A Life on the Ocean Wave: The Cruel Sea

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The Achille Lauro

Hello. My name is Emma and I go on cruises. Mostly, so far on P&O ships out of Southampton, but other perfectly good cruise companies are available. ;-) When I can, I con my parents into paying for my ticket.

When I travel, I blog. If you would like to read it all, it can be found at my PS. The Post have asked me to proffer some edited highlights of my ramblings, which I shall now inflict on you forthwith. Enjoy.

The Cruel Sea

We didn't go to Townsville. We anchored ten miles out and everyone got up early, ready to tender ashore. But the sea was having none of it. The swell was so huge that no one could get on or off the catamarans and they returned to town without us. The forecast was for the weather to get worse and the wind to pick up even more, so we left, and took the scenic route south (via the Whitsunday Islands and several squalls of rain). The temperature is still in the high twenties (29ish) and the humidity is ridiculous, particularly after it rains! But Mum was devastated. She has a friend in Townsville, who is unwell, and she had been looking forward to seeing her for months. I think she's worried she might not get another chance to see her. She cried and cried and cried. But what can you do? To give P&O their credit, they gave her a free ship-to-shore phone call so that she could tell Kath we wouldn't be coming. That three and a half minute call would have cost over a tenner, so that was decent of them.

I was a bit fed up, so I went to the salon and booked a manicure, a pedicure and a back, neck and shoulder massage. Yummy. They left the Port Day discounts in place, which was nice too. That, along with burgers for lunch, made for a very self-indulgent day, all in all, but, hey, I'm on holiday. If I can't get off, I can at least enjoy myself on! After the massage, I went for a nap, which lasted two hours! I knew I hadn't slept well last night, but I was obviously much more tired than I realised!

I passed my exams. I got the email today confirming that I had scraped through all three, so in the evening, I started job-hunting. Not a lot out there, frankly. I registered with a third agency, but the lady said that she would need to speak to me to register me properly and so wouldn't do it until I got back to the UK. Well that's just stupid. What does she need to ask me that she can't put in an email?! I want interviews when I get back, not registrations!

Dad bought Asti for the table at dinner to celebrate my results and one of my friends bought me a cocktail in the nightclub. Hardly the party of the century!

Another sea day tomorrow. Lovely. Although some people are now getting quite desperate to get off. To be so close to land and not touch it really gets to some people. That's what cabin fever is, after all! People get a bit stir crazy if they spend more than about five or six days at sea. Today is day eight. What it must have been like when they spent WEEKS on board, I dread to think! People on here are getting a bit grumpy and impatient. Or should that be a bit MORE...? Did I tell you about the woman who barged into a lift yesterday AND straight into me?! Even when I asked her to 'LET US OUT FIRST, PLEASE', she just glared at me. Ill-mannered cow. They never cease to amaze me, they really don't.

As far as I'm concerned, the only thing marring my day is the other passengers and the fact that my telly has gone green. It does this whenever you go south of the equator. Something about the Earth's magnetic force going the other way affecting the picture, or something, I dunno. But it does make it a little odd to watch Thailand's red shirts (Thaksin Shinawat supporters) on the news when they appear yellow (which is the colour of the opposition!)!

At dinner, our waiter performed the most extraordinary feat. I don't understand the physics of it at all. He took a glass of water, a wine glass with a stem to be exact, a toothpick and two forks. He locked the tines of the forks together, passed the toothpick through and rested the other end of the toothpick on the glass. And it stayed there. No matter how much the ship juddered, or Geoff nudged it, it just stayed there, swaying gently. I took a photo, because it's hard to explain and even harder to comprehend. Anyone want to explain the physics to me, please?

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