boat Deck and humid warmth.  Margaret Y. and I had lunch together and were joined by someone named Alda and Jean Burns.  When done I joined Jean Lewis as well.

I went to the movie “Good Will Hunting” and later skipped tea in favor of a visit to the shops to exchange the Indian box I bought previously for one with a rounded top and brass ship on it.  I finished Chimneys on Boat Deck and watched passing freighters on the misty horizon.  I met a cabin neighbor, Celia, a Brit on my way back to my cabin.  We inspected each other’s singles.  Mine is bigger and hers has only one closet but a double dresser.  A great video on “the Last Sailors” about Indian and Egyptian barges in Sri Lank and China was on television.

My credit report leaves only $20 waiting for the tour refund for Accra.  While on Boat Deck at noon we passed seven isolated “pointy” islands on the horizon, also tankers.  We are barreling along swiftly at 29 knots!

Dinner was with us four gals, the two Jeans, myself and I suspect Olive.  I left the show in favor of more time to spend on Boat Deck admiring the full moon; then I simply headed for bed.

 Thursday, 1 April – Red Sea.

April Fool joke!  Southwest gale winds, big storm.  This Eric told me and chuckled April Fool!  I bit!!!  I had breakfast alone then Bert and Gloria van Campen joined me as they did at lunch as well. 

There really is a strong northwesterly wind and we are plunging right into it and the white- capped waves.  I attended two lectures in the morning and read my book on Boat Deck in between.  It is chilly out there!

The Country Fayre took place in the Grand Lounge.  I spent all of one dollar on a chance then gradually eased out and tried the movie, which was horrible.  I simply went to my cabin after that.  I had tried sitting on Sun Deck but it was windy there too, so much so that a chair or two were gradually being blown across at cross paths!  We continued northward and appear to be off Jeddah on the east side and Nubian Desert on the western side.  Yanbu is the nearest Port.  I have discovered the navigation channel, which shows where the ship is and the latitude and longitude, and the nearest port and ETAs. 

Clocks back one hour.  Entering the Gulf of Aqaba.

Friday, 2 April – Aqaba, Jordan.

When I awoke we were just beginning the docking process.  I observed periodically from my porthole, the process of turning around, then watched the gentle tug pull then push.  We are docked to Port.

Aqaba is on the large horseshoe harbor at the northern end of the Gulf of Aqaba with the Sinai Peninsula to the west and the Arabian Peninsula to the east.  Fantastic!  I joined the Petra tour, which took us through vast desert and Bedouin territory.  Then when we arrived in the modern city of Petra, we walked one and a half miles down to the very narrow Siq and back about three miles through ancient carved sandstone tombs   We had lunch at a hotel restaurant and then headed back by the same route through mountain roads, by the Wadi Rum, down the winding desert roads, through the city of Aqaba back to the ship by five thirty.  Almost immediately preparations were made for our departure as the sun was setting.  I stood on Boat Deck overlooking the harbor and the city and the port tower doubles as minaret.  It boomed out the call to prayer in many musical phrases.  Below me I could see dockworkers and visitors heading for a prayer area, putting off their shoes and kneeling toward Mecca (an angle to the building).  The Pilot and three officers, including Captain Hasell were on the Port wing supervising our gentle receding from the quay.  Very slowly we headed forward and night came on all around the horseshoe of amber lights.  I sat on Starboard Boat Deck till we picked up speed then I went to the cabin to recuperate, shower and go early to bed without dinner.  I never missed it at all!

The ship continued on out of the Gulf of Aqaba and northward in the narrowing Red Sea to Port Suez.  In these narrow areas the going is super smooth.  It has been a beautiful and comfortable day in the 70s even in high sun.

Saturday, 3 April – Port Suez.

At five thirty I heard a long lumpy sound under my cabin, and when I looked out the porthole I saw the reason why.  We are anchored at Port Suez.  I found an email from John under the door.  Two anchor adjustments were noisily made and we are set for the day.

Before breakfast I sent three emails at the Computer center and it is very easy from there.  I walked aft on Boat Deck to see us anchored south of the canal entrance and the channel to the harbor.  Many ships are anchored all over the place.  After my meal with Bert and Gloria van Campen I then joined Jean.  I decided to take a tender ashore and was joined by Martha Gerringer who like me, decided to ride the bus only.  On the way in we saw umpteen thousand Muslim pilgrims trying to sort out their baggage upon their boat return from Mecca.  Miserable donkeys and dogs were all around as well.  We returned to the ship by twelve thirty and lunched with Jean and Jean.  Spent some time with the Lees in Queens Room then on Boat Deck watching ships emerge from the canal southbound. 

