Six days at sea – no ports, no land, and no news – we did not even see another ship. The sea was calm the entire time, however I started out my 6 days with a cold — complete with stuffy nose and sore throat. I do not think getting wet and then cold in Salvador helped. So, I spent the first sea day in bed, leaving only to eat and make one trip to the medical facility to get the most expensive cough drops in the world (for some reason, I could not find the ones I packed, of course). At first, I was a bit annoyed with myself for not being able to “enjoy” the ship – then I realized that I paid for my bloody cabin with a balcony, I might as well enjoy it, too – nice, clean soft sheets, a gentle breeze from the balcony, and towel animals – a great way to sleep and recover. By the next day, I was a bit better – at least I could drink at the bar! And slowly, as the week went by, I spent more time by the pool in the Solarium than in my cabin.
So, what so you see for 6 days crossing the Atlantic? You see lots of grey water and cloudy skies. At some point during this trek, we also crossed the Equator. There was a “traditional” celebration, complete with King Neptune who had to be appeased with sacrifices in order to cross his realm. Officers of the crew made the sacrifices for us – then we all had to sing (of course the song was in Portuguese, so I did not do so well with the singing). We also got a certificate commemorating our crossing.
The days kind of flowed one into another. We changed the clocks ahead four hours during this crossing (but only one hour at a time). A typical day for me was breakfast, finding a chair in the Solarium, reading, swimming, maybe a trip to the spa, lunch, back to the room for a nap, maybe up to the bar to meet other English-speakers before dinner (we had our own event, since there were so few of us), head to another bar for my evening “cappy”, or maybe go to a show, dinner, back to the bar for dancing, then finally to bed. Repeat.
It was very eye opening to be in the minority as far as language is concerned. 85% of the ship’s passengers were from Brazil and they really seem to not understand that you are never going to understand what they are saying. At first, I tried desperately to say that I did not understand – even saying the phrase in Portuguese, and yet they would continue to have long conversations with me. I finally just started to smile and nod. At least I appeared to be interested in whatever they were saying and they seemed to be happy.
The crew came to my rescue – and a few of them were so happy to speak English after so many months sailing around Brazil and knowing only a little Portuguese – so I made quite a few friends. And, since the English-speaking group was relatively small, we got to know each other, too. There were people from Australia, Scotland, Ireland, Britain, South Africa, and Malta. Besides one officer, I was the lone Canadian.
A highlight for me was the addition of the Pampas Devils as one of the performers. They were on my last cruise from Buenos Aires and taught several tango classes on that cruise. On this one, they did a performance and taught two classes – the first on the day I was sick, of course, but the second class was right before dinner on one of the formal nights. That was cool. So, dressed in a long, black dress, I not only get to tango, but I danced with the main performers (since I did not have a partner). These professional tango dancers told me that they could tell I had some experience in dancing tango and gave me good compliments and tips on my dancing technique. At dinner, a Brazilian couple stopped me to tell me that they enjoyed watching me dance (and he said it in English, so I did understand!).
As we got closer to the Canary Islands I started to watch for wildlife – and I was not disappointed. One afternoon, the ship was practically surrounded by a very large group of dolphins. They were swimming along the ship and playing in the wake – even a few leapt out of the water. It was amazing.
So, that is pretty much was six days at sea was like – and no, I am NOT getting into any more specific details. Let’s just say I had the best bartenders who knew that before dinner I would drink a caipriniha and after dinner, I would drink a B52. My waiter knew I liked chocolate. My new friends made me laugh – usually at myself. And of course I danced. I am also completely caught up on the Game of Sword books and George R. R. Martin needs to write the next one NOW (don’t do a Robert Jordan on me and make me wait forever). Basically, anything else I do at sea will remain at sea (except for the shots of me in the cruise video and pictures that other people took that I will not be sharing).