At Sea – Wednesday 14th January to Saturday 17th January 2015

Wednesday 14th – Quite rough seas this morning and a strong wind blowing across the pool deck, but still very hot. Most of the guests are either at the Madagascar lecture or in the Seabourn Square indulging in morning coffee and cake or using the Internet.

Lunchtime at the grill our Indian chefs invited us to an Indian live lunch which they cooked in front of us…it was delicious…this was washed down by cool crispy Corona… of course!!

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Indian Live Cooking

Not feeling too well today I think I may have finally succumbed to the flu bug that has been circulating the ship since before we got on in Cape Town. Rumour has it that over 55% of the guests have caught it at some time since the beginning of the cruise in Barcelona…so I’m in good company!!

Tonight we went to the main dining room for the chef’s dinner but I could hardly eat any of it… but the highlight of the evening was a performance by Journey South – two brothers from Middlesbrough in the UK who came third in the X-Factor some years ago.

Clocks go forward one hour at midnight tonight.

Techie bits …here they are:
Time: 16:00
Location: 25.39 south, 38.08 east
Speed: 15 knots
Temp: 27c 81f
Distance from Maputo: 325 nms
Distance to Madagascar: 500 nms
Humidity: 79%
Sunrise: 04:48
Sunset: 18:23
Sea Depth: 12270 ft
Winds: 23 mph from South East

Thursday 15th – We are now three hours in front of the UK. All last night the ship rocked and rolled due to high seas and strong winds. Thank goodness we are on deck five and midships.

I’m still not feeling good and believe it or not folks after nearly three hundred sailing days I have finally succumbed to sea-sickness…hope it’s only due to the flu bug as usually I’m a very good sailor …not a happy bunny.

Techie bits …here they are:
Time: 17:10
Location: 25.41 south, 44.46 east
Speed: 10 knots
Temp: 26c 79f
Distance from Maputo: 670 nms
Distance to Madagascar: 135 nms
Humidity: 82%
Sunrise: 05:23
Sunset: 18:57
Sea Depth: 770 ft
Winds: 45 mph from the East

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Friday 16th
– Today we should be in Madagascar but due to the weather conditions with 2 cyclones in the area we cannot go into port as the harbour master has closed the harbour to all ships so we now have yet another day at sea on our way to La Possession, Reunion…boo!!…as a large majority of the guests were doing this segment in order to go to Madagascar to see the lemurs, you can imagine there are a lot of grumpy people onboard at the moment.

Hope we can keep ahead of the cyclones as the seas are already rough enough and despite taking sea sickness pills and wearing wrist bands I still feel dreadful.

Clocks go forward one hour at midnight tonight. We will now be 4 hours in front of UK time.

Saturday 17th – More bad news…The Captain has just announced that the harbour master at La Possession, Reunion will not allow any more ships to enter so we are now missing the island and are making our stormy way to Mauritius…we hope!! We have all now had enough of rough days at sea so hopefully we can finally step on dry land tomorrow.

Margaret and Reuben’s anniversary dinner tonight in Restaurant 2 with Suzie & Lance… it was a fabulous evening but unfortunately I was still too unwell to eat anything…the upside to sea sickness is that the inches are falling off but it doesn’t seem that way at two in the morning!!

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Happy Anniversary Margaret & Reuben

Techie bits …here they are:
Time: 19:30
Location: 20.56 south, 55.09 east
Speed: 12.5 knots
Temp: 26c 79f
Distance from Reunion: 1 nm
Distance to Mauritius: 145 nms
Humidity: 79%
Sunrise: 05:51
Sunset: 19:06
Sea Depth: 3730 ft
Winds: 36 mph from the North East

Too Rough

Too Rough

Maputo, Mozambique – 13th January 2015

Maputo has been the capital of Mozambique since 1898 and was previously called Lourenco Marques until the country’s independence in 1975. It is the largest city in Mozambique and the country’s most important harbour. Buildings range from old colonial palaces to new high-rise constructions but the dominant architecture is concrete walled boxes with badly eroded paint and rusted security bars.

maputo1

Following last night’s ‘Dancing Under The Stars’ I now know that I’m not some twenty plus young thing that can dance the night away…oh the aches this morning.