I went to the cabin till dinnertime and in the meantime I saw “Lawrence of Arabia” on television.  I went to dinner near eight o’clock and Jean Burns and the Spanish gentleman ere the only ones there.  When he left Jean Lewis came, and we three were on our own.  Then after nine o’clock Olive turned up very tired after her Cairo trip which she described as awful because of the Easter crowds.  We had fun repartees with Sebastian.  I returned to the cabin for the night around ten o’clock

Easter Sunday, 4 April – Transit the Suez Canal.

At six o’clock we started.  I stayed on deck from five forty through the next twelve hours watching the various landmarks passing and making notes.  I sat on forward portside of Boat Deck all morning with Eric and Margaret till eleven, then with various friends, Jean, Martha and others at different times we spelled each other while others went for hamburgers and onion rings up there, accepting tea and frozen yogurt when offered.  At each checkpoint I noted the time and name.  When we reached Port Said, QE2 backed into her “dolphin” spot to await the travelers arriving from Cairo. 

An old wreck languishes at our stern.  As we were eating dinner the ship left the harbor and set out across the Mediterranean Sea.

I attended the  Mark Russell show, which was very funny!  I caught the last part of the movie, “Sliding Doors” with a British cast.  It was okay, but not captivating. 

Clocks to be advanced one hour tomorrow morning.  An Easter basket appeared in my cabin.  Aprikosen, Pastete, jelly beans, a real egg and a tiny chocolate egg.  

My last Suez transit was in 1992. 

Monday, 5 April – Haifa, Israel.

We were just approaching Haifa as I awoke near seven o’clock new time.  Side thrusters were put into play to turn us around for docking on Starboard side by 7:30.  Mount Carmel with its hillside buildings looms above us.  I had breakfast with Gloria and Bert, then the two Jeans briefly.

My tour for today was cancelled so I will simply take the shuttle to Mount Carmel.  I spent an hour at the top with no positive impression or action.  My neighbor’s name is Celia and she is in cabin 2003.

I remained on board the rest of the day and read my book on Boat Deck till chilly from the wind off the stern.  The movie was “First Wives Club.”  Tea in the Lido with Cecil, then back to the cabin again.  Dinner at eight saw Jean Lewis returning late from her tour.  Israeli Dance group and a good folk singer.

Tuesday, 6 April – Haifa.

I was on my excursion all day and went to Nazareth, Tiberias, Capernium and the Sea of Galilee and the River Jordan.  We were back by six thirty.  It was cloudy and sunny alternately all day.  Dinner in the Lido with Jean Burns.  I saw “Good Will Hunting” again, and heard the jazz band concert.  After a Horlicks and chatting with Cecil, Noel and friends I returned to my cabin for the night by eleven thirty.

Wednesday, 7 April – Mediterranean Sea.

I met Eric in the Computer room at seven thirty or so and he reported it to be cold outside.  We have had a headwind all day and the time I spent on Boat Deck forward was brisk to say the least.  I attended two lectures then read my book sheltered somewhat way forward on Boat Deck.  I found Jean Lewis outside Yacht Club sunning so we went to lunch together and were joined by the aft window corner by Martha Gerringer.  Richard and Valerie joined us. I found Jean Burns just forward of the Starboard Lido so we chatted a bit.  She listened to the jazz band in the Golden Lion Pub and confirmed they are the group she remembered from previous trips.    I missed the lecture I wanted, but joined the Lees for tea in the Lido with Les and Joyce.  I answered questions re: computers then headed for Quarter Deck aft for a while, trying to be out of the wind and in the sun.  I returned to the cabin and at six thirty I looked out the porthole to see Crete.  Bingo!  There it was in the distant haze sporting what looks like snow on a high mountain.  The rest tapers both sides lengthwise.  Kalilhimenes is the nearest port.  The sunset is dead ahead at 6:10.

The Lees phoned the taxi man in England from my cabin and all is prepared for an additional suitcase when I go with them to Colchester upon disembarking in Southampton.  We have passed Crete and are now heading for Italy.

The show was funny with a bumbling magician and comedienne wife assistant.  Calm night and moderate seas.

Thursday, 8 April – Med. Sea and Ionian Sea.

