Haynes World - ships, ferries, a laugh on the ocean wave, and other interesting things...


MINERVA 14th May 2016 Part 6 at sea rounding Ushant

Thursday 19th May 2016
Oh my, we're at sea and it is very rough. The sea and sky all looked grey, although the ship seems to be riding it well. I was able to go for a late breakfast although the Veranda Restaurant was not as busy as usual. I decided to miss the first lecture at 9.30 about gardening and plants, helped with the current jigsaw in the Library and went to the 11.30 a.m. lecture about The Language of Icons, given by The Rev'd Canon Ian Ainsworth-Smith.

The ship was very quiet today as I believe many people were seasick, and stayed in their cabins. I had lunch with some friends and then took to my bed to help pass the time and weather conditions. We are travelling around Ushant and of course that can be a very wild part of the coast.

It reminded me of the trip that I made with my late husband in June 1996 when we were invited to commemorative events on the islands of Molene and Ushant, held to remember the DRUMMOND CASTLE. She was a Castle Line ship that foundered off the notorious coast of Ushant, like so many before and since, on 16th June 1896 coming up from Cape Town. The weather on the 16th June 1996 was absolutely calm under a beautiful blue sky, so we all felt very fortunate. Wreaths were put into the sea from various local and national French organisations, including one from Union-Castle Line. My husband worked as Business Travel Manager for Union-Castle Travel in London and had arranged for a big anchor of flowers to be made and available for us to collect in Le Conquet. We were on a local lifeboat, with many larger ships forming a loose circle around us and the marker buoy in the ocean, as the wreaths were tossed into the sea.

Two hundred and forty-three passengers back then did not survive, but three were saved by the people of Molene, when they managed to get ashore. In time the news finally reached the UK, and caused great upset at the terrible news of the disaster. There were public collections in the UK for the island people of Molene and 'numerous tokens of gratitude' given; Queen Victoria was so grateful for their life-saving efforts that she donated a clock which was sent to the island as a gift.

Our visit was quite emotional for the islanders, as well as us, and it was memorable to meet a few relations of the survivors, who had also made the journey to the islands in June 1996. We left gifts at the local museum and with the Mayor, and were pleased to have been invited to be part of the day's events and lunch. We were amongst one hundred and fifty official personalities representing France at the ceremonies, and felt very honoured to have been invited from our country.

Back to today though, and by 6 p.m. it was time to attend a short Choir Rehearsal, ready for our evening appearance (well, all 5 minutes of it) with the Opera del Mare at their 9.30 p.m. Concert. Our MINERVA cruise is 'Glorious Gardens and the Chelsea Flower Show' so of course the songs tonight were a celebration of Flowers and Gardens. We made our short appearance on stage for a chorus in 'We'll Gather Lilacs', standing very firmly on the stage to counteract the movement of the ship in the rough seas, and felt very pleased with the applause given for our tiny part in the proceedings.

At 10.15 many of us went up to the Orpheus Lounge for a Trivia Quiz and that was a fun ending to a strange day. The clocks go back 1 hour tonight ready for our port of call in Guernsey tomorrow, when we will be back on our own British Summer Time. That will be another tender port so we do hope the weather and seas will have improved and allow to anchor there.

No ships seen today.

To be continued...