|-||V & A Waterfront in
the glorious sunshine!
Rhinos & Hippos!
Game Drive &
Giraffes & Cheetahs!
|Caracals, Servals &
& Howick Falls
|Birds & Prey||Owls, Goshawks,
Kites & Eagles!
on my own!
|-||Castle of Good Hope!|
I awoke at 5 o'clock and then dozed until 6:50, when I got up. I then finished packing and went shopping in Winton. I had an early lunch at 11 o'clock, before sleeping for an hour. I then watched PMQs, which finished at 12:50, when I called for a Streamline taxi. The driver quizzed me about Malta, where he was planning to go in March! I then caught the 13:30 National Express coach to LGW, via Ringwood, SoToN, Fareham, Portsmouth & Chichester. I was sat in the front right seat, with an elderly couple on my left, who I knew from dancing in Poole! At 5:20 we got to the South Terminal, which had no queues for check-in.
At Gatwick, I tried unsuccesfully to get a complimentary upgrade, but she said the Premium cabin was already full! I then started work on this blog, whilst charging my phone and eating my snack. I said hello to artistes Jane and Steve, together with dance host Don. I had worked with the latter on both BM922 and M1602! The Airbus A330 left on time and I had the chicken risotto for supper. The plane was only one third full, so I had an empty seat next to me. It later transpired that the Manchester flight was also only one third full, so we ended up with a half empty ship! I watched an American TV programme on emperor penguins, before having the chicken for supper. I then watched the film "The Devil Wears Prada" starring Meryl Streep. I slept fitfully until we were served a mini full English breakfast just before arrival in Cape Town.
We arrived on time, but just behind a BA 747 jumbo jet, so we had to queue for an hour to get through immigration. The coach then took us to the ship. I immediately showered and changed into fresh underwear, as it was 33 degrees in sunny Cape Town! I had a smoked salmon roll and a cheese roll in the buffet. I then slept fitfully for an hour and a half, before touching base with Miles, who was very grateful for my arrival! I walked into the charming Victoria & Alfred (not Albert) Waterfront area, finding free wi-fi in the clocktower shopping centre. Six cape fur seals (actually sea lions!) were sleeping on the quayside!
Back at the ship, my case had arrived, so I showered again and changed into a fresh shirt and more fresh underwear! At 6:30 I dined on the lamb kebabs with Lido troubadour Colin and the dance host team of Don, Mark, Jan & Mike. The latter two said that we had last worked together on W1017 going to the Black Sea on the Black Watch in 2010! The evening's music had to be brought in from the aft deck as the wind cooled on darkness falling. The duo only played ballads, so no dancing was possible. When Jess & the band came on, I danced a jive with passenger Eva and did a cha cha with Jan.
At 10 o'clock we had the safety drill, before our entertainers welcome party, where Allan asked me to do the line dancing, but in the event he wanted me to do extra guest lectures instead! I then adjourned to the Neptune Lounge with George, to set up my laptop. This proved problematic and we decided to use their laptop instead. At 11 o'clock I had a single burger with no bread in the late night buffet, before retiring for the night.
I awoke at 6:30 and got up at 7 o'clock, ready to have the full English breakfast at 7:30. Back in the cabin, I updated this blog, before doing my ironing. At 9:45 I gave my 45 minute talk on Port Elizabeth (PE). At 11 o'clock I listened to Clive's interesting talk on North Korea. At 12:30 I lunched on the fish chips with Colin and the gang. At 2 o'clock I gave my 35 minute talk on Richards Bay (RB). I then slept for an hour and a half, before taking my first dip in the outside pool and jacuzzi.
At 5:30 I was on duty in the first of the Captain's cocktail parties, where I danced with some of the single ladies. I then dined on a beef medallion and a quarter of roast duck with Colin and the team. At 7:45 we had the second cocktail party, where I again danced with some of the single ladies. One woman was a palaeo-limnologist studying Lake Windermere's sediments! After Jane's excellent show I went to bed.