I received an email from Ann and Jan early.  I slept again till 8:30.  We are approaching the Straits of Messina.  Actually I spent the whole morning on Boat Deck, boat six reading in semi-sunshine and strong wind, eventually heading downward for more shelter on One Deck Lido till lunch on my own.  By that time the weather had closed in, dashing my hopes of photos at the straits.  I sat briefly with Margaret Y.  The pilot came on the Tannoy at two ten. 

I spent time in light rain on Sun Deck observing our approach to the Straits of Messina – and noting this is the place where the myth about Cylla and Charybdis took place.  I had to go inside as we passed through with a lighthouse to starboard.  The tall pylons no longer carry the electric cables, since they put the cables under the waterway.  Fog, mist and rain closed in so I wasn’t unhappy to stay inside to attend the Vickers talk on her book, “The Way of Gentleness.”

At four thirty we came close to Stromboli, leaving it to starboard.  There is a settlement close to the shore at the bottom of the volcano and the top is in the wet clouds, alas!  A lava flow is also visible.  I probably wasted three photos out my porthole.

We are now in the Tyrrhenian Sea and at Livorno we will be in the Ligurian Sea!  Lisbon has been cancelled because of a strike.  El Encanto, Spain as an alternate.  Alacante – nine to six o’clock so – Livorno, Barcelona and Alicante in three day succession. Whew!

Dinner then concert:  “The City Waits” an early English music group. 

Friday, 9 April – Livorno, Italy.

We appear to be stuck in the turning around process as we are pushed to port docking.  I don’t know if I was right, as Eric didn’t think so.  Anyway I took the tour to Pisa and was back for lunch with the Lees and Jean.  I saw the film then joined the Lees for tea.  Tommy Thomas sent me a letter.  I watched us pull away from the dock with the help of two tugs, then slowly proceed by most of the harbor past little light houses and the large one to Port.  We turned westward out to sea.  Some Mistral winds are due tonight and Captain Hassel warned us to secure our cabins.  Lisbon is back on and Alicante is out.

I went in the back way to the World Club Cocktail Party.  Awards were given out.  Fred Palmer and wife got 500 -day pin.  Marie somebody got recognition for a thousand days on Cunard.  The movie was “Wag the Dog” I got to bed at midnight.  The winds and waves never affected good old QE2.  I think I saw Elbe in the distance as we left Livorno.

Saturday, 10 April – Barcelona, Spain.

We docked at eight thirty on starboard side, thus no turn around.  After breakfast with Jean Lewis I looked toward the city from Boat Deck then settled in shade outside Yacht Club to read, but upon becoming chilly I went up to Starboard Boat Deck in sun, then portside, and when settled there I saw lovely sailboats motoring by on their way to open water.  One great gaff-rigged yawl!

At noon I had lunch (soup and ice cream) at the Pavilion and joined my tour through the city sights.  These included the fantastic unfinished Cathedral, several buildings by the architect who designed this church, and other landmarks recorded in my excursion notebook.  It was a lovely sunny day, which greatly enhanced the brilliance of this beautiful city.  I thought of Victoria de Los Angeles when we saw the Olympic Games venue.

I sat with the Lees for the Crew Show.  They had singers and dancers plus a pianist and guitarist.  Jeffrey Canono, my steward did a beautiful vocal job.  During the show the ship left port.  I think they turned us around after pulling us stern-wise out to a wider area.  Eric agrees with me.  Eric won’t tell me what the “ball” on the lead line is called!  Turks head is the nearest he will say.  I watched the late movie “Ever After,” about Cinderella. (Jeff is my 2007 steward and we sing to each other.)

Saturday, 11 April – Mediterranean Sea through Gibraltar to the Atlantic.

This has been the most special day with fine sunny weather and only forward motion wind so it was very pleasant for sitting on deck most of the day.  I started on starboard Boat Deck then moved to the Yacht Club deck to face north in view of the passing Spanish shores and mountains.  Here is a list of features, which appeared out of the haze at an average distance of about nine nautical miles.  Snow, windmills in series, mountains of varying heights and slopes (which had coastal towns.) 

I caught a bit of the Grandmother meeting in the Yacht Club then returned outside.  Had cake and ice cream in the Lido then took a hamburger and onion rings from the Pavilion back on deck.  The ship veered to avoid a very small fishing boat and buoys.  I left to see The Postman at two o’clock, but left by four to sit on Boat Deck by boat 9 till five or so when I went to the cabin to wash and set my hair.

