Accio Jacksons!

An 11-inch holly blog with a phoenix feather core

November 22–23: Two days adrift at sea

by Rebecca on 2008-12-17

OK, we werenʼt really adrift at sea, but we did go a full 48 hours without setting foot on dry land. And we were in the midst of a huge, nasty, violent winter storm on the Mediterranean that was blowing in the opposite direction that we were going. But Iʼm getting ahead of myself.

Iʼd mentioned the choppy water at Santorini. That was a tiny portent of what was to come. When we woke up in the morning of November 22, I noticed that our room was pitching around fairly vigorously. We were on the 10th deck, at the very front of the ship, so we felt a heck of a lot of motion. And waves were crashing over our balcony. Waves were crashing. Iʼve never been on such unsteady ground. (Is that the right word, if I was on a ship?)

When I got up to head to the bathroom, I had to hold on to whatever piece of furniture or wall was nearest to me to keep from falling over. My shower was especially thrilling, since water splashed all over the bathroom floor. I was so, so thankful for the little required-by-accessibility-law handrail on the wall, because the shower curtain would have done nothing to keep me from falling out of the shower. Fortunately, I wasnʼt feeling any motion sickness, just clumsiness from being bucked up and down on the waves.

William fared much worse. In spite of his little behind-the-ear motion sickness patch, he still felt terrible. Here, Iʼll let him describe it in his own words:

When I woke up I felt okay. Then I tried to get out of bed, and things went downhill rapidly. Less like going downhill and more like falling off a cliff, actually. I felt that sick feeling that you get when you are almost sick enough to lose your lunch, but not quite. The longer I stayed standing up, the worse it got. When I couldnʼt stand it any more, I lay back down until I was feeling better. I finally stood up long enough to take a shower and get dressed, but as soon as I was ready I was back on the bed in a comfortable horizontal position. After several boring minutes in our cabin, I decided to try to go lower in the ship and closer to midship where the motion was not as bad. I spent the rest of the day laying on a couch down on deck 5, solving Sudoku puzzles when I didnʼt have my eyes firmly closed.

So, there you have it. It wasnʼt a good day for William. I spent most of the day exploring the ship and bringing plates of food to William every few hours. Turns out pizza works wonders for motion sickness. Most of the shipʼs passengers were either in their rooms or camped out on couches in the public areas. There were motion sickness bags (is it juvenile of me to call them “barf bags”?) available everywhere, even on the elevators. There were also bowls of green apples and saltines. We saw one German couple that probably ate 10 apples that day. Pretty much everyone looked pale green and absolutely miserable.

Most of the activities on the ship had been canceled due to dangerous conditions. One of the few activities that actually happened was a tour of the kitchens. And boy, did people turn out for that one. There were probably several hundred people who wanted to see the kitchens, so they had to break us up into groups, one of German speakers, and several English-speaking. The kitchen was much smaller than what Iʼd expected, given the amount of food that weʼd seen available on the ship throughout the cruise. But there were signs that said “Turbulent weather ahead. Please secure all items.” Well, yes. Obviously. Who wants to work in a kitchen full of flying knives, soup bowls, and cremes brulee?? I also did laundry in our room, while watching Beowulf. Interesting movie. But I didnʼt leave William alone all day. We played cards and chatted and looked out the window at the scary, scary waves. Just know that at one point when we were sitting being very still and quiet so as not to upset his stomach more, the ship rolled so far to the left that I looked out the window and saw water directly beneath me. I seriously thought at that moment that we had a good chance of capsizing. Pretty scary stuff!

The really sad thing about the storm was … Well, there were two sad things, now that I think about it. First sad thing: we lost so much time travailing through the storm that our captain decided to completely cancel our stop at Naples and head straight to Rome. So, no Pompeii or Herculaneum or Capri for us. Weʼll have to go back. Darn. And totally sad that we missed it this time. Iʼd even read a book called Pompeii to get in the mood.

Second sad thing: that night was the second formal night, with the fancy-pants steak and lobster dinner. William was too sick to stay around for the main course, and he wasnʼt the only one. The dining room looked especially empty that evening. And the waiters did their fancy farewell presentation with baked Alaska and lots of fanfare. So, William still has never had baked Alaska. He went back to the room, and I stayed and finished my steak and lobster and baked Alaska.

After dinner, I went back to our room, and when I got to the door, I realized that William had the key. So, I politely knocked on the door and waited. No answer. I knocked a little more authoritatively. No answer. I pounded and kicked the door. Still nothing! At that point, I thought that it was impossible for William to have missed my noise, so he must have moved back to his couch on Deck 5. So, I went looking for him. He wasnʼt there. Uh oh. Finally, I said, “Well, I have no idea where my husband is. But heʼs probably on the ship — I donʼt see him so desperate that he would resort to throwing himself overboard in a fit of madness.” So, I went to Guest Services and had a new key printed out for myself. The man who helped me seemed sympathetic but unsurprised by my tale. He probably thought William had had too much to drink and passed out in the room. Whatever. So, I took my key back to our room, unlocked my door (whew!) and found William sound asleep on the bed. How did he miss my pounding? I have no idea. But at least he was asleep and not green and miserable.

Our next day at sea, the day we were supposed to be docked at Naples, looking at Pompeii, sailing the hydrofoil to Capri, and eating pizza, we spent on the ship. It was a pretty dull day, so we just wandered around, checked email, ate more food, and packed our bags so that we could leave them out that night. The highlight of the day was the performance in the theater featuring songs and dances from around the world. The Galaxy Singers and Dancers put on quite a show for us, the show that they wouldʼve performed the night before except that it was canceled due to the inclement weather. We arrived in Rome at 7-ish p.m. and we were grateful to be in calm waters again. The water was still fairly turbulent, until we arrived back at Rome. And we said our goodbyes at dinner time, handed out tips, and went back to our room for a good nightʼs sleep.

(Wow, Iʼm surprised that I had so much to say about two days where not much happened!)