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This morning we walked into the main square of Maputo and if anything it’s worse than the last time we were here, the poverty here is terrible. The old railway station’s outer walls were being restored and were covered in tarpaulins hiding the glorious facade that we saw last time. We didn’t stay long and decided to return to the ship. Unfortunately two of our fellow cruisers got mugged while they were out. They lost some money but were not hurt…thank goodness.

Later that morning we heard a “ship code” message over the tannoy and then found out that one of our cruising friends had fallen and broken her leg. She was taken off to the local hospital with the possibility of being air lifted to Johannesburg but luckily she was cleared and returned to the ship…in plaster!!

The captain delayed our departure for a few hours until she could be re-boarded at 7pm. We are all so glad she is back on-board and hopefully can continue her Sojourn with us.

Richards Bay, South Africa – Sunday 11th January & Monday 12th January 2015

Today we took the shuttle to a mall and then on to The Waterfront. The trip was really disappointing in fact the whole visit was disappointing unless you were going off on a safari or as Vance would say…yet another safari.

The part that was especially bad was that the Sojourn was docked next to a coal yard at the port and whenever the wind direction changed we were all inhaling coal dust and all the decks were soon covered in dust. Not a Seabourn moment!!

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After an overnight here we finally left at noon. The deck crew had spent the whole morning trying to clear the fine film of coal dust that had settled on the pool area…we were glad to be leaving.

After the usual twelve noon beers we decided to have a pool party with “Don Pedro’s” which is a cocktail based on Kahlua…this was Jeannie’s idea not mine…naughty girl…nice though!!

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Later that afternoon the pool area was setup for the African Epicurean Evening which was followed by an African Market Dinner in The Colonnade.

Then it was back outside for Desserts under the stars and dancing…lots of dancing.

Techie bits for the 12th…here they are:

Time: 17:30

Location: 28 south, 32.5 east

Speed: 10 knots

Temp: 26c 79f

Distance from Richards Bay: 69.4 nms

Distance to Maputo: 187.3 nms

Humidity: 77%

Sunrise: 05:03

Sunset: 18:50

Sea Depth: 2400 feet

Durban, South Africa – Saturday 10th January 2015

Vasco da Gama sailed past present day Durban on Christmas Day in 1497 and named the port Natalia but it was only in the 1820’s that the first European traders settled in the area.
Port Natal and its harbour town were subsequently renamed Durban in honour of Sir Benjamin d’Urban the governor of the Cape.

Today’s tours were mainly safari’s so we decided to go for another paddle and swim. We took the shuttle bus from the port to the Ushaka shopping complex which contains not only shops and restaurants but also the Ushaka Marine World.

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Beyond the shopping complex was Ushaka Beach stretching for miles along the coast. As it was Saturday families had brought their children to the beach so it was very crowded. We enjoyed a long paddle and then Vance decided to do some body surfing in the waves.

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Back on board we were greeted by the Inlondlo Zulu dance group who performed for us on the pool deck. Zulu dances are the means of connecting with the gods, of recounting an adventure or celebrating an exploit.

Day At Sea – Friday 9th January 2015

Really hot today, it reached 30c at noon so spent the day at the pool in and out of the water to keep cool.

Played my first game of shuffleboard at 14:30 but the old ‘skill’ seems to have deserted me and I didn’t win…damn!!

Invited to Suzie and Lance’s suite for pre-dinner drinks and nibbles where we were joined by Margaret and Reuben and Hizzy and Masa. It was great to catch up.

We all then dined at the main dining room and I chose yellow bell pepper soup followed by potato and leek crepes with gruyere…absolutely delicious…and finished with a cheese plate which I shared with Vance and of course a glass or two of port…it would have been rude not to!!

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East London, South Africa – Thursday 8th January 2015

East London lies on the Buffalo River and is often known as the Buffalo City. Its natural history museum is home to the only Dodo egg in existence and also displays a Coelacanth fish caught by a local fisherman in 1938 previously this fish had only been known in fossil form but is now on show here stuffed, 1.6 metres long with all its teeth.

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We decided not to go ashore today so just enjoyed our time on deck and had the pool to ourselves for a few hours before all the tours returned. At 15:30 we joined a wine tasting in The Colonnade with wines from the South African Spier Wine Farm. The winemaker Jacques Erasmus told us several interesting facts about the production of these wines and that surprisingly 60% of their white wine is exported to Denmark. We tasted five white and one red…and no…we didn’t spit any of them out!!

