Co-ordinates: 50°12’N, 001°03’W Noon
Weather: Blue sky, nil weather
Air Temperature: 19C max
Sea Temperature: 11C
Wind: Easterly and North easterly Force 5-6 moderating by evening to Force 3
A day at sea with no landings has come as something of a respite from the previous two weeks with our hectic schedule. We were blessed with a beautiful day although early on in the morning we had a significant swell running into the South-West Approaches. However with our course it was predominantly a following sea and did not affect the vessel to any extent.
Lectures were the order of the day and Peter started with an interesting account of Endeavour and Captain James Cook that included time spent by Peter on the replica vessel in the South Seas.
Kara our marine biologist followed this later in the morning with an account of deep sea monsters, some real, some imaginary. The beautiful weather meant that some guests spent time on the decks in loungers enjoying the sea voyage. Lunchtime was an event as usual made more attractive by the lack of landings to break up the day.
During the early afternoon, Richard, our photographer, completed his photographic round-up of the voyage with the Belfast to Channel Islands photographs. He certainly makes a nice memento of a voyage, many details of which are either missed or quickly forgotten about in the hurly-burly of one location to another. The mix of still, moving and time-lapse photography captures a location wonderfully. For me, the image of raindrops on a large leaf in Tresco Gardens, Isles of Scilly encapsulates that day, and the time-lapse sequence when we entered the sealock at St Malo was classic.
For the wine enthusiasts, the Panorama Lounge was the location for the Head Sommelier’s presentation and explanation of some of the intricacies of wine and its appreciation. Meanwhile the sun was still shining from a cloudless sky, which encouraged a few guests on to the open deck to watch some of the vessels passing us in the Traffic Separation Zone, which operates in the English Channel to make this extremely busy waterway safer for the maritime traffic. In the distance, the coast of both France and England could be seen through the haze.
Later in the afternoon everyone was back into The Theatre for the final briefing about the plans for our stay in London and also for departure from the vessel. A number of questions were asked but in general everything was straightforward.
A final opportunity to say a farewell to everyone and a thank you to the staff and guests alike occurred at the Captain’s Farewell Cocktail Party in The Theatre. However, the Captain was unable to attend due to more pressing duties on the Bridge. However, a representative selection of crew members from all the departments – hotel, housekeeping, deck and engineering staff were presented to much clapping. The farewell dinner also lacked the Captain’s presence, which meant a large empty table in The Restaurant.
By 2200 the lights of Kent could be clearly seen on the port side of the vessel as we cleared the English Channel and made our way towards the estuary of the River Thames. Sorting and packing of bags come to the forefront of one’s mind, although there is still another final day of excitement in London.