I awoke just before my alarm at 7 o'clock, ready to breakfast at 7:30 on the full English, in the main restaurant, as the Secret Garden buffet hadn't yet opened. I then escorted my sixth choice Lalibela Game Reserve tour. I had a table seat for eight to share with just one couple from Barton-on-Sea at the back of the coach! We travelled for 70 minutes along the motorway and highway N2, almost to Grahamstown, to get to the game reserve.
We were offered tea or coffee on arrival and I opted for the premium red bush tea from South Africa, whilst waiting for the loo queue to disperse. Thankfully they had free wi-fi, so I was able to update my FaceBook status and collect my emails. I sat high up at the back of the last 4x4 Toyota Landcruiser to depart. We saw two lions sleeping, two hippos wallowing, two elephants eating and three rhinos walking. We also saw lots of antelope of various species, lots of zebra and a few birds. The best bit was the dozen giraffes, standing and chewing the cud close to our vehicle! We didn't see any water buffalo, cheetahs or leopards. I was wearing long sleeves, long trousers and a hat, but my face and hands got awfully red in the scorching sunshine! (Ten days later and the skin on the back of my hands was peeling badly.)
Back at the lodge, we had a lovely buffet which began with sweet soup, followed by venison stew (they didn't say what deer!), beef kebabs and grilled chicken. I then had the cheese and biscuits, before they bought out the chocolate cake dessert. I had one glass of Fanta, but could have had a second too. We were then entertained by a Xhosa (pronouced Co-sa) drumming demonstration with audience participation! I was also able to post a photo on FaceBook, before reboarding the coach.
On the way back to the ship, I chatted to Rear Admiral Al Rymer who knew about my DIS course at RMCS, since he had been head of Tri-service education and training! He also knew several of my former students, including Angus Ross. Back at the ship, I slept for an hour and a quarter, before showering ready for dinner at 6:30. I had the belly pork and the chicken with green beans, but no potatoes, sat with Colin until Jan & Mike arrived. The first dance set to the orchestra was poorly attended, but more ladies arrived when Mike was DJing the second set. I watched the excellent Swing time show from the back, before dancing again, including my first jive with the lovely Jane and a second cha cha with Jan. I also had my first dance with Ruth. Some ladies left for the quiz at 10 o'clock, so I went to my cabin to update this blog and backup my photographs.
I awoke at 7 o'clock, just ahead of my alarm clock after a restless night. I had the full English breakfast in the main restaurant again, before escorting my first choice Kragga Kamma game park (not reserve) tour. We saw cheetahs and water buffalo, which we hadn't seen the previous day, together with three rhinos and lots of lovely giraffes. The ride to the park in an old bus only took 35 minutes, as it was located on the edge of the city. One lady objected to signing the indemnity form, which we had also had to sign the previous day, and is commonplace in the modern, litigious world! She also pointed out that the blurb had said all the game vehicles would be covered, but in fact only one out of three was.
Only two game vehicles initially appeared as the agent had not informed the park of our numbers, so some of us had to wait another quarter of an hour for a third vehicle to appear. Thankfully the reception building had free wi-fi, so I was able to pick up my latest OU monitoring form ahead of my bi-annual appraisal in February. We began with a two hour game drive around the much smaller park than yesterday. Afterwards I gave the close encounter with the tame cheetah a miss, but did enjoy the feeding of the five wild cheetahs in their enclosure. The tree top board walk was rather long and tiring in the heat, and I didn't see any of the advertised vervet (not velvet!) monkeys, though we did glimpse them on the earlier two hour drive.
We got back to the ship at 2 o'clock ready for a late lunch, before the Secret Garden buffet closed at 2:30. I had the shell-on prawns to start, followed by the lovely sticky ribs. I then slept for an hour and a half. After working on this blog and backing up my morning's photographs, I went to the sailaway at 5 o'clock. I joined in the Slosh and led off the Electric Slide as well as dancing with several ladies. I then wallowed in the jacuzzi, chatting with a elderly gentleman who had enjoyed my port talks. The Captain announced that we would be having an extra sea day and so only one day, not two, in Richards Bay (RB), in order to use the ship's desalination plant out in the Indian Ocean. Unfortunately the three year South African drought had meant that neither Port Elizabeth (PE) nor Richards Bay (RB) could provide us with freshwater!
