“It’s like the end of the world, and we are the only survivors”, quote from the man sitting next to me in the Commodore Club. We have not seen another ship while we are at sea since we left Sydney. However, things are changing. Out there on the blue horizon is a container ship. It is good to see that we are not alone, even though it is many miles away from us. The Pacific Ocean is very large. It covers over one third of the world’s surface. So although it seems like we are the only people in the whole wide world, there are other ships out there over the horizon crossing the same waters as we are. We may be described as a small planet in terms of the whole solar system, but from my perspective we are huge. And our lovely large Queen Victoria is less than a tiny dot in the great ocean. It is a sobering thought, but not one that I can dwell on. It’s time to get ready for the “Float you Boat” competition.
I had been feeling quite confident about the brilliant design of our ship until earlier this morning when a woman whipped out her iPad to show me previous “Float your Boat” competitions. There were these incredibly clever, intricate ships, with little umbrellas and swimming pools on their decks. They looked like real ships, they were amazing. Our rather boxy affair would not have a chance against any of them.
However, it was competition time, and time to reveal the “Rio Rita” to the world. Her name came from the Cruise Critic name of Rita, our tablemate. Her hull consisted of large plastic water bottles, some empty for floatation, some full for ballast, attached to a room service tray by rubber bands and duct tape (yay for Brian’s duct tape), and held together by one of Rod’s singlet’s which had been purchased many years ago in Hong Kong, and was now on its last legs. Very innovative. Her superstructure was my now empty Veuve Cliquot 6 pack box, with a cardboard prow. Her mast was an empty VC bottle. Rod cleverly designed her sails from empty beer cans, and the rigging was made from picture wire. Her cargo hold was a plastic waste bin. Her superstructure was wrapped in Cling Film to keep her waterproof, and she was attached to her hull with zip ties (finally found a use for them). She was a thing of beauty.
We carried her up to the Pavilion Pool where she met her competition. There were 8 boats in all; each one was of a very cunning design, stiff competition indeed. Louise who was running the competition initially decided that due to the high winds and the pool being so rough that they would forgo the race part of the competition, and the boats would be judged on the appearance of the ship and her crew, her cargo carrying capacity, and how she performed in both rough and calm waters.
Well there was no such thing as calm waters. It was already very rough in the pool, but it was made rougher by 2 of the dancers jumping into it to stir up some waves.
All the boats floated, all dealt with the rough weather, and all carried their cargo well. Then Louise reversed her decision, and said there would be a race. Noting that several of the other boats had fishing line attached to their prows, and we had very beautiful, but petite sails, we were not too happy with the decision, but Louise was the boss.
Our only method of propulsion was our sails, but we were a rather heavy boat, and clearly no competition for the other lighter boats that had large sails. However, sails weren’t the only method of propulsion. Hugh and Nancy’s boat had a remote controlled truck at the back, one boat had a battery-powered fan, and one was propelled by squirting water at it. However, the other boats had fishing twine attached to their prows. When they were placed in the water, their skipper, holding the end of the twine, ran to the other end of the pool and as soon as the race started they pulled the ship towards them.
During our race Rod jumped into the pool to help create waves behind the boat to encourage it to head in the right direction, and then the sails caught the wind and helped carry it along to the end of the pool.
No alas, the Rio Rita did not get a prize in the competition. We were thrilled that Hugh and Nancy’s boat came in 3rd – they won a bottle of Contessa. Way to go Hugh and Nancy! The wining boat was called “Brewnard” and she did an excellent job in all the events, and the team really did deserve to win. The first prize was a small model of the QV, nice.
We had a fun time planning and building the Rio Rita; we are so lucky to have such wonderful tablemates. We are a great team! I wish we could all stay on the ship longer. Rod, Deborah, and Martin disembark in San Francisco, Rita is on board until Southampton. They throw us off the ship in Los Angeles, which is only 6 days away. I don’t want to think about that.
After dinner we decided to go to the pub for the quiz – it was on 50s and 60s music. We got a good score, but not enough to win a bottle of Contessa this time. The Royal Court Theatre Orchestra were playing rock and roll music after the quiz so we decided to stay on in the pub. This was a good choice. They are the most amazing group of musicians, with such a wide repertoire. However, where they really excel is when they play rock and roll. They were fantastic, and by midnight everyone in the pub was up and dancing to the music. Not easy to twist when there is carpeting, but it was tremendous fun. I wish they would do this more often, the pub is always packed when they are playing, and it is a great venue for this.
Last night we received our World Cruise gift – no doubt the last one of the voyage. Alas, it was not a scarf, but a rather pretty small Wedgwood dish. A great keepsake, and not too difficult to pack. I still would have really liked a World Cruise scarf.
Ships that pass in the night are never as nice as nights that pass on the ship……….
I cannot say how much I have enjoyed cruising round the world with you on the beautiful QV
– you are an excellent raconteur and made it almost real for your readers.
Thank you so much for your kind words. I am so lucky to have been able to have this amazing experience. I certainly recommend it to anyone 🙂
Well done on your ship building abilities. I am desolate to hear you only have a few days left. The very first thing I do on waking, is look for your posts, I shall miss them dreadfully.
Thanks for taking us around the wirld with you xx
PS That should be “world”.
Thanks for your kind words. This has been such an amazing journey with fabulous ports, interesting people, and of course our beautiful ship. I fear that going back to work is going to be a huge shock to my system!
I think that your boat looked impressive with all of its flags. You did very good :o)
Well thank you! We were pretty proud of it – and it did float and carry the cargo well!