Day 97

The sea and wind are gentle and the weather is sunny and mild. It seems to be a pleasant sailing day. Pat had her Sunday morning waffle and her special ordered whipped cream, which was delivered by Lorenzo, the maître d’.

This morning, Don Walsh spoke about his “Lunch Aboard the Titanic,” not on April 14, 1912 but in 1985 aboard a submersible that landed on the bridge of the Titanic. He played “Yellow Submarine” and ate a boxed lunch, staying there 30 minutes before beginning the 6-hour ascent. He quoted the usual historical facts and dimensions of the ship. The ship’s service life was 4 ½ days or 110 hours. Despite warnings from other ships of nearby ice bergs, the Captain proceeded full speed ahead, so the onboard owners would be on time for their welcoming parties in NYC. The lookouts could not find the binoculars anywhere on the bridge and just used their naked eyes. The officer on deck made the fatal error of trying to turn and avoid the ice berg, exposing the side and tearing the hull through six compartments. The ship was designed to withstand up to three flooded compartments. It sank in 2 ½ hours. The Carpathia arrived two hours later. Of the 2,228 passengers, only 705 survived. We probably remember 1984 when Dr. Robert Ballard, from Woods Hole, found the Titanic in 12,500 feet of ocean off the Grand Banks. Don showed us many pictures of the wreck and spoke how the wood on the ship disappeared by micro-organisms and how the metal is slowly being consumed by rusticles – metal eating organisms. There is a company he is associated with, Deep Ocean Expeditions, that takes adventurers in a submersible dive to the Titanic for a fee of $35,000.

Next, Mike Scott gave his true-life tale, “Confessions of a Tristan da Cunha Widower.” This is the remotest inhabited island in the world and our ship is by-passing it because of the weather near there. (But Mac was able to make a quick visit. See the photo.)

The residents are extremely self-sufficient with only few animals on the small patches of flat land near the ocean and 2,000 foot cliffs right behind the Settlement. They survive on the rock-lobster fishing when the weather permits. Each morning a lookout checks the weather and ocean conditions and if it looks good for fishing he sounds a bell to alert the men that they should change their other work plans and become fishermen for a day. His story really centers around his wife, Sue, who is a marine biologist. Under governmental research grants, she has been to the island seven times over the last twenty years to conduct underwater surveys of the marine life, principally because no one has ever done this before.  There were a couple of occasions when she had to perform environmental risk assessments to the marine environment after ship wrecks near the island. There were many underwater photos, which is her specialty, showing the fully functional marine system but with few species, or limited diversity. Each time she went on these excursions, he remained home in Scotland. The overall accumulated time was close to two years. He did get a chance to visit it once in 2011, when a space opened up on one of the federal grant trips.

There was no noontime game today because Jamie, the Cruise Director, was rehearsing with the show crew for a special evening presentation. I went off to play ping-pong with Art and while there, two worldie spectators arrived, Harris and Primo. We played round-robin games for over an hour. It was a very good time. After a light lunch up on the pool deck where it was warm and comfortable, I went to play deck games and Pat did her card making.

Our card today was a window and flowerbox with added flowers. We were done in about a half hour because no serious cutting was involved.

There was a 3:15 future cruise presentation by Bruce. He had just returned from a 4 week vacation and Gudrun, the other cruise consultant, had left. He spoke about the first season of the Regent Splendor in early 2020, and went over most of the itineraries of the other 4 ships. A really fascinating one is next summer on the Grand Arctic Quest, a 77 day sailing from London to New York that visits the British Isles, Norwegian fjords, Iceland, Greenland, Murmansk (Russia), and Scandinavia. Our speakers, Terry and Michael, are already booked on this sailing to give programs. What a good life!

Today we got 13 ½ questions correct out of 15 in trivia and still came in fourth. I thought for sure we’d get a point, but other teams got 14 correct.

The 5:45 show tonight was a dramatic presentation of the “Fallen Star- The Last Days of Napoleon” written by Terry Bishop and acted out by the production cast and Jamie. This focused on Napoleon’s final 6 years on St. Helena island. Although he was a prisoner, Napoleon was treated royally, with his own retinue, house, food, and wine. He was not confined to his house- only the island. We learned a few new things watching this performance.

Headliner Showtime at 9:30 was “A Celtic Star,” featuring Scottish harpist, Phamie Gow. She played several Scottish numbers and several of her own compositions, featured on her CDs, on the harp, followed by some singing, piano, and flute melodies. She has created a new movement in the genre of celtic/classical crossover music through her original compositions.

It is calm sailing tonight and another sea day tomorrow with sun and warmth.

Yours in travel,

Pat & Mac