MAN I’m behind on these. It’s almost time for round 11 and I’m just barely getting on top of the last two. Granted I’ve been working obscene hours and spending what free time I have editing my book but still, if you actually look forward to these updates, sorry. Here goes, basically covering our departure from Durban, Cape Town, and most of the sail.
Day 57 – February 10, 2011
Leaving Durban was a lot of fun, standing on the upper decks and watching as the port rolled slowly by. The tug boat escort was cool even, they’re surprisingly nimble. It was a good first day sailing, even if we went around in circles for a while to start with all of our tests.
I was introduced to dining on deck 7 which has tables, chairs, and a view of the sea as we chugged along. There were even salt and pepper shakers hidden in various locations so you didn’t have to worry about that either.
This shot was taken on the bow of the ship. The ships cross is covered in safety netting, not fishing nets, and made for a nice little shot of the sun setting. We spent a lot of time on the bow watching waves crash on the ship, dolphins swim and play, and of course the sun set over the Indian Ocean.
Practically the first thing we did upon arriving in Cape Town was climb Table Mountain. It was a good climb, not too rough to start but it ended up feeling like climbing a giant, nearly vertical staircase by the end. It was fun, and I’m glad we climbed instead of taking the gondola up. It felt like we accomplished something in the end. As for Cape Town, I can’t wait to go back and visit again someday.
We wanted to go shark diving so badly while we were in Cape Town, but due to the delays in Durban we weren’t able to stay long enough. Shark diving is a full day event as it turns out. However there were about 8 companies competing in the helicopter ride business right by the ship and so we took one up on a 20 minute ride around Cape Town. It was fantastic, and this was my first photo of the day from that experience.
I had to have two, however, as that night while we were sailing we took a nasty roll and the china in the Queen’s Lounge shot out of the cupboard in a cascading cacophony of destruction. It was traumatic, but thankfully the only major incident on the sail that I saw.
We spent a lot of time staring at the waves as the ship plowed through them and made its way. And when I say plowed, I mean plowed. The Africa Mercy was a ferry, it wasn’t made for ocean travel, so it gets choppy. This kind of stuff wouldn’t phase a lot of ships, but we rocked and rolled and had a grand time. In fact it was tons of fun, I loved every minute of the sail. But then again we never hit any REALLY choppy water. Next time…
Guess who doesn’t drink coffee? Guess who’s never made coffee using an espresso machine before? Guess who makes coffee for an hour and a half every Wednesday night? This guy!
Day 64 – February 17, 2011
I spend an inordinate amount of time cabling, re-cabling, organizing, discovering new things people have torn apart, cursing, re-cabling, re-organizing, discovering something broken, cursing more, wishing I was a better Christian, praying, re-cabling, troubleshooting, and repeating this whole process every day. It’ll get better in time, in fact it is getting better, but it comes with the territory.
I got to set up and run the Karaoke night on the sail which was also a ton of fun. It took a while to get started, people get all tense at the idea of singing, and the above group of high school girls had to go three or four times before people started to loosen up. I even joined them for a round of Barbie Girl which may [unfortunately] have vaulted me to a newfound fame. Doing both Ken and Barbie’s parts on the fly like that… scarring memory.
We played sock golf (see the Returning to Land post below) and took 3rd place, which is made more obvious by Cyle’s “3″ and crazy face. Apparently that’s what people do when they take bronze. The Parkers owned us.
Every time we leave a place or lose someone of significance we hold (I say we like I’ve been doing this for a long time) an “Open” poker tournament. This was the South African Open, and it was Wild West themed. My costume sucked, but there were some amazing ones.
I had to apply for my international drivers license which required a new picture. They said “don’t smile” so I decided to look grumpy, some would say “like a terrorist.”
We had a man overboard drill which was pretty exciting, they dropped a box in the water and sounded the alarm. We circled around to find the box. We never did… not good news for we non-boxes. The guy holding the rope is Josh, he’s actually from Seattle and works on the ferry to Alaska. He’s currently our chief officer, and he loves holding ropes. There are a lot, I mean a lot of Washingtonians on this ship.
This is my partner in crime on Wednesday nights, Shannon Hickey. We open the Cafe together from 1900-2030 and generally have a good time. It’s social, we talk with lots of people, and make generally wonderful treats. It’s a fun way to volunteer and support the crew.
And here are some runner-ups!