Day 9 |
May 03, 2012

 At sea, en route Tangier

By Imogen Corrigan, Historian

Co-ordinates: S 34º38'31", W 7º38'18"
Weather: Sunny with a brisk wind
Air Temperature: 17.3C / 63F
Pressure: 1015 hPa
Wind: 8 knots

Another three-lecture day which must surely be the guests’ favourite sort. We were at sea again in very pleasant conditions apart from something of a swell. Unfortunately that meant that the proposed zodiac regatta had to be postponed (much to the relief of one guest who shall remain nameless, but who cheered when the announcement was made and hoped it was cancelled altogether).

The Restaurant was almost deserted when I went for breakfast, so I suspect a good time had been had in the bar the previous evening. After an interval for the tardy to emerge from their suites like pit-ponies adjusting to the light, a good crowd assembled in The Theatre for Gordon Corrigan’s lecture on the Barbary Wars, which went down extremely well. As the full title suggested, this was the making of the US Navy and generated a lot of discussion amongst the American guests.

In the meantime I was allocated a lecture-slot (hurray – we are all fighting for the microphone here!) so I opted to show how to read medieval church art (ie why is a font octagonal, what is the significance of certain beasts and so on). That might have sounded strange considering we are still off the Moroccan coast where no full images of man or beast are allowed, but this was the last chance to speak to the guests other than in recaps before we reach Seville where we’ll visit the cathedral.

Chris Habard regaled us with another of his ever-popular lectures, this time on bird migration. The world of birds continues to fascinate all on board, especially with Chris’ ability to spot a species at what seems to me to be a million miles and in the blink of an eye.

Considering that a day at sea always looks relaxing, it was – again – full of activity. The hotel staff outdid themselves at lunchtime with an International Buffet and then again in the evening with the Venetian Dinner. Whilst the rest of the ship’s life rolled on with on-going safety training (passed the exam) and feeding the insatiable appetite of the notice-board, unbeknownst to us land-lubbers, the swell was gradually reducing, so you can imagine the excitement when Conrad announced that the much-vaunted regatta could go ahead after all. The engines stopped and suddenly the stairs were full of scurrying guests, eager to don their fancy-dress costumes whilst the rest of us jostled for a space with a view on the starboard side.

It was a hard-fought contest between four guest teams but, in the end, the Gladiators won by a narrow margin with Team Fez coming second followed by Crême Brulée and the Bathing Beauties. The crew fielded two teams, bravely managing without my skills, thank goodness. Head-Chef Janine and Sommelier Kire’s team, the Pussycat Dolls, beat Maryna’s Dream Team, but only just. Whilst the crew members did one of their lightning changes and went straight back to work, the other teams enjoyed cocktails during the prize-giving on the top deck in bright sunshine.

The day ended with the Venetian Dinner, always a special occasion and one I personally enjoy increasingly as I get to know more of the guests over time.