Day 99

Woke up to a rolling South Atlantic with long swells and some wind. The Captain’s noontime report said it would be like this through tomorrow, with 15′ swells and SW wind of 20 mph. Our general position is 29.22 s. lat. and 21.19 w. long. as of tonight’s writing. The ship is handling well in these conditions. Guess we are glad to bypass Tristan da Cunha, because the weather would have been rougher going through the heart of the storm rather than its northern fringe.

Terry’s talk this morning at 10am was on the “History of the Atlantic.” He spoke on the formation and dimensions with lots of big numbers. He named the usual early explorers, Leif Eriksson, Eric the Red, Columbus, Cabot and so on and some lesser known adventurers, Thorfinn Karlsefni of Iceland who briefly stayed in Vineland with 160 settlers, probably at the L’anse aux Meadows site in Newfoundland. There was the usual history of European exploration and colonization in the Americas. Then he went into a long list of the many “firsts” accomplishments; the fastest sailing ship crossing, the first seaplane crossing, first airship crossing, solo flight, female solo flight, female solo sailor, solo rower solo swimmer with a kickboard, and a few others. He sited the number, more than 6,000, of WWI and II sunken ships.

I left to attend a ping-pong tournament at 11am that was well attended. I came in second for Regent points. Pat stayed for the second talk by Mike Scott on other Atlantic islands, St. Helena, Ascension, and others. St. Helena island is where Napoleon was exiled to after losing the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. He lived here in some luxury until his death 6 years later. This island is just north of where we are now. He talked about the plant, sea and bird life in these places. No one lives permanently on Ascension. It is a U.S. and British naval base. Nothing requires more description here. You are safe from any more boring details.

We played the noontime games. Pat won some Regent points coming in second in our group playing Screw your Neighbor. It is a quick card game, exchanging your one card with your neighbor, or not, with the lowest card losing. After this, Jamie, the Cruise Director, said he had a little free time to play ping-pong with me. I keep reminding him after every noontime games that a couple of us go to play. Today he had time and I was the only one available. We played three games. He was a pretty good player and he awarded me some Regent points for winning. He didn’t have to do that. He is a good sport. Primo walked by and said he was waiting for a friend so we warmed up for a while. We ended up playing two games and he was pretty good too.

After lunch, we went to the back outdoor terrace where Mike Scott, the naturalist and lecturer was with his wife, Sue. They were taking pictures of the birds, Spectacled Petrels, and observing them through binoculars. We chatted briefly and Mac took some pictures of the petrels, before he went to a photo workshop and I made a pop-up card with Julie’s instruction. About 25 passengers attended, including a few guys. This had a pop-up on the inside, and then decorations on the front. They all came out quite nicely.

We did well in the mensa questions and finished second in trivia today. We really were in a slump, so second was a good picker-upper.

At 5PM we watched the second half of the movie, Waterloo, in the card room. One of the passengers had the DVD, and offered to show it to any interested parties. About 30 of us watched the beginning yesterday, but it was paused at 6:30 because of dinner time. These passengers like to be at dinner at 6:30. Terry had been speaking recently about Napoleon and did the dramatic presentation about him, so it was a very timely movie. Today we saw the whole battle sequence of events. Even though Napoleon was defeated here, Terry has visited Waterloo and mentioned that all souvenirs at the battle site focused on Napoleon; no mention of Wellington at all.

We were not too hungry for dinner, so we only had a salad and soup at the Compass Rose. We had a conversation with our neighbors on either side of us and made a future dinner date with a couple.

Terry was the headliner tonight, featuring his tribute to the Bee Gees. He was friends with the keyboard player of the band for many years and loved their music. He did some of his silly songs, had the audience sing along with some, and sang some of the Bee Gees hits. We remembered many of these tunes from the 70’s and sang along, too.

Yours in travel,

Pat & Mac