Friday, July 30

An overcast blessing

Our first day at sea has dawned with grey, overcast skies and cooler temperatures. The change in the weather has been a bit of shock to the system after five days of glorious sunshine in Vancouver. However, it seems we should be grateful for small mercies. Last night the barman told us that the cruise prior to ours had battled five straight days of rain.

The forecast for the next few days is for more overcast skies, but largely free of rain. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised. Ketchikan, our first port of call, averages 162 inches of rain annually. A cloudy day is considered the local equivalent of perfect Summer’s day. Fortunately, we’re be spending the entire day today at sea, sailing north along the Canadian coast.

A short while ago the captain announced we'd already travelled 163 nautical miles since leaving Vancouver. Each day at noon he has a ritual of updating passengers on our progress, the weather and our current location. Today he advised that we're travelling at a speed of 17.5 knots with just over 228 miles to run until Ketchikan. The area we're currently passing through is known as the Inside Passage. It's a remote area dotted with isolated pine-clad islands and pristine, untouched inlets. We think the scenery is a perfect accompaniment to a glass of wine and a few pre-lunch nibbles.

We’re making our way north on the Seven Seas Navigator. It was built in Genoa, Italy in 1999. Its 172 metres long and has 13 decks. It’s a relatively small ship, carrying an average of 490 guests, plus another 300+ crew. Despite its compact size it still boasts a compact central atrium through which glass-fronted elevators rise eight decks. Our cabin in on Deck Nine, conveniently located one level below the pool deck and breakfast lounge. It’s a spacious suite with a small outdoor balcony. In fact our bathroom here is larger than both bathrooms we have in London.

Last night we dined in the Compass Rose restaurant; a large, open venue seating more than 200 people. It’s been carefully designed so that you never feel you’re part of a massive crowd. We feasted on plump scallops, pan-seared salmon and crème brule – all washed down by some delicious Australian wines. Any illusions we'd had of dieting have been well and truly thrown out the window.

Tonight we're off to the main theatre to watch a Latin spectacular. It sounds grand. The show is billed as a celebration of contemporary and legendary Latin song and dance, whose cast sizzle in response to sultry percussive beats and cutting edge choreography. I think I could get use to this cruising stuff.

We spotted our first killer whales this afternoon. Garry happened to look out the window as a pod of whales blew spout after spout of steamy breath. We then noticed a number of spouts dotting the horizon both fore and aft of the ship. Very cool. The sun has also made an appearance. In fact, as I type there is hardly a cloud in the sky.

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