Monday, 28 August 2017

Crossing the Black Sea

Nellie ready to board
Our excitement levels were high when we were told that we were booked on the cargo ship from Poti, Georgia. Destination: Varna, Bulgaria. 50 hours on the high(ish) seas to save poor old Nellie over 1000 miles of driving.

This promised to be no standard passenger ferry experience. How exciting!

This sentiment soon dissipated when we realised how slowly time passes on a huge cargo ship travelling at the breakneck speed of 12mph.

That line across the middle
It transpires that we were the only passengers wanting to sail from Georgia to Varna and Nellie was cargo item #3 of 3.

It was like being on a ghost ship, crewed by 40 friendly Bulgarians.

This is a big ship. Having walked the length of the cargo deck on numerous occasions I can testify that it is 233 paces long. Try counting this out the next time you are out for a walk and you'll get a sense of its size.

1033, 1034, 1035...
The primary entertainment is meal times and for the meat eater this is indeed a rare moment of excitement. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for a vegetarian - cheese for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Thank goodness Dave isn't lactose-intolerant.

So what does one do to pass the time? Here's what we came up with:

  • Walk all decks several times a day. The lower deck being 490 paces in circumference so three circuits of that soon adds to the step count, which is the maximum tolerable before you collapse from engine-fume asphyxiation.
  • Have numerous showers a day hoping that with each use the towels become pliable. Cargo ship towels are a natural exfoliant and scrub away your hard-won tan with every use.
  • Peace after the storm
    Instead of a razor, use tweezers to remove leg hair. Stop when one half leg later you finally appreciate the ridiculousness of this activity (Jo's leg, not Dave's).
  • Watch four episodes of the infuriatingly plodding The Handmaid's Tale. Then give up in preference for a quiet few hours of Solitaire or staring at the wall.
  • Read. Read. Read.

A violent thunderstorm kept us, and the crew, awake for the entire second night, which helped to mix things up.

And so we arrived safely, and relatively sane, we think.

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