Archive for October 29th, 2008


October 29

October 29, 2008

Breakfast had been prolonged this morning in answer to the disorganised hubbub of yesterday, which meant we got an extended night’s sleep. Added to the early night and sedative effects of the motion sickness tablets, we both arose well rested and exuberant. The weather, however, was not entirely cooperative, and a steady light rain made going up to the deck a bad idea, so we spent an hour or so lounging in the common areas in the morning, catching a very bad documentary on the Patagonian ice fields, which followed a boring helicopter expedition and was narrated by a dry Englishman.

The common areas were distinctly deserted today due to our entering the oceanic area, and all those people who thought they were too tough for seasickness medication either curled up foetally in bed or bore the bad weather for fresh air on deck. The open ocean, sailing through Anna Pink Bay, was scheduled to last about seven hours, followed by a five hour crossing of the infamous Golfo de Penas, named after the Spanish explorer who found the place and renamed later as the English couldn’t be bothered trying to record the tilde over the ā€œnā€. All in all, it was bound to be a petty rough day.

After lunch, we invited ourselves into a card game being played by Liam, a red-headed Irishman, and Matthia, a young Italian guy. The card circle grew as the afternoon wore on, and we broke out the wine and cheese a bit past two. We’d soon played Mushack and Hearts with Terry, an older American, and Sydney, an avocado farmer from California, and the circle grew again to include a handful of the rowdier types from last night and the game turned to Shithead, one of those random trick game types with impossible numbers of rules meant to catch out the drunk. The ship was doing some impressive nose-dives and sideways rolls by this point, and it was all we could do to stop things falling off the table. As the weather cleared a little, we took occasional breaks to stand up on the top deck of the ship and watch the beast plough through the waves like a theme park ride.

Dinner was entirely necessary by the time it arrived, and a few of the more sturdy passengers who had been struck by seasickness resurfaced to try and settle their tummies on the spaghetti bolognaise. Things degenerated quite quickly after that, marked in particular by the mushing up of jelly to mix with some donated vodka, which made a delicious if slightly disturbing slurry. Tom and I hung in there for another round of cards, but, having already drunk our two bottles of wine over the last eight hours, jumped at the opportunity to watch the nightly film when it came on. The film, Machuca, was a very intelligent Spanish drama following the fate of the inhabitants of a private school in Santiago in the seventies when the recently elected socialist government allowed the local indigenous children to attend, and ended in a horrible scene after the takeover of the military junta.

The film ended at midnight, and our card-playing buddies were intent on staying up until the 5.30am navigation of the English Narrows, one of the more speccie parts of the trip, but we opted instead for our five hours sleep, feeling a bit old as a result, but perhaps also a bit more sane.