Wednesday 27 December 2017

Silver Explorer, Day 10 - Boredom, bridge and beef

With thanks to Silversea for this hosted cruise
It was a lumpy, bumpy night and I was glad to be lying in bed. We’re now heading westwards, into the prevailing wind which is blowing 70kmh-plus, and there’s a lot of noisy lurching and crashing going on as the bow plunges into the swells and the propeller at the back is lifted out of the water. Hooray (so far) for Scopoderm! There were even a couple of tabular icebergs on the horizon: huge, flat-topped chunks, broken off from the ice sheet, that you measure in kilometres.

Today there were talks to attend – another of German Wolfgang’s boring geology lectures; English Danny being slightly less boring about explorers (but a bit patronising in his manner so I didn’t bother about offending him by nodding off in the theatre); and Irish Luke being entertaining talking about his two years as a researcher on South Georgia. There was also a cocktail-judging competition going on.
Our Zodiac group had a tour of the bridge. ‘Tour’ is a bit misleading: we stood along one wall while the Captain explained about his precious paper charts, the echo-sounders, compasses and all the different screens arrayed along the control panels, safety, waste disposal and other technical stuff. He claimed himself to be the writer of emails while the real professionals sailed the ship. He also said he was CDO – that’s extreme OCD where everything must be in alphabetical order. Ol’ Piers is a bit of a card. Massive waves periodically broke over the bow, swamping the bridge windows; and we also spotted some spouts blows, though we couldn't see which whales they were.

And then there was the Venetian Society cocktail hour, for repeat Silversea guests (*cough* number 5 for us). The dress code was a bit mystifying: ‘Casually elegant’ – as opposed to the Captain’s Welcome evening, which called for us to be ‘Elegantly casual’. So I wore the same dress. There was the usual announcement of high-sailors: the top person has spent 169 nights on a Silversea vessel. Not a patch on the 700+ person on our last cruise, but still. That’s a lot of cruising (and money).
Finally we had dinner, with a special Shackleton anniversary menu (the Endurance expedition ended in 1917) that featured beef Wellington and chocolate soufflé. Ernest could only have dreamed of such deliciousness. (Though we felt slightly authenticated by our sitting on chairs chained to the restaurant floor.) Tonight's rambling conversation, with a couple from Florida, included Coronation Street, polar bears and snoring.

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