8th March  – Sea Day

We are in the doldrums. Both physically and metaphorically. The sea near the Equator is dead calm. It once again resembles not so much water as slightly baggy/ badly-laid carpet – with barely a wrinkle to suggest movement. There is no wind. At. All. I knew where we were without looking out or even at the telly this morning. It’s too calm. I can’t sleep, and I am, once again, plunged into a phenomenal depression. Going out onto deck doesn’t help. The humidity is ludicrous, and the heat is quite oppressive (30 in the shade), even in the restaurant, where the air con is doing its best.  So fruit, Sudoku, back to bed. Bleurgh. Why the change in air pressure makes me so down, I have no idea. I wonder if anyone has ever studied the effects of air pressure on mood. Maybe part of Seasonal Affective Disorder is to do with the repeated Lows we get passing over us in winter? This merits proper investigation, methinks. When I win the Lottery, I will fund the research myself, if no one else has done it by then.

Now that we are in the Coral Sea, and have almost escaped the reefs (the pilot will be free to give a talk after 3pm), I feel I can now say, Dear Australia, single ply toilet paper is not a thing. Stop it. Even the ship manages two-ply and we have The Most Temperamental Plumbing System On Earth. Single ply just means people will use twice as much and fold it over. You’re saving nothing, but you’re annoying everyone. Stop it at once.

Spoke to Pauline, who snorkelled the GBR yesterday. She said it was very badly damaged – mostly, it would seem, by the boat they were in, which kept hitting the coral! Surely a tourist guide should know how to avoid damaging the reef that provides his livelihood?! Very worrying.

Enough typing for now. I need a nap and some chocolate, and not necessarily in that order.

0246AM Woken by a call through the cabins on the emergency “headboard” channel for a first stage assessment party to smoke in the lift mechanisms on deck 11. Fair enough, although how waking 1800 passengers helps with this, I have no idea, because we are none of us are assessment party members. Very odd. Are we to believe that they do not have a channel that broadcasts only below decks or in the public spaces? That every emergency means waking us all, no matter how temporary? And it was REALLY loud. I was woken, despite being sound asleep and having my ear plugs in. So it does its job (which is good to know for if it should ever really matter). It’s just that its not an emergency that is, at least for now, in any way relevant to me. Maybe they think they should wake us all just in case they have to muster us later? It’s all very peculiar. I’ve heard assessment party calls before, but never in the cabins. Someone is either really worried, or about to get demoted in a few hours’ time for waking up 1800 people unnecessarily.

0251AM The team have been stood down. Again, by blasting through the cabins.

0252 AM. There has been a “small”* fire in the lift machinery by the East bar on deck 11. The Captain has just apologised, personally, for waking us, but wanted to reassure us that the fire is now out. Gosh, that was all very exciting. Right, now, where was i? Oh yes, asleep.

*Remember, as the fireman attending next door once said to my dad, there is no such thing as a small fire.

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