We are about to disembark for Madeiras, a small Portuguese settlement on an Island called Funchal about 350 miles west of Casablanca which is in the north of Africa.  Mandy has a good friend from high school whose family name is Madeiras.  I wonder if her relatives are from here.  Madeiras is also the name of the local wine which we will report on tomorrow.


Since we left Barcelona many things have happened.  A full day at sea to get to Malaga was on rough seas.  The stories we heard from people who had been on the ship for 14 days told tales of high seas and storms coming around Italy.  Sunday was quiet.  WE spent a couple of hours in the Persian Gardens, a lovely spa experience with steam rooms and Turkish baths and saunas.  We all gussied up for a formal dinner and had a great time there and at the cocktail party that Dan organized before hand.  The group had an opportunity to share their stories.  That was cool.  Hans is from Denmark but is a real world traveler.  His friend and colleague is very nice.  She is from Kosovo.


We arrived in Malaga on Monday morning.  It is a great little Spanish town.  We walked around the Moorish fort and Cathedral and found a Picasso Museum and house that he used to live in.  All of them are closed to tourists on Monday’s … That seemed ironic.  The one day we are in port, everything is closed.  It was cold.  We had coffee on the main street which was wonderfully decorated for Christmas, bought some very cute boots and headed back to the ship.  I wandered into the acupuncture clinic and booked myself a treatment for after dinner.


After the treatment I went back to meet Jim at the cabin.  I looked out the window and there was the rock of Gibraltar.  The only thing missing was the prudential words circling it.  It was VERY COOL to see.  We passed through the straight between Africa and Europe at about 10:30 PM and headed out to sea.  It was great.  That is the second time Jim and I have sailed between Europe and Asia on the Bosphorus in Istanbul in 2004.


So I had my first acupuncture treatment and what I learned is it does hurt and you do bleed a little.  It also works.  I feel great.  I had another appointment today, this time on my face.  I will be a new person when I get back.  I also had another detox treatment with algae.  I lost 71/2 inches in one session.  Amazing.


Today was another rough day at sea.  If you were here, Punch, you would feel at home.  We are still in the North Atlantic.  Tomorrow we dock in Funchal at Medeiros.  The temperature has improved to about 19 degrees but the seas are still 10 feet.  It is rock and roll time … just like it was last night at the Karaoke event and tonight in the bar with a GREAT piano player named Wally B.


The access to email on my phone has been intermittent but I did get one message from Martha Hall Findley that made me scratch my head.  Then at dinner we ran into a couple from London, Ontario who told us that things were weird at home on the political front.  Marjorie had had a message from her dad to say check the politics and we finally found the Canadian News that the ship publishes and we were shocked by the news.  I hate that I am missing all the fun.


So today is an ‘at shore’ day and so are the next 3 after that.  We are sailing each night to the next Canary Island.  The water and the air is warmer now and I may be able to put my turtle necks, tuques and fleece away and break out the shorts or at least the capris.  It is hard to believe that three of our 14 days are already done.