Day 95

This is the first of many sea days across the Atlantic and we got a slow start to the morning’s activities. We headed toward the morning lectures carrying our breakfast of coffee and muffins. At 10AM, Don Walsh spoke about “Atlantic – The Best Known Ocean.” He gave us the physical characteristics and dimensions, but I won’t bore you with that, except, it contains 20% of the world’s water, it is the saltiest, and it is the highest. Yes, I said highest because it has 4X more river discharges than any other ocean. It is considered a ‘closed ocean’ because of the continental land masses on the East and West and cold thermal barriers on the North and South. He also described the various wind and water currents. The physics of these wind currents creates, in the doldrum latitudes, the Sargasso Sea, comprised of sargasso seaweed and trash, 1,000 miles by 3,000 miles and with a 3.5 foot height greater than the rest of the Atlantic. The ocean currents create valuable fishing grounds with upwellings caused by water deflection by sea mounts and coastal shelves bringing nutrient-rich water to the surface for fish to feed upon. There was more review of tectonic plate movements and hydro-thermals vents in the underwater rift valleys, blowing out mineral rich 700 degree steam. Only 10% of the world’s oceans have been explored.

Mike Scott spoke on his favorite subject, “The South Atlantic and its Sea Birds.” He gave us an in-depth preview of the most remote island in the world, Tristan da Cunha, which we hope will be a port of call in the mid-South Atlantic. He shared pictures and stories of his previous visits, but also cautioned us that the Captain must make a difficult decision whether to risk tendering in or not. The usual conditions are seldom favorable and current predictions have 24 foot swells and 30 mph winds. We are carefully listening to the Captain’s daily noontime updates. Otherwise, on the route we are taking, we are traversing a tropical marine desert that is not conducive to marine and bird sightings, at least not until we get nearer land either at the island or closer to South America.

There were no noontime games; we think Jamie was busy rehearsing for a special show tonight. Art and I went to ping-pong and another worldie, Harris, joined us. We played several games over more than an hour. Finishing just in time, I stopped by for the slot machine tournament and won. Not much of a challenge because the odds are good when there are only two people in the tournament. That is why I try to go on every sea day. I met Pat for a quick lunch and she went off to do card craft while I participated in an indoor deck game and waited for Pat to come to the second scheduled deck game of magnetic darts. (My card today was a three dimensional map of Africa with lovely scenes on it. There was a lot of cutting patterns before fixing them onto the card with raised tape squares). We were assigned different teams which worked out well, because one of us came in first and the other came in second, so we both won valuable Regent points. There was a brief interlude before mensa and trivia time. We scored in mensa and got a “Thanks for playing” in trivia.

There was a special presentation at 5:45PM written and directed by our lecturer, Terry Bishop, and including Jamie and Amanda, the wardrobe manager. It was a narration dealing with the opening moves leading to the Battle for Fort Sumter. The narrator set the scene and Jamie spoke the northern parts and Terry the southern. There were wide screen pictures of the original key players and scenes during the dialogues. Key moments in the early 19th century were dramatized in opposing dialogues. Most interesting to me was the curtsy and gentlemanly correspondence between the generals on both sides at Fort Sumter weeks, days and even hours before the final assault, even including the surrender days later.

Tonight’s musical entertainment was by a grammy-nominated, multi-instrumentalist, Viviana Guzman, who played six different types of flutes from all over the world. Her music was lively and she provided her own entertaining photographic background from countries in which she has visited and played.

The seas are rolling gently with 15’ swells and 20 mph winds. The outside temperature the last few days in Africa and here on the ocean have been 65-70 degrees. Autumn is coming to the lower latitudes, but should warm as we get to Brazil and nearer the equator.

Yours in travel,

Pat & Mac