16.12.2009 - 16.12.2009
Finally, at 10am on the morning of my 18th day aboard, we were moored in the port at Vigo (yes, Vigo: 3 changes of port after and we eventually ended up right where we were scheduled in the first place) and I disembarked from the mv Green Cape. During my time aboard, I had never once felt bored – indeed, I could easily have used another 3 or 4 days to finish all the things I still wanted/needed to do - and I left with half a dozen books and plenty of films/tv shows that I had taken with me, still unread/unwatched.
I took my leave of the Captain and his crew, slightly unsteadily took a walk down the gangway and on to dry land for the first time in over two weeks. It has been the longest continuous period at sea in my life, though it hasn't really been all that long. Taking one last look back at the ship, I then disappeared through the harbour and out into the town with the aim of finding an unlikely railway station or a bus to either Pontevedra or Vigo.
In general terms, i disembark fit, refreshed and ready for London life and weather (yuk) again, though it is not all roses. Traveling with so many Poles had led to inevitable consequences, and I am pretty much now a raving alcoholic: On at least 3 occasions I woke up the day-after still horribly drunk. Also, my dodgy knees have really started to object a bit to the stairs: It is 9 flights to go down to the mess, and 6 to go to 'A' deck and hence outside. At an absolute minimum I have traversed 80 flights of stairs a day, and on some days at least double that. And in the last 2days, my jaw has really started to ache in what i suspect is probably my first problem/pain with wisdom teeth, and could cause me pain &/or bankruptcy in the next few weeks.
I am, however, looking forward to not eating potatoes for a few days: I have had potatoes in one form or another at least twice a day since I boarded, and have probably eaten more boiled potatoes on this voyage that in the preceding 5years combined. Apart from that, the vegetables that have appeared most often (excluding salad) are onions and sprouts.
The crew have been brilliant throughout, and as well as making sure we didn't sink/drown, have completely repainted much of the ship and overhauled pretty much everything that they could: wiring, ropes, floors and much else. For them, the journey continues as normal for another few days through the increasingly brutal looking Bay of Biscay (complete with major weather warnings) around to Hamburg and Rotterdam. There, several of the crew disembark on leave for a while. For the remainder, it is on to Antwerpen and then back down to warmer seas, climes and South Africa – several of those are already looking forward with great anticipation to the next passengers, embarking in Antwerpen: Two young English girls, and with at least one officers wife also joining for a voyage, the journey will doubtless be very different to my one.