At 6:30 I dined on the shepherds' pie with Colin, Don, Mike & Jan, but not Mark. The first dance set was again very thin, but they came in for Mike's session following. I watched Adam's excellent showtime, particularly appreciating the songs from Joseph and the Phantom, but not the boogie-woogie piano playing. I danced after the show with the usual suspects, including my second jive with the lovely Jane, before going to my cabin at 10:30. I then watched my second port talk on Richards Bay (RB) on the TV, before going to sleep soon after 11 o'clock.
I awoke at 6 o'clock, dozed to 6:30 and then watched my RB port talk again, before having the full English breakfast, back in the Secret Garden café again. At 9:45 I attended the church service, in order to be ready at 10:15 for my 40 minute talk on Durban. I lunched with Colin and the team at 12:30 on the hot corned beef slices, before sleeping for an hour and a half. At 3 o'clock I gave my 40 minute talk on Mossel Bay (MB). I then watched my Durban talk on the cabin TV. I wallowed in the calm jacuzzi, whose bubbling was broken, chatting with two chaps, until the other working jacuzzi became available.
I dined at 6:30 on both chicken and pork with Colin & the team minus Mark. Again the first set of the band with Jess singing was very poorly attended, but numbers picked up by the time Mike started DJing. I watched the excellent Jukebox production show from the back. I particularly enjoyed the Billy Joel & Queen songs, but not the Frankie Valli falsetto ones! I danced after the show, including a quickstep with the lovely Jane, but at 10 o'clock some of the dancing ladies left for the quiz, so I departed soon after. Back in the cabin, I watched my Durban talk again on the TV before going to bed.
I awoke at 8:15 and had the full English breakfast in the Secret Garden buffet, before updating this blog and checking over my Cecil Rhodes guest lecture. At 10 o'clock one of the professional dancers taught Cowboy Strut, 5678, Hot Stuff and another un-named cha cha dance. At 11 o'clock I gave my 40 minute talk entitled "Rhodes across Africa: Cecil's Story". At 12:30 I lunched on the chicken pie with Colin and the hosts, before sleeping for an hour and a half.
At 3 o'clock I went to Clive's interesting talk on China in the late 1980s. I then worked on updating my Port Elizabeth (PE) presentation with the information that various pax had given me. At 5:15 I went swimming and jacuzzi-ing in the bright sunshine. I shared the bubbling jacuzzi with two gents who discussed my Rhodes lecture that I had given that morning. Later Kerry the former FOCL sales girl from Dorset joined us and I moved to the non-working jacuzzi. Here the gent had been a teacher at Burnt Mill just before I joined in 1965! His wife studied geography at Nottingham University, so we chatted about Prof. Cuchlaine King and Dr. John Doornkamp.
At 6:30 I dined on the generous minute steak, in preference to the roast lamb, sat with Colin, Don & Mark, but not Mike & Jan. I gave the shell-on prawns a miss. I danced both before and after Steve's comedy showtime. I enjoyed his singing, but his jokes less so! I had a second quickstep with the lovely Jane, before adjourning upstairs at 10:30 for the four singers' cabaret. However I didn't know any of their musical theatre songs, except for the duet "Sisters" from "Holiday Inn", wrongly described as the film "White Christmas"! At 11 o'clock I pigged out on a small portion of fish & chips at the late night buffet for only the second and final time.
I awoke at 6:30 and breakfasted on the shirred egg in the main restaurant just after 7 o'clock. Unfortunately we were berthed at the bulk cargo quay, not the waterfront, so I didn't immediately venture ashore. I updated this blog and did my laundry instead. At 8:30 I escorted my second choice tour to the Emdoneni Cat Rehabilitation Centre. After an hour's drive north we reached the lodge. After signing the indemnity form and connecting to the wi-fi, we were led into four enclosures: African Wild Cat, Caracal African Lynx, Serval & Cheetah! In the latter we had a close encounter with a tame cheetah captured on my mobile phone's camera for uploading to FaceBook. We were not allowed to stroke the cheetah, so I then regreted not having done so on the previous cheetah encounter!
