Monday, 1 October 2012
There's two good things about a river cruising. First there is the proximity to both banks, which offers views to starboard and portside alike. OK, we have been sailing into the night, so we rather focused on the bright lights of the pilot boats that came and went like floating candelabras to change the pilot on FRAM. (There is a whole series of them, depending on where on the long river Elbe you are.)
But the other advantage not so much visible as rather tangible. It's the calmness of the waters, which - or rather the absence of which - we only feel next morning as we enter the English Channel, La Manche in French, which means The Sleeve, a description also used in German (Ärmelkanal), Spanish (Canal de la Mancha), or Italian (La Manica). Only England doesn't want to play game - The Channel is their laconic way of naming it, although The Sleeve wouldn't sound too bad, would it?
Whatever the name, this is surely a sleeve with creases and crinkles today, strong winds and a swell that is caught between the two countries makes the ship hop and dance a bit. Never mind! This is a sea day, grey skies on top of it, so there is little distraction from all the lectures that are given, preparing us for the destinations that are coming up. What about some time in the Sauna with ocean view? Or some waffles upstairs, while pianist Bjørn is sharing his music? Or sit there, enjoying a book and a nap in the comfy chairs? Or watch the other ships go by, take a look at the occasional oil rig?
Your choice - it's holiday, isn't it?
Hard to believe in this greyness that in a short while we will be in exotic places like Morocco or the picturesque Canary Islands. But the temperatures are rising already. We are moving to warmer latitudes, all right. Towards the evening the "sleeve" shakes less and less,we even get a cosy evening with a mighty fine sunset! So, during the night we expect not more than a gentle rocking that will make us sleep even better.