Monday, March 20, 2017

More Fun & Family in Cape Town

Dennis & Don hamming it up with the Great Men of SA!
Now that we are going to be in one place for a while, we can live like others do on land: shop, sightsee, visit friends, meet family, dine out, go to events, etc. All the things we can not do at sea! It is also time to say goodbye to Don, our crew, who has sailed with us for 3.5 months! Imagine putting up with me in a small space for so long!                                                                    

Photo taken by Don on his last night with us.
Don was a great asset to our Indian Ocean crossing. Besides being a good sailor, he was very entertaining. I have never known anyone who has a memory like his. He can break into a song or recitation from books or movies or childhood with the mere mention of a word. What fun! We will miss him and hope to see him when we visit the British Isles.

Thanks, Don, it was a great trip. And the Indian Ocean did not live up to its image except for a couple of times. Thank goodness!

Dining out with Don was always fun.
We had a lot of dock parties! Well, it is five o'clock here every day! I think I have had more to drink since joining this WARC fleet than I have had in my whole life! But getting together at the end of the day to share adventures, places to see and eat, etc. is a great part of cruising. Someone in this group is always suggesting something to do. Never a dull moment - we have enough of those at sea on long passages!

Love the gals on this WARC. So much fun.

The WARC Dancing Girls in the front dancing at the
Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden concert.

Cape Town continued to give us beautiful evenings every night. Perfect weather and perfect temperature for sleeping. Often in harbor it is very still and warm or hot! We even had to pull out sweaters and fleeces a couple of times.

Dennis' brother Joe and his wife Barbara arrived in Cape Town to join us for our safari. They had joined us in Tahiti for our sail to Morea and Bora Bora back in French Polynesia.
They stayed in the One & Only Hotel just steps away from our dock. That made it very convenient for all. They all love raw seafood and enjoyed it in several places. I can hardly stand to look at it, let alone watch them eat those slithery, slimy things! I guess I leave more for them.

Dennis' favorite snack: raw oysters! YUCK!

There are always new things to see here. The town is alive and active day and night. Security is good as there are police everywhere. And, of course, like any city, you don't walk in isolated areas at night.

We walked by the dry dock where they were working on a ship. It really shows how big those freighters are and why you don't stand a chance if you get in their way. Since we passed it every day, we could see the progress on the painting project. I am glad we are paying for that bottom paint!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Cape Town Capers

Groups of performers were everywhere.
There was so much to do in the Cape Town area and especially at the V & A Waterfront. Dining out is always a highlight after a passage. The Galley Slave needs a break! Plus I like to sample the local cuisine and try the flavorings. I have been buying spices in each country so I can try to cook some interesting meals when we are back on land. As we have learned, meat is big in South Africa and they have some wonderful seasonings.

Many were solo performers. Very talented people.
Since we were in Cape Town for all of December into early January, we took our time exploring different parts of the region. Of course, the modern Waterfront is the most popular area in town with its shopping malls and restaurants. There was an outdoor amphitheater where non-stop entertainment took place. There were musical groups playing and singing on many corners – all with their donation baskets on the ground. And many had CDs to sell.

The Water Shed is a building in that area that hosts small boutique shops, many of which sell locally made artworks, home décor, clothing and accessories. There were many things to buy, but the lack of storage space kept this Shopperette under control. I did pick up some locally made beaded jewelry.

The Waterfront Mall was huge!
There were a couple of shopping areas at the Waterfront: The Water Shed, The Victoria and Alfred Mall and the Waterfront Mall. Great provision at Woolworths and Pick and Pay. We pushed the carts filled to the brim through the town and across the bridge to the marina! I found several dresses and some jewelry to bring back with me. I even found a place to get a halfway decent hair cut! Hopefully, Felicia won't have too much trouble reshaping this one.

Fun and creative things here. How about
this one for my dress for Nick's wedding?
Dennis and I spent a lovely day in the central city area where we browsed the native stalls at Green Market Square. During a great lunch on the sidewalk of a café, we watched many dancers and street performers show off their talent and collect what they could from the audience. There must have been a rule of some type that kept the groups moving in order as they seemed to have a set amount of time they could occupy the space before the next group arrived.

A lovely Christmas tree, but no snow!
We bought some art, jewelry and other items as we like to leave a little currency with the locals rather than buying in the stores. And the locals want you to bargain with them so Dennis had a little fun with it. I hate to bicker over the price so I leave it up to him. And usually the price is fair to me before the bargaining begins.

I was looking for African beads so I can make some one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry when I get home. One bead store had so many beads it was almost nauseating just trying to find what I wanted. But, of course, I did! I found some real treasures. I could have bought a lot more, but … Actually, I found the best authentic African bead shop in The Water Shed. These will make very special pieces!

In the city center, we found many areas where locals had stalls and were selling paintings, clothing, jewelry and stuff! Each one claimed that he or she was the artist or that a family member was. However, we noticed the same identical stuff in 30 other stalls. Hummm!

Recycled telephone wire baskets!

The city area also was filled with entertainers looking for a donation. We saw dance troupes of small children to old men playing an instrument. Everyone was looking for a way to make a dime. While entertaining, it was a bit sad.

