Day 46, Thursday, April 10, At Sea Scenic cruising, Ascension Island

The Crystal Symphony is in Hong Kong. The Crystal Serenity is in Dakar, Senegal.

The morning was on the cloudy side. There was a lovely tint to the sky about 40 minutes before sunrise but the sun’s appearance only showed through a small slit.

The morning shipwide was fairly quiet with only the morning devotions on my schedule among general events. The other thing was the Cruise Critic Meet and Greet at 10 in the Crow’s Nest, just as Ascension was becoming clear ahead of us. We had a large attendance of Cruise Critic members and organizer Mary Ann, Cruise Director Gene, and Hotel Manager Henk gave short speeches.

Ascension is a very remote outpost in the South Atlantic with a population of about 1000, none permanent. Most are contract workers from St. Helena, but there are also RAF and some American military people. It is a major center for communications relays.

We arrived at our anchorage just before noon. Tender tickets were due to be given out at 11:30; I think they must have started well before that as I was given number 28 (starting at 11). At 12:15 Captain Mercer announced that the swells were worse than in St. Helena and that we would not be able to go ashore. Some residents came aboard on a local boat and most set up shop in the Atrium while a few naturalists made a presentation in the Queens Lounge. While the vendors did a brisk business our sail around the island took about 2 hours with Barbara in the Crow’s Nest DJ booth giving commentary. It was very windy, the sun was very bright, and it got hot, but the views were well worth the effort.

Unfortunately, the card where I wrote down what my photos were dropped out of my pocket, so I effectively lost many of my photographs. Here’s what I do remember:

While some people took what I thought were undue risks for that perfect photo vantage, we started our circle at Georgetown, and soon went by a set of antennas used by the BBC and a wind farm. A small, steep, rock island was a sea bird nesting area used quite intensively when Ascension was overrun with feral cats (that population has been brought under control and the bird nesting areas are rebounding). We passed some rocks jutting out of the ocean shoreside like giant teeth and then the airfield used mostly by the RAF but also by American Forces with a weekly flight from Florida. As we made our way back to Georgetown we got a good view of Green Mountain. The swells seemed to have worsened during our time around the island and there was some difficulty getting a boat out to return the locals to the island, but eventually one did make it. The crew set up a “bucket brigade” to transfer unsold merchandise back to the transfer boat. We stowed the tender platform and with a blast of the horn were off about 4:30.

With my tablemates often absent I have been moved to a new table, a 10-top with quite a lively crowd including Esri from Cruise Critic. It is a mix of solos and couples, and people on the full cruise and segmenters. It looks like a fun table. Freman and Joseph are still my dining stewards. We were treated to free drinks as consolation for not getting ashore (hardly the crew’s fault).

The evening entertainment was ventriloquist Dan Horn along with a dog and his partners Gladys and Orson. After the show Cruise Director Gene Young came out dressed as a pirate to highlight tomorrow’s equator crossing ceremony. We also gain another hour tonight on our way to Cape Verde.

Today’s parting shot is a continuation of that from 2 days ago, congratulations to UConn for the National Women’s Championship.


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