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Today, or this evening at around 7:30pm, to be a little more precise, we crossed the International Date Line. The occasion was marked by a few people holding up a stretch of rope at the very front of the ship and photographing selfies in front of it, with the sun setting in the background.

What it means is this…

At midnight tonight, the ship’s clocks will be put forward 24 hours, so we jump from Monday the 10th of February straight into Wednesday the 12th of February, missing out Tuesday the 11th altogether. It also means, once we’ve crossed it, that we go from being 11 hours behind UK time to being 13 hours in front. It took me a while to get my head around that, I can tell you.

Tomorrow, we are due to arrive in Alofa Hiva in Tonga, and Tracey and I are down for escorting duties. When we agreed to those duties (ie. when we filled out our preferences and availability), it was on the understanding that the tours we would agree to were all in the morning. The reason for that was very simple; it gives us the whole of the afternoon to do our own thing – and after Bora Bora, that means finding a beach to go snorkelling again.

Imagine our disappointment, then, when the dispatch sheets came through showing us down for afternoon tours. It seems that we are due to be alongside two other large ships – one of them being the CMV’s own ‘Astor’ – and because they are both leaving early afternoon, they’ve bagged all the morning excursion slots. Fortunately, after having had a word with the Shorex team, they’ve managed to find alternative escorts, so the problem has been avoided (although, it would still have been nice to have been consulted first before being put down for afternoons)… all we need now is a beach…

In the evening, at around 8pm (which is an odd time for such a thing) the Captain made a surprise anouncement…

He told us that the ship has been advised by Tonga that, to receive clearance from the port authorities tomorrow, all passengers must fill out a health questionaire. This must be done quickly and be submitted to the Reception before 10:30pm. All of this is due, of course, to the ongoing coronavirus situation, which is being closely monitored by everyone.

Peter Woolley

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