Sunday, 29 November 2009

The Voyage: Friday November 20

Position: 34° 1'10.26"N 22°11'2.55"W

I'd had a very bad night: the boat (and my bed) were moving so much I couldn't sleep. I guess it's better than seasickness, but still. When I got up there was a thick fog surrounding the boat, but it was warmer again.

After breakfast we went up for another visit to the bridge. It's nice to listen to the officers explain what they do or tell tales from previous journeys. The captain came in and told the officers to call the crew and tell them to fill up the pool. But the crew said the boat was still rolling too much. The captain raised his shoulders as if he didn't really agree. He told us they'd fill it up tomorrow.

We wrote our third letter and listened to the last round of sea shanties (in total we had 24 songs with us).

At 11.30 we took a break to go and watch them let up the weather balloon. The weather balloon has a transponder that lets Météo France read data about the weather at sea. They release one every day - weather permitting.
Yesterday it was too windy to send up a balloon, but today it was ok. It was still very windy (the guy who let it go nearly fell overboard), but they succeeded.

After dinner we listened to the rest of the music and went outside to learn to play some of the new songs.

In the evening we went back up to the bridge.
We asked Adrian (one of the officers) and his helmsman about their travels. When we asked the helmsman what his favourite sea or ocean was, he replied: 'My favourite sea is green. I want to see land.' But when we pushed him for an answer, he said the Panama canal was his favourite. 'You sail through the jungle, you see the trees, lots of birds, sometimes monkeys. It's beautiful.'

Then we asked about storms and bad weather. Adrian told us the highest waves he'd been in were 10 metres high. The helmsman had seen 12 metres. They carried on: 'When it's a bad storm, these containers, they fly like mosquitoes. And when you lose some, it's like they were never there.'
Hmmm. The rolling hadn't stopped yet, but it was definitely less windy than before. The waves that were hitting us were still the leftovers from the storm in the Azores. I was very happy we didn't go through the Azores.

This boat has two nationalities on board: most of the officers are French, most of the crew is Rumanian. There doesn't seem to be much contact between the two.
We sleep on Deck E. The officers sleep on Deck F. The crew sleep on Decks C and D. Deck B is where we eat, Deck A has the office and the stairs to the lower decks.

Adrian and his helmsman are Rumanian. They work 4 months and are 4 months off. The captains do two months on, two months off. Adrian was into his 5th month, which meant this was the third captain he'd had on this stint. After this journey he'll be going home to Rumania. The helmsman said he did some other work in Rumania. Adrian smiled and said he'd be doing nothing at all.

No comments: