It’s 9.15 AM and what an amazing twenty-four hours!
We are just saying goodbye to Sicily to our right (starboard) and Calabria, the Italian mainland to left (port), after our first night at sea. An hour ago, on the captain’s bridge, we passed through the Straits of Messina, an amazing three kilometres at the narrowest. With the international navigation language being English, we frequently heard the call “big ship, big ship…”. We looked out for the “big ship” but then realized that they were talking to us…
The previous day we had boarded our “cargo cruise” at 3.00 PM. Our particular ship was a “ro-ro” (roll-on/roll-off) and would take virtually anything on wheels, with a capacity of circa 4,500 cars. The only other passenger, Jean Pierre, a Belgian travelling alone, was doing a thirty-five day round trip. Alf soon enjoyed talking to Jean Pierre in French. Jean Pierre lent Alf a French book called “Le Cargo” which promised to tell us more about our adventure.
Anyway, going through the straits of Messina, with the captain’s permission of open-ended full freedom of the bridge, we had absolutely stunning views. There seemed to be big and little ships, plus pleasure craft, all jockeying for the same patch of sea. The sun was out and it was incredibly bright. Through the binoculars, we could see Palermo, Sicily in amazing view – the architecture was wonderful to see with bright contrasting Mediterranean colours, with the blue sea in the foreground and the hills behind.
This was all a far cry from the previous afternoon when we arrived at the ship and they were not expecting us, so our first meeting with the captain was a bit acrimonious. Fortunately, things got better…
- Slow travel in cargo and small ships… (dralfoldman.wordpress.com)