1. Leaving Cape Town

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Mar 7th, 2011
1. Leaving Cape Town

The Ship - 7 March 2011

Candy

Bye Candy!

An unforgettable send-off on a normally mundane Monday: memorable due to the kindness and forbearance of our Cape Town friends. We have left our ageing Jack(Jill) Russel, Candy, with Liz; our green Getz with Bron; some boxes and other items with Lee & Laurianne.

Even the long-suffering Adele at Progressive Business Services in Plumstead has taken custody of a box full of bookkeeping files and business documents.

Laurianne and friend Vee take us and our (too-many) suitcases to the Mount Nelson for a special-treat afternoon tea before we board ship. James has his laptop and is working, right up to the last minute. But the elegant setting of this historic hotel is a most suitable place from which to commence a sea voyage. We order tea and carrot cake, in keeping with a time-honoured tradition. I must say this is all so much nicer than the impersonal, herd ‘em in, security-zone atmosphere of an airport.

Tea and carrot cake at the Mt.Nelson

Finally it is time to get down to the embarkation wharf at CT docks, where we get our first sight of the ship that is to be our home for the next 18 nights. The girls have brought handkerchiefs to wave (in time-honoured tradition).

As we sail out of Cape Town docks on the MSC Melody, we catch sight of Liz who must have left work a little early. She is at the end of the very last harbour wall, waving us off!  We wave back, wondering if she can see us. How did she get there? The docks are an impenetrable maze.

Vee and Laurianne wave fine linen hankies

We find a spot at the aft rail to enjoy the magnificent sight of Table Mountain receding into the distance – feeling for the first time the gentle heave of the sea which is sparkling in the late afternoon light.
But we suddenly find we are alone. The rest of the passengers are donning orange lifejackets and rushing to the muster stations. Are we sinking already? Did we tempt fate a little too well with  our ‘Shipwreck Party’ the night before?

But it turns out to be a practise drill, whew, obviously we were too entranced by the much-anticipated sailing – and the lovely view – to listen to the PA system, which now announces in Italian accented English, that each life jacket has a weasel for getting attenzione as well as a light that weel flash.

We find our cabin – it is small but adequate; evidently not intended for lounging about in, it has a tiny bathroom (with bath) and one small wardrobe. Our too-many suitcases will spend the trip on the sofa. Our porthole is practically welded shut, so the air supply will be via the aircon system for the duration.

We have been assigned a table for dinner, first sitting, which turns out to be at 6pm. I haven’t had dinner at 6pm since I was 6 years old! Still, we reason, the sea air and the activity will soon re-set our appetites. The dining room caters for at least 500. Our table seats 6 but only two others show up – our dinner companions for the next 18 nights are Mr. & Mrs Boring from Somerset West. He is tall and cadaverous and at least 95, with a face 2 foot long. She less aged and bird-boned. They disdainfully pick at 1 of the 7 courses, eye us with smiling disapproval and offer no other conversation after the initial polite greeting. All around us, other tables are full of excited chatter.

The food is plain but tasty and the menu items are many. Because it’s our first night we try just about everything, including the cheese served with marmalade… (no, don’t bother with that combination). But our meal cannot be described as gourmet fare – more like canteen catering. MSC is a large shipping line specialising in container transport; perhaps the cooks are off a container ship?

To our credit we don’t get lost on the way back to our cabin.

2 Comments

  • Vee

    07 Apr 2011
    Reply

    Ha-ha! I love ze weazels. Great pics of our farewell too :-)

  • Connie

    08 Apr 2011
    Reply

    Aaaw – Candy tried SO hard with the specially designed heart-string-pulling youcan’tleavemei’mtoocute Jack Russell look. How COULD you!!

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