Western Mediterranean

 

Quite a definite weather change as we move out of the Eastern Mediterranean heading west. Yesterday, as we passed to the south of the island of Crete, it was a very grey day, high winds and some rain. A very different day from Cyprus. We occupied ourselves inside all day, mostly painting. We had art class in the morning and then in the afternoon we set ourselves up in one of the lounges and continued work, fortified by the proximity to tea, coffee and cakes!!!!

In the evening we were invited to a small celebration in one of the private meeting rooms to celebrate Viv and Geoff’s 50th Wedding anniversary. Viv is our art tutor and Geoff her trusty assistant. It was very lovely, canapes, champagne and plenty of it. They are a really lovely couple. Afterwards we had dinner – black tie last night – and then Bob and I went to see “Bohemian Rhapsody” in the Illuminations cinema. It was really excellent, of course with the music soundtrack it would have been hard for it not to be. I thought the acting was good though. Did I think it was better – as a film – than “A Star is Born”??? On balance, no. I thought the two main performances in that were outstandingly better than the ones in Bohemian Rhapsody.

Today has been a much better day weatherwise, still not as good as it was in Cyprus though. We have been passing through the southern Ionian Sea and then in the early afternoon we turned north up through the Straits of Messina, the very narrow channel between Sicily and Calabria, Southern Italy. It’s a very, very narrow channel: at its narrowest, about a mile and a half wide. We could see the shoreline very clearly on either side. Etna was unfortunately hidden in cloud but Sicily’s steep green mountains were clearly visible. The Calabrian shore was much more built up, lots of terracotta and ochre coloured towns and villages clustered along the coast. There were some minor whirlpools visible in the strait – it has crazy tides and currents – and is quite a challenge at times for small craft. Not the QM2 of course. Although, we did take on a pilot, who joined us for a fairly brief visit as we passed through the narrows. It was interesting to see him do a “Ferrari Change”, that is he jumped from the pilot boat onto the QM2 without either boat slowing down. We were doing 22 knots, so that must take a bit of practice.

We sat out on the rear deck and enjoyed the sunshine, although we were wrapped up in shawls as the wind was a bit cold. I hope we get warm enough weather to swim again before we get home.

At 315 we went to a wine tasting event that the QM2 arranged for Platinum and Diamond loyalty members. We tasted 4 Argentinian wines, 2 whites, 2 reds and nibbled on cheeses and dried fruits. It was quite informative and fun. The Malbecs were particularly nice. It was a good freebie.

Quiet evening. Took several turns around the deck which we had to ourselves. Totally empty at 1030. Could see the lights of the Italian coast off to starboard.

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