Charles Barclay Astronomer

Wednesday was one more day of feeling crummy, but at least we were sick on the way home, not during the hiking and sightseeing part of our trip.

it was the day of the talent show, and i’m sorry i missed it, because you just never know what kind of stuff you’ll see at the talent show.

we did go to the buffet for dinner, but that’s about it.

thursday we both felt better, whew.  we walked six times around the deck, and it was good weather.  Lots of packing.

we did see one last lecture; charles barclay talked about meteors and asteroids.  i guess i felt so alarmed about the possibility of an asteroid hitting earth some time in our lifetime, that i took photos of these tree slides he had.

w931

w930

w929

hmm.  since i can’t remember what was so alarming about all this, i won’t worry about it right now.

we had a nice dinner back in the dining room with our original dinner companions.

during the voyage, we’d spotted the Romanian girl classical pianist with a pretty blonde girl – i think we saw them together at the buffet sometimes when we went there.  the blonde had very big blonde hair, but the Romanian was wearing her fancy performing dress at the buffet.  but then, there was a picture of the blonde in the day’s program, and she was a singer.  our plan was to see her perform, but it just didn’t happen.

so, it was a rather anti-climactic last day at sea, but we were eager to get back home.

ok then,

mrs. last full day on the QM2 hughes.

{ 0 comments }

Ok, here’s the crazy thing – i have no photos of all of this day!  that’s because i started getting sick.  no fun.

we did manage to do some stuff anyway.

we went to an interesting talk by a gentleman named Michael Dispezio, which was called “Whales, Dolphins and other Marine Mammals.”  this must be where i found this interesting tidbit, which i scribbled on top of a page – if a starfish’s arm is cut off, the starfish will grow another arm – but the severed arm also grows another starfish!  pretty cool, huh?

we then went to a National Symphony Orchestra strings concert, which was also good, then another talk, this time by Charles Barclay again, all about Eclipses.

after lunch, we attended one more lecture, this one was Anthony Inglis talking about his life.  all i wrote about this was “he’s so full of himself.”

we stayed in our cabin for the rest of the day, watching the great movie “Lucy” and the also great “St. Vincent.”  we got a little food from the buffet and ate in our room.

a very quiet day at sea.

ok then,

mrs. g. hughes.

 

 

{ 0 comments }

first full day of sailing!  i got tickets for the planetarium show, and kevin and i decided to go to the astronomy lecture.

at a little after ten in the morning, when i was going down in the elevator to get us another round of tea/coffee in the little area near the planetarium were the lecture is held, a guy got on the elevator dressed in a suit and tie and i asked him if he was the lecturer.  he said he was, of course.  the funny thing is that his name is Charles Barclay and i asked him if he played any basketball, but then said that he must get that a lot.  he seemed like a very nice guy.

later, the bridge director was with us in the elevator – clearly, our elevator way in the front of the ship was the place to be!  there were never a lot of people on it, because it was so far forward.

here are some birds flying alongside us.  we saw quite a few birds on the trip.

w894

i took these pictures going down on the great glass elevator in the middle of the ship.

w895

w896

the lecture was good and interesting.  here’s what the Royal Astronomical Society says about him:

Charles Barclay is Director of the Blackett Observatory at Marlborough College in Wiltshire, UK and is at the forefront of astronomy education in UK schools. He is Chair of Examiners for the Astronomy GCSE qualification and a Principal Moderator for the Extended Project post-16 initiative. As an Academic Visitor in the Oxford University astrophysics department he runs outreach programmes for school pupils, teachers and members of the public, accessing large telescopes in Marlborough and Oxford. He is an Associate Fellow of Green Templeton College, Oxford, and is involved in raising awareness of the historical importance of the Radcliffe Observatory there. He is a Council member of the Royal Astronomical Society and chair of their Education Committee, a fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, manufacturers and commerce and is a member of the International Astronomical Union, Commission 46 (Astronomy Education and Development).  Lecturing on diverse topics ranging across the whole remit of Astrophysics and Astronomy, he writes for popular astronomy magazines and regularly contributes to local BBC radio broadcasts.

