Eventually, inevitably, it slowly loomed out of the ocean. 'It' was Fuerteventura, one of the Canary Isles, and the first land I had seen in 10days. My cabin is on the wrong side, and the currents had been better than expected for a few hours, meaning my calculations were a bit off: I had noticed a blip of mobile phone signal, and thus gone outside on the other side of the ship to have a look expecting to see, maybe, a dot of land in the distance. Instead, I was slightly surprised to discover a very obvious land mass with mountains barely 20km or so away and also full mobile phone signal.
It was very strange.
Land is something I had just got used to not being there, and even though we were not stopping, here, suddenly, it was. For a couple of hours, it was great: a diversion from the monotony of sea, tempered with the sad knowledge that it was soon all at an end. I sent a few messages to let family and colleagues know that i was still alive and on course, and had a couple of happy phone calls.
I received SMS with wave after wave of good news: Everybody was OK; Maaret sounded really happy, had some very promising looking interviews for jobs and was also not sleeping on the streets as she had feared. News also came through that I have somewhere to live in London, which sounds really good and is in a pretty much ideal location, which also stops me living on streets or having to commute from – and live with – my parents. My work contract is still there and there is no problem with my delayed start (excepting i'll have to work hard and long to catch up missing weeks) as I had feared. And the World Cup draw had been made: Full details I don't know, though I heard enough to know that England scored a ridiculously easy looking group. More importantly, we didn't get them and our random tickets have scored some really tasty looking games – Portugal v Brazil being the stand out, but also with tickets to see Argentina and a couple of Dutch games. If all goes to plan/seeding, we'll get Argentina-Germany in the QF.
From what I had heard in those short few hours, I couldn't be happier. I watched Fuerteventura, and then, in the darkness, the lights of Lanzarote pass by: It felt slightly strange – it was Friday night in Lanzarote, a big tourist destination, and doubtless in the many lights we could see, thousands of locals and tourists would be out eating dinner and enjoying some drinks, entirely oblivious to us passing by, noted at most as a few lights in the distance of a passing cargo ship, of no interest to anybody. To us, the first land and contact with the outside world we had had for 10days, the contact was a bit more special.
Weather reports for the rest of our journey are grim, especially around Finistere, whilst in Northern Europe the winter seems to be in full flow and though I have no choice, not something I have a vast desire to hurry back to.
It is a really bad photo, I know (most of mine are, as i'm sure you know by now) but these are the lights of Lanzarote, passed in the evening, and my first sight of land in 10 days