Back at the ship, I lunched on the beef with a couple from Cornwall, but who came originally from Essex. They had bought a smallholding on the edge of Bodmin Moor with no knowledge of animal husbandry at all! I then slept for an hour, before catching the 3:30 shuttle bus into the Boardwalk shopping centre. They had a fine information desk with lots of interesting leaflets and maps of both Richards Bay & Durban. They pointed me to a café (Mugg & Bean) which offered free wi-fi without needing to buy anything! I then caught the stiflingly hot 5 o'clock shuttle bus back to the ship.
I went swimming in the cool pool for 2 minutes and wallowing in the hot jacuzzi for 20 minutes as the sun went down! At 6:30 I dined on the gravad lax smoked salmon with stuffed tomatoes and cheesy pasta sat with Colin & Don, but not the other three. I danced both before and after the very good "Feel Good" production show. I particularly liked their Beach Boys & Ricky Martin tributes! At ten o'clock some of the dancing ladies left for the quiz, so when I had had one dance with each of the remaining dancers I went to bed.
I awoke at 6 o'clock and got up at 6:15. At 7 o'clock I breakfasted on the full English in the main restaurant. At 8:45, a little late gaining clearance, I escorted my first choice Nelson Mandela capture site & Howick waterfall tour. We drove out along the toll motorway past Pietermaritzburg (PMB) to the place where Nelson Mandela was apprehended by the police. We walked along the long road to freedom (actually a red brick path covered in ants) to view the famous three dimensional bust of him. I then spent some time reading about his interesting life story in the old museum, the new museum was just nearing completion. We then had half an hour at the nearly 100 metre drop Howick waterfall. This is carved from dolerite sills and dykes intruded into softer sedimentary rocks. I went in the tourist information office and free museum, before photographing the period buildings along the waterfall street.
Back at the ship at 2 o'clock I lunched on the bratwurst with pasta in cheese sauce, before sleeping for an hour. I then caught the 3:30 shuttle bus to the uShaka Oceanarium and shopping mall. I did some photography of the pier and beach, before meeting up with Caroline & Rowena from Lancashire. We then caught the 5:30 bus back to the ship. I had a quick dip before dressing for dinner. I dined on the venison with Colin & Don, but not the other three. I danced both before and after the lovely Jane's second show. I particularly enjoyed her Diana Ross tribute songs. Soon after some of the dancing ladies had left to go to the quiz at 10 o'clock, I went to my cabin. I watched my Mossel Bay (MB) lecture on the TV, before going to sleep.
I awoke at 5:45 and couldn't get back to sleep with all the excitement of the cruise! I breakfasted on the full English in the Secret Garden Café at 7 o'clock, before being joined by Mark and then a couple from Reading. The latter own an apartment in Canford Cliffs near me, and go on a lot of expensive cruises. They have a £800 per day suite on Boudicca, but normally go for £1000 per day cruises on the likes of Regent Seven Seas, where everything, including the tours, is included!
At 9 o'clock I escorted my sixth choice tour to see the Birds of Prey. We drove up the N3 toll motorway for an hour almost to Pietermaritzburg (PMB). We had four superb flying demonstrations from two owls, a goshawk and a yellow tailed kite (YTK). We then watched four hungry African vultures being fed! We had an hour of free time to look at all the other caged birds, including the three different types of eagle present. Unfortunately we were unable to use their wi-fi.
Back at the ship, I lunched on the veal with Stacey the daughter, but not her dancing mother Joan, and the couple with their bearded grandson, one of two slightly disabled lads on the cruise. I then slept fitfully for an hour, before attending the 4 o'clock sailaway in the bright sunshine as we left Durban. I danced with Eve & tall Margaret, with Rowenna, Caroline and one other of their friends and with two of the rock 'n' rollers from Durham. Eva declined to dance as she had fainted on tour earlier in the heat. I also joined in the California Frieze, Party Samba & YMCA!
