April 22, 2016

World Cruise 2016 Day 108

Day 108 – Funchal, Portugal. We arrive in port and the ship is cleared by 7:00. There is a large double rainbow as I head to breakfast, but of course I don't have my camera. By the time I return with it, the rainbow is gone. The temperature is as expected, about 63 with a stiff breeze. The sky is blue with passing clouds. The P&O "Aurora" berths behind us a short time later.

My tour bus is waiting right next to the ship. It is as full as they make them with about 40 to 45 passengers. We drive around the island with several stops for photos. Funchal really is a picturesque island. The weather basically cooperates. No rain, but being a mountainous island, as we climb we sometimes find ourselves in the clouds with very limited visibility.

Our last stop is to be near the highest point on the island where on a clear day it is possible to see the ocean on both sides of the island. There is only one very narrow winding road leading to the viewing area. For the last two days Funchal has experienced very heavy rains, and a number of large trees have fallen across the road. Workers are working to clear them, but traffic is one way, stop and go. We sit for 30 to 45 minutes making very little progress. Many of the passengers are grumpy and restless, some start complaining to the HAL escort, others just want to go back to the ship, and of course many didn't avail themselves of the last restroom break because it would cost them fifty cents. The tour guide checks with her office, there is a place the bus can turn around about a mile ahead.

She asks if anyone wants to continue on to the viewing point. I raise my hand, and eventually a person behind me raises theirs as well. I'm definitely outvoted, the majority just want to return to the ship. The tour guide announces we will continue to our destination, but we will be at least an hour late returning to the ship. She asks for another show of hands of those wanting to continue, we don't waiver in our position. I learn that if anyone wants to complete the tour as advertised, they will continue. Just like American politics it is not necessarily the majority that wins. I ignore the nasty stares and we move on to arrive at our destination in 15 to 20 minutes.

The view is spectacular even with some of the low hanging clouds. The restrooms are clean, and free, and there is a large cafe and shopping area, and the local people are very nice. We stay for half an hour, and then board the bus for the trip back to the ship. Just as we leave, a passenger near the front stands up and yells: "Thank you to those that wanted to continue the tour." The entire bus applauds. Did they learn a lesson, probably not.

Back at the ship I grab a hot dog for lunch as it is too late for the Lido. Today we have our last sailaway party of the cruise. Tapas, music, and free drinks for an hour and a half around the pool. I often say "free" but in reality it would be more accurate to say "prepaid".

We get under way about 30 minutes late. There should be no problem making up those minutes over the next 7 days as we cross the Atlantic to Ft. Lauderdale 3,313 nautical miles away. We are cruising West at 21 knots, fast enough for the harmonic vibration. The wind is out of the North at 25 mph, the resulting seas giving the ship a gentle roll. Tonight we set our clocks back another hour. The next seven days we are at sea.