Monthly Archives: January 2012

3 Days At Sea

Friday, Saturday & Sunday January 27th To January 29th – Days 23, 24 & 25

Friday – Have now left St. Helena and have the next three days at sea before reaching Namibia. This is just as well as I feel terrible this morning as I have the sore throat that seems to be sweeping around the ship – Vance says I’ve just been talking too much – not true!!  Feeling so bad that I am just having a quiet day in the shade feeling sorry for myself…. although I did manage to soldier on and imbibe in our noon day cold beer – good for the throat!!

Have managed to get some photos of the Fashion & Jewellery show from last week…thank you Juvy for the photos.

It’s Saturday now and still not feeling 100% but Graeme our executive chef has invited us to lunch and a catch-up. He has cooked Vance and I a Brit meal so we joined him in the main dining room at 1pm for individual meat pies with English cut chips and Heinz baked beans with HP brown sauce…..delicious.

Clocks forward another half an hour today at 2pm making it then 2:30pm…hmm less snooze time…but made up for it by having a really early night after a quiet meal for just the two of us.

Sunday – last day at sea. Feeling a lot better today so back out in the sun and had lunch at the Patio Grill after, of course, our noon day beer.  Rumour has it that there are now only two Coronas left on board the ship….disaster …what will we do …..hope they manage to get some more in Namibia tomorrow or we will be on rations (one bottle between two) until Cape Town.

Another half an hour today at 2pm so we are now two hours ahead of British time. Not sure I like this west to east travelling losing time every couple of days…. thank goodness next year we’ll be cruising east to west again and getting an extra hours sleep from time to time…although losing a complete day when we eventually cross the International  Date Line.

Kinesis this afternoon and even though the ship was rocking and rolling our instructor Marvin ‘The Stritch’ – decided that the Kinesis wall exercises would be supplemented with the balance board. Needless to say I fell off a few times.

Went to the show tonight in The Grand Salon with the new cast who joined the ship in Rio. The show was called ‘Unforgettable’ with tributes to Rosemary Clooney (Vance says ‘Who’s she…George’s wife’), Perry Como and Nat King Cole. It wasn’t our cup of tea but their voices were fabulous.

Techie bits: At 8am we were:
21° south and 9°west
Travelling on a compass course of 114°
Speed = 15.5 knots
Apparent wind speed = 26 knots off the starboard bow
Air temperature = 21°c (70°f)
Total nautical miles sailed = 7700
Sea depth = 3800 metres
Humidity = 67%

St. Helena – Helen’s Island

Thursday January 26th – Day 22

After a late but fantastic Beatles music night on deck the captain decided to arrive early at St. Helena. The anchor went down at 7:15am waking me up…thanks captain!!

A little history lesson: St. Helena was discovered by a Portuguese navigator on May 21st 1502 which is the feast day of St. Helena.  It is the second oldest remaining British territory after Bermuda and the capital Jamestown was founded in 1659 by the English East India Company and named after James, Duke Of York, the future King James II of England.

We took the scenic St. Helena tour leaving Jamestown harbour and driving up the narrow, steep and tortuous roads to our first stop – Napoleon’s Tomb. Napoleon had been exiled here after his defeat at the battle of Waterloo  and died here in 1821 although his remains were later taken to the Invalides in Paris in 1841.

From here we drove on to Longwood House his home whilst in exile. It is now a museum containing paintings, documents and mementoes of his imprisonment including his coat and hat and his bathtub. He spent the last six years of his life here and apparently he was allowed to go anywhere within a five mile radius of the house – a nice place to be banged up!!

Next stop was the governor’s residence The Plantation House but everyone was more interested in meeting the island’s oldest resident – Jonathan the tortoise reputed to be 180 years old.

From here we drove to Ladder Hill which is at the top of Jacob’s Ladder where we took photos of our ship in the outer harbour and photos of the town and harbour below us. The ladder built in 1829 consists of 699 steps and rises 600 feet. It was originally used to haul manure up and send goods down and is now a landmark of St. Helena.

Back down in Jamestown we strolled around the town exploring the shops and chatting to the locals – they don’t get many visitors dropping in here – and then said hello to the local “bobbies” (policemen) one of whom had served two years in the Gloucester police force back in the UK which is quite close to our home in Bristol – small world!!  As we had missed our noon day beer onboard we found the local pub where we quenched our thirst with the local brew.

Today is also Australia Day which commemorates the arrival of the first fleet at Sydney Cove in 1788 and the proclamation at that time of British sovereignty. Happy Australia Day to all our Aussie friends both onboard and across the world.

