The Voyage Part 25 – The end – Every end is a new beginning


Liz had been dreading the voyage back over the notorious Bay of Biscay. The storm was still on our tail. The sea was choppy, but not as bad as the seven metre swells going out, these were only five metre. Maybe it was the fact that it wasn’t quite so rough, or that we now had our sea-legs, or it could have been the fact that she now took her sea-sickness tablets at the right time, but she did not succumb to sea-sickness at all.

The trip was ending. The sky leaden grey, rain made the deck slippery for our daily walks, and there were no other destinations. The sun-loungers and back deck were empty of all but a few hardy souls. A bunch of extremely well-clad twitchers valiantly manned the deck near the front but were no longer congregated at the bow; the wind was far too cold and biting. They huddled in the shelter at the side with their array of binoculars and huge camera lenses.

All the passengers were forced inside. It was difficult to find space to read or write but we managed. I sorted the thousands of photos I had snapped and looked back over the whole experience. It had been amazing.

The day before we arrived in Bristol we found ourselves in a dilemma. We were docking later than expected. We’d travelled down by train and there was no way that we could get to the train station in time to catch our train if we followed the disembarkation plan. We had no option but to take the special express method. This meant we could get off the boat as soon as we had docked but we had to manage all our own luggage. This was a nightmare. We each had two huge heavy bags, not only full of two months of dirty clothes and paraphernalia, but also augmented with half a ton of coffee beans and cashew nuts, plus a brewery of alcoholic beverages. On top of that we had cameras, laptops, and enough hand-luggage to snap a camel’s legs.

Instead of merely putting our bags out in the corridor for some other poor soul to lug off the boat for us, and having a last relaxed coffee with new friends, we were looking at a nightmare of struggling down a narrow, rickety gangplank with more baggage than we could possibly manage and no assistance.

There was no choice.

We decided to allow fate to take its course. Even though it was impossible we would go with the flow. Somehow it would happen.

It did.

Some people helped – they always do – and we found ourselves on the quay.

With a last look back at the Marco Polo we struggled off to the taxi.

The adventure was over!

Here’s to the next!!!

9 thoughts on “The Voyage Part 25 – The end – Every end is a new beginning

  1. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed your pictures and your insights. I shared them with Drollery every night. Well done, Opher!

    1. Thank you Cheryl. That’s good to hear. Particularly as I’m reworking them right now. I thought I’d knock them together and make a book with all the photos. I’m enjoying doing it but finding a lot of mistakes!

  2. Think the contrast between so many places should be fascinating. Have you ever read Paul Theroux’s book about walking round the British coast? You wouldn’t think he’d could achieve variety but he manages it. You should have no trouble with that!

    1. I haven’t read that Paul Theroux book. I’ll have to look it up.
      I’ve started reworking all the parts and am enjoying doing it. I think it works. Getting the photos right will be a major task. Thanks for the encouragement.
      We’ll see how it goes.
      How are you doing with the Ed book?

      1. Good luck! The Ed book is great, half way thru and finding it a page turner – but then I was in the trade! Will write an Amazon review when I’ve finished it, unless the 2nd half is boring …

      2. Hopefully it isn’t.
        I’ll be interested in whether you think the balance of anecdote and philosophy is right.

  3. Ah, a sea voyager, too. Only managed one good sea voyage, taking “family fare” on an APL container ship from Oakland to Yokohama in the late 90s. My late cousin was a merchant seaman, my dad having got him a berth 30 years before, keeping seafaring in the family. What a wonderful, peaceful way to travel, reminded of nature when the winds began to howl and waves broke over then bow. Here I though your Brasilian adventure was upcoming, cheers you already had it. LOL

    1. I do love those pleasant evenings in tropical waters with the wildlife, the breeze and a smooth sea. Brazil is magical.

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