Sunday, 31 October 2010

Mid Atlantic - postcard from the edge

Having a brilliant time sailing to South America by cargo ship. Weather good - plain sailing so far. Food excellent and I've kept it all down!

My cargo ship, MSC Lausanne, is a giant of a ship at 275m long and 32.2m wide (that width makes her a Panamax, the widest ship that can pass through the Panama Canal). Onboard there is a crew of 23 and 4 passengers, including me. Of course, this is nothing like a cruise - it's a working ship and the priority is always the cargo. So there is no fancy restaurant or leisure activities. We eat our meals with the crew and are otherwise left to our own devices. With a few limitations we can pretty much wander anywhere on the ship and get a fascinating insight into life at sea on a freighter. I'm happy on deck staring at the sea for hours, spotting dolphins, flying fish and birds; watching the crew at work; observing activities in port; reading in a quiet corner; or visiting the bridge, trying to look like I understand the array of charts, printouts and computer graphics.

From the Canaries, we've sailed south between the Cape Verde Islands and the west African coast, and are now heading southwest to Brazil. Soon we'll cross the Equator and drop off the edge!

NB: There is no internet onboard ship. I have sent an email via the ship's communication system, then a satellite has bounced it down to base camp manager, Graham, in Edinburgh, and he copies it into the blog together with a map he generates. The previous mini updates have been sent to base camp by text whenever I pick up a signal near to land. Isn't technology amazing!

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