Let us take a minute and think of a cruise holiday……….I bet you are thinking of clear deep blue glistening oceans and a beaming hot happy sunshine, am I right? Well, I am thinking of those things too but I am also wondering (or maybe secretly hoping) that the Bay of Biscay crossing will be just a little bit rough or maybe we shall run into a small storm on our way back to the home port, nothing too drastic just something to remind me I am indeed at sea.
I have met numerous people whilst cruising that dislike with a passion any sea state other than calm and I can’t quite understand it. OK so nobody wants a severe storm or conditions that would start to scare people but you are on a ship in the middle of the ocean, the sea state is inevitably going to change at some point. Personally I love the excitement of a rough sea or storm, it reminds me that I am in fact on a ship in the middle of a huge ocean and that demands some respect.
My cruise in November/December last year was brilliant for rough seas. I had expected some bad weather because of the time of year but I definitely got more than I wished for. Our Commodore informed us before we departed Lisbon, Portugal, that we were going to be in for a rough sailing back to Southampton and boy was he right! Within 30 minutes of us leaving the port the weather turned, the ship was being assaulted from Bow to Stern by huge, dark waves and the wind was unlike any I have ever experienced in my life. The noise was tremendous. You know that roaring type sound a tornado makes? Well, it was just like that and it didn’t give up.
In all I think the bad weather lasted just over 48 hours and in that time everything was moving, all pools and whirlpools were drained, sun beds on the open decks were all tied together or stacked underneath covered areas of the outside decks. Deck 7 was closed both Port and Starboard and anything basically not nailed down moved. We experienced hail stones, heavy rain, hurricane force winds, thunder and lightning and for a brief moment snow decided to join in too.
It was all good fun. One of the best experiences when it comes to bad weather at sea is the “space man” feeling, that’s all I can think to call it. I am sure many of you know exactly what I mean but for those of you who have never experienced it this is the best way I can describe it…….The ship is going up and then coming back down on the waves, now most of the time this just makes it either very difficult to take a step or impossible to not run down the deck, but, sometimes it gives you a feeling that my friend and I say “is what walking on the moon must feel like”.
The ship is just about to come back down off the crest of the wave, you go to take a step forward or climb the stairs and find that you are feeling a sense of weightlessness and it becomes so difficult to try and place your foot back on the floor (picture a man walking on the moon) you almost take on this same walk. It is so strange but hilarious, well we think so anyway.
I suppose my point today is that I love the sunshine, the evenings watching the sunset on the open decks with a calm and tranquil ocean but I also enjoy some excitement and the more the ship is moving the better.