Out the Window
file under BLACK and BLUE, with surprises
Since August 23, I have been calling Cabin No. 4085 my home. It has one door, which I enter from off a very long hallway; the hallway is so long it looks like fun-house mirrors are used to extend it. My cabin is compact but more than roomy enough for the contents of the two suitcases I brought with me, now squashed under my bed and filling up slowly at each port with small mementoes of the voyage and early Christmas gift purchases.
(Not that it is so early, really. The Victoria and Albert shopping mall in Cape Town was fully decorated in the last weeks of October.)
The walls of my cabin are painted metal, so in addition to the large world map that is a standard wall fixture in each cabin, a motley collection of magnets is holding up a growing collection of postcards. A large mirror on the opposite wall helps give the impression of extra space.
But by far the most riveting element of my temporary living space is my cabin window.
It isn’t round like a traditional porthole, but a 31×35-inch, almost-square view of the world off the ship. For 12 days — we are beginning the fifth of these now — the view out my window is likely to be just minor variations on a constant theme, namely the South Atlantic Ocean.
We are moving steadily along the 32-degree latitude line from Cape Town, South Africa to Buenos Aires, Argentina. Nautical miles made good as of noon yesterday was 1,056. I have learned that captains speak of miles “made good” rather than “traveled,” because sometimes ships — especially those with sails — have to travel in zig-zag patterns to get where they are going. Our four engines and double propellers have us heading for South America in pretty much a straight shot.
But ocean travel has a way of delivering the unexpected, too. I am regularly pulling the blackout drapes open to see what’s new about my view. See for yourself.
Look at some of what I’ve seen out my window since boarding in Southampton, England.
But there’s more!
And to get a little more of a feel for what I see (and sometimes hear) I hope to eventually upload a few videos. The last one, I’ll admit, I had to leave my cabin for and head upstairs one deck level to shoot over the railing. It was a surreal sight that night, and I don’t even know if anyone else saw what I did. I’m thinking it was after 3 a.m. when I first spotted them through the window.
(Stay tuned…strong Internet should return in Argentina.)