Day 55, Saturday, April 19, At Sea, MS Amsterdam

The Crystal Symphony is in Tianjin (Beijing), China. The Crystal Serenity is at sea from Southampton, England to Bordeaux, France.

The cloudy weather continues with the sun only being really visible for a while through some broken clouds midday. It was another day of mixing my morning walk with laundry. I did not actually finish the walk until nearly 8, first with the laundry room detours and then hanging around the TV. I missed the Captain’s Good Morning Amsterdam interview and saw most of it on TV, but missed one story while brushing my teeth. Finally, about 7:30 I caught up with his tale of a fire on a cargo/passenger vessel off Ascension Island and being adrift for 3 days in open lifeboats in shark infested waters. Fortunately, everybody was fine except for one sailor who broke his leg going from the lifeboat to the Ascension pier.

It was a typically busy morning. Protestant devotions were well attended but there were a few empty seats. The day’s lectures were “Volcanoes of the Caribbean” by Jill Eyers and Tom Goltz on Bartolome de las Casas, a 16th century defender of the native people of the Caribbean. When I returned to my room there was a ribbon and medallion on my bed commemorating my 100th day on HAL.

The highlight of the day was the 3PM Filipino Crew Show. Mostly a showcase of Philippines culture, there was one number that I couldn’t fit into that mold. One of my favorite shows on the Crystal Symphony is Diva starring Karen Grainger. (See entry for March 4). She does impressions of many singers, including “On My Own”, a duet between Patti Labelle and Michael McDonald. As the song goes between parts she turns around, flips her hair into a slightly different style, and raises or lowers her voice to match the singer she is imitating. Beverage attendant Nestor did something very similar with a song “Forever”. His costume had a business suit on one side and a long, red dress on the other, and as he went between parts he brought the appropriate part of the costume to face the audience and went into a falsetto voice if needed. I didn’t see the connection to Philippine culture but he was spectacular and brought the house down. The other special highlight of the show as always was the Tinikling (Bamboo Dance). I arrived a half hour early to snag a (not very good) seat and there were people seated on every available ledge and many standing.

My fellow blogger Pat is on her feet again, but was not at dinner tonight as several of my tablemates were in Canaletto. The evenings entertainment was Irish Soul, the Amsterdam Singers and Dancers only production show this segment. Cruise Director Gene Young came out to introduce the show wearing a large bunny hat. It’s a bit difficult to judge an entertainment team based on a single show but I’ll try. I think my expectations started out quite low since most of my tablemates seem not to like them, and I was just moderately pleasantly surprised. The team consists of 5 singers and 4 dancers. I think the dancers were far better than the 2 female “bookends” from recent R and S class cruises, interacting in ways that they just couldn’t, but Alex and Natasha from the Prinsendam were superb and just a notch above these 4. The singers were fine, but I didn’t relate to them as much as I did on the Prinsendam or the Veendam. Part of that may be that they performed so rarely to avoid repetition on the World Cruise but they just didn’t click with me. Still, I enjoyed the show.

Debby Bacon in the Piano Bar teamed up with her husband Ron on the guitar for tonight’s shows. We gain another hour tonight which I think brings us to Barbados time, with only one more hour to gain in the final week.

Today’s parting shot is a simple one. A blessed Easter to all who celebrate it.

Roy

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Day 54, Friday, April 18, Mindelo, Cape Verde At Sea, MS Amsterdam

The Crystal Symphony is in Dalian, China. The Crystal Serenity is completing her World Cruise in Southampton, England.

While we are in the tropics the trade winds have kept the temperatures very comfortable. This was my second consecutive walk under near complete cloud cover but the sun finally did announce it’s presence around breakfast time.

Our Good Friday devotions in the Hudson Room were standing room only despite a conflict with “Good Morning Amsterdam” in an equally packed Wajang Theater with Gene interviewing Captain Mercer.

