Monday, May 16, 2011

Entry 58 5.5.11

Entry 58, May 5th, 2011, 9:45pm (ship time GMT +1)

Course: NE Speed: 21 knots

The Grandeur is pounding North now after our brief stop in Tenerife. We've got two days to make Palma, and I think we're making close to the old lady's best speed. The dishes in the staff mess are buzzing in their racks, and I can feel the rumble of the props through the soles of my shoes. On broadway, the light fixtures are rattling above the engine rooms.

The band took a trip to the windjammer cafe for dinner, and being nine stories above the ocean while the ship surges through the waves is quite an experience. I can't even imagine what it would feel like to be on a naval ship doing twice this speed.

I was hoping to get up early this morning and spot Tenerife as the sun came up, as it was our first landfall in a week. However, my hopes were dashed, as last night around 11 o'clock I took a look outside and was startled to see a mountain of orange lights outside the mess porthole. We arrived several hours ahead of schedule, I assume due to good weather.

Tenerife is one of the Canary Islands. We docked at Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the capital and principal city of the island. Tenerife is extremely mountainous, and the city stretches away up from the waterfront like a few places that I know in Northern California (or Japan). There's another cruise ship port on the North side of the island, but Cat (beverages manager, and bassist Lincoln's girlfriend) said that it was like if one took all the best parts of Spain and ruined them with British pubs. The North side is highly commercialized and touristy, while the South side is more business and industrially focused.

After a boat drill and inspection by the Spanish authorities, we were granted some much needed shore leave. The city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is beautiful! The city is a mixture of modernist architectures and stretches up into the mountains for miles. There are parks, gardens, and pedestrian plazas everywhere. There is a system of electric streetcars that crisscross the city, and along the shoreline is a wide boulevard lined with leafy tropical palms. Farther up in the hills, we could see houses clinging to the sides of mountains, and roads cut into the rock. Tyler said that it reminded him of Hawaii. If there was an ugly part of the city, we couldn't find it. If my Spanish continues to improve, I might be happy living there for a time.

The spoken language is Spanish, and the currency the Euro, although I suppose technically the Canary Islands are part of the African continent (not sure about this; gotta look it up, although this is what the latitude would imply). The weather was mild, much like late spring in Michigan (although with a healthy sea breeze). Today was mostly cloudy, but I got some beautiful shots in the morning of the shadows of sunrise and the clouds obscuring the tops of the mountains.

I was able to get these early morning shots because I woke up bolt upright in bed again around 3am today. The ship is on Madrid time, and apparently my body is on Singapore time. I'm not alone amongst the crew – I think this was the most alert we've been for boat drill in quite some time.

No comments:

Post a Comment