Last Day At Sea Before St. Helena

Wednesday January 25th – Day 21

It’s blowing a ‘hooley’ today so have decided not to fight the towels – Seabourn…we need towel clips or pillow ended towels to fit over the top of the sunbed on windy days!!

Off for coffee, skinny white latte for me and cappuccino for Vance – no Danish though – I am determined to keep the weight off even if I don’t actually lose any on this cruise…..although the waistband of my trousers is definitely looser so all those “planks” and sit ups in the Kinesis class are beginning to work…..slowly but surely.

Late morning we sat out by the pool as the sun filtered through the clouds and watched the water in the pool get rougher and rougher – not many swimmers today. Despite the wind we persevered in true Brit style to make our noon beer – well done chaps!!

Kinesis this afternoon and Restaurant Two for our evening meal.

At 10pm The Quest held an open air ‘Rock The Boat’ British style Beatles Party and yes the weather was kind to us for once. A fab evening as everyone knew most of the Beatles songs so we sang along and danced under the stars until late.

Fourth Day At Sea

Tuesday January 24th – Day 20

Getting ever closer to St. Helena but still a long way to go. The temperature is lower than we thought it would be, only 75°f, but the wind has dropped and it’s like a beautiful English mid-summer day.

Clocks forward thirty minutes at 2pm today so I think we’re now on UK time.

At 3pm there was the infamous Seabourn event The Tug Of War where teams from the ship’s crew challenge each other in a tug of war knock out system.

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The teams this year were:
Housekeeping – The Zorras
Dining Room – Caviar
Bar Department – The Rob Roys
Bridge Staff – The Skimmers
Chefs – Caviar Defenders
Dining Room (another team) – The Pancakes
Deck Department – The Bulldozers
Pursers – Zulu Pursers
Engine Room – Boiler Room Boys
Entertainers – High C’s
Carpenters – The Screwers
Galley Utilities – The Blue Boys

John Barron our cruise director was the master of ceremonies and the captain was the starter and referee. It was the best of three pulls for each challenge and each of the teams were noisily supported by us, the watching guests and other staff and crew members.

After a close contest the final came down to The Rob Roys against The Pancakes. John said ‘what a dilemma, who do I support…it’s between drinks and food…guess I’m on a drinks only diet tonight’ …. a prophesy as The Rob Roys finally won…well done Seabourn Quest teams.
Decided to have room service tonight just pizza and a bottle of Chianti Classico sitting on the bed watching the film Contagion, then early to sleep.

Techie bits: At 9:30am we were:
19° south and 17°west
Travelling on a compass course of 078°
Speed = 14.5 knots
Apparent wind speed = 33 knots off the starboard bow
Air temperature = 24°c (75°f)
Total nautical miles sailed = 6145 (it seems we’re right in the middle of the Atlantic – see photo)
Sea depth = 3730 metres
Humidity = 67%

Third Day At Sea Heading For St. Helena

Monday January 23rd – Day 19

Have decided that today will be a slob-out day – the day where we haven’t done things. We haven’t done the bridge tour or the shuffleboard tournament or the enrichment lecture or trivia in fact apart from laying by the pool in the sun the first we have done is have our noon day beer and gone to lunch!!

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Another half an hour forward at 2pm today and then more of the same…not doing things…chill!!

I don’t know if I’m coming or going at the moment, these time changes are doing my head in – I lay down to have a snooze after lunch and it’s time for the gym (not the wine at lunch of course!!).

Yes it’s kinesis day again and it’s still not getting much easier. While we were at kinesis there was a fashion show in the observation bar featuring the fashion and jewellery items from the boutique. We missed it because we were in the gym but I will try and get photos from one of the guests and post them up here later.

We have decided to have some fun with Dan The Diver – he will have a fan club with people posing for pictures and he will enjoy some fashionable moments throughout the rest of our cruise – so keep checking back folks.

Formal night tonight, Murat the guest services manager invited us to his hosted table which we have accepted. We had a lovely time but Vance has put his foot down and said ‘that’s enough of hosted tables – too many people’  – but we will join John Barron (Cruise Director and a brummie boy) on his hosted table at some time before the end of our quest – we promised!!

Another Day At Sea Crossing The Atlantic

Sunday January 22nd – Day 18

Laundry day today – whoopee…Had an early breakfast so that I could grab a washing machine to do a full load of washing. There  are only four machines and four dryers on the ship for the guests to use. Luckily they are all on our deck – deck 5 – so I can run along the corridor and check when one is available. There are also four ironing boards available … I don’t usually iron but I’ve made an exception for Vance’s shirts on this cruise…phew, thank goodness that’s over for another week.