I dub this day “the all day Spain panorama.”  The crowning glory was when we approached and passed through the Straits of Gibraltar, we had already passed the Rock of Gibraltar well to the north of us.  I could see Africa and Europe at the same time with mountains of Morocco to port and the Rock of Gibraltar to starboard.  I scrutinized the latter at length, as it seemed to change shape in progressing views.  The west side is very sheer with two distinct peaks and buildings plus antennae, then as we passed by, the Eastern slopes were revealed with green trees up them and the Naval Base and community near the water’s edge..  I saw a mosque, red and white lighthouse, walls or ramparts, homes, barracks and lots of ships all around.  The haze was pretty thick, producing a line way up the mountain. 

I skipped the World Club cocktail party.  However, the Jeans told me this was the fancy one with food and ice sculptures.  Tonight we also had Baked Alaska parade and national flags were draped all over the dining room.  Show and bed.  Clocks back one hour.  We are now on British Summer time, and in the Atlantic Ocean.

Monday, 12 April – Lisbon, Portugal.

I was up in time to see us creeping up the Tagus River and watch the bridge approach on television.  Breakfast in Mauritania.

I took the tour to the Arrabida Mountain range and Setubal plus the Christo Rei statue.

Once back on board I had lunch around two o’clock briefly with Jean Lewis and Elizabeth.  I spent a long time on Boat Deck with the Lees in sunshine aft.  Eric told me about his merchant marine career, which started at sixteen years of age.  We were barred from Starboard Boat Deck because of bunkering, but I eventually sought shade under a lifeboat by E stairway entrance and plunked down within the off limits signs!

I had tea with Cecil and then went to the cabin near five o’clock to rest till we departed.  I bought another book, and my balance presently stands at $9.16 credit.

We were late leaving by about half an hour, because of a technical problem with an aft winch.  Meanwhile, the three tugs sat at the ready with the midi-ships one gently nudging QE2 after the dock lines were cast off.  The wind was from the aft quarter tending to blow her off, hence the center tug nudges.  When we did start moving, the forward tug was working hard with taught cable.  The center tug was the fulcrum, for the pivoting.  When we went under the “15 April Bridge” the mast certainly did look like it would touch!

A (QE2) sign is painted on the dockside.  After I returned to the cabin I heard the whistle go three times.  Probably my last time.  We were off by seven o’clock.    A noisy sail away dance and party went on all the time as we departed.  Dinner at eight.  Thomas was complimentary to me, I think!

Paulo is now on leave and there is a new replacement.  I listened briefly to the jazz band at the Golden Lion Pub then I attended the show with Jean.  To the cabin at eleven.  A little motion of the ship.

 Tuesday, 13 April – Bay of Biscay!

Well, for me this was a day to forget!  I was seasick all day.  Jeffrey closed the porthole and we tossed too much!  Being way up forward was definitely a factor in the increased motion.  Actually I had awakened abruptly with the frantic urge to heave, but although feeling horrible I didn’t toss anything.  I certainly missed the Talent Show rehearsal and sign-up, as well as the show itself. And I only just managed to work my way to the Mid-ships Lounge to collect my passport and be stamped into England.  Frankly, I don’t even know if there was a talent show!  The two Jeans phoned me.  Jean Lewis cabin is 4197.

Wednesday, 14 April – Southampton, England.

I was up at five thirty back to the picture of good health!  I turned on the television to see us still proceeding to the harbor, but smoothly, thank heavens!  We were docked by eight o’clock, having already turned around.  I said my goodbyes to Thomas- who likes me, and  Jean Burns at the Chartroom.  Breakfast with Olive.

I hugged Sebastian Tournié my waiter, goodbye, returned to breakfast with Jean Lewis then found Margaret and Eric at their private table by the window on Starboard.  I said my goodbyes to Jeffrey Canono who thanked me for the tip.  Hugs etc.  Then I went to Queens Room to await the order to disembark – with the Lees.

My cabin charges worked out to only 84 cents, which I paid instead of having them send that through to VISA.  I was twenty cents short and the lovely girl there paid that for me. Wasn’t that sweet of her!

We disembarked by ten o’clock and I joined Eric and Margaret in their taxi bound for Colchester, two or more hours away.

I am always so reluctant to leave my dear old QE2, but the main comfort is that there will always be a next time till the inevitable retirement creeps up with its air of finality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Singapore – Southampton -1999-Part 1

QUEEN ELIZABETH 2

SINGAPORE – SOUTHAMPTON

MARCH 17 – APRIL 14, 1999

CABIN 4119 – 2007

Wednesday, 15 March – Singapore Embarkation.

