One final Day at Sea aboard Silversea’s elegant Silver Wind

One last day aboard Silversea’s luxurious Silver Wind. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Today, Silversea’s sleek Silver Wind spent a lazy day sailing the Indian Ocean, destined for Cape Town, South Africa. Tomorrow, the two hundred or so of us onboard will disembark, and another two hundred or so guests will embark for their very own 10-day adventure along the eastern coast of South Africa.

With the sun out again, Silver Wind's pool deck wouldn't remain deserted for long. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

With the sun out again, Silver Wind’s pool deck wouldn’t remain deserted for long. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

I rose at 6am, determined to make the most of my last sea day onboard. After breakfast out on the veranda at La Terrazza (what else?), I took the opportunity to catch up on my reading. I have a small pile of copies of Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper sitting in my suite that required my attention, so it was off to my balcony to enjoy a bit of warmth and relaxation – all before 9am!
In reading the daily Silversea Chronicles newsletter, one of the things I love is the little box on the last page that tells you where the rest of the fleet is. Here is where the ships of Silversea are on this very day:

Silver Cloud – Montevideo, Uruguay

Silver Shadow – Stewart Island, New Zealand

Silver Whisper – Bay of Islands, New Zealand

Silver Spirit – En-route to Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala

Silver Explorer – Antarctica

Today, I was able to visit Silver Wind's navigational bridge, shown here. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Today, I was able to visit Silver Wind’s navigational bridge, shown here. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

One of the things that Silversea still offers is tours of the ship’s navigational bridge. This is offered only once, and is restricted to just 20 guests, though I’d estimate just 10 people, including myself, showed up today. Being a huge ship and maritime freak, I absolutely love this unique opportunity to get a look “behind-the-scenes.”
Greeting us on the bridge was Silver Wind’s friendly Captain, Michele Macarone Palmieri who, along with Chief Navigator Georgi Apostolov and 2nd Officer Georgi Takov took the time to explain both nautical navigation and the Silver Wind to us.

Control of the ship can be had from the central, interior portion of the bridge, or via both port and starboard bridge wings. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Control of the ship can be had from the central, interior portion of the bridge, or via both port and starboard bridge wings. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

For me, this was as good as Christmas; I love standing on the bridge, gazing out over the bow and reading the various systems and controls while the subtle elevator motion of the ocean moves us up and down. Of particular interest to me were the charts mounted on the backside of the large safety console that showed the results of the speed tests conducted by Silver Wind’s builder, T. Mariotti of Genoa, back in 1994. For example, a “crash stop”, whereby the ship is run at full speed and put into full reverse until she comes to a standstill, could be accomplished in a little over four times the length of the Silver Wind.

Sailing the turbulent Indian Ocean on our way back to Cape Town! Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Sailing the turbulent Indian Ocean on our way back to Cape Town! Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

On cruises, you may have seen a five-digit alphanumeric code painted on the tops of the ship’s lifeboats. This is the ship’s call-sign, and here onboard the Silver Wind, it is C6FG2. Just above the information board listing what our local port contact in Cape Town and pilot waystation would be, Silver Wind’s call-sign was spelled out in signal flags, which can be hoisted and used to convey any number of messages in the event of a loss of communication.
It was one of the most relaxed bridge visits I’ve had the privilege to be a part of, with Captain Palmieri taking ample time to answer all our questions in his trademark friendly, easygoing manner. It is no exaggeration to say I think he and his team of Officers have the best “office” in the world.

Pub Lunch in The Bar, Deck 5. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Pub Lunch in The Bar, Deck 5. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

At noon, there was an event I don’t remember ever seeing on past Silversea voyages, as The Bar on Deck 5 was transformed into a British “Pub Lunch” venue, complete with fish and chips, mushy peas, steak & kidney pies, and plenty of UK beers. Although it wasn’t as popular as I would have guessed (I was a real keener, lining up ten minutes before noon!), I absolutely loved it.  The mushy peas were as good as anything I’ve had in the UK, and The Silver Wind Quartet played a mix of Brit favorites while International Hostesses Asta & Roxanna worked the room, along with Cruise Director Allan King and his talented team of Silversea Artists.
A quick word about Allan: he was made for this job. In fact, he’s been at sea doing this very thing for nearly four decades, so he knows his stuff. Guests sailing onboard the Silver Wind in the future can look forward to his easygoing, personable nature.

Mmm...fish and chips! Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders
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