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Friday, 11 February 2011

Day Twelve, Thursday 10th February. King Neptune

The clocks went back another hour last night, so we are now three hours behind you lot in the UK. 
This morning we got up and breakfasted early.  So early in fact we were able to do 2 miles around the ship before 9 o’clock (Yes, I know some of you have done a full day of work by then, but you know I won’t have!)  Even before 9 o’clock, it was hot.  Very very hot with the sun belting down.  Some people were already setting up the loungers for a day of burning tho, amazing!
We then waited until our appointment with Neptune.  We knew there was somthing going on, because the cruise director announced last night and this morning that King Neptune was visiting the ship and that all passengers and crew had to be on the rear deck for his inspection. It is traditional amongst seafarers to initiate those who have never crossed the equator before, and I know that the actual crossing is always marked in some form or other on ships.  In our case, we won’t be crossing until the early hours of tomorrow morning, therefore the ceremony was carried out today.

We dutifully turned up as requested and what followed was totally unexpected.  King Neptune, (who was actually a member of the entertainment staff, painted green and wearing a ridiculous wig), his wife, (another member of the entertainment staff, wearing balloons for a bust and a red wig), and his entourage, (the rest of the team, dressed as pirates, mermaids and a cleaner,) came on board.  From that point, 8 senior members of the ships crew were ordered to kneel before King Neptune and be tried for their crimes.  The script was hysterical.  They were all found guilty and had to kiss the fish (a real, and very large salmon), before racing in pairs in the pool.  (Captain included).  The whole charade ended up with everyone in the water, Captain, Cruise director, senior staff, Neptune and the pirates.  Peter has the whole thing on video.  It was too funny to miss a word of the script.

After that we decided to go for a wander, and see what it was like on top deck.  We knew it was not safe to stay in the sun for very long, so we went looking for shade, but in the meantime ended up talking to a couple we had met earlier for ten minutes or so.  Net result?  I now have filled in the spaces between arms and V neck with a very attractive deep pink glow.  It only took TEN minutes.  We had luch up on one of the rear decks (in the shade) before going inside for a cool off.
This afternoons class numbered 44. Once it had started I noticed the sea!
We had been warned in the Captain’s announcements that the sea gets shallow and he would have to slow the ship.  The reality it was quite amazing.  The sea is normally a deep blue black colour, but it went light green for about an hour, before changing to the sandy colour it is now.  Watching it is amazing, it reminds of sand dunes in the way that the water ripples.  There aren’t any waves to speak of. 

Peter’s class finishes around 4.30, and from there we dashed around to watch a couple we’ve not had a chance to see yet.  They are Kim Brown and Magnus Gilljam, an opera singer and a concert pianist. They’ve had their afternoon sessions put back by half an hour so Peter’s students can get to see them, which also means we can.  I have to admit I would not normally listen to any form of classical music, but it was quite magical.  I was absolutely astounded at the power of Kim’s voice.  It sent a shiver down my back, and made all the other singers I’ve seen seem like amateurs.  Quite stunning.
After the show, we took our binoculars outside and practised with them on the various boats and ships surrounding us. We’ve not seen another ship or boat for three days and now there are loads of ‘em.  We ended up talking a little more to the bird watcher guy, Moss, and his wife, before coming back to the cabin to get ready for dinner.  It’s a formal night tonight.  So  it’s the posh frock from Binns for me, and Peter has to get bow tie on again.  Tonight’s show was the magician.  I really enjoyed his act this time.
We’ve taken our Malarone tablets.  Tomorrow we get to the Pilot Station at Macapa just outside the mouth of the Amazon.  Apparently the ship has to go through 4-6hrs worth of documentation and red tape before we can carry on, but there will hopefully be plenty to observe on deck.   

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