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Actually Seabourn are now offering a “laundry in a bag” service where they will launder and press all the items you can fit into the laundry bag (no dry cleaning though) at a total charge of $50 per bag. If you could cram more than ten items in the bag it works out at good value. Vance says “no, you do the washing Helen and I’ll have the $50 towards my massage!!”

Another half an hour forward this afternoon so we’re now only an hour behind UK time.

Disaster  this afternoon…Vance ripped his favourite cut-off pirate pants on the back of the sunbed. Several guests came up with a few ideas on how ‘I’ could repair them but those of you who know my needlework skills will know it’s a no go area. Instead I gave the pants to Jerry the resident tailor who returned them a few hours later with a perfect invisible mend…thanks Jerry and Seabourn!!

Those of you who followed our last year’s Sojourn blog may remember a picture of the ship’s mascot on deck 5 – the dachshund. The Quest has a different mascot – ‘The Diver’ by Ola Enstad. Vance has christened him ‘Dan The Diver’.

Techie bits: At 8am we were:22° south and 31°west
Travelling on a compass course of 081°
Speed = 18 knots
Apparent wind speed = 32 knots off the bow
Air temperature = 25°c (77°f)
Total nautical miles sailed = 5310
Sea depth = 4650 metres (when the sea depth first came up on the TV screen it read 9 metres…we thought we were having a Costa moment then we realised the screen hadn’t refreshed properly…luckily for us it was a mistake…phew!!
Humidity = 66%

At Sea Crossing The Atlantic

Saturday January 21st – Day -17

We now have five days at sea crossing the Atlantic from Rio to the island of St. Helena. For some people this will be too long a period without stepping on terra firma but Vance and I really enjoy the restful time and the social buzz around the ship which seems to get greater the longer you are at sea.
Today we received a note from Vitor the hotel manager to say that there will be four hours worth of time changes between now and Cape Town. With this in mind the captain has decided to soften the blow for both guests and crew and the clocks will be put forward by thirty minutes at 2pm for the next four days and then again between St. Helena and Namibia (2 days) and the final hour change will be made at night as usual  just before we arrive in Cape Town.
So at 2pm today our clocks read 2:30pm. Vance made our lunch party laugh when a waiter asked him at about 1:59pm if he would like another glass of wine. Vance replied ‘no thanks I’ll wait until 2:30pm’ ….with that the ship’s intercom announced the time had changed and Vance said ‘OK I’ll have that wine now thanks’…you had to be there of course!!
This afternoon Vance finally managed to ‘bag’  a Massage Moment – a complimentary 10 minute massage on deck…lovely …I have pictures!!. The problem is – as Seabourn obviously intend  – he loved it so much he now wants to book the full one hour ($140) massage…no chance!!
Thai menu in The Colonnade tonight so we couldn’t resist it…it was brilliant especially the green chicken curry. Very romantic as the sun set behind us off the bow of the ship as we dined by candlelight.
Techie bits: At 8am we were:23° south and 39°west
Travelling on a compass course of 084°
Speed = 18 knots
Apparent wind speed = 37 knots off port bow
Air temperature = 25°c (77°f)
Total nautical miles sailed = 4876
Sea depth = 3100 metres
Humidity = 67%

Christ The Redeemer

Friday January 20th – Day -16
Oh what a day. Up at 6:30am for 7am breakfast to leave the ship by 7:30 to start our morning tour and despite my moans about getting up so early – just a few moans – aren’t we glad we did.
We were in the first group of people to catch the 8am cog railway up the Corcovado mountain travelling through the jungle almost vertically – or so it seemed at the time.
Already behind us there were hundreds of people – today is a bank holiday in Rio – waiting to buy tickets for the next train – they were every 20 minutes. Corcovado, also known as the Humpbacked Mountain, is over 2326 feet high and is topped by the statue of Christ the Redeemer which has become the symbol of modern Rio. It is made of reinforced concrete and was completed in 1931. It weighs over 1000 metric tons and stand 98 feet tall.
When we reached the top there were only about 30 of us there from  the first train up so we really enjoyed the tranquillity of the views and the almost spiritual feel as we gazed up at the face of Jesus. We took so many photos – it was a beautiful moment that we’ll never forget. Twenty minutes later as the next train arrived we were swamped by hundreds of people and the peaceful moment was then gone. The viewing area was soon covered with noisy crowds, pushing and shoving, trying to get the best spots for their photo moments…time to go!!
So it was back down the mountain by the train where we rejoined our coach ready for our next stop at the beaches. First stop was Ipanema beach where we just drove along the promenade as the traffic made it difficult to stop. Then it was onward to Copacabana beach where the driver was lucky enough to find a place to stop for ten minutes. We rushed across the promenade to get our first sight of this famous beach which due to the bank holiday was already crowded by the locals.
Whilst taking photos we were approached by a TV film crew who were making a documentary on the affect tourists have on Rio. We were interviewed and asked about our impressions of Rio and why we had decided to come there. The TV company was called Global and they do a daily lunchtime programme that is broadcast to over 28 million viewers in Brazil. The show went out at 1:30pm so I guess by now we’re famous – in Brazil anyway – unless they edited us out of course…but we’ll never know as we couldn’t  get that station on our ship. By now it was 31°c so it was back to the ship in our air conditioned coach in time for our noon day ritual.
Sail away on deck was at 5:45pm where we enjoyed the departing views of Christ The Redeemer and Sugar Loaf Mountain…bye, bye Rio and thank you – we’ll be back!!