March 15- 17 was spent on plane fights, and is a saga in itself!  I had gone early to Boston to spend the night at the Airport hotel to be on hand since a big snowstorm was threatening.  I checked in early on the 15th only to find my flight had been cancelled.  Fortunately, the attendant was able to book me quickly on another plane that would take me to Detroit, where I would find another plane to Norita, Japan.  That dovetailed in good order, then when waiting in Norita for my next flight, the one originally scheduled for that segment, I was able to board that, and arrive in Singapore after midnight.  I was met at the airport and the driver took me directly to the ship!  I was not expected, because I should have been taken to a hotel.  However, they found me cabin 4121, next to my assigned cabin 4119, and I gratefully tumbled into bed after that long ordeal!

I met Margaret Yehuda and the Lees and had lunch with them.  I took the shuttle to town to buy bras, which I had neglected to pack, and when returning to the ship I came across Paul Danby, and Gregory at the gangway to welcome those embarking.  I did the boat drill, saw Jean Burns and settled in for a nap.

I went to table 268 in the Mauretania Restaurant and met two men, one from Spain and the other from France, named Sebastian.   Saw the movie “Some Mother’s Son” and went to bed.  The ship left at ten o’clock but I wasn’t on hand!

Thursday, 18 March – Malacca, Malaysia.

It was very smooth sailing all night, mainly because we were in the Straits of Malacca.  I was awake very early so I puttered, read and tidied the cabin.  We were anchored way off Malacca by dawn; the water was very shallow and when we tendered to shore and up the river with dhows all along the shore, the ship looked small in the distance.

My tour took me to the town of Malacca where we went through a typical private home, and wandered in the middle of the town.  After lunch with Jean I watched “Amistad.” We raised the anchor and were under way before five o’clock.  There were lots of ships in the Strait.  Briefly I walked Boat Deck portside and checked out the shops (garish stuff) before heading for my cabin to wash and curl my hair.

Jean joined me for dinner at table 268 and another Jean (Lewis from the Wirrall) sat in the unused seat of the other Jean.  This lady turned out to be a delight.  She and I lingered long after Jean B. left.  I watched the end of the movie “Rush Hour,” and then strolled Boat Deck in the still humid and warm air, then headed to the cabin and bed.  Clocks back one hour.

Friday, 19 March – Bay of Bengal.

I awoke around four in the morning still mixed up in time.  The ship was still in the Straits of Malacca with Sumatra to Port most of the morning.  Overcast skies and heavy tropical rains predominated.  I had breakfast with Jean and a lady from Sydney named Joan.  While by the Starboard windows we saw a school of young dolphins romping and lots of shipping including a large oilrig in tow with three tall Erectorset-like towers.

I attended two lectures in the Theatre, scanned the shops then asked for a cabin change at the Purser’s office.  I met the Lees and Jean for lunch and jubilantly reported my new cabin to be 2007 – a single, outside way up forward.  I am sitting on my bed in 2007 right now and luxuriating in a porthole!  Yippee!  This porthole is so far forward it is on an angle commensurate with the bow tumblehome, and the movement through the water is quiet and free from engine noise or vibration.  Not that I noticed it amidships but it is quiet now.  Since it has been raining off and on, I remained in my new cabin savoring its newness.  Toward five o’clock I noticed two funnel clouds and although neither reached the water I could see much turbulence on the surface of the water. 

The welcome cocktail party took place at seven o’clock but I napped till seven twenty.  I then went to shake hands with Captain Hasell (pronounced Hazel).  Elaine looked exquisite in her new thinner form and beaded top.  I also met Cecil, now a widower, from Australia.  We hugged and spilled my orange juice! Woops!  Jean and I proceeded on up to dinner where the men were about to finish, and we joined Olive and Jean Lewis.  Lovely prawns, asparagus soup, lobster tail and vanilla soufflé! Yum!  I watched part of “the Avengers” – nothing like the series.  To bed I went shortly after having snoozed a bit in the movie!  I do love my new cabin!  Clocks back 30 minutes tonight.

 Saturday, 20 March – Bay of Bengal.

I emerged for breakfast a little after eight o’clock.  As I passed by the computer room I greeted Eric who was playing solitaire,  awaiting Margaret’s surfacing.  I had most of my breakfast alone then wandered a bit, eventually settling on a chair on Boat Deck to read my book and watch the various tankers and freighters we passed, all going our same direction.  Sunny and comfortably breezy from the south -southwest. 