Back in the cabin I worked on this blog, backupped my morning's photographs and updated my Cape Town port talk. I then went for a quick dip and a wallow, but it had clouded over and a storm was brewing. I dined on the fish, chips & mushy peas with Colin and the team minus Mark. Unfortunately Joyce, one of our dancers and a keen cruiser, had a recurrence of her painful gall stones, so the ship had to return to Durban. During the first dance set I watched the re-berthing as Joyce walked off the ship to the waiting ambulance. Back in the Neptune lounge I joined in the British Night singalong and watched the excellent "Britain Rocks" production show. I danced for a bit after the show, but the lead from Mike's iPod was crackling badly, so he had to await the return of the technician, and so I slipped out early. I watched my Mossel Bay (MB) port talk again, before going to sleep at 10:30.
I awoke at 6:30 and breakfasted at 7:30 on the full English in the Secret Garden café. I then updated this blog and did my laundry. When Allan came into the Neptune Lounge, I gave him my list of guest lecture topics, in case we were unable to tender into Mossel Bay. He said he would prefer to use the Tommy Cooper lecture if necessary. I also gave him and Miles my port talk titles for the South Atlantic cruise D1803A in twenty days time. At 9:45 I gave my final 40 minute port talk on Cape Town (CT). At 11:15 I attended the Oceans cocktail party, where I chatted with Ruth from West Sussex. I lunched on the roast chicken with the usual suspects, before sleeping for an hour.
At 3 o'clock I went to Jan & Mike's jive class, where I danced with Linda. Jan taught the rock jive basic and the underarm turn, but not the change of place. At 3:45 we had the tea dance, where I did every dance bar one, when I popped out to get two large Florentines served by Allan! I then went out on to the aft deck, but it was too rough to swim, so I spent three quarters of hour alternating between the two jacuzzis. One had strong water jets for my back and feet, but no bubbles as a lady was reading her paperback book in it. The other one had been repaired, but only had weak water jets, with strong bubbles, and was therefore more popular. When it filled up with pax, I transferred to the other one!
At 5:45 I went to the Lido lounge in my formal gear for the free cocktails. I had one Pimms sat with Marjorie from Lancashire listening to the duo, but again they played only dreary, acoustic ballads! At 6:15 I escorted her into the main restaurant, managing to grab another complimentary Pimms and then I sat drinking it listening to the excellent Rosario trio outside the Secret Garden café. At 6:30 I dined on the beef and duck with Colin and the boys, but not Mike & Jan. The first dance set began slowly, but eventually got going when Mike took over the DJing. I watched Adam's second show from the back, enjoying his singing, but not his boogie woogie piano playing. I danced after the show until 10 o'clock, when I went back to the cabin to watch my Cape Town port talk on the TV, going to sleep at 11:00.
I awoke at 6:30 after a night with a grumbling tummy, which didn't stop me breakfasting on the egg Benedict with full English in the main restaurant, before updating this blog. At 8 o'clock the Captain came on to the blower to say it was too rough to tender into Mossel Bay, followed by Allan asking for all lecturers and artistes to go to the office to prepare a new programme. At 10:15 Abi taught 5678, Hot Love and her own cha cha line dance. At 11 o'clock I gave my 35 minute lecture on Tommy Cooper. At 12:30 I lunched on the pork and chicken with the full team, before sleeping for an hour.
At 3 o'clock I listened to Clive's interesting talk on India, before working in my cabin. Unfortunately the main pool and both jacuzzis had been drained, so I had to swim in the smaller, cooler Marquee pool. At 5:45 I went up to the Observatory for the first time this cruise to have a lime soda with twiglets. I joined Rowena & Caroline at first, then Marjorie & Ena arrived. I dined on the braised beef with the team. I danced both before and after Steve's second and naughtier comedy show, including a third jive with the lovely Jane. When the dancing ladies left for the quiz at ten o'clock, I went to my cabin also.
I awoke at 6:15 and breakfasted at 7 o'clock in the main restaurant on the egg Florentine with full English on the side. I was off the ship as soon as she had been cleared for pax, but not yet crew. I walked into the V&A Clocktower shopping centre to use their free wi-fi. I received an email from my next door neighbours with two pictures of my kitchen floor. Either my fridge or freezer had lost its blue anti-freeze like refrigerant. I told them not to worry, as both appliances were ancient and in need of replacement. I continued around the V&A Waterfront collecting a pile of leaflets in the information centre. I went upstairs in both the new Mandela Gateway and the old Robben Island terminal to view the free exhibitions. I also utilised the free wi-fi in the Victoria Wharf shopping Centre and back at the Cruise Terminal.
