Wednesday, 14 October 2015

“Out” of a Boat and “Onto” a Ship

With “Chance” now safely tucked up for the winter and a week in Selsey to get things up together, we felt very much “at home” as we boarded the P&O “Arcadia” at Southampton on Saturday. Probably our favourite ship at the moment, it’s our forth time aboard and we’re off to the Caribbean and back (no flying!) - so quite a few sea days ahead!


We had a chilly sail-away party on the back deck as we left Southampton …..


….. but we soon caught up with friends Gina and David (with the same idea!), who we met on our first Caribbean voyage on “Ventura” last year.


Looking forward to all the future sunshine, we sailed down a murky Southampton Water, past the romantic Fawley oil refinery ……….


……. and on through the busy shipping area of the Solent. After two days at sea, through the English Channel and out in the vastness of the Atlantic Ocean, we unfortunately picked up a fishing net around one of the propellers! Just like a plastic bag around our narrow boat prop, it had a marked effect on the ship and produced a strange wobble which had to be cleared. When the captain brought the ship to stop (leaving us bobbing about the ocean like a giant cork), the ship’s engineers reversed and forwarded the props again and again – the ship shuddered and shook and a few things rattled,the prop seemed to free itself and eventually we were on our way again. A diver will be sent down when we get to the Azores to check that all is now well. We must be grateful as worse things happen at sea!


On Monday evening we had the Captain’s Cocktail party where he buys all the drinks and introduces the main representatives of his 800+ staff who look after us.


We met two lovely people at dinner on Sunday evening – Nicola and John. John is a D-day Veteran and 90 years old and we so enjoyed their company ………


……. that, with Gina and David, we’ve arranged to have the same table for all of us each evening. John, Nicola, Doug, David, Gina and James dining on Monday evening.


Mornings are spent usually enjoying a fun game of deck quoits …….


…….. and then maybe attending a talk in the superb theatre we have on board “Arcadia”.


One of the guest entertainers on this leg of the voyage has been the very talented Sue Holderness, famous for playing “Marlene” in Only Fools and Horses. Her talks have ranged from her personal memories of “Marlene”, through a fascinating lecture on John Harrison’s timepieces which had such a dramatic improvement on maritime navigation, to a very funny interview with the ship’s entertainment director John Bartram. We shall miss her when she disembarks in the Azores.


Well, life isn’t all work – there’s the occasional bit of time to relax and enjoy a glass of wine on the balcony. Tomorrow (Wednesday) we explore the Azores.

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