Monday 13th February:
Sorry to rub it in but the Equator in mid February is an absolutely fantastic place to
be. It got to over 30 degrees today so we spent much of the morning on our balcony as
that was on the shady side of the ship. By the time we went up to the pool area in the
afternoon it was so hot there wasn't a single sunbed in the sun with a body on it. But
we managed to find Richard a perfect arm chair in the shade. I wallowed in the pool
with an eclectic mix of other guests. The pool could only have been improved if they'd
chilled it down a bit to become refreshing. No-one was swimming but we all looked like
a multi-coloured group of hippos wallowing at a water hole. There is such an array of
humankind to wallow with: fit, fat, flabby, pale, pink and lobster, plain, bling'd up
to the eye brows and all sorts of tattoos on show including some very strange Russian
eyebrows that have been inked half way up a forehead! There is a small group of about 5
Russians on board and they are very clear about their favourite things: brands, bling
and body art.
Late afternoon we spent back on our balcony as that was now on the sunny side of the
ship and this evening we shall go off to dinner after a very refreshing G&T - with as
much ice as we can possibly fit in the glass!
The interesting element of the day was our mid-day lecture from the marine salvage
specialist and today's talk was a slightly odd choice for a cruise ship as it was about
all the different things that cause ships to need salvaging. His photos were amazing
and they covered just about every cause imaginable: running aground, running into
another ship, metal fatigue, human error, plain stupidity, fire, explosions, war,
terrorism. He was also very up-to-date and talked quite a bit about the Costa Concodia.
(It's his company that is currently taking the fuel out of that hull.) His next talk
is another perfect choice for a boat whose itinerary will take us close to Somalia and
Syria: pirates! At least we know we have one expert on board who will know what to do
with us afterwards should anything untoward happen.
We go ashore again tomorrow; this time on American Samoa. It sounds like a wonderful
place: 18 miles long by just 6 miles wide, volcanic, dense vegitation, precipitous
cliffs with much of the farm land on the island sloping at angles as steep as 45
degrees! We're off to a small village to eat at an Umu feast. An umu is a Polynesian
earth oven so should be an interesting culinary exploration.
There's not much wildlife to report out here in the Pacific: just swarms of flying fish
which the ship clearly takes by surprise; this far from anywhere they're probably not
expecting some great hulk to go racing by at over 20 knots! It's now 7.30 pm and it's
86 degrees outside. Even the sea is over 82 degrees now. We've sailed 2,532 miles
since Hawaii and a grand total of 15,574 since Southampton. I wonder how many we'll
have done by the time we get back at the end of April?
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