At 10 we met the second lecturer to come aboard in Cape Verde. Tom Goltz opened his series with “Columbus: Separating Myth from Fact”. In the afternoon Jill Eyers continued her presentations with a lecture on Volcanos considering the types of volcano and what the dangers are.

I had a pretty quiet afternoon with just Jill Eyers’ lecture on my schedule. At his daily update Captain Mercer reported we had recently passed “Rocky Seamount. While we are generally riding on 3 miles of water this under sea mountain rose to about 600 feet below the surface, quite a formidable undersea mountain. It will be a bit warmer but still mid-70’s F. (mid-20’s C).

At dinner we had cake and champaign in celebration of HAL’s birthday and little bears on our beds afterwards. My fellow blogger is reported to be somewhat improved but still not up to dinner. The evening entertainment was Singer, Pianist, and Raconteur Marty Henne with “I Got Gershwin” featuring songs and stories of the Gershwin Brothers. It was a very good show.

Today’s parting shot comes from a small note in “On Location”. This is the 141st birthday for Holland America. Much has changed in the past 141 years since the “dam” ships carried mostly immigrants and the “dyke” ships carried a mix of people and cargo. While people may lament some of the changes in all those years, most of their competitors from the distant past are relics from the dustbins of history. Going to the “Ann Landers Question”, “are you better off with him/her/it than without” the answer to that question is clear to me. Happy Birthday, Holland America.

Roy

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Day 53, Thursday, April 17, At Sea, MS Amsterdam

The Crystal Symphony is at sea from Shanghai to Dalian, China. The Crystal Serenity is at sea from Lisbon, Portugal to Southampton, England.

Well, if today was Groundhog Day Phil would not have seen his shadow. I actually woke about 4:30 and took care of business online (except I still cannot get into Cruise Critic). It had been very windy when we left Mindelo but the winds are now coming from behind us and our speed is making them feel more manageable. I was out soon enough to finish my walk by 7.

As part of our Holy Thursday devotions communion was served although the service was shortened a bit by the weekly crew drill. Barbara had her talk on Barbados and Castries at 10, and a new lecturer, Jill Eyers, presented “Birth of an Ocean” on the separation of Africa from South America to create the Atlantic Ocean.

The highlight of the afternoon was the Indonesian Crew Show. These shows are usually held late at night and moderately attended but today it was absolutely proven that the Queens Room cannot seat everybody at once. I ended up joining about 3 other people camped out on a little platform at the port wing of the stage. I could see but was looking almost directly sideways at the stage. It was the usual superb show with the Angklung Orchestra playing My Way as well as the usual Spanish Eyes.

All but one of us were present for dinner at table 311. For those who have been on the world cruise from the beginning concerns about packing are taking hold. The evening entertainment was the “Incognito Artists”, 3 singers whose repertoire leaned towards opera.

Tonight’s parting shot is a note of concern for fellow blogger Pat (gowithme). She had back spasms today and was in too much pain to make it to dinner. May healing come your way quickly.

Roy

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Day 52, Wednesday, April 16, Dakar, Senegal Mindelo, Cape Verde

I am currently unable to log into Cruise Critic and my posting there will be delayed.

The Crystal Symphony is in Shanghai, China. The Crystal Serenity is at sea from Lisbon, Portugal to Southampton, England.

Once again I skipped the Lower Promenade Deck but this time my walk took me into central Mindelo, where wifi was working beautifully in a square by the Catholic Church. On the way into town the full moon was very bright, and I passed a statue by the waterfront commemorating an early transatlantic flight. It was well past official sunrise when I shut down my computer but the sun was just peeking above the hills of Sao Vicente. A sweet aroma was wafting by, and a bakery across the street from the square had fresh baguettes. I bought one intended for lunch, but ended up stopping at a local restaurant and the baguette was still a tasty evening snack.

