After two and a half days at sea, a familiar image appeared in the distance. At first I was confused as to why the Rock of Gibraltar seemed so familiar. I had certainly never been there before nor could I recall a time ever studying the landscape. Then I remembered that shortly before leaving for the Ranger, Oceana´s Chief Scientist Dr. Michael Hirshfield remarked, “Oh, you´re stopping in Gibraltar? You know that rock inspired the Prudential logo.” What a testament to modern day marketing that the logo of a company I had never used could be so ingrained in my subconscious.
As I´m sure fans of reality television already know, there is certain entertainment value in throwing together a group of people from all walks of life and asking them to live together in cramped quarters with little contact to the outside world. Such is life aboard the Oceana Ranger.
We left Valencia this morning a little after nine, chuffing out of the harbor into a blustery headwind. Maureen and I sat on the prow, watching Valencia slip away behind us. The yachts and racing catamarans quickly disappeared, leaving a skyline of orange, black and red cranes framing the coastline. Valencia is a major port for international shipping, and as soon as we were underway I saw two massive cargo ships creeping across the horizon. They were like bouyant whales, exposed gullets crammed with a giant´s Legoland of interlocked cargo compartments.