White Horses and Sea Spray

We got up this morning about 8.00am, after being woken several times in the night by the motion of the Braemar on the Atlantic waves.  When we looked out of our portholes, we noticed quite a large ocean swell, and there were plenty of white horses dancing on the waves.  Every now and again we could feel a large shudder of the ship as a particularly big wave crashed against the Braemar’s bow.  🙂

We went and had our breakfast up in the Grampian restaurant, where we sat by the window at the stern watching the ship’s wake swirling and foaming eight decks below us.  You really had to pick your way carefully across the floor to the breakfast buffet, and we already noticed that some of the older passengers had already taken a tumble on the ship; some had their arms in slings and one or two others sported bumps and cuts – one poor gentleman had a number of stitches in his head.

As we would spend the next six nights at sea, a full programme of activities and talks had been planned for today, so at 10.00am we went along to the Neptune Lounge to listen to a lecture about the Battle of the River Plate that took place in December 1939.  This was very interesting as it described the sinking of the Admiral Graf Spee off the coast of South America, and indeed we have seen some relics from the Graf Spee (the anchor and the telemeter rangefinder) on display in the port of Montevideo, Uruguay, on our visit there in January 2013.

Immediately after that presentation was a talk from a former London policeman (and later CID at Scotland Yard) called “Bobby on the Beat”.  Once again it was a very good talk given by Bob Wragg, who was able to tell us many personal anecdotes of his time in the Metropolitan Police.

That brought us nicely up to lunchtime, and we went along to the Palms Café again.  We wanted to sit outside, but there was a brisk wind blowing (the noon navigational announcement told us it was a force 6 on the Beaufort scale) and the waves were pretty choppy.

After lunch we decided to take a walk around deck.  I put on my sturdy rubber-soled shoes and a lightweight jacket and we ventured outside.  Walking around, we noticed that parts of the deck and railings were wet from the sea spray, and certain areas of the deck had been roped off and made inadmissible.

We walked as far as we were allowed and revelled in the feel of the wind and the salt spray.  The Braemar’s bow rose and fell, rose and fell, and the air was alive with the roar of the waves crashing against the side.  This is what crossing the Atlantic is all about!  We had a perfunctory look around for flying fish, which are often seen in tropical latitudes, but maybe they didn’t like the rough sea either, because there was no sign of any.

At 3.00pm we attended another talk in the Neptune Lounge, this one entitled “Pirates, Slaves and the British Empire”.  It was a history lesson explaining the British influence in the Caribbean, much of which can still be seen today.

Then we just did the usual stuff, wandered around the ship (the ocean was still pretty rough outside and the Braemar was doing a merry dance on the waves), read, relaxed, socialised with fellow passengers and took part in the afternoon quiz.  No need to tell you the result.  😦

Once again it was time for dinner; the day had gone by surprisingly quickly.  As usual we ate far too much and went into the show lounge fit to burst.  We always start off with good intentions, saying we won’t eat too much or we’ll only try a tiny piece of dessert, but the food is so delicious and is so beautifully presented that before you know it, you’ve eaten much more than you should have.

The show tonight was a production by the Braemar Show Company called “All Shook Up” which, as its title suggests, was a tribute to Elvis.  Elvis isn’t really to my taste and I don’t like roll and roll music, but the show company put on an exuberant display of singing and dancing, so we couldn’t really complain too much.

As usual, we went along to the Coral Club afterwards to do the quiz and listen to the resident band the Revolverlites.  They are pretty good; there is a couple of guitarists, an enthusiastic drummer and a female singer.

We didn’t stay terribly late tonight.  As we were travelling due east it meant we have to put our clocks forward an hour tonight, so we’d lose an hour’s sleep.  We’ve always said that west-bound transatlantic voyages are better value for money, because you gain an hour a night for five nights.  🙂

So off we went back to cabin # 3074, where we hoped for a good night’s sleep, despite the Braemar’s still very noticeable movement on the Atlantic waves.

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