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6th January, 2016

Ponta Delgada, Azores

The five day run across to the Azores was rather pleasant as I was able to weather route the ship and stay south of the large swells that were coming down from the north. It remained comfortably warm right up until the last day, but as we docked in Ponta Delgada low cloud was racing in from the south west, a cold front finally bearing down on us.

In fact, although mainly overcast, the day remained dry, and so those folks that took the shuttle bus into town were able to mooch around in comfort. On the other side of the dock, at the main cruise terminal, a large P&O job was looking a tad rusty around the edges after having come all the way down from Hamburg in seas even the seagulls would probably have stayed ‘in doors’ for.

On board we conducted an emergency drill for the crew, who all put on a brave face when they came out to stand by their life raft stations for twenty minutes or so. Big smiles when they were stood down. And that has been the most remarkable aspect of all the crew members during this cruise, they have worked diligently throughout, not showing any indication that they were missing their families over the Christmas period.

We sailed in the afternoon expecting a ‘lumpy’ passage back up to Southampton as gale force winds were forecast off the Iberian Peninsula. In fact, as I write, with a good force 8 ‘south wester’ coming up from astern, the horizon outside my window is either way above the Taff rail or just below, but I don’t have to grip my desk to stop my chair rolling to the other side of my office and, down below, the line dancing goes on uninterrupted.

We shall arrive back tomorrow in a rather chilly Southampton, seemingly a million miles away from that sultry heat of the Caribbean.

Captain Philip Rentell

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