With Fred Olsens Braemar in port the supply of buses was limited, but there was one tour. Volcanic Cape Verde was not very well named. We did see a volcano but only for about a minute as we drove by and it was the least prominent part of the tour. On the way out of town our guide Amanda (with driver Mr. John) explained that Cape Verdes independence day was July 5, 1975. We stopped first on the slopes midway up Mount Verde (the same spot as yesterday). The view was basically the same except that there were now 2 cruise ships in port. We continued past the cutoff to the beach we visited yesterday and this time stopped at Praia Grande Beach, an undeveloped beach with ample sand but strong dangerous currents. The beach is very popular in season for sunbathing but not really appropriate for swimming. At this stop we were offered a taste of the local liquor, nicknamed punch, appropriately for the wallop it delivers.

As we continued around the north end of the island Amanda pointed out the volcanos and stopped while a few people took pictures but we really didnt learn much about their history. Continuing on we saw the islands farm belt. With the extremely dry climate agriculture is a challenge, but a small valley is fertile and does produce useful crops with irrigation. We paused for a while to see the small patches of garden, some quite lush and others out of season. We returned to the Amsterdam about 11:30, swinging past Mindelos local beach, about a 3/4 mile walk from the ship.

I took the shuttle back to town and explored a bit more, also trying the wifi at the same place as this morning and finding the pace glacial. I walked back to the ship, pausing for coffee at a café but making a lunch of it. My final return to the Amsterdam was about 2:30.

A local group, Cape Verde Corda, performed in the Queens Lounge at 3:30, 6 men with various stringed instruments and one female singer. A couple of the guys did some background vocals but they mostly just played their instruments.

The afternoon was very windy. At 4:30 Captain Mercer announced preparations for departure were about complete and we would sail soon. I went up to deck 6 forward for sailaway and by 4:45 we were singled up. I figured we wouldnt stay that way for long with the winds we were facing, and we started backing up within about 2-3 minutes. Once away from the pier, the wind swivelled the stern around and we were making our way out of the harbor.

I watched our departure a longer than I would usually since I had a 6:30 reservation at the Pinnacle Grill. This was my first ever Pinnacle dinner, and the steak was excellent. The evening entertainment was the movie Grudge Match and I passed on it. We do gain an hour tonight as we start our main westward leg. We are actually a little bit North of Barbados and are sailing nearly due West.

As tonights parting shot, I find Cape Verde a bit puzzling. My
first time here (sort of) was in 2005 on my first visit to South Africa. I was on a 19-hour flight from Atlanta to Johannesburg and stopped at Sal Island to refuel. Our guides all referred to Sal Island as Cape Verdes prime tourist destination but I dont think people were even allowed to leave the plane. Those horrible flights were a big part of the reason I ended up on the Amsterdam to conclude this experience. It just seems really strange that there seemed to be neither interest in or opportunity to leave the flight at a tourist destination.

Roy

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Day 51, Tuesday, April 15, Banjul, Gambia Mindelo, Cape Verde

The Crystal Symphony is in Shanghai, China. The Crystal Serenity is in Lisbon, Portugal, the last port call of her world cruise.

For the first time of the cruise my morning did not start out on the lower Promenade Deck. There was a full lunar eclipse and Dan Benedict was doing commentary on the aft Lido Deck. I spent some time there and took my walk on deck 9 where I could keep an eye on the moon’s progress. There were some clouds but the moon was visible until fully blocked in the earth’s shadow, and the moon set before the full eclipse had ended.

The Archipelago country of Cape Verde has 10 islands with 9 populated. San Vicente, where Mindelo sits, is smaller and less populated than Praia’s Santiago Island, but Mindelo has the main harbor and some of Cape Verde’s better facilities. The island is volcanic in origin and quite hilly.

