Sea Life

25 Aug 2012: We’ve been at sea for four days and I’m beginning to feel that my small story has become knitted into the tapestry of maritime history. In an age of cheap flights, taking seven days to cross the Atlantic makes the world seem vast again.

The Queen Mary 2 was built in 2003, a replica of the Queen Mary built in 1936, and the quality of reproduction brings the original fully back to life. Walls are lined with polished walnut and maple. Brass detailing is everywhere. Lighting, fabrics and carpeting are exquisite Deco copies. The storm-resistant heft of the furnishings and the tinkling of Love Is A Many Splendored Thing from grand pianos from the Grand Lobby to the Winter Garden recall a time long gone.

 

Some say sea life can get monotonous. No chance of that on the QM2. Among the many activities on the ship today are: a lecture by ‘Veteran BBC Correspondent Time Sebastian’ on Chaos in The Middle East; a RADA performance of The Canterbury Tales; a Napkin Folding Class and a Deck Quoits Tournament. Later this evening The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is showing in the Illuminations Theatre, there’s a musical celebration of all things Italian by the Cunard Singers & Dancers in the Royal Court Theatre and dancing at DJ Sean’s 80s night until 11.30. I’m tempted by Comfort In A Stampede, a lecture by military historian Lieutenant General Simon Mayall.

Today the wind on the dog deck is razor sharp. Whale-blow a few hundred yards out sends ghostly puffs of foam desiccating above the frothing waves. At exactly two minutes to noon the Captain Chris Well’s patrician tones – straight out of central casting – boom through the tannoys, penetrating every corner of the 14-storey ship. The wind is cold because its coming straight from Greenland. Earlier in the year it would be propelling icebergs south wards which is why, in April and May, the QM2 steers a course south of the Grand Banks, adding a few hundred miles to the journey. We’re north of the Grand Banks and right in the path of the north wind. At three o’clock today we will sail within 350 nautical miles of the wrecked Titanic, which sunk on the fourth day of its maiden voyage.

Some tribute should be made I feel, but maybe just the daily routine of the ship is tribute enough. The setting up for afternoon tea; people huddling under blankets on Deck 7; gamblers in the Empire Casino, kids in the indoor pool. Up on Deck 12 us doggy dependents spend our 7 visiting hours all in a row, clutching our canine pals to us for warmth and scanning the horizon for whales.

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