More new Marrkech photos…The saga at sea story continues….One year ago today…Recalling an adventure….

A small black cat was cuddled into this massive collection of yarn.

It was a year ago that we were traversing the Atlantic Ocean aboard the top heavy newer ship, the Norwegian Epic.  This particular ship proved to be our least favorite of all the ships we experienced after eight cruises in 2013.

However, the Epic served us well in the manner whereby the captain handled her during an intense storm at sea which he later explained was one of the worst he’d seen.

During the storm, the captain mentioned 30 foot, 9.14 meters swells, a fabrication in an effort to keep the passengers calm, later apologizing for not being upfront.  When in fact, the waves were actuality 50 feet, 15.24 meters.

The wear and tear in the hundreds of year’s old souks is evident as we walk from
souk to souk.

In the prior four months, we’d been in four cruises and had our “sea legs” never having suffered any motion sickness.  Much to our surprise, we had no motion sickness during this storm or anytime after on the remaining cruises with many more yet to come.  

In only four months from now we’ll be boarding another transatlantic crossing.  Less than a month later, we’ll make a partial crossing of the Pacific Ocean on our way to Hawaii.

After witnessing many ill passengers and crew retreating to their cabins over the three days of the storm, we felt fortunate not to be ill.  A smaller group of us diehards continue to enjoy day to day life aboard ship during the storm, as we raucously swayed from side to side, using our hands to support ourselves as necessary while hanging on to walls, furnishings or crew in our path.

These clothing items were offered for sale on clotheslines.

Dining twice a day aboard ship, was another experience.  Extra staff was available to assist us in maneuvering our breakfast trays and beverages from the buffet line and beverage carts to our tables. 

At one point, my extra hot coffee spilled on my hand resulting in a scalding, although not serious enough to seek medical care.  I was so wrapped up in the excitement, I hardly noticed the discomfort that only lasted a few hours.

We had a favorite booth in the buffet dining area which magically was available for most of the 15 days aboard the Epic.  Well padded and comfortable, we ended up spending most of our mornings during the three days of the storm in that booth, as we wrote here each day which provided us and our laptops with much needed stabilization.

Occasionally, we’ll see signs pointing to popular destinations in the souk.

We continued to dine in the main dining room each night, sharing tables with other passengers as we commiserated over our personal experiences during the days of the storm.  Many of us had braved attending a few seminars during this period, in awe of how well the speakers and  video equipment managed while bouncing about.

Were we ever scared?  I was, during the first night of the storm when the creaking in our cabin was outrageously loud and the sliding shower doors rolled back and forth all night long.  Add the fact that our belongings were falling off the shelves, I ended up staying awake most of the night. 

Many vendors combine item types to attract more tourists.

When I did finally fall asleep for a short period, I had a dream that water was running down the hallway outside our door which was not the case.  It had only been a few days earlier that we’d watched the news story about a Carnival cruise that had lost power and supposedly had sewage and water running through the halls. 

The next morning morning, I called guest services asking about the noise in the cabin’s ceiling.  Was something broken or wrong?  No, they assured me, it was a result of the storm causing the creaking throughout the ship. (Of course, Tom was able to sleep through the entire experience).   From that point on my fear dissipated as we embraced the excitement, actually enjoying the adventure of it all.

It was a back-to-back cruise with 11 days at sea and then another four days in the western Mediterranean Sea.  We stayed in the same cabin when the second four days began, having to exit for a few hours to later re-board the ship, a requirement when linking two cruises together.  Our luggage stayed in our cabin during this period.

This area in the souk is particularly vulnerable during bad weather.

Three full days of the storm ensued.  It was easier to maneuver the hallways and entertainment areas of the ship as opposed to spending time in the cabin.  As a result, we spent our days and evening talking with other passengers in the dining and lounge areas who, like us, suffered no ill effects.  As we all bounced about in our chairs, the conversation was certainly lively and animated. 

It was during this cruise that we had the opportunity to meet several wonderful couples, some of whom we remain in touch via our website, Facebook and email.  We imagine that they too, will always recall the excitement of this cruise.

After the storm ended the captain finally admitted to the 50 foot, 15.24 meter swells none of which was surprising.  All in all, it was an experience that most certainly prepared us for future storms at sea.  We heard many cruisers admit that they aren’t willing to go on a transatlantic cruise due the risks of such storms. 

The view from the spot where we dined on Wednesday at one of our favorite restaurants, Le Jardin, located in the souk a 20 minute walk from our location.

For us, the adventure was worth it all adding confidence for both of us with our newfound ability to adapt to less than perfect experiences, some of which we anticipate are awaiting us in the future.  As long as we are healthy and safe on the other side, we proceed with enthusiasm leaving concern regarding storms at sea in the wake of the Norwegian Epic’s storm at sea in April, 2013.