My tour was titled “A stroll through Mindelo”, but we actually spent quite a bit of time on the bus. We rode to the Praca Novel to begin our walk, viewing a couple of statues and continuing to the waterfront with the Cultural Center (not much), the fish market, a replica of Lisbon’s Tower of Belém and a statue of navigator Diego Alfonso. We left the waterfront and stopped at the African Market, the Town Hall, and entered Mindelo’s main church, Nossa Senhora de Luz. Our stroll concluded at the Vegetable market. We left Mindelo and made our way along the slopes of Monte Verde, stopping at about the 1300 foot level for views of Mindelo and of surrounding islands. At that level it was pretty cool and windy. We continued to Baia das Gatas, on the Northwest corner of the island (Mindelo is to the Northeast) where there was a fishing community, a place for refreshments, a sandy beach, and where music festivals are held.

The roads of Sao Vicente are mostly cobblestone, and most of our travels were quite slow and bumpy, but the distances were short. Our final stop was a souvenir shop near the Praca Nova, where I excused myself from the group and tried the wifi in the square (very slow) and enjoyed the walk back to the ship (about a mile).

After lunch I took the shuttle into town and explored a bit more, and returned to the ship for the day about 3:30. In the future cruise talk Sunday I learned the Statendam will not be doing 7-day Alaska cruises in 2015, so before dinner I booked one for August. I expect to combine my Southbound Statendam cruise with a Northbound one on the Radiance of the Seas with just a few days in the Seward area.

With the ship in port overnight, attendance in the dining room was pretty sparse, including just 5 of 10 at my table. While we were eating Fred Olsen’s Bremar joined us in the harbor.

The primary entertainment was a movie in the Queens Lounge, but Debbie Bacon took he piano bar out to the aft Lido deck for the evening. I was a bit surprised that a real piano had been set up out there rather than the electronic keyboard I was expecting. Her theme tonight was pairs of songs, such as “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” with the theme from “Titanic”.

Fatigue pretty well caught up with me today and I found myself napping at my computer after dinner and I’d planned to skip the parting but changed my mind overnight. Our 2 lecturers left us in Cape Verde. I had found Dan Benedict’s presentations pretty boring and could easily have been unimpressed. What did impress me was his passion and willingness to meet people on deck virtually every night. For his final day, the lunar eclipse was awesome, and I’d never have known if he hadn’t brought it to our attention. Dan, you really left on a high note.

Roy

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Day 50, Monday, April 14, At Sea, MS Amsterdam Praia, Cape Verde

The Crystal Symphony is in Shanghai, China. The Crystal Serenity is at sea from Agadir, Morocco to Lisbon, Portual.

It was a windy and cloudy morning but not quite enough to interfere with my walk. The rising sun found just a small slit to make itself known but was on display most of the day.

There are 10 Cape Verde islands but the capitol is on Santiago Island at Praia. It was discovered by the Portugese in the closing years of the 15th century and was a colony of Portugal until the 1960’s. Today it is run by a Prime Minister and President elected every 5 years. Praia is a port call that was only settled after our plans for West Africa were cancelled and the staff was scrambling to gather information about the island. We had been told that tourist infrastructure in Praia was very limited and our guide told us that the chief economic activity here was tourism. That is not a healthy combination, although the facilities are not as limited as we expected. With the volcanic soil, an extremely dry climate, agriculture is also very limited, and the unemployment rate is high. China is investing very heavily in Cape Verde, and being rewarded with access to fishing grounds (and perhaps some other ways the guide didn’t mention).

I had a morning tour that visited the city center and got out to some of the earliest settlements. The city center was less than a mile away but across the water and a 20-minute bus ride along the shore. We stepped inside the Cathedral (this is a predominantly Roman Catholic country), and looked at the supreme court, the market, and the Governor’s Palace (home of the Governor when Portugal ruled the island), and the statue of discoverer Diego Gomez. The Governor’s Palace is undergoing major work, financed by China and with plans on display in Portugese and Chinese.

