This cruising lark so far has been one of ups and downs, and I don't just mean due to riding the waves.
(For those who don't know, I'm on a Crime and Punishment themed cruise to the Cape Verde islands for 17 days, talking about my writing.)
Let me be a true journalist and deal with the bad news first. It was seasickness, and it was yuk yuk yuk (translation = horrid and worse.)
Most of day two I spent an unedifying shade of green. We were several hundred miles from home, but given the option I'd have happily started swimming back for Blighty.
I was sore afraid of being unable to deliver my first lecture, which was due the next day. But, I was happily saved, and here comes the start of the better news -
Some people are so kind. My wretched state was observed and I now have sufficient tablets to fill a pharmacy.
All manner of seasickness cures are mine, courtesy of the kindness of my fellow passengers and their endless donations. I even have a wristband, which was attached to my arm, despite my protestations that I didn't much believe in such remedies.
Eat those words Hall, along with enough pills to make you rattle. I'm now feeling much better.
It all made for a far easier first lecture, which I'm delighted to say was well received. I talked about my career as both hack and author from the early days, with the odd anecdote and a few bits of fun thrown in. I even got the audience writing a first line of a crime story set at sea, and the offerings were of a very high standard.
I'm pleased to say I got some warming feedback. But it could have been so different, had I achieved the unwanted distinction of having to run off mid-talk to find the toilets.
Otherwise, life afloat is settling down. There's a gym on board, but I'm preferring to run around the deck (four laps is a mile). I try to time my exercise for the end of the day. There's something so uplifting about running to the backdrop of a maritime sunset.
The food is great and I'm trying - and mostly failing - not to eat too much of it. Hence the need for the running.
The cabin is most comfortable, with a lovely sea view, and a delightful maid who is so diligent she even folds my underwear. She even laughs at my jokes.
I don't know whether to tip her or suggest counselling.
Tomorrow we make landfall in Madeira, where apparently I'm to be taken to a traditional pub which serves a Portugese version of real ale (my love of beer has already been noted.)
I haven't seen any mermaids yet, but I live in hope. I suspect they live nearer the equator, as all the pictures I've seen show the ladies wearing few clothes, presumably because the weather is warmer in the place they inhabit.
Or perhaps it's the difficulty of finding something that fits when you've got a tail?
Anyway, on the subject of warmer climes, I'm very much looking forward to seeing the stars as we travel further south. Oh, the night sky at the equator. All say aaahhhhh!
(See, I'm not just a cynical old hack / scribbler - I do retain some ashy remnants of what was once a heart.)
The next lecture is Wednesday. I shall keep you updated. No doubt you can hardly wait.
Yours, to all you back in grey old England, from somewhere sunny on the seas west of Portugal, this son of a seafaring nation is signing off for now.