At Sea On The Way To Rio

Thursday January 19th – Day 15

Following the success of Tuesday night’s carnival party on deck the Quest has now run out of fresh limes and lemons. They used over 50kgs of limes!! – we must all have over indulged in caipirinhas.

However my ex boy scout husband is always prepared and had his own private supply – delivered daily – for his pre-dinner drink(s)… so we took our own limes up to the pool bar (much to the amusement of the waiters) for our noon corona with a wedge of lime…of course.

This afternoon we had our second and final Samba class as our Brazilian Samba troupe will be leaving the ship tonight in Rio when we dock at 6pm. I think we’re getting the hang of it a bit more now. Although our footwork is still a bit slow our finishing flourish is magnificent…well so we think!!

We sailed into Rio a little earlier than the planned 6pm arrival and it was light enough for us to have superb views of the Sugar Loaf Mountain standing sentinel at the harbour entrance and the famous Christ The Redeemer statue standing high on the Corcovado Mountain. This was a really breathtaking sail in.

A few facts: Rio is Brazil’s second largest city and is separated from the rest of the country by a mountain range. From its beginnings as a Portuguese colonial trading outpost it has spread to fill the space between the mountains and the sea.  Add to this the superb white beaches fringed with palms, the fabulous temperature that rarely dips below 20°C (68°F) and the Carnival this really is a “Cidade Maravilhosa” – Marvellous City.

This evening half the ship’s guests seemed to have gone ashore to enjoy their first taste of Rio but we decided to have a quiet alfresco meal at the Patio Grill before an early night because of our early sightseeing tour tomorrow morning. And what a meal…at 8:30pm the heavens opened for a twenty minute torrential downpour and really tested the waiters ingenuity in getting our food to us dry. Thank goodness for Seabourn umbrellas – well done Valentina and her staff. I love storms like this so for me it was a perfect welcome to Rio – there was thunder, lightning and rain…by the bucket load!!

After a quick trip to the Samba Carnival Show now moved  inside to the Grand Salon it was early to bed for a 6:30am alarm call.

Techie bits again. At 9:45am this morning we were:
22° south and 41°west
Travelling on a compass course of 229°
Speed = 15 knots
Wind speed = Northerly 3 knots
Air temperature = 25°c (77°f)
Total nautical miles sailed = 4544
Sea depth = 55 metres (hope the captain’s not got any Italian blood in him!!)
Humidity = 67%

Party Time

Wednesday January 18th – Day 14

Last night in The Colonnade there was a Brazilian themed dinner followed by a ‘Rock The Banana Boat’ show on deck followed by a Samba Show.
A local Samba troupe joined the ship in Salvador and will stay with us until Rio. They really got the party going with some great music and dance routines.
This afternoon we went to a Samba class run by the dancers for an hour. It was so hard like having an aerobic workout. Vance was really good – that’s his dance background coming out  – but teacher says I must do better!!
After returning to our suite after a formal dinner in the Main Restaurant we found our first Seabourn gift of the cruise – two CDs – one of Brazilian music and one of South African music…now I’ll be able to keep up the Samba moves at home.
Techie bits again. At 8am this morning we were:
16° south and 38°west
Travelling on a compass course of 176°
Speed = 15 knots
Wind speed = 16 knots off the port bow
Air temperature = 28°c (82°f)
Total nautical miles sailed = 4119
Sea depth = 2200 metres
Humidity = 69%