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14/12/12 - Lord Nelson
Friday, 14th December.
Hello there back in chilly ol' Blighty. It remains well over 30 degrees
here in Rio, irrespective of whether it's sunny, cloudy or in the middle of
a spectacular thunderstorm, as now. It seems slightly incongruous to be
opening an advent calendar in these temperatures.
The ship is fairly quiet at the moment as our Voyage Crew have left over the
last few days and whilst a few maintainers have arrived, we remain a select
group. Captain Barbara and James, who was on the voyage from Southampton and
is staying on for the Christmas Voyage, have been busy talking to the media
nearly every day. I've been hiding in the rigging with Kirsten the BM, to
avoid them (the press that is, not Barbara and James).
We've been busy with evening activities since we arrive; most of us went to
see a Samba band and dancers rehearsing on Tuesday night. It was impossible
to resist the rhythm being beaten out by the 100-plus piece band and we all
ended up swinging our hips (and with buzzing in our ears). I had a day off
on Wednesday and ventured up to see Christ The Redeemer with Kirsten. On
first seeing the statue from the ship, the unanimous view was that it was a
lot further away and a lot higher up a mountain than we all expected.
However, visiting it close up didn't disappoint - a true wonder of the
modern world. The statue was shrouded in cloud as we arrived giving an
ethereal feel but the sun slowly burned the cloud off to leave a stunning
view over the whole bay. There was lots of wildlife around; butterflies and
moths the size of birds, swifts swirling in the azure skies and vultures
soaring on the thermals.
We descended via the cog railway through rainforest, back to the busy whirl
of the city below and hopped on the first bus, which worked its way at
snail's pace through the madness that is Rio traffic and eventually reached
Leblon Beach. We walked along the promenade all the way to Ipanema,
stopping only at a beachfront shack for a drink from a fresh coconut and to
watch the men playing foot volleyball.
Yesterday evening, we went for a celebratory / promotional meal at the Rio
Yacht Club, located near the base of Sugarloaf Mountain. VERY, VERY
exclusive. If I wasn't a Bosun, I could see myself spending my days racing
yachts and then sitting on the terrace sipping caipirinhas! But hey, the
reality is rigging, sails and paint with a cup of tea on deck! Most of our
Voyage Crew who are staying in hotels in Rio joined us, as did the folks
from the British and Commonwealth Office and lots of our Brazilian
colleagues and friends who have been helping us over here, plus the
ubiquitous press. We had a performance by a Samba Group made up of able
bodied and disabled and auctioned off the chart of our voyage (illustrations
by Roger, calligraphy by Cheryl), the 3-yard ensign that has been flying off
the mizzen during the trip and a genuine piece of Victory's hull. All
proceeds to the JST, of course.
Today we had a late breakfast (10am) and I've spent most of the day dangling
Kirsten off a gantline so that she can re-stitch the protective hose on one
of our fore-stays.
We have a few more days of maintenance and PR before the voyage Crew for our
Christmas trip arrive on the 18th. Cookie Derek tells me that he's already
put the sprouts on and they're simmering away!
Lesley the Bosun.