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Techie bits…here they are:
Time: 18:30
Location: 33 south, 28 east
Speed: 10 knots
Temp: 24c 75f
Distance from East London: 1.8 nms
Distance to Durban: 257 nms
Humidity: 78%
Sunrise: 05:08
Sunset: 19:20

Port Elizabeth, South Africa – Wednesday 7th January 2015

Today we arrived at Port Elizabeth which is one of the largest cities in South Africa and lies 770 kilometres east of Cape Town. It offers visitors a choice of stunning beaches, award winning wildlife destinations and lots of cultural museums and memorials.

Lots of our fellow cruisers went ashore to visit the game parks but as we had already visited the Pumba game reserve two years ago we decided to take the shuttle bus to The Boardwalk Entertainment Complex about fifteen minutes away.

Two Old Dogs, A Statues & A Hunk!!

Two Old Dogs, A Statue & A Hunk!!

We made our way through the shopping mall and found ourselves opposite one of the best beaches we have seen in South Africa. Needless to say we were soon paddling in the cool seawater which was a relief from the hot morning sun.

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As we hadn’t brought swimmers we were soon back on board for a refreshing swim in our beach-mode pool and the “obligatory” noon beer!!

We should have been leaving Port Elizabeth at 1800 hours but there was a ship wide message from the captain saying we were unable to depart due to 40 knot winds from the east which had closed the port.

He said we would be unable to set sail until the winds dropped below 30 knots. Although we were told this would probably not be until 2100 hours we did manage to get away at 1930 hours.

We were all expecting a rocky ride that evening and throughout the night but surprisingly we hardly felt a thing.

At Sea – 6th January 2015

Not much to tell today as we are at sea on our way to Port Elizabeth.

We have spent the day acclimatising to the hot, sunny weather on the pool deck and catching up with friends from past cruises. Great lunch on deck at the Grill…barbeque ribs and salad with lots of cold Pinot Grigio.

We even managed an impromptu champagne get together at the edge of the pool in the late afternoon but I forgot my camera so…sorry…no photos!! But don’t worry as there will be many more champagne parties and photos to come.

On Our Way To Port Elizabeth

On Our Way To Port Elizabeth

For those of you that like the techy bits…here they are:
Time: 18:05
Location: 34:48 south, 23:09 east
Speed: 11 knots
Temp: 21c 70f
Distance from Cape Town: 296 nms
Distance to Port Elizabeth: 132 nms
Humidity: 62%
Sea Depth: 420 feet
Sunrise: 05:21
Sunset: 19:44

Cape Town, South Africa 3rd, 4th & 5th January 2015

We had a fabulous flight down to Cape Town from Heathrow arriving at 10am Saturday morning, 3rd January.

We took a taxi from the airport to The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront Hotel where we were delighted to be upgraded to a suite on the 2nd floor overlooking the waterfront with a stunning view of Table Mountain.

After a quick shower and change we were ready to experience the sights and sounds of Cape Town.

View From Our Room

View From Our Room

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Cape Town was founded in 1652 by Jan Van Riebeeck to provide a port where the ships of the Dutch East India Company could take on supplies for their voyage east.

At the foot of the legendary Table Mountain and surrounded by attractive and fashionable beaches Cape Town’s old colonial houses rub shoulders with dizzying skyscapers.

Although we have been to Cape Town several times we have never managed to get to the top of the mountain due to strong winds or cloudy skies that have closed the cable car.

This time the sky was clear so we thought we would finally make it to the top but by lunch time the clouds had settled making any view impossible so we decided to wait until the next day & try our luck again.

At breakfast the next morning the mountain top was clear but although the cable car trip to the top of the mountain takes only seven minutes the queues for the tickets and then the cable car itself were over two hours each way due to it being a bank holiday and a Sunday. Another chance missed.

After an overnight onboard the Sojourn in Cape Town we woke to find the mountain again covered by what is known as The Tablecloth. So yet again the mountain defeated us …maybe next time!!

Hong Kong & Home

Saturday 9th March 2013

This morning we were invited to a 6:30am champagne breakfast sail-in party in Suzie & Lance’s suite.