It was another 20-minute drive to Cidade Velha (Old Town) where the island was first settled in the 1490’s. The community was a thriving center of commerce in the days of slave trading but became a center of attacks by pirates and the town was largely abandoned and activity moved to Praia. It is now a UNESCO world Heritage site and slowly undergoing restoration. We started at the Fortress of San Felipe which had commanding views down onto the town and the harbor. Once at the town proper (at sea level) we toured Rue Banana with old houses in various stages of restoration and went inside the Our Lady of the Rosary Church, said to be the oldest church in the colonial world. Returning to the waterfront we saw the pillory, where man’s brutality to man took place in the slave trading days, and had a bit of free time at the waterfront where there were a number of cafes. We returned to the ship about 1PM.

After lunch I took the shuttle into town and used the free (but not very good) wifi in the square and had a nice view of the ship across the water. On returning I found the exact location of my room on the ship. Departure was listed as 5PM, but we were ready to leave a little before that for an easy sail out of the harbor.

We had a nearly full table tonight, missing just one member who was at a Seder dinner presented in the lido.

Tonight’s entertainment was encore shows by magician Dan Horn and singer Neil Lockwood. I was a bit tired and skipped both.

As today’s parting shot it had almost escaped me that April 15 is tax day in the US. Once a procrastinator, being away has given me the incentive to get that task completed early.

Roy

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Day 49, Palm Sunday, April 13, Crossing the Equator At Sea, MS Amsterdam, Formal

The Crystal Symphony is at sea from Xiamen, China to Shanghai, China. The Crystal Serenity is in Agadir, Morocco.

Update on Saturday night: I did not get to Jeff Peterson’s show but did see Andy Bunger’s “Classic Rock. It was his interpretation of many classical pieces, mostly on percussion and opening with one of my favorites, Bach’s Toccata in D Minor. I thought it was one of the best shows of the cruise. Singo continued in the piano bar until virtually everybody had completed their cards. I was one of the last, filling all but 7 of the numbers before getting a line; number 36 would have completed all my rows, down, across and diagonally at once, but that turned out not to be my final number.

My Saturday internet experience was very poor, and I went on line first thing Sunday morning, delaying the end of my walk until just after 7:30. It was cloudy around the horizon but the rising sun did find a small space to shine through.

At the Palm Sunday service Pastor Don confirmed that he and Father Bob have agreed on a sunrise Easter service, on the Lido Deck aft, conditions permitting.

Both of our current lecturers are leaving us in Cape Verde. John Palmisano’s final presentation was “The Magnificent Seven”, highlighting the special biological features of each of the world’s great sea regions. In the afternoon Dan Benedict spoke of the Travelers Century Club and their rules for getting to what they recognize as 321 “countries” (While they claim some rules they go by I don’t recognize the US, Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, and Prince Edward Island all as separate “countries”. He compared that list to the destinations Holland America in general and this World Cruise have visited. He will do a final skywatch program the morning we arrive in Mindelo as a lunar eclipse is expected. The Future Cruise Consultants also put on a program of 2014 and 2015 future plans. I finished my day’s activities off with tea in the Crows Nest. It is a lovely location; I wish it were big enough for the number of people who come to the special (e.g. cupcake) teas.

It sounds like most formal nights on the Amsterdam World Cruise are theme nights with special decorations in the dining room. That was missing, but when I looked at the original program the theme was supposed to be the Equator Crossing which actually happened a couple of days ago. Sans decorations, we enjoyed seeing each other across the table. Most of us had the Alaskan King Crab while I went for the Chicken Kiev. After dinner Rifqi and Heri had left a lovely ceramic plate on the bed.

The evening entertainment was vocalist Karl Morgan, a young Welsh chap who did mostly songs from the 50’s. As today’s parting shot, I don’t see a lot of news but I did enjoy looking at North American temperatures. Welcome Spring.

Roy

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Day 48, Saturday, April 12, At Sea, MS Amsterdam

The Crystal Symphony is in Xiamen, China. The Crystal Serenity is at sea from Dakar, Senegal to Agadir, Morocco.

