Speed Bonny boat

At sea, M/V Pont-Avon, lurching down the Bay of Biscay.
Sunny and calm at the off we sat and enjoyed the warmth with a couple of beers listening to a crew member advising us of conditions to come. Being told of increasing winds to Force seven or eight and that it would be rough in the morning was rather like being told by a airplane Captain to expect some minor turbulence ahead. When my beer started blowing out of the glass we began to believe him.
I remember my friends Barbara and Graham, commenting on their trip to NY on the QE 2 that it was rather like a geriatric Butlins holiday camp (sorry US ers, there really is no equivalent). The Bingo bar was packed out, there was karaoke, a Michael Jackson impersonator, community singing, mountains of beer glasses, large glasses of strong sweet cocktails, kids, mini and otherwise, shrieking in the small pool. Twenty four hours of this ? Hmm, we thought. HELP !
Casting about we found tablecloth land where things were, shall we say, a little, well, quieter. Some dinner then back to the cabin and sleep, early.
I was up at three thirty to see Ushant. Huh, you say, Ushant? whatzat ? It’s a very famous rock on the Northwest tip of France where, during the Napoleonic Wars, our brave seafarers frequently wrecked their ships with the loss of all hands while blockading the French fleet at Brest. You won’t read too many Nautical History Sea Stories without coming across a mention of the fearful tide races, jagged rocks, contrary winds and mountainous seas of that inhospitable coast. Well of course I didn’t actually see it, it was dark, but I saw the lighthouses all around and suitably humbled I went back to bed.
The day dawned and it was rough, quite rough. The open sun deck , high on deck nine, was constantly submerged with spray as the bow ploughed into a wave, the whole ship shuddering from the impact. Attendance at breakfast was sparse, most passengers staying in their cabins as the boat pitched and rolled corkscrew fashion. Carrying food to the table was challenging, kind of launched myself from one hand hold to the next across the open spaces. I tried to catch up on a bit of sleep and it was somewhat like trying to sleep on a plane, nod off and suddenly the bottom drops out as the ship fell into a trough, hang on as we roll steeply, clutch the sides of the bed anxiously. Peer out of the porthole but can’t see anything due to waves crashing up against the side.
Sanity resumed slowly and we judged our appearance on the sun deck perfectly, the rocking lessened, the sun warmed, wine was served and all is right with the world again.
Santander is ninety minutes away, tapas are discussed, Rioja anticipated, I’ll let you know.

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5 responses to “Speed Bonny boat

  1. Thanks for blogs. Seems you had rather a rough crossing.Shades of the Pentland Firth!!
    All OK here. Rained yesterday but better today, windy and occasional sun.
    Maurice loved the photo of his robin.
    Mother.

  2. Your description of the sea crossing reminded me of Nat and I on the catamaran all those years ago, both very green! Enjoy yourselves, is it sun, sea and sangria next. Vicky

  3. You did that without dramamine? Hope the rest of the trip is smooth sailing…!

    • Well yes we did it without Dramamine. I would say 90% of out fellow passengers were suffering from the mal de mere. I got some very strange looks while eating a huge breakfast !

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