The suite is at the very front of the ship so gave panoramic views from the balcony as we sailed in. We were joined by Irene & Alan and Sarah & Paul for this wonderful but last sail-in…for us!!

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We breakfasted on bucks fizz, croissants & pastries, fresh fruit and tea or coffee while watching the Kowloon & Hong Kong Island skylines appear. We even caught the sun rising at the side of the famous clock tower. From the balcony we looked down on the ‘worldies’ having their Pyjama Party sail-in on deck six…Irene said they looked like inmates from the asylum!!

After we docked we went for another breakfast on The Colonnade (Vance wanted his last full fry up – back to porridge & toast when we get home) and waited for the ship to be cleared for disembarkation…boo hoo.

Then it was back to our suite to collect our hand luggage (out valet luggage had already been collected the night before) and to say goodbye to Mari our stewardess. Thank you Mari for looking after us so well.

We then joined other guests who were disembarking in The Seabourn Square until it was time for us to finally leave the ship at 9:30am. This is always the bit I hate as we have to say goodbye to staff, crew and guests who have become part of our Seabourn family – however I am sure that we will meet some of them again when we take another Seabourn journey.

Before we handed in our passes for the last time Vitor, Handre, Heather and Heidicha were waiting to say goodbye and wish us a safe journey home and the Captain was waiting shore side to say his final goodbyes. I know that one day we will sail with Captain GA and his wife Juvy again.

Our limo was waiting for us on the pier side to take us to a hotel dayroom as our flight home to the UK was not until 11:30pm. Unfortunately this is where our six star Seabourn experience faltered as the hotel was a real disappointment…definitely not Seabourn standard!!

We spent the morning walking down Nathan Road looking at the shops (but not shopping as we have exhausted this pastime) and then ended up back at the port area and the harbour side shopping mall where not surprisingly we bumped into many of our Seabourn friends .

Our Last Noon Day Corona

Our Last Noon Day Corona

We then walked around to The Intercontinental Hotel hoping to have lunch sitting outside as it was a beautiful warm and sunny day but we were turned away as we were not residents at the hotel. So it was back up The Nathan Road as we looked for somewhere to stop for lunch. We found a little Bavarian restaurant where surprise, surprise we were able to order our noon day Coronas and share a very large plate of sandwiches & chips!!

Later it was back to our day room to bath and change before our limo returned to take us to the new airport at Lantau. Then it was back to the luxury of the business class lounge with other fellow Brit passengers to wait for the British Airways 11:30pm flight home. It was a brilliant flight with no turbulence and I slept for nearly eight out of the thirteen hour flight time.

Our friend Peter was waiting for us at Terminal Five Heathrow the next morning at 5am to drive us home…thank you Peter but next time please wear your chauffeurs hat…ha ha.

Before I finally finish this blog I would just like to say how much we’ve appreciated the new Seabourn Club points benefits…we were both lucky enough to be Platinum members for this cruise so were each able to choose 3 benefits. Vance chose the 15% savings on shore excursions (this covered both of us), the signature massage and the weekly complimentary bag of laundry. I chose the 40 minutes complimentary telephone (which meant I could talk to my sister throughout the cruise and could even phone her on her birthday while she was holidaying in Mexico), the signature massage and the weekly complimentary bag of laundry.

Having the complimentary laundry was great…between us we could have had 16 (although we only used 12) bags of complimentary laundry, one each for every 7 days onboard which meant that I didn’t have to spend time in the launderette on board either washing or ironing – the clothes came back beautifully pressed and on hangers.

And as we are now only 11 points short of becoming Diamond members (250 points) the next time we cruise we will get even more benefits…brilliant…

Thanks again to the crew, staff and guests who helped make this such a fabulous cruise and also for the great feedback from my blog followers onboard and around the world.

The blonde on a boat will definitely be cruising and blogging again so if anyone wants to be notified when I start a new blog please send your email address to helen@tigc.co.uk

Bye until next time!!

Techie bits: On the 9th of March 6am we were:
22° north and 114° east
Travelling on a compass course 308°
Speed = 5 knots
Wind speed = 1 knots from north east
Air temperature = 16°c (61°f)
Total nautical miles sailed =16981
Depth = 15 metres
Humidity 66%
Sunrise = 6:37am  Sunset = 6:29pm