Back at the ship, I lunched in the main restaurant on the fish, chips & mushy peas, followed by the delicious Black Forest ice cream sundae. Towards the end I was joined by the former Royal Artillery officer and his wife from Shropshire. At 1:15 I escorted my second choice tour to the Kirstenbosch Gardens and Groot Constantia wine tasting. At the former, which had been rated strenuous, one lady struggled to keep up and then complained that she missed out on the guide's commentary! I particularly enjoyed the tree canopy walkway. Another couple were ten minutes late back to the bus, having dithered in the gift shop. At the latter site, we sampled two white and three red wines, of which I preferred the red pinotage. I was impressed with the Dutch manor house and farm buildings. We came back past Hout Bay & Camps Bay to the port.
Back at the ship at 6 o'clock, I rushed to get ready for dinner at 6:30 with Colin & Don. The latter then offered to buy us a bottle of red wine, so I suggested the South African pinotage! I danced both before and after the excellent "Cinematastic" production show. I particularly liked the "Les Miserables" songs in their finale. Just before the show started, I slipped ashore again to use the free wi-fi. Back in my cabin at 10:30, I updated this blog and backupped my day's photography. I finally went to sleep at 11:30.
I awoke at 7:30 and had the full English breakfast back in the Secret Garden Café, sat with Mark. He used to live on the south coast of the Cape and so was able to tell my about the famous Royal Navy's Great Dane called "Just Nuisance"! I tried to use the ATM in the terminal without success, before walking across the city centre to the main railway station. Again I couldn't get my credit card to work, but thankfully my debit card did work in their ATM.
I bought a return ticket to Simon's Town for ZAR 35 which is about two quid. I then caught the 9:30 slow train which stopped at every station until it terminated at Fish Hoek. Here we transferred to a rail replacement coach to take us the last few miles. I then walked along the road into the old Royal Naval port of Simon's Town via the historic buildings. I paid ZAR 10, about 65p to go in the interesting town museum, which had a whole cabinet and several books for sale on the famous local dog. I then went in the better Naval museum next door, which had free admission. This included the garrison chapel, boats, guns and a Lynx helicopter.
I continued to the historic pier and the Dutch Reformed church, before doubling back to the tourist information office. They let me sit in front of their air conditioner, whilst using their free wi-fi! I took pictures of the Great Dane's statue in the main square, before retracing my steps along the historic road to the station. I had to wait 20 minutes for the bus back to Fish Hoek and then another 30 minutes for the train to depart. We were regaled by an evangelical sermon on the train going back!
I then walked back across the city centre to the waiting ship, where I slept for an hour and a quarter. After six lengths of the pool, I wallowed in the jacuzzi for ten minutes, before dressing for the Captain's Farewell cocktail party. I danced with Pauline, Lindsay, Shirley, Susan and Rowena. The latter dance being a short veleta. At 6:35 I dined on the roast beef with Colin, Don & Mark, but not Mike & Jan. During the second cocktail party I danced with Jean & Sylvia, as the Durham rock 'n' rollers arrived for a second time! I danced both before and after the predictable Crew Show, including my first rumba with the lovely Jane. We had to sail out back into the Indian Ocean overnight to allow the noisy desalination plant to operate in clear, blue water. The three year drought in Cape Town was approaching crisis levels!
I awoke at 6 o'clock and got up at 6:15, ready to breakfast on one egg Benedict with two fried eggs as well! At 7:45 I escorted my first choice Scenic Winelands tour. We began at the Nedeburg vineyard in Paarl, where we sampled six wines: two dry white, two dry red and two sweet white at 9:20 in the morning! We then had the winery tour, which would have been better done first. Next we had a photo stop outside the prison where Nelson Mandela had spent his last three years of incarceration.
