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January 12th 2009
Published: June 13th 2017
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Geo: 28.2893, -16.5557

Sunday 11/01/09
The day's finally arrived; we left home by coach at 10:15 for the uneventful 3 ½ coach trip to Southampton docks. Once at the berth there was as expected the snaking queue of hundreds of people all with the same thought on their minds; lets get this over with quickly, and I must say I was pleasantly surprised, the process from joining the queue to opening the cabin door was just under 30 minutes, not bad at all.

The cabin's fine with plenty of storage space (which we'll need for the next 3 months) it's positioned amidships and on level 9 as originally booked which places us pretty much dead centre of the ship which I anticipate will lessen the impact of pitching and rolling in heavy seas. (I checked the weather forecast for the Western approaches just before we left and it isn't good with strong winds forecast)

17:00 There was a champagne sailaway as we left the berth complete with brass band, ticker tape cannons, and a firework display, all in all a memorable farewell.

18:00 We've just been informed that the weather is forecast to be rough with winds force 7-8 and seas of 4-5m so it'll be interesting. Fortunately our only reservation has been allayed and we been blessed with good company at our dinner table, with 4 of the other 6 doing the whole journey whilst the other 2 disembark at Sydney. Our table's made up of 2 Scots, 2 Irish (but I shan't hold it against them) with the rest of us English, all bodes well!

Monday 12/01/09
What a night that was, I'm convinced the stabilisers were retracted late at night so it was a fairly restless night at times but no complaints. We're currently travelling at 20 knots with the stabilisers deployed, we've grey skies and seas in an angry mood. The forecast for today and early tomorrow is for the winds and seas to increase: bring it on. I'm off to the restaurant for my full English, unfortunately I'll be dining alone as Linda is OK horizontally but not vertically (I've heard that before).

As we made the southerly turn down towards the Bay of Biscay the winds increased to force 8 and the promenade decks have been placed off limits as it's too rough to go outside.

Tuesday 13/01/09
We awoke to a sunny day albeit still with winds of 6-7 and plenty of swell although it's forecasted to improve throughout the day and there's certainly more people about compared to yesterday, I even had to wait a while to be seated for my breakfast! By afternoon the wind and seas had subsided somewhat leaving a pleasant day with temperatures around 12-13°C.

I've never had so many positive comments about my age before with most people thinking I'm in my 40s, it left me feeling great, until in a moment of vain reflection I realised that they we all considerably older than my tender years and that either their eyesight or their judgement was impaired, oh well it was good while it lasted.
I was surprised that most people we met so far thought that as we were so young we must have won the lottery to be able to retire and take the whole 3 month voyage, the thought that I might have actually worked for it and just looked naturally young (ha ha) never seemed to cross their mind so we just let them continue thinking we'd won big time.

Thursday 15/01/09 Tenerife - Canary Islands
Arrived to a beautiful sunrise and temps of 17-18°C, we went for a full day's excursion of the island today, our tour guide was none other than Diana Moran aka the Green Goddess of BBC fame, another classic example of a professional person with a complete lack of common sense. Having boarded the coach she told the driver to start off and then realised she didn't know how many were on board, the interpreter did a head count and she replied "I think that's right off we go" (a quick tally of participants on her excursion sheet would have confirmed how many there should have been.)

The journey up to Mt Teide was spoilt in part by atrocious weather as we went through the clouds snaking our way up the mountainside through the Esperanza Forest, but as we approached the National Park of Las Canadas we punched through the clouds to brilliant sunshine. At a stop near the base of the Mt we had a 30 min photo opportunity, arriving back at the coach before the allotted time we quickly discovered that our wonderful guide had already instructed the driver to depart prior to us getting back, and it was only the couple sitting opposite us that raised the alarm that we weren't back which immediately halted the coaches departure, the guide told us later she was preoccupied viewing her photos!!

After a great lunch in one of the oldest wine cellars in Orovata we moved on to Puerto de la Cruz it was nice to be able to get out and walk about the streets with their bars, cafés and little shops. Whilst there's plenty of people walking the promenade deck on ship each day doing 10 circuits or more (3 miles) it doesn't have any appeal for me so I'll stick to my daily 40 min workout in the gym and a gentle stroll along the backstreets whenever the opportunity arises.


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