Thursday, April 7, 2016

Day 4 -- At sea

A dull, overcast day, temperature 14C, but with a southerly wind gusting to 30 knots it is much colder on the deck.  Needless to say the sun deck and pool area are empty today.  Too unpleasant to use my balcony too, but the full view out to sea compensates for that.  Today the Pacific has been living up to its name, with just a very small swell making for comfortable sailing.

I think my body clock had adjsted at last.  I slept through till 8 am, then had a light breakfast at the buffet.  The buffet demands much self-discipline, because it is so easy to heap up one's plate even with very small serves of the so many enticing dishes on offer.  And very many do just that!  I enjoyed the chef's antics at the omelet bar as he flipped my mushroom and onion serve from his pan and caught it again with a flourish.  Like most of the staff he is a Filipino, and quite a showman.

Am getting to find my way around the ship.  Not as easy as the previous ones I have been on, as you can't walk right through on the lower amenities decks.  One has to learn which set of lifts land you where.  As all the eating areas are in the aft area, and my stateroom is near the bow, I have quite a hike to do along the corridors several times a day.  Good exercise.  Speaking of which, I changed into gym gear to do laps of the top deck this afternoon:  but it was so cold and windy that I retreated to the gym instead and did 20 minutes on the treadmill at 3.5mph.  Enough to get my heartrate up, but only showed a disgustingly low number of calories burnt for the effort.  No credits for a big dinner tonight!

Among today's onboard activities was the first of the art auctions.  One of the big art houses has several hundred pieces on display, and it seems that people come on these cruises with cheque books at the ready.  Another discovery is that they charge you for all sorts of things free on other cruises.  For example, and afternoon cuppa at one of the bars cost me $2.30 (which includes an 18% gratuity).  I guess it is way of making up for their cheaper fares.  But the main dining areas are all free -- just pay a premium for the specialty ones, which is normal.

The passengers are a much more polyglot mix than I have previously experienced - a real United Nations of languages.  I don't know why I was surprised, but the number of Asians is notable.  At breakfast I was joined by an Iranian lady travelling on her own.  I didn't dare ask where her burqa was.  

Out of sight of land all day today, but passed a surpising number of small fishing boats:  they seemed to be working in teams.  And I watched a seagull shadowing the ship for nearly an hour this morning, flying just above the waves.  Where it got its energy from, and why so far from land were unanswered questions.  

This leg of the journey from Valparaiso to Puerto Montt is 640 nm:  the equivalent in latitude of the trip from Sydney to Hobart.  The entire voyage is 4104 nm.

A few snaps from around the ship to be found Here.

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