This WARC fleet is wonderful at creating our own group events. We have Brits, Aussies, Americans, Norwegians, Swedes, Finns, South Africans, Canadians, Scot and Irish in the fleet so we have a great mix of ideas, traditions, foods, music, etc. Priceless!

We went to concerts in the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, had a dinner in the nearby "township" with traditional homemade food, including Maldapoeding (Marshmellow Pudding which does not contain marshmallows!).

The woman who owned the restaurant shared her story of how it started and how they turned their house into the restaurant. Very inspirational and very good food. We were greeted with music from traditional instruments and after dinner we were invited to play the instruments and dance. Of course, dance! This is the most dancing group I have ever met. They even dance on the docks while singing! What fun!

Martin on Caduceus brought out the pipes
to welcome in the new year. Thanks, M.
Happy New Year 2017

Of course, the highlight of our group activities was the New Year's Eve Party on the dock. It started early and went late - very late, so I am told.

It began when Martin, the Scot on Caduceus, came marching down the pontoon in full kilt attire playing the bagpipes. The crowds of people on the apartment balconies along the marina enjoyed the festivities from afar. I think we were their entertainment for the daylight hours of NYE.

Everyone brought food and drink, hugs and kisses and a good time was had by all. It was amazing how everyone scurried around to create makeshift tables and decorated the area. Of course, the food had a very continental flare as everyone brought something. I found it interesting that when I said we would bring a large spread of cheese and crackers, the Brits thought of it as dessert. They were surprised to see that it all disappeared as appetizers just as I had planned! Continental differences. Salad before or after your main course???

We started around 1800 hr and I have no idea when it ended. We surrendered at 1 AM on January 1, 2017. John, Ann and Johnnie Walton joined us as John was there to crew with Trillium on the next leg.

Ann, Johnnie and John Walton from Grosse Pointe!
We met this fine sailor a number of years ago in church!
The party started on the dock, then people wandered over to the Waterfront to check out all of the entertainment as it is a family event there. Just before midnight we all seemed to convene again on the dock. At stroke of midnight, there was a fabulous fireworks display over the harbor. The next day was pretty quiet on all of the boats. People started surfacing mid-afternoon!

Happy New Year: Ringing in 2017

Friday, March 10, 2017

The Iconic Table Mountain

We had a closer as we approach the harbor.
The day after we arrived in Cape Town, the weather was perfect for a trip up to the top of Table Mountain. There wasn't a cloud in the sky and the sun was shining without it being terribly hot. It looked like a great opportunity to take in this tourist attraction.

The first thing you see is a cable car coming down.
Then you board one to head up to the top.
World ARC friends who had already been up to the top suggested that we take a taxi at 5 PM and go up for sunset. It was a great idea so we packed a bottle of wine and some glasses, donned our windbreakers, and headed off to see the iconic Table Mountain.
We took a taxi and he was able to drop us off right near the ticket window so we didn't have to walk up that steep hill. Elizabeth from Caduceus came with us as Martin doesn't like heights. It was definitely a good decision on his part. It is high in the sky!

Most of the city harbor area was built on reclaimed land.

Looking east from the top.

Looking west.

The snack bar at the top.

Back down the hill.

Elizabeth from S/Y Caduceus joined us.

At different times, clouds rolled through the area.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Cape Town At Last!

The sun was rising as we started our turn
toward the north at the Cape of Good Hope.
Cape Town, here we come! It has been several years in the planning to arrive in Cape Town, South Africa for the Christmas Holidays. At one point, we even though about having the whole family join us for a safari. NOT! Two factors: 1) most safaris don't like little children as they can be "bait" for the wild animals; 2) it was going to cost about $80,000! Whoa!

Our time in Cape Town would be about seven weeks, but two of those will be spent in safari camps with just the two of us - no kiddos. Again we would not be with family for the holidays, but we were planning a most memorable safari to make up for it.

Our first view of the iconic Table Mountain. It is that really
flat area at about 11 o'clock above the middle stantion.

Of course, the World ARC family always makes the holidays away from home a little nicer. This particular WARC fleet is very close-knit and welcoming. We were embraced as soon as we joined them in Mackay, AU. We have participated in three different WARC fleets over the past three years and they all have a unique personality.

A view of the Cape Town Harbor
The WARC fleet will all be berthed in the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront Marina, known as the V&A. And we will all be on one floating pontoon. That will make it easier to connect with others and plan our on-dock New Year's Eve party. The word is there will be fireworks over the harbor at midnight!

The location is perfect as we are right in the heart of the tourist area and there is a lot going on all of the time. And it is really active with the Christmas and New Year's Eve events. It will be fun!

We can see the big ferris wheel from the dock and hear lots of music coming across the water. There are many restaurants and shops in the area so this will be a great place to be for a lengthy stay. And best of all, it is all within walking distance and English is the language! Slightly different accents, but it is understandable.

We had to pass through two pedestrian drawbridges to
get to the berthing area in the V & A Marina.
The location is also ideal because Dennis' brother and sister-in-law are coming to Cape Town to join us for part of the safari adventure. They had been with us back in Tahiti several years ago. They will be staying at the One and Only Hotel next to the marina. How convenient! Thanks to our great travel agent, Beth at Travel World in Grosse Pointe!

Here we are coming around the Cape of Good Hope!
I never dreamed of this! Thanks, Dennis, my Dreamer.

We were next to the lovely One and Only Hotel.