I eventually went inside and located the Lees who were in their accustomed place by the windows on Starboard side of Queens Room..  Joyce and Les, their friends were discussing the merits of computers, so I joined in.

At twelve thirty I went with Eric and Margaret to lunch at the Lido where Jean Burns eventually joined us.  Valerie came to sit with us toward the end.  I headed again for Boat Deck and sat with Eric and Margaret again.  I later bought stuff at the shops.  Oh yes, I sent three emails before lunch.

I took tea with the other Martha (Gerringer) in the Queen’s Room.  At around five o’clock the ship passed within sight of the southern shore of Sri Lanka.  I could barely make out individual buildings.  When fully past the island we will turn north toward Cochin.

I attended John Duffy’s cocktail party in the Yacht Club.  Jean and I sat with a New Zealand couple.  Dinner ensued and I returned to my cabin.  Clocks back one hour.  Some time during the day I met a newly married couple, Blanche and Peter, who were both widowed previously.

Sunday, 21 March – Cochin, India.

Again I was up around four o’clock to stay.  I read for a while.  As we entered Cochin Harbor I was on deck to view, and saw that the tide was swiftly going out and taking green grasses with it in the rips.  There were weirs placed all across a wide expanse between islands, and along the shore were many Chinese pole nets that fan out at high tide.  They were poised in the up position.  Several little double-ended rowing, and fishing boats were floating out of the current, but one was going swiftly with the outgoing tide.  They look like small gondolas!

Many small clusters of people watched our progress and we were finally pushed sideways to the quay by two large tugs and one small one.  Waiting to greet us was a single elephant dressed in gold on his face and sporting two even long tusks.  I ducked into Mauretania for breakfast after seven thirty.

I took the morning tour of old Cochin, but decided to pass up the backwater tour in the afternoon.  We saw an old Jewish Synagogue, and walked through the primitive streets.  Also, I was intrigued to see a small Catholic church in which was a large and ornate sarcophagus, which previously held Vasco da Gama, who died here, but later his body was taken back to Lisbon for entombment in a similar and larger sarcophagus in the Cathedral.  Interestingly, I have also seen this in Lisbon!

Jean and I chose to see the “Gandhi” movie; then I left to join the Lees for tea.  Eric, Margaret and I then went on deck to watch a large tanker being pushed to the quay across the channel.  It took a long time so I found a deck chair on Boat Deck and watched numerous small excursion boats parade back and forth, till finally the tugs came to help QE2 away from the quay and pivot around to port for departure.  Three blasts of the whistle twice, and an answer from “Arkona” (a white American ship) then reply and “Boop.”  I headed back to the cabin, and heard three more blasts from there, as she proceeded between fishing “gondolas.”  After dinner I wandered a bit then returned to my cabin by ten.

Monday, 22 March.

I awoke around seven o’clock and went to breakfast an hour later.  I sat with Barbara, Margaret Y., Jean and Martha.  Later Barbara’ mother Jessie joined us.  I then headed directly for Starboard Boat Deck and read my book all the rest of the morning till after the noon whistle test.  I then did my deck walking starting at Five Deck and working up to two on rounds, then I prepared for lunch.  At some point I got stamps from the Purser’s Office and mailed my post cards.

I sat with Barbara and Jessie then switched to Jean and Valerie for dessert.   I am presently sitting on starboard Boat Deck under boat 13, feeling the lovely forward motion breeze and comfortable 80˚ temperature.  This is perfect – with Margaret Lee.  Eric is in the sun somewhere else.  A passenger came by and made a fuss over spotting two passengers. ????  Apparently there are only five or six hundred passengers on board and the dining rooms and Lido attest to this fact.

Martha Gerringer came by to chat and I gave her my card.  Teatime brought the Lees and me together again, and then I returned to Boat Deck till nearly six o’clock.  I bought a red T-shirt.  Awaiting me under the door was an email from Cherie.

In my conversation with Martha G., she corrected me.  The Arabian Sea is the West coast of India, so it looks like the Indian Ocean is south of the subcontinent.  A little grackle-like bird , scrawny and smaller, has been hitch-hiking all day. 

I decided to try dinner at the Lido, so I dressed “informally” and sat at a table set for two.  Waiters kept trying to take away the second setting, and Maria says they are trained to do so.  I prevailed in saving it and was joined by a man from Orlando named Charlie.  Afterwards I saw end of the movie then tried out the show, “Black Tie.”  The performers were two Russian-Greek-Australian basses, a cello, piano guitar and drums.  They were very good.  Jean Lewis sat with me and we enjoyed a Horlicks afterward in the Lido.  I got to bed near midnight.

