Published: December 30th 2012
December 29th 2012
Today and tomorrow the ship is heading due south from the Falkland Islands towards Antarctica. The sea is very calm today, to the great relief of a number of people on board who suffered badly on the two days that preceded our visit to the Falklands.
Typical day at sea. Read, played some bridge, and attended several lectures on the Antarctic, one on the construction of a "traverse" (i.e., ice road) from McMurdo Station (which we will visit) to the geographic south pole, and a couple on the amazing story of the explorer Captain Robert Scott. As I believe I already mentioned, we have two brothers on board (David and Christopher Wilson) as naturalists whose great uncle, Ted Wilson, accompanied Scott and in fact died with him on his last expedition to the south pole.
I should mention how much we have enjoyed meeting people from other countries and places. We opted for open seating on this cruise, which means you can turn up at the dining room whenever you want and will be seated with random other folks, although clearly the staff try to match English-speakers together. One may also end up sitting with random people for breakfast or lunch. We've met a number of Americans, Brits and Aussies, not to mention a surprisingly number of Canadians. It's fascinating how every single person has an interesting aspect to their life. For instance, we met a guy who is an extremely serious stamp collector; for him, the highlight of the Falklands was going to be procuring their stamps. We met a delightful U.S. family of East Indian heritage one day at lunch. The dad is a lawyer from LA specializing in trade law, but for the past ten years the family has lived in Singapore. One charming Aussie couple we met hails from Brisbane and knows Towumba well. A forensic psychologist from Las Vegas, a couple who travel all over participating in marathons and iron-man competitions, a woman with a different fanciful dress every night, and on and on. So many friendly people in the world with interesting lives and talents.
I get in another hour of piano playing today at the Neptune Bar. This is in the late afternoon, and there are already a few people there and more who come in as I start to play. I end up fielding some requests, standard piano bar requests like Memories and New York, New York. Although I am definitely not at my best, people actually applaud and enjoy it. Maybe I should ask Kelsey if she'll pay me. It occurs to me that this wouldn't be a bad post-retirement gig: Travel the world in return for playing the piano. Hmm...
Evening entertainment is comic juggler Richard Bono from France. He's good, but the juggling shtick has been done to death, I think. When we go to bed at about 11:00, there is still light in the sky. The days are getting longer as we approach polar waters.