This post is also available in: Deutsch (German)
The waves seem to be as high as last Sunday on the North Sea, but the Bright Sky sails calmly on the water. Probably that is because we are so heavily loaded.
At 7:00 we lie shortly before Calais. First, there is the French, then English mobile network available. This way, I can send greetings to all WhatsApp groups. I even phone with Anita for a few minutes
England is very veiled in clouds. The White Cliffs of Dover are not visible. It is cold – -1°Celsius – and quite wet. But after breakfast, it stops raining. The sun rises over France, and I can see the continent.
The orange light of sunrise, in combination with the blue-green waves of the ocean, create a beautiful view. Sometimes the sun breaks through the clouds and lightens the sea.
There’s a lot of traffic on the English Channel. Container ships, ferries, cargo ships, but also small boats sail all around us. Pierre and I both think we have read somewhere that the English Channel, after the Strait of Malacca, is the most frequented sea road on our globe.
I stand on the bridge and watch the natural spectacle. I could observe for hours, but it’s cold. “Five more minutes,” I say to myself and then: “A few more minutes until we pass the ship.” But then it gets too cold, despite the fleece and winter jacket.
The day is very relaxed. The sailors have the day off, except for those who are not free, like the crew on the bridge, the cook and the steward.
Although there is no mobile phone reception anymore, I still use the smartphone. I have two apps running. One is called Maverick, and I can use it to track our progress. I can also see what latitude and longitude we’re on, in which direction we’re going, and how fast we’re moving. I change the speed unit to knots. After all, I am on a ship. The other app is Maps.me. It shows me my position on a map. Of course, I don’t have to go into the details, but I zoom out just enough to see where we are on the English Channel.
Thanks to Maverick I know that at the moment we have an average speed of 10 knots and in almost 11 hours we have travelled 220 km.
From time to time, I look out of the window. What do the waves look like? What is the weather like? Is there anything interesting to see? These are the most critical questions.
There is always something interesting to see. First of all, I watch the ships, of which there are a lot on the English Channel. A large container ship overtakes us. It sails a few knots faster than us.
Then we pass an oil platform, which two ships are very slowly pulling across the English Channel. We are no longer on the North Sea here, but there it is – an oil platform. Pierre and I speculate that it is being taken somewhere for repair.
Then I see a dove landing on the ship and walking around on the trucks in front of my window. We are more than 20 km away from the next shore. Hopefully, she will make it home.
Finally, there is the seascape: the sea, which changes colour depending on the lighting, the clouds and the light.
It’s evening now. The mainland is far away. We are in the middle of the English Channel, at N50° 13.339′ W1° 35.689′, north of Cherbourg and south of Southampton. Soon the canal gets even wider, and then there is probably no mobile phone reception anymore. Tomorrow we will reach the Bay of Biscay.
I have gained access to another form of communication: the team’s e-mail network. Downstairs, in the office, is a crew computer, the only machine where access is possible and which is used by everyone. There I have a username and password and can send and receive e-mails. Every 20 minutes there is satellite transmission and reception. So it is not as immediate as usual, but it is a regular e-mail software. The only problem is that the keyboard is English. The umlauts and eszett are missing, and the Z and Y are reversed.
Now that the English Channel is getting more extensive, the swell is also stronger. The ship is swinging more, but everything is fine with me. I sometimes feel a little shaky.
I will go to bed early today and read. Although I took a nap at noon, I am tired. Probably now the stress of the first half of January and all the excitement in Antwerp is catching up with me.
Would you like to see an overview of all articles about my journey on the cargo ship Bright Sky? Click here for a table of contents.