Tuesday, 23 March – Bombay.

We docked at the Ballard Dock around four o’clock.  There is not much to say since we were in port all day.  I took a taxi with Margaret Y. and Judy to the Taj Hotel, walked around the Gateway to India and a shopping street in back of the hotel; then returned by noon.  I ate lunch alone in the Lido; then went to Boat Deck to read and watch the boats and ships plying back and forth.  There was a five-man rowing training boat, a dredger, a clipper bow steam yacht, various freighters and tankers, a sailing dhow and various tugs and boats anchored.

In the afternoon I watched the movie, “Holy Man.”  Jean Burns joined Martha and me in Queens Room for tea; then I returned to Boat Deck to finish my book and again enjoy the harbor.

After dinner I delivered my immigration card for India to the Purser’s Office then watched the special show of native dancers.  They were extremely energetic with lots of jumping, bouncing, stamping (bare feet), and the costumes were very colorful. It has been a lovely sunny and comfortable day!

Wednesday, 24 March – Bombay – Mumbai.

There was a beautiful sunrise over the Bay with haze.  I went on the Elephanta Island trip, which commenced at the Gateway to India, where several excursion boats awaited all of us.  We motored across the bay past a re-fueling island, and landed at the stage where we all disembarked.  I walked up the sloping and very wide steps lined with countless vendors begging one to buy their wares.  Some people paid to be lifted onto sultan seats and carried up the long stairway by four men.  At the top were the caves and ritual areas complete with phallic sculptures and symbols all around. 

Once back at the ship I had a late lunch with Jean.  We tried the movie for a short time, but left for Boat Deck where I sat with Eric and Margaret in the shade on Starboard, reading and watching freighters come and go, the rowers with their five oars, and later a small navy training sailing yawl.  I took tea in the Lido then went to the cabin.

At five thirty or so I returned to Boat Deck and watched the tugs very slowly pull QE2 away from the quay as the wind was picking up on port beam.  It took a long time to get her far enough out so the tugs could pivot her around 180˚ and head slowly out the harbor.  The whistle blasted three times and we were off.  I sat near the Observation Deck stairs and was joined by Martha G.  She left before the sun set, but I lingered longer till the following wind picked up.  Then I went down to the cabin, showered and went to a late dinner.  I watched a bit of the movie “The Imposters,” then went to bed about eleven.  We are now heading northwestward across the Arabian Sea.

Thursday, 25 March – Arabian Sea.

What a lovely sunny, clear day greeted us.  After breakfast Jean and I attended the two lectures on Arabia and Dubai, between which we strolled through the shops.  I was on Boat Deck reading my book when the noon whistle blew.  The forward wind was augmented by the northwest wind and the cooler air made it borderline comfortable.  After lunch, I returned to Boat Deck and actually became cool enough to need my sweatshirt, so after getting it, I went to the film “Simon Birch.”

I had tea with Jean and later Margaret Y.  The wind is creating little white caps but QE2 goes on majestically, unaffected as usual.  By the way, it is obvious everywhere that there are few passengers on board.  The waiters in the Lido hover over us to provide our every need and it is almost annoying.  In the dining room, there are still many empty tables and our assistant manager makes his rounds several times an evening like a mother hen!

I bought Indian boxes with Jean.  I gave her a key ring and a tea towel; pay back for the lovely piano scarf she had given me previously. 

It is hot today, so I changed to cooler clothes then headed upward to attend the Scott lecture.  Back to the shops then on to Boat Deck for a while.  We are now sailing in the Gulf of Oman!

I had lunch on portside in the Lido with Jean, and Eric and Margaret came by.  I tried the movie but didn’t like it, so I found the Lees on Boat Deck and chatted while admiring the waterscape.  We found we are going quite slowly on placid sea.  It is misty or more correctly, hazy because of the sand particles from the deserts of the Arabian Peninsula.

I enjoyed the lecture about Rupert Murdoch by Andrew Neil and was spellbound to say the least!  I joined the Lees for tea then headed for the cabin.  I am presently sitting on the sill below my porthole where I can look out on the very flat sea surface.  The sun is in haze on our portside.  North is Iran over the horizon and we are nearing the narrow Strait of Hormuz through which we will pass around midnight.  Incredible to think I am at this part of the world!  The Persian Gulf is often called the Arabian Gulf!

