Updated: Jun 19
March 2nd: Plague Ship! Well actually nothing like a plague, but two days ago the Captain announced that we had an outbreak of the dreaded Norovirus on-board. Protocols were evoked, practices implemented, and we are in full hand-washing, hand sanitiser mode. At its worst, 21 unfortunate souls were affected, and today, 2 days after that initial announcement, the count has dropped to 15. This is not a bad percentage given that our passenger list is less than 2000, and the total POB (Persons on board) are about 4000. I should say that the protocols are stringent, and isolation of the suspect passenger is implemented immediately, continuing for some 3 days after demonstration of the last symptoms of the condition are noted. I regret, my first reaction to the news was “Oh goody, I can lose some weight,” succeeded immediately by a mental note that some 50% of other passengers on this cruise would also benefit from 3 day’s starvation and a diet of green tea. Of course, this isn’t the whole story. For all who would benefit from an enforced fast, there are those who are frail, fragile, and elderly. It would be hard to imagine a more dangerous state of affairs than a nasty bug chewing through their resistance, so I withdraw my shallow and bitchy perceptions. Fortunately, it appears the precautions implemented have in fact contained the problem. We are all suddenly aware of the need for hand hygiene, and I imagine hand towels are taking a hammering as we try to wash that bug right off of our hands. We received the first briefing today for those of us heading up to Machu Picchu. The trip involves leaving the ship at Manta and re-joining four days later in Lima, by which time we will have taken the side trip up the mountains to Cuzco and beyond. I can hardly wait. For me, this is a little like Easter Island: one of the focal points of our entire journey. I would be gutted if anything, norovirus included, were impertinent enough to get between me and those Inca ruins. Tomorrow, we are in Barbados, swimming with turtles. I’ve loved turtles since I was a child and watched them each year in the nesting season when they clambered up Karachi’s beaches to nest in the soft, warm sand. It was a highlight of my childhood, and I look forward to reliving it tomorrow.