The journey from Oakland to Tai Pei will take eleven days sailing, although we will also be skipping Friday the 13th this month and arrive twelve days later. Life aboard the ship quickly acquires a rhythm and routine. I wake at around 5:30 and drink cold fruit juice while watching the dawn. Around 6:30 I go up to the wheelhouse: this is the best place to watch the sun rise and there is always fresh coffee there. It is very quiet and dark in the wheelhouse, only me and the officer of the watch. Each day the sunrise is unique and very beautiful. For the past week, the moon has phased through full. At dawn, it is a gorgeous fat orange ball sinking down into deep blue. As it slips below the western horizon ahead, the sun begins to peak over the western edge behind us and scatters gold over blue...we watch quietly, each morning unique - like snowflakes, but always stunning, and always bringing with it a feeling of warmth, rebirth and mystery.
At eight (all times approximate...I am on holiday after all!), I join the captain and whichever officers are present for breakfast. Now that we have become friends, the captain usually lingers with me over coffee and we talk. At about ten, I go to the gym for a workout. I need this to counteract all of the leisure - and food! - after which I usually write until lunchtime. Lunch is solitary. Although we eat in the mess, I am the only passenger, I am the only one here on vacation. The officers (there are only seven) are either on watch, working on the ship, or leaving watch for a sleep break so they eat quickly and leave. After lunch, I read or write, nap - initially I did this in my cabin, but as our route has been steadily southwest, the weather is warm and balmy and I am now sitting in the afternoon sun on the deck. I watch the ocean and the waves. It is astonishing how long one can just sit and watch the ocean roll by.
There is also a salt water swimming pool and a sauna....more about this later....after the sauna a dip in the pool, about 75 degrees now and super salinated so I could practically sleep while floating on it. The rolling of the ship creates gentle waves in the pool. I lie on my back and rock....
At three, if I feel like it, I join the officers in the captain's office for coffee or tea - (watch out for that cake!), and then I go to my cabin to dress for dinner. I have a bottle of Oban 14...and I usually listen to music, have a drink before dinner and watch the ocean (again) from my cabin. Wine is not served at dinner aboard ship except for dinner on Sundays, and Oban 14 over ice blends nicely with the water and the waves.
Dinner begins at 5:30 and lasts until around 6:30. After dinner, (again!) I sit in the wheelhouse and watch the sunset, the water, the stars.... Sometimes I have a glass of wine in the Captain's dayroom, listen to music, talk some more, and then sleep to wake again.
Peaceful vacation anyone?