Today, on day 9 of our cruise from Cape Town to Southampton we sailed on the Queen Mary across the Romanche Trench off the West Coast of Africa near the equator @ 0° 00’N 18° 00’W. This is the third deepest spot in the ocean and reaches down to 25,453 feet (7,758 m). We had internet in our cabin. It was a tad expensive but I needed to stay in touch with clients and upload my blogs to keep my clients’ Google rankings on the first page.
West Coast of Africa
We continued along the west coast of Africa on our way to Gran Canaria, Madeira, and Vigo in the north of Spain. The highlight of the evening entertainment was ‘From Spain with Love’ featuring the intense passion of fiery flamenco and bolero music. To the east, Liberia and Sierra Leone lay tantalisingly beyond the horizon. Perhaps it was best. I was not in a mood for a visit by rumbustious pirates.
There was an oil fire in the buffet kitchen at lunchtime. This happens quite often in grand hotels and ocean liners. I should know. We used to sell catering equipment from a small shop. Chip fryers are like teenagers. If you do not keep an eye on them they cause trouble or at least I did.
The crew handled the incident discreetly. “Excuse me gentlemen and ladies. There is a small problem. I shall have to ask you to vacate your tables for a few moments and resume your meals in the other lounge.” I believe the fire crew entered from the interior of the ship and doused the fire. The next day it was as if nothing happened.
After we had seen off two succulent eisbeins that replaced the curry we had been savouring, we wandered off to a Cunard Insights lecture about the life and times of Kenneth Noye. He kept Scotland Yard guessing for decades. I dislike crime in any form, but Irish blood in me adores a rebel.
We emerged to find the deck dripping from a light fog that had descended. To the left ahead of us a ghostly shape emerged. This turned out to be a drilling platform on tow by deep-sea tug. The captain maintained a healthy distance, but even so it was apparent that the platform was taller than his ship.
This was the first vessel we passed since leaving Walvis Bay five days previously. It was as if we owned the ocean. Even a pod of porpoises surfing on the bow wave eventually made way for us. Did I imagine it, or did one look up at me with an engaging smile.
As the golden orb settled down to sleep it was time for a light supper and an early night nodding over television. We slept between fresh crisp Egyptian cotton sheets knowing that Queen Mary 2 has headlights as big as jet engines.