It’s been a frustrating day. I did stay up to watch our equator crossing, which happened at 11:38PM and tried one of the things covered in the computer speedup class. I ran the disk checker on my netbook, and the computer has been essentially useless since. I was able to get into safe mode and copy my user files to a thumb drive but nothing else is working. The one thing I was unable to recover was my email list for these reports, so if somebody is getting them and doesn’t want them, please let me know.

I actually got up a little before 5 but my morning walk was extended another half hour between running a load of laundry and fighting with the netbook. It was a cloudy morning and I never actually saw the sun until a half hour past sunrise, and there were periods of rain through the day.

There is a Dentist on board and he helps out as the accompanist at the Protestant devotions. There are crew drills at 9:30 Saturday mornings, and today we started the closing hymn with Dr. Joe at the keyboard but finished acapella.

There was a typical sea day lecture schedule with Barbara’s port talk on Cape Verde at 10, Dan Benedict on “Southern Constellations of Lacaille” at 11, and John Palmisano on “Across the North Atlantic” at 2. I attended Barbara’s talk but was distracted by computer issues during the other two.

Afternoon tea on the World Cruise has been mostly in the Crow’s Nest, but today’s Cupcake Tea was in the dining room with a superb assortment of goodies.

There’s an entertainment double bill with Magician Jeff Peterson and Multi-Instrumentalist Andy Bunger, plus Debby Bacon is doing another round of “Singo” in the piano lounge. I will likely try to post and turn in early.

As today’s parting shot we have both Passover and Palm Sunday coming up. Here’s a wish for a great holiday for those who celebrate either.

Roy

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Day 47, Friday, April 11, Georgetown, Ascension Island Crossing the Equator, MS Amsterdam

The Crystal Symphony is at sea from Hong Kong to Xiamen, China. The Crystal Serenity is at sea from Dakar, Senegal to Agadir, Morocco.

As we have left Ascension behind and are headed for Cape Verde, we are on a more northerly course and today the sun came up straight out on our starboard side; near 6AM as we gained an hour overnight.

For the most part it was a pretty relaxed day at sea. After 9AM devotions with Pastor Don there was a 10AM Shore Excursion presentation and an afternoon presentation by Dan Benedict on “New Southern Constellations of Pianclus”. I also attended a session on speeding up Windows computers. There were some good reminders, but nothing really new.

The highlight of the day was the 11AM Equator Crossing Ceremony at the midship pool. About 10 “pollywogs” (crew members crossing
for the first time) were assembled in a small cage. The senior officers were seated at the head of the pool, and King Neptune summoned the pollywogs up in groups of about 2-4, representing various departments. Each pollywog was accused of a “crime”, forced to kiss a huge fish, covered in slime, and then the jury produced a verdict, sink or stink. For “thumbs down” the pollywogs were dumped in the pool, for thumbs up they were sent to the opposite end of the pool from the officers to stew in their mess. It was a bit different from other ceremonies I’ve seen but a lot of fun. In his midday update the Captain said we will actually cross the Equator about 11PM.

The theme continued with dinner as the dining room was decorated with clusters of fish balloons, and the waiters were dressed as pirates. Two of my tablemates were away in the Pinnacle, but we had 2 temporary guests at the table.

There was just a single show in the Queens Room, the Motown Divas at 7:15, with a “Rock the Boat” party at 9:30 in the Crows Nest featuring the Amsterdam Singers. As I write this it hasn’t yet happened but I hope to stop by.

I discovered my “cheat sheet” from yesterday’s Ascension circumnavigation. The island where birds nested during the height of the feral cat invasion was Boatswain Island, and the runway is Wide Awake airfield. I am adding pictures to today’s blog post for Whitehorse Peak, Whale Point, and Devils Ashpit.

Today’s parting shot: Congratulations to our new shellbacks, and thank you for being good sports.

Roy

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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.

Roy

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