We left home and travelled to Portsmouth where we spent the night at a Travel Lodge. It was too cold, wet and windy for a campsite and we couldn´t face it as our first camping experience of the trip.
Our ferry to Bilbao, Spain was due to leave at 8.00 p.m. but because of the weather it didn´t leave until 11 p.m. We sat on the dock in heavy rain and wind for about 5 hours waiting to board. Peter disappeared into the night and came back with a most welcome pizza, nachos and garlic bread from Pizza Hut which we devoured in the comfort of our motor home. As soon as we boarded we went straight to our cabin and spent a very very rough night.
The next morning we got up and went looking for breakfast and the ship was deserted. It didn´t take long to realise why, everyone was still in bed ill as we were still in bad weather, not as bad as overnight which was a force 10 gale. People were darting to the toilets and being ill all over the place but luckily for us we weren´t sea sick as we had our motion sickness tablets.
The day got worse and worse and we had planned a nice meal in Langan´s Brasserie on board but couldn´t face it we just had something simple. Next day we should have docked at 8 a.m. in Bilbao but by 10.30 the weather was getting worse and worse and in the afternoon we were in a force 12 hurricane and just chugging at 2 knots going with the waves in the Bay of Biscay. Eventually the captain advised us that the Port of Bilbao was closed due to the weather and 2 ships had broken their moorings and were a danger to shipping. We spent the night in the open sea riding out the storm and it was pretty scary. By this time we had spent hours and hours being battered around the ship felt like a piece of flotsam in the water. The shops and duty free shop were closed eveything was covered in cling film to stop it falling off the shelves. All the bars and restaurants except one had to close. Everyone who wanted or was capable of eating ate in one restaurant and as we were sat down eating the ship pitched dramatically to one side and all the plates, glasses and food shot of the tables!!!