A very, very busy guy.  I do notice, though, that they neglected to mention that he lectures on the Queen Mary 2.  this lecture was entitled “Demystifying the Night Sky,” and like i said, very interesting.

after a delicious lunch of salad with salmon, again, we were going to take dessert to our room, but then kevin said he wanted to sit at a different table – there were two young kids sitting near us, and the girl spent the entire lunchtime shuffling cards over and over and over.  i didn’t notice.

In the afternoon i went to hear the Romanian pianist, who was good.  i kept my program from that day, so i can tell you her name was Madalina.  i don’t know why they didn’t list her last name? but the woman next to me kept spinning her chair, which made my chair spin cause they were touching, and i got very annoyed. so it just depends what irritates you, spinning chairs or shuffling cards.

w897

this is the view from the glass elevator in the front of our ship, next to our room.  it was great being so close to this elevator because not that many people ever used it.  it’s funny that we were in such close proximity to two private elevators!

w898

we went to the planetarium show, which was disappointing.  it was called “infinity Expanse,” and it was disjointed, and i wondered if maybe they’d just tried to update one of the older shows.  plus, i wrote that i was sure tere was a different show every day on our very first sailing in 2009, but this time there were only two or three different ones.

birds up close!

w899

we always enjoyed looking at all the nautical information on the TV.

w900

look at that, something called the Porcupine Seabight!  who thought up that name?

here’s what wikipedia says about it:

The Porcupine Seabight is a deep-water oceanic basin located on the continental margin in the northeastern portion of the Atlantic Ocean.[3] It can be found in the southwestern offshore portion of Ireland and is part of a series of interconnected basins linked to a failed rift structure associated with the opening of the Northern Atlantic Ocean.[4] The basin extends in a North-South direction and was formed during numerous subsidence and rifting periods between the Late Carboniferous and Late Cretaceous.

It says a lot more about it, but it was just a bunch of blah bah blah to me.  but it did say that it lent its name to Operation Seabight, and that was kind of interesting:

Operation Seabight,[1] or Sea Bight,[2] is the codename used to describe the tracking and eventual seizure of up to €750 million[a][b] of cocaine off the Irish coast in November 2008, originally thought to have been the largest such haul in the history of Ireland and one of the largest in Europe in 2008.[3] The figures were later revised to show that this was in fact the second largest haul in Irish history.[4] The seizure took place off the south-west coast and eclipsed the discovery of €440 million of cocaine nearMizen Head in July 2007. A 60-foot (18 m) yacht containing more than seventy bales of the substance was seized by a team of European anti-drugs agencies led by Irish authorities. Three men were also apprehended and later each was sentenced to ten years in jail.[4]

w901

from this map we can see that we haven’t gotten very far yet.

w902

i had to get a picture of a boat, way out there.  boat-sightings are always a rarity when crossing on the QM 2.

w903

yet another selfie on the glass elevator going to dinner.

w904

the waves were pretty spectacular!  i’ve never been on the ship when they’ve been truly enormous.  it’d be cool to see, but i bet i wouldn’t enjoy the effects.

w905

w906

and here we are going back up after dinner.  i wrote that dinner wasn’t so great.  the food i chose was mediocre, including overcooked tuna, and a “not great rum cake for dessert.”  too bad.  but the worst part was that the conversation wasn’t interesting at all.  i have no recollection of what our table mates were discussing, but it held no interest for either of us.

afterwards we walked to John and Josie, the Australian couple, and that was better.  We went to the Commodore Club, saw no sunset, and i wrote that i had a bad $10 glass of wine.  I wrote that we went to sleep at nine, but we did have fun taking te selfies in the elevator.

w907

w908

w909

w910

and that’s it for friday, chugging along towards the States!

ok then,

Mrs. G. Hughes.

{ 0 comments }