On the way to Franschhoek we stopped at the Grande Provence vineyard for a stupendous picnic. I had my own hamper with ham, cheese, salami, baguette, crisps & chocolate brownies and lots of little jars full of olives, salmon mousse, butter, nuts, salad, dressing & jam! I was given a whole bottle of their very own red wine. After two glasses, I passed it around for other people to try it, as most had opted for the white or the rosé! We then proceeded to the pretty little Hugenot town, which reminded me of French Akaroa in New Zealand. Our last stop was in the interesting university town of Stellenbosch, which reminded me of the ivy league towns of New England. I rushed around to find the tourist information office and the free, local wi-fi. This proved to be one of the best tours that I have escorted anywhere!
Back at the ship I did half a dozen lengths of the pool, followed by ten minutes in the jacuzzi, before puting my cozzie in the tumble drier. I dined on the veal with Don & Colin, the former again offered me a glass of the pinotage red wine to finish the bottle from two nights previous. Colin thankfully agreed to look after my dinner suit for the next fortnight for me, freeing up space in my case for all the leaflets and maps I had accumulated! I danced both before and after the final variety show, packing whilst it was on going. I updated this blog and then went to bed at 11 o'clock.
I awoke to my alarm at 7 o'clock ready to breakfast on the full English with Frances in the main resturant. I exited from my cabin at 8 o'clock and deposited my hand luggage in the conference room. I walked across the city centre, via the railway station loo, to the Castle of Good Hope, getting there at 9 o'clock ready for its opening. I shelled out ZAR50, about £3, to get in and then did the complete circuit of the ramparts in the hot sunshine. I viewed the military museum before the ceremony of the keys began at 9:55. This culminated in the opening of the main gate and the ringing of the bell at 10 o'clock. Then a cannon was fired by an ageing enthusiast. I went in both the governor's and deputy governor's quarters to see the Fehr collection of paintings and the period interiors. After an hour and a half, I left the castle and made my way up to the Dutch East India Company's garden, before returning to the ship via Somerset Street.
I lunched at noon on the roast chicken with Colin, before lying down for 50 minutes in one of the so-called day cabins. I then walked around the V&A Waterfront again, before bumping into Don. We walked back to the ship, so he could show me the new contact list of celebrities coming on board. At 4 o'clock I had the roast chicken again, sat in the main restaurant with Alex the classical pianist from Cluj in Roumania. I then sat in the Observatory admiring the dramatic view of Table Mountain, complete with the Table Cloth cloud, until called to the bus at 5:45. It took nearly an hour to get through the rush hour traffic to the airport. We were quickly through the security and passport controls and I settled down to use the wi-fi on my phone and to update this blog on my laptop. We took off twenty minutes late, but made up the time en route. I watched an interesting TV programme on a kite ski-ing expedition along the length of the Greenland ice cap, but there were no free movies of any interest. I had the macaroni with beef mince for supper, before sleeping for about six hours.
I enjoyed the mini full English breakfast just before landing on time at Gatwick. I was quickly through passport control and baggage reclaim. Unfortunately I then had to wait two hours for the non-stop coach to BoMoH! I went joy-riding on the shuttle to the North Terminal, where I found a useful charging station for both my phone and laptop. So I was able to update my blog, whilst waiting. The National Express coach finally got me back to BoMoH and a taxi got me home just before 3 o'clock, after another fantastic cruise!
Allan later wrote: "Martin is a good speaker with well researched talks. He also has spare talks which are a great help when we miss out ports."
One lady wrote: "I really enjoyed the detailed descriptions of your Cape coast excursions"
7 Excellent Tours 6 New Towns (Howick, Kirstenbosch, Constantia, Simon's Town, Franschhoek & Stellenbosch) 5 Port Talks (PE, RB, Durban, MB, CT) 4 Ports (PE, RB, Durban, CT but not MB) 4 Animal Parks 3 Vineyards 3 Cocktail Parties 2 Guest Lectures (Cecil Rhodes & Tommy Cooper) 1 Tea Dance
Clocktower shopping centre, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town Victoria Wharf shopping centre, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town Cruise Terminal, Cape Town Lalibela Game Reserve Kragga Kamma Game Drive Emdoneni Cat Rehabilitation Centre Mugg & Bean Café, Boardwalk Shopping Centre, Richards Bay uShaka Shopping Mall, Durban Simon's Town Tourist Information Office Stellenbosch Town Centre Cape Town International Airport