The sea is stone gray with four meter swells and white caps. The outside decks are secured due to high winds and our room steward reports a lot of passengers are spending the day in their cabins, sea sick. As the captain promised once we left the English Channel it was going to be “rocky for a few days”. All the veteran trans-Atlantic cruisers we have spoken to say, “This is the roughest crossing we've ever had”, including the couple that finished a cruise from New York to Southampton just hours before boarding our ship. An up side of rough seas is there is no waiting for a table in the dining room.
At the risk of sounding like an old salt, which I am not, I do recall a rougher trans-atlantic crossing. It was done on a smaller, less ornate but more heavily armed government vessel that used a haze-gray color palette and no one put mints on my pillow. On that crossing there were a couple of days where plates and silverware slid back and forth across the table and if you didn't hold tight you would find you and your chair sliding across the officers mess as well. As I reflected on the experience a smile came to my face and I thought how unreal that event seems to me now. I didn't feel like sharing my tale so as the others swapped “worse cruise ever” stories I just listened quietly and smiled.
Sea stories aside, this boat is rocking a fair bit and people are staggering and lurching as they travel the passage way. It's like being on a big 'Tilt-A-Whirl' that spins day and night and you never know when you'll be let off. So far I have found the rocky ride to be a lot of fun. Knock on wood, I have never been sea sick but it has nothing to do with having served in the Navy or being “tough”. It’s just dumb luck to have been born with a vestibular system that doesn't mind being shaken and stirred. I worked with sailors that spent years aboard ships who got sea sick every time they left port. Fortunately the body usually acclimates within seventy two hours so life gets much better after a few days underway. But you always need to watch your aim at the urinals and be careful when holding drinks. But with seas like these you don’t need alcohol to make you feel tipsy.
…Neck deep in warm, bubbling water in what looks like a giant stew pot sit pale skinned voyagers with toothy British grins. Neither the storm clouds on the horizon nor the brisk winds could keep these souls from basting themselves. Curious about their motivation I plan to slide into position amongst the soup stock myself but at the moment the pull of a Robert Lewis Stevenson book keeps me in my deck chair. But the warm water against chilly skin must be invigorating and the panorama of the sea, sky and ship a feast for the visual senses. I am sure once I do claim my position I'll be there for a while, sporting my own toothy grin. Cheers.