Photo from one year ago, April 25, 2013:

We shot this photo while sitting on a window sill on the guest services level of the ship as the
waves pounded against the window on the first day of the storm at sea on the Norwegian Epic.  For more details from this date, please click here.

Rough Seas…Proved to be 50 foot swells!!!…The Captain lied to avoid panic…

This photo was last night when the swells were only 15 feet. Today they’re 30 feet!

After a fitful night’s sleep as a result of loud creaking in our cabin as the sea wafted from one giant swell to another, I gingerly crawled out of bed, exhausted and unsure on my feet on the rolling floor.

Cautiously entering the shower, I gripped the well-placed grab bar hanging on for dear life. Not only did I drop the soap three times, but my Venus razor hit the floor twice dislodging the shaver head.   

Usually, when I shave my legs each day, I stand on one leg while bracing the other leg to be shaved on the shower wall. Not today. I shaved half of each leg, the front, the part most likely noticeable. Hell, who’s looking how close I shaved my legs? Tom would notice only if it became braid-worthy.

We’d left the drapes open last night in hopes of getting up early to begin to reset our disrupted biological clocks. A lot of good that did when I didn’t sleep more than three or four hours. 

Tom slept through it all.  He says that for the first 12 of his 42 years on the railroad, he’d stand atop of the roofs of the boxcars, jumping from car to car as the boxcars were rolling down the track. That’s how he earned his sea legs. Thirty years ago that dangerous practice was stopped.

The most balancing I’ve done had been skiing years ago with my kids and simply walking on my two clumsy legs on ice and in snow for the past 42 years that I’d lived in Minnesota, falling at least once a year.

As the waves have escalated over the past few days we’ve wondered how seasickness has escaped us as many passengers swarm the medical clinic located on our floor, the 10th.We’ve yet to use the patches our doc in Minnesota prescribed before we left.  Why not us?  I don’t know.  

This morning as we wobbled along the narrow halls to breakfast, we noticed the common areas, the hallways and the Garden Cafe, our favorite breakfast spot, were sparse compared to the calmer days when we first sailed last Saturday, April 20th. 

As I slid over to the beverage area for our usual routine of me getting the coffee with Tom getting the omelets, the ship lurched and the hot coffee, fresh out of the machine poured all over my wrist and the long sleeve of my shirt. 

As I write this now, I am using an ice pack I’ve made on which to place my left wrist, from front and back, while I type single handedly, with my right. No blisters yet, just raised and red. Later, when we return to the cabin, I’ll dig out our trusty medical kit to put on some antibiotic cream and wrap a sterile bandage.  See, I am clumsy.

As we sit in our favorite booth, which opened up shortly after we arrived awhile ago, only moments ago we heard plates, glasses and flatware falling to the floor in the kitchen behind us with a loud, “Ooohhhh,” from the crowd who grabbed the items on their tables to keep them from falling off.

A few moments ago, the captain’s voice came over the loud speaker and this time, everyone hushed and listened. “Ladies and gentlemen, this is the “Old Man” (as he refers to himself, “old man of the sea”). “We are experiencing 30 (he later told us they were 50 foot waves) foot waves and I appreciate that you are uncomfortable. We are attempting to veer our course, but it looks as if this may continue until after dark tonight.  There is nothing to fear.”

Another shot of a mere huge swells.

Fearful, are we? No. We’d anticipated that crossing the ocean would be rough. We’re in awe of how our ancestors crossed the sea on ships without stabilizers, navigational equipment, weather reports, doctor clinics and a wide array of safety and emergency equipment. How did they do
it? Many ships didn’t make it.

A few days ago, we made it through the Bermuda Triangle without incident.  Safely passed, we were inspired to attend a seminar yesterday about “the Bermuda Triangle, Fact or Fiction” albeit while the ship was rocking and rolling to 15 foot swells, now at 30 feet. We learned, as we’d suspected, that many of the stories as to its dangers, were either coincidence or not, unlike lost ships and planes in other areas of the sea.

Now five hours ahead of the time in Belize, a mere 16 days ago, we have yet to adjust to an upcoming three additional hours. For now, that is a moot point, as we watch the waves engulf the balconies on the first several decks of the ship. Taking good photos is nearly impossible, let alone walking to the 25 feet to get a vantage point at the window.

Our monkey towel pet awaiting us last night when we returned after dinner, along with a note on yet another time change.

Tom tried to get some photos today, but it’s impossible to stand still long enough to get a good shot.  

We’ll report back. Stay tuned