We left Southampton onboard the Queen Mary 2 under clear skies with winds of 15-20 knots on June 7. 8 days later we sailed up the Hudson River into New York City.
Days 2-3 were the stormiest we’ve encountered with 50 foot waves washing over the bow and swells causing havoc with ship movement and sensitive guests. Little did we know that 40 solo sailors had set out from Plymouth, south England for Rhode Island and were caught in the storm. The ship’s captain received word that one sailor in particular needed aid so we diverted 150 miles south of our intended course to rescue him. Captain Wells and team managed a remarkable maneuver, coming alongside the severely damaged and foundering 38 foot Perry and to rescue sailor, Mervyn Wheatley. Once Wheatley boarded the tender, his boat, the Tamarind, with sea-cocks open, drifted into the distance where she sank. For more, here’s the link:
British sailor rescued from vicious Atlantic storm by luxury liner
Before we boarded, we wondered how we’d manage 8 days at sea. We loved it! The ship is equipped with a full gym so I kept up my home routine — especially helpful when the calorie intake is high. I also participated in the daily watercolour class offered by Brooklyn artist, Toni Somma. And submitted a piece for my first ever exhibit. Gord took in lectures offered by experts in WWII U-boat history, balloonists, and his favourite, interview with Mervyn Wheatly, the rescued sailor. On Day 6, the QM2 docked in Halifax so we took advantage of a day in beautiful Nova Scotia and walked the port promenade, then hopped on the ferry and explored Dartmouth Harbour. The icing on the ocean-liner-cake? Today, at dawn, we sailed into New York City.
Would we do it again? Yes, we sure hope to. We met the loveliest people and made connections and memories we will enjoy in the days ahead. A wonderful gift!
Oxford wasn’t on the itinerary, however, we decided at the last minute that it merited a visit and so we hopped onboard the train from York and headed southwest to this quintessential university town. Just 20 minutes before our arrival, the train came to an abrupt stop. High winds brought a tree down on the front windshield taking out the wipers and leaving a spider web of shattered glass, scaring the living day lights out of the driver. We limped into the station and the run was terminated. With packs in tow, we made our way to Malmaison, our hotel (formerly Oxford’s jail) and set out to explore town.
We lunched at the Eagle and Child pub, famous for its literary patronage. The Inklings met here and we can see why CS Lewis called it one of his happy places. Next up, Christ Church Cathedral and College. You will know the room called the Great Hall from films such as Harry Potter, Amazing Grace, Chariots of Fire. Blackwell’s Books, of course — I walked out without purchasing a single item. Talk about will power! Tonight, an organ concert at Christ Church with our new Australian friends, Mal and Wendy.