Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Christmas and New Year's on Tenerife...

I must first say a very, rather belated, happy Christmas to you all! I hope you had a wonderful day! My Christmas on the ship was really special. I was surrounded by good friends at all times, and there were always activities to do. We had a Christmas eve dinner followed by our Christmas service. On Christmas day we had a lovely brunch followed by an afternoon of relaxation and fun. And then on Boxing Day I went into town and spent time browsing and relaxing, and also got my caricature painted!

We are now in Santa Cruz, Tenerife, berthed in a very picturesque port. However, not as picturesque as the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town, I must add. But that's my personal bias coming through! Santa Cruz is a large town nestled between hills that slope down to the sea. There are many tourist attractions here, as well as good restaurants in which one can dine. I have done the tourist thing while I've been here. Last Friday (28th December) I went down to the south of Tenerife where I kayaked on the open sea! It was an amazing experience, one that I'll cherish for the rest of my life. And then on the following day I joined a group of Mercy Shippers in hiking in the centre of the island, and then driving through to the base of the volcano. It was really strange, driving through different, changing vegetation as we got higher and higher. And as we got higher, it got colder, and soon small patches of snow were visible alongside the road. By the time we reached the base, the view had altered to a barren lunar-like landscape. The base of the volcano is at 2,300 metres above sea-level. Easily the highest I've ever been in my life... with the exception of flying, of course! The peak itself is nearly 3,800 metres. So it is very high and very cold. We didn't have time to take the cableway to the top, but spent some time admiring the scenery. The picture above is of the peak of Tenerife's volcano.

Yesterday we had some excitement with the arrival of the brand-new Cunard liner, "Queen Victoria". She is on her maiden voyage and stands 16 decks high and is a gross tonnage of over 90-000 tonnes. The "Africa Mercy" is only 16-000 tonnes in comparison! Of course this brought much excitement for me as it was a fellow Cunard liner, the "Carpathia", that rescued the survivors of the "Titanic" back in April 1912. Yesterday was also New Year's Eve and we had a winter ball followed by a time of praise and prayer and then watched the fireworks from Deck 8. The fireworks display was amazing. At midnight all the ships in the harbour started blowing their horns continuously for between ten and twenty minutes. It was quite a sight (and sound!). We were blowing our horn and then the other ships would answer us by doing the same. And while this was going on fireworks were lighting the night sky. It was so amazing!

I then joined a group of us and we walked in to town and bought hamburgers, before coming back to the ship by around 02h10. And now I'm working the day shift from 7h00 until 15h00. It'll be a long day.

1 comment:

Will said...

Hey Murray, it's good reading about all your adventures and awesome experiences!! keep well - Will