22 September, Saturday: Civitavecchia Again
Soon we waved goodbye to Ingrid and others we had met during the week, including Hillary and Robert from Manchester, Jim and Nancy from Denver, and the man from near Leipzig who nicknamed Al "der Fotomann."
This week, the ship tied up right in town, not way out on the pier as it had been the week before. So about 9:30 we walked into Civitavecchia to kill five hours until we could re-board. Unfortunately, it's impossible to kill five hours in this town. We walked and walked. Had gelato. Then lunch. Time dragged on and on. Finally, at about 3:00 we went back and found the information we were given by a crew member had been wrong; we could have reboarded the ship any old time.
Our cabin for the second week was just across the corridor from the first, but this one had a porthole, twin beds and more storage, but less walking around space. We also had TV news, in four languages (French, German, British and American). It was merely text on the television screen and was two days delayed, but it did provide some news on events back in New York and Washington. Soon we went back on deck, and joined the new passengers for champagne. While they explored the ship, we "seasoned travelers" could relax and read.
After dinner, at 10:00, the Star Clipper slipped out of its berth, glided out of the harbor, and raised its sails. It was as exhilarating as it had been a week before, and even more fun to watch how much the new passengers enjoyed it.
23 September, Sunday: At Sea
Up at 6:30 but no sunrise to see. It was raining heavily and the ship had dropped all but one sail. Rough seas. Our porthole, only two feet above the normal water line, looked like a Maytag washer with the water sloshing back and forth. Al got soaked when he went out on deck in hopes of taking some pictures. A few hearty souls gathered for coffee under cover on the Tropical Deck, careful to avoid the cascades of water sloshing out of the swimming pool above. By mid-morning the rains let up, the sea calmed down a bit, and the sun came out at noon, but the ship stayed in constant motion. Many passengers did not find it as enjoyable as I. Several turned green and got seasick.
By mid-afternoon, I again went into the "Widow's Net." This is a rope net strung below the bowsprit. Its purpose is to provide safety to crew members when they are working there, but on the Star Clipper passengers can also go into the net. I used it several times, both for reading and for communing with the sea. It is a fantastic experience, lying in a hammock-like rope net just ten feet above the water. There is no sound but that of the sea against the bow, and you are low enough that you can't see much of the foredeck; just you and the sea. Today, I could even feel the spray as the rough waves lapped against the bow, making it an even more exhilarating experience.