Oh, the African sun!
Even though we are well out to sea, we are close to Africa and the weather is glorious. Sunny but with a wonderful, crisp breeze keeping things fresh. I could do a dance I feel so good today. It could also be finally getting a decent night’s sleep in our luxury cabin!
The Germans were very nice about the fact that we got upgraded and they didn’t – but they have also turned on the AC in the whole ship, so I guess it helps that their cabin is also not as unbearable as it had been.
We also finally got the treadmill working, and I managed a half hour run (well, slow jog, but it’s a start) earlier. The roll of the ship definitely adds an extra dimension to the workout, as the occasional bigger wave means you are sometimes running at an angle. Awful for the knees and not sure I’ll be able to walk tomorrow.
Some of the passengers saw dolphins today while we were ‘at school’.
Slowly, slowly, we are getting things sorted. I find it interesting how a group of strangers adapt themselves to conditions to make their lives a little better and more comfortable – from making piri piri to add to the somewhat bland food, to developing unwritten rules about use of the deckchairs (7 chairs for ten passengers…), to establishing little routines like everyone sitting in the same place at dinner and congregating after dinner in the lounge.
The main excitement today was the fire drill, which to be honest did not fill me with confidence. We were first told around 2pm that at 4pm there would be a drill, but only for the crew so we just needed to keep out of the way and ignore the alarm. Just before 4pm I bumped into the chief mate on my way to the gym and confirmed with him that we needed to do nothing for the drill (I have learned that one needs to triangulate information received on board). I was going to be in the gym and Lauren in the cabin so I didn’t want her panicking if we had to do something. He confirmed no need for us to respond.
No alarm went off at 4, and I happily ploughed through my work out and headed back to the cabin for a shower. As I was walking back, the alarm finally went off, along with the captain’s voice over the tannoy confirming it was a drill and then ‘there’s a fire in the galley’. I jumped in the shower and just as I was finishing up there was a knock at the door – I tell Lauren to answer and one of the crew is there urging us to hurry as there is a fire drill!
I throw on some clothes, grab the lifejackets, helmets and immersion suits and off we go. At this point I’m thinking maybe it’s a clever double bluff by the captain, and he wanted to catch us all unawares. However, the confusion up on deck at the muster station lends credence to a rather less generous interpretation.
When we arrive, most of the other passengers have their lifejackets on, but we are told it’s just a drill so no need. Lauren wants to put hers on anyway, so does, but as one of the officers told me there is no need, I don’t bother. Then get told off by another officer who says I should have it on!
The German woman had been sleeping, and was first told she didn’t need to get up then later they went back and told her she did. One of the officers tried to give a serious talk, but some of the other passengers were taking photos (despite having been asked not to) and then the chief engineer walked past and cracked a joke and everyone started laughing.
Then there was general confusion about whether our bit was done or not, with one officer telling us we were done and another telling us to keep our jackets on, and then lots of conflab in Italian. Eventually they told us we were done, and we collected our suits and helmets and made our way below again, while they brought one of the cadets out on a stretcher and then somehow the fire in the galley turned into man overboard. I can only hope that in a genuine emergency, people are a bit more sure of what the hell we are supposed to be doing.
In fairness, I think the confusion stemmed from how involved the passengers should be, and hopefully in a real emergency there wont be any doubt about that!
It was useful though as we realised that in the change of cabins we somehow ended up with two kids lifejackets plus two adults, and in the rush I had grabbed both children’s ones. I also finally tried on my immersion suit and no matter how many workouts on that damn treadmill, I won’t be fitting into a ‘standard’ size….