Friday 21st April – The Final Day
After finally falling asleep when my legs stopped twitching, I was rudely woken at 7:30 by a new day.
The storm had abated from the crashing and banging of yesterday into mere bad weather. It was still blowing at Force 7 and the sea was simply ‘Moderate’ but after the last 48 hours this was a doddle.
It is cold (12°C) but there are blue skies as we complete the Biscay crossing. Aurora has speeded up from the crawl through the mountainous seas of yesterday when we were rarely much above 15 knots.
With breakfast completed Deb attacked the suitcases again, while I cowered from the bumpy weather doing my blog in Anderson’s.
When I returned to the cabin just before 10:00 the cabin had been turned into a second-hand suitcase stall. Deb has virtually completed squeezing everything into six of our suitcases and one holdall. There is another holdall to take the final remaining bits plus two smaller roller cases for the fragile bits, wash kit, and things needed to hand in the morning.
I struggle to be of any serious assistance as the sea is still throwing my balance around, and packing always makes the problem worse.
We won’t be going to the dance session as Roger and Ann are just recapping bits that the dancers want to perfect. We thanked them for their time, and we have really enjoyed the ‘going back to basics’ the iron out bad habits.
There was time for a cup of coffee and then we picked up the last of the photographs, and the final sector DVD.
Suitcases have already starting to appear in the corridors with tropical night flower garlands around the handles. Ours will wait until after lunch as requested. I sometimes think people never read the letters that give information and instructions.
Deb has the Battle of the Sexes final at midday and I will go along and watch.
1:30pm – We have had our last lunch on board. The first three suitcases have been sealed and put outside in the corridor. Three more cases and a holdall are ready to go out when there is some space around our doorway.
Deb completed her Battle of the Sexes captaincy and has some more prize stickers for this evening, and a promise of yet another bottle of wine from Martin. She really doesn’t want the wine because we have one in the cabin for this evening, plus another from Richard and Angie to say farewell to each other. There is also a farewell cocktail party before dinner, where there will be yet more free drinkies. This party was postponed from yesterday because of the bad weather, and it is going to be held in the Atrium rather than split between the Crow’s Nest and Carmen’s. Apparently Captain Dunlop favours one big event for each sitting.
The sea continues to calm down as we near Ushant Point where the Bay of Biscay officially ends. That will be late in the afternoon and then there is just the Channel and Solent left before our expected arrival in Southampton tomorrow morning at around 6:00am.
There was an announcement during lunch to let people know the upper outside decks have been re-opened to allow the quoits and shuffleboard competitions to go ahead. They have been closed for two days and a lot of people want to have their last game.
This evening the entertainment in the Curzon Theatre is the triple bill of singer Claire Bonsu, ventriloquist Gareth Oliver, and the rock and Roll group Bluejays. The six table mates will be going to this show, but we will also be meeting up for a final couple of quizzes, and to attempt to drink all the various bottles of wine we have collected.
The intention is not to stay up too late. We have lost a lot of sleep over the last two nights, and we all have the drive home tomorrow.
Our ‘getting off’ time is 8:45 and I have the phone number of the parking company programmed into my mobile phone to organise the car return as soon as we get off the ship.
3:40pm – Our final piece of luggage is now outside the cabin door. We have sat up in the Crow’s Nest to read our books. As is a very common theme, my eyes became heavy and I was no longer reading words, but just looking at them. I put the eReader down and settled into the comfy settee. I think I was I instantly asleep and when I woke, my confusion, and the sounds of chatter around me, came as a flashback of when I regained consciousness after my hip replacement operation. It was just for a couple of seconds and then I remembered where I was, but I must have slipped into a very deep sleep for a while.
All around us there seemed to be people with pots of tea so I suggested that we go for one in the buffet. It meant a walk outside along deck 13, and although there was a blue sky and sunshine, it was most definitely a late winter afternoon again. The memories of hotter days in the Indian Ocean, when we had temperatures into the high 30s, paid a fleeting visit from the depths of my mind to my consciousness. There will be many such moments in the coming weeks as we settle down in Herefordshire once more.
Back at the cabin our shoes were taken off, and we lay on the bed. The TV navigation channel shows we have crossed Biscay and we will be turning right soon around the Brest peninsular and then into the English Channel.
The wind has reduced to an acceptable level for our last night on board. Tonight I am sure I will sleep but I also suspect I will wake up to familiar noises as we dock at the Mayflower Cruise Terminal early tomorrow morning.
Well this is the last post I will be sending from Aurora. I will be back online from home when we have settled in and got our heads back to normality. The last 104 days and nights have been terrific, and I am so very sad that it is coming to an end, but I am ready to go home, and looking forward to the comfort of our own bed, and Deb’s tasty meals. We have lots of plans and projects for this year inside the house, and out in the garden.
As I said, the story will continue when I am back at home, and soon I will be planning how to put our adventures into a new book, but for now it is a cheerio from Aurora.
I’d like to thank all the people we have met and chatted to during the cruise and shared our lives for three months. Also, thanks to everyone who has been following our blog since that chilly night in January.
We have finished chasing the sunrise across the three major oceans of the world but we can look forward to the thrill of another cruise in just three months’ time on little Adonia.