Day 4 |
Apr 28, 2012

At sea, en route Madeira 

By Imogen Corrigan, Historian

Co-ordinates: S 30º20'20", W 15º05'22"
Weather: Sunny with a brisk wind
Air Temperature: 17.2C / 63F
Pressure: 1018 hPa
Wind: 8 knots

A day at sea is usually quiet, but there was a lot going on today. It must be said that most guests took a slightly later approach to breakfast; The Restaurant wasn’t exactly packed first thing but that may also have been to do with the swell, which, whilst not remarkable, was our first experience on this cruise.

Having appeased the beast known as the notice-board, ever hungry for fresh information, I went to hear Juan Carlos Restrepo’s lecture on volcanoes: ‘It’s Alive!’ (a slightly worrying title because my favourite volcanoes are dormant ones). It was great! He had some fantastic pictures some of which, he mentioned casually, were hard to get because if you were that close, then you might have left it too late. I had thought that lava was lava, but apparently it’s not that simple.

Hard on the heels of the volcanoes lecture was a cooking demonstration by the Head Chef, Janine Fourie, and the Pastry Chef, Ancleto del Prado. About half the guests were there, learning how to make Gravalax and Kaiserschmarren, a light pudding to be served hot and eaten fast (or maybe that was just me). Watching that level of expertise, so effortlessly given, always impresses me – and all done with the ship moving a little too.

The calibrating of the ship’s antennae was the next excitement. We had to do a 360 degree turn to achieve this which meant everyone could go out on deck to indulge in a little dolphin spotting (they weren’t playing today having worn themselves out yesterday) and suddenly it was time for Hans-Peter Reinthaler’s lecture, ‘The Jewels in the Atlantic Ocean: the Canary Islands and Madeira’ in which he talked vividly about the natural history of the islands. Judging by the number of questions afterwards, it went down very well.

Team trivia at tea time was a great success (obviously – Daniil’s and my team won, though not through any help from me) and then it was a swift turn-around for the last lecture.

It was a lecturing day (almost the best sort, but then I have vested interest). The last one was Imogen Corrigan’s on the World of Henry the Navigator. He’s a great guy who did so much to put Portugal on the world stage and yet lived in monk-like conditions at Sagres on the far south-west tip of Portugal. Madeira was one of his conquests, hence his appearance on this cruise. Of course it was brilliant – I was the lecturer....