14 May 2012, Gail’s trip log

Last of four sea days. Tomorrow we will be in Benin. The Captain woke me this morning announcing we were crossing the equator (again). It was just after 730. I looked outside and saw nothing but water. [She was just a little slow getting up, I saw the red line from the buffet windows] Sea has been calm for several days – not even any fog. We are back on warm water. I went and had a little breakfast with Dan, then went to the library for my daily Sudoku. Then I read until time for bridge class at 930. Class was only half hour today. At 1000 we heard the alarms off we went to our cabins for a pirate drill. We had been warned last night that there was pirate activity near Benin and so there would be a drill this morning. Almost none of the passengers who got on in Cape Town had done one before. It went very smoothly and by 1030 the all clear was announced. We hung out in the cabin for a while, but by 1130 we decided we were hungry and went upstairs for an early lunch. We reviewed some bridge stuff that Dan had been reading. Then I took my book and went back to the library. By then it had gotten really crowded and noisy in the buffet area. Bridge was not until 230 today because they had the ceremony for the “polliwogs” crossing the equator at sea for the first time and turning into “shellbacks”. The skit is really silly and this was our third time for it (on this voyage) so we didn’t go out to watch it. We had a so-so day at bridge, came in 3rd of 5 tables, just out of the points. After bridge we had a little snack, then decided not to go in the pool. We went to the cabin and watched a lecture on the slave trade from Africa [especially what is now Benin] to the Americas [especially South Carolina], though it was from all the areas we are in now. Then we watched another lecture about Magellan and his first voyage around the world – which of course was also his last, since he didn’t make it all the way himself. Dan is watching X-Men: First Class and I am going to play some solitaire on my iPad and get in bed and read. They say Benin and Togo (our next two stops) will be a real culture shock. 

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