Soundings in the Channel of Old England

We are expecting to start a long cruise on the 26th October out of Hamburg, but I was able to join the same ship a bit early for a more pedestrian five-day cruise in the English Channel. This was not without its own drama.

Preparations for being away from home for an extended time involved organising people to take care of the house and making sure the car will start when we return next year. Locally, we have a problem with pine-martens eating cars. Well, at least the cables around the engine. I’ve seen traces of red fur in places so something had to be done. We had a system fitted by the car dealer that electrocutes the critters if they get in there. All this wildlife-shocking is naturally heavy on the car battery and a new trickle charger also needed to be hooked up. Doing anything at all with the engine, like attaching a charger, now needs extra care to avoid being zapped yourself.

H was having problems of her own as the AIDAsol, the designated World Cruise ship she was working on, was having technical issues and need shipyard attention. A sister ship, the AIDAmar, was brought in as a replacement but H needed to organise over 1,000 crew being exchanged overnight between the ships in Hamburg. Something that had never been attempted before, apparently.

This 5-day cruise, now in a different ship, departed as planned for Dover, England. We rarely get to British ports but when we do I usually try to get friends and family on board for a behind-the-scenes cruise ship tour and a cocktail or two. This time it was old mates, Mike and Jacqui, and my son Tom. A big storm was expected for later that evening which was not good for either putting to sea or staying on the cruise terminal pier so we had to move to a more sheltered spot overnight near the ferry port while the storm passed and the next port of call, Ijmuiden/Amsterdam, had to be cancelled.