Day 5

7 September, 2003

Awake around the newly, dark 5:50 and become quickly aware of the lightening storm that surrounds the ship. An amazing display from all sides, but no rain! It is an earthbound version of a storm I watched from eight miles up, flying over the Ohio river this past April, fireballs bouncing around. The ship is steady as a rock although it looks like all hell is exploding outside. By breakfast it has calmed down, and dawn is starting. Mexican eggs and bacon, with Sicily twenty miles to the north and the island of Panateria looming invitingly, maybe a few miles to the south. Although I catch the captain looking worriedly at the sky “...these are not a cloud you would normally see in the Mediterranean, and there is never any rain...”, after an hours talk including the problems of the governments and the wonders of his family, the sky has cleared nicely. Lots of shipping, including a “rich man’s” yacht racing the other direction.

Steak and chips for lunch. Really, the food could not be more mediocre, but it is regular and hearty. I did pass up the soup, and I am becoming to think soups are the cook's forté. And at dinner there are always fresh salad makings, with sliced peppers, carrots, radishes etc. and some nice cheese and cold cuts.

The Med. is still strongly choppy with the stiff headwind which is so imperious that one can only wonder how hard all this must be in winter, in the high Pacific when everything is caked with ice. The ships plows on at its same speed no matter what, but now it has a slightly rougher feel, a little more roll from side to side, but not consistently. The humidity, gritty air and oppressive temperatures makes my hour visit to the forecastle less refreshing then before.

Sunday dinner is a German tradition, cold cuts, very good. The ship’s mechanic suggested I try this one dish which I think was a kind of cold creamed eel. Not my thing but I ate it gamely. Nothing is seen of Malta and Sicily, the visibility being too poor.