Crossing the Tropic of Cancer

Our hopes for a good night’s sleep were dashed by the ship’s heavy rolling and the occasional bang or jolt as a waves crashed against the side or bow of the vessel.  We always try to choose a cabin midships, as that is the area of the ship least affected by the motion, so goodness knows what those passengers at the bow or stern must have experienced.

We woke up to partly-cloudy skies and saw that the ocean still looked very rough.  After breakfast we ventured outside on the open decks, but some areas were still roped off and there was still a lot of sea spray in the uncomfortably-windy air.  The pool deck was practically deserted; both pools were empty and had nets stretched over them, and all the deckchairs and sunloungers were stacked up and lashed securely to the railings.

We went down to deck 5 and walked around the the lee side of the ship, where the wind was nowhere near and strong.  A few minutes later, and just outside the range of the swirling wash of the ship, we spotted the familiar silver streaks on the sea’s surface.  Flying fish!  There were only four in total, and no more appeared, but at least we’d seen them.  🙂

Back in the shelter of the Braemar’s interior we just spent the morning at leisure as there were no scheduled talks.  Cruise director Elliot Taylor’s voice came over the tannoy to say that, due to the adverse weather conditions, a lot of the planned deck activities were either having to be cancelled or moved inside wherever practical.

I enjoyed a lunch of fresh green salad and cold meats washed down with a glass of rosé wine before making our way to the Morning Light pub, where I did some crocheting. I am making a triangular shawl in a cotton yarn; the edge of the shawl will be edged with individually-crocheted daisies (there are 49 to make so it will take some time).

Then it was time to attend the first of today’s presentations.  This was entitled “Sink the Bismarck” and was given by David Russell, the former naval man and World War 2 historian.  It was all very interesting and educational.  David’s talk was followed by the ex-copper Bob Wragg whose talk was about his own experiences as a London CID officer in the 1960s and 70s.

This took us nicely up to 5 o’clock, where we pottered around before getting ready for dinner.  We went along to the purser’s desk where the ship’s navigational information is displayed, and we saw that the Braemar was just about ready to cross the Tropic of Cancer at 23º 27’ North.  The earth is tilted at an angle of approximately 23º 27’; therefore during the Summer Solstice (in the northern hemisphere) the sun is directly over the Tropic of Cancer; the reverse of this is true in the southern hemisphere (during our Winter Solstice) when the sun is directly over the Tropic of Capricorn.

Then it was just the usual; delicious meal, palatable wine, good company etc, and off we went to the Neptune Lounge for tonight’s entertainment.
This time it was a Welsh comedian called Lloyd Davies.  As well as stand-up comedy he also played the keyboard and sang funny songs (those where the lyrics of popular songs have been changed to comedic effect).  I actually thought he was pretty hilarious and we enjoyed his show a lot.

Tonight there were actually two shows; after the quiz in the Coral Club the Braemar Show Company put on a production called “Happy Days” featuring high-energy singing and dancing – it passed a pleasant half hour or so.

We stayed in the Coral Club until around midnight, then returned to cabin # 3074 and settled down for sleep.  Braemar was no longer in the tropics but, unless we were imagining it, the ocean outside our portholes did seem a lot calmer.  We slept very well.

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