After dinner and a fairly good show by Richard Yanni, Jean Lewis and I went to Boat Deck where we parted.  I discovered the Observation Deck was open so I went up to scan the horizon for lights.  The moon and stars were out and I could make out very distant lights of two ships and a double flashing beacon.  The lookout on the Bridge wing said hello.  I also saw the phosphorescence a little and noted dark bands either side of the ship, which must be the counter waves or rips?  No land lights yet, but shortly we should be passing through the Straits of Hormuz.  Clocks back one hour and to bed late.

Saturday, 27 March – Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

I was on deck forward in time to watch our approach to the harbor.  Two green tugs were heading our way with water canons spraying.  On the horizon spread the long expanse of high-rise buildings and beyond what looked like the other side of a narrow peninsula.  Two large planes flew overhead on their airport approach.  One building stands alone to the far right, looking like a sail.  This is the Burg al Arab Hotel.

The tugs were tethered to us and swayed to the necessary sides to guide and protect us from the outer curved jetty.  While up forward I chatted with a lovely English couple about my piloting speculations.  When the final course of action re: guiding us to the dock on starboard was determined, I went to sit in the first starboard Boat Deck chair.  While there the whistle blasted twice.  Fred was just coming out and asked us ladies if we did that!  I apologized.  Ha Ha.  Having successfully seen us safely docked I went back in to breakfast with Jean.  Two camels are waiting to greet us – at a distance.

I took the Dubai Sights tour of the Fort, a Palace, water taxi and so on, ending up at a Souk shopping area.  After lunch back on board I napped and prepared for the World Cruise Society diner at the Dubai Golf and Yacht Club.  What a fantastic place this is by the “creek” across from a carnival.  We had cocktails and quartet entertainment on the upper terrace, then we went down stone steps for dinner in a large “star-lit” tent.  The dinner favors consisted of a lovely wooden curved box with Myrrh inside, and a scroll with the menu on it.  Cecil Bowles and Noel Mullheney as well as YoYo were at my table.  YoYo was the hostess.  We were entertained with fireworks, and a Belly Dancer.  We heard an encouraging speech by the Cunard CEO.  Captain Hasell is happy too with future outlook.  A New Queen Mary (2) will be built and is due in 2002 to coincide with Queen Elizabeth II’s golden anniversary.  They are planning to have 2 Queens meeting and crossing together.  [ Note: As I type this in 2009, I can add that not only did the Queen Mary 2 come into being, in 2004, I have been on her six times, and indeed I was on board QE2 for the first Tandem crossing in 2004, and subsequent rendezvous of two and later three Cunard ships and final tandem crossing in October, 2008.]

The features of the evening included scenarios with Bedouin tents with woven sheep wool cushions, a hookah, camel (for sitting and photography), Arab girls painting henna on peoples hands, head bands, “stars” turned blue, then white.  Centerpieces on the tables were tripod golf clubs and flowers on top.  Boats in the Creek were plying back and forth all lit up, and to top all this off there were fireworks across the water.

Sunday, 28 March – Dubai.

We had a comfortable morning breeze on Boat Deck (shady side) overlooking the harbor scene.  Three ships were at anchor on the horizon, ships were docked opposite and aft across the harbor.  We had a clear view over the Persian Gulf!  Artificial harbor jetties line the channel.  I had breakfast with Olive, and returned to Boat Deck to observe some more.  I saw a Stena Tanker, empty, even propeller is partly above the water.  Half the rudder also shows, and “HMS Beatle” is docked behind us.

When I headed down to find Jean Burns, I encountered both Jeans and we went into Dubai on the Shuttle Bus.  We got off at the shopping center where we walked the mall among all sorts of Muslims, Indians, Caucasians and so forth.  We went back to the ship for lunch, and I spent a few hours on Port Boat Deck with Eric and Margaret looking seaward and talking.  I had tea with them plus Les and Joyce and Maureen.

I went to my cabin and fell asleep.  When I awoke I went topside again and shared the BBQ on Sun Deck with Jean Burns.  We then sat a long time on Boat Deck watching the city light.  Eventually the ship was prepared for sailing, but there was a long delay.  I remained on deck till the four tugs did their pushing and pulling to turn us around to port and head us out the crooked channel.  It was fun watching her move the way I figured she would, so by midnight or a little after, I went down to bed.  Clocks back an hour again.  Goodbye Dubai.