Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Departing Cotonou...

Shortly after 10h00 yesterday morning (Tuesday, 8th December) the M/V Africa Mercy departed Cotonou, Benin, bound for Tenerife. I was amazed how swiftly we left the Port. One moment we were docked; the next moment we're sailing along the open seas!

The day of our departure we had an At-Sea lifeboat drill and muster (to ensure that all those sailing with us were indeed onboard) as well as a stowaway search. Shortly thereafter we sailed out of Cotonou's Port, passing the breakwater and the small crowd of waving well-wishers, including the Togo Advance team and a number of our faithful, dedicated day volunteers. They will certainly be missed, and it is the hardworking day volunteers that are often overlooked. They did much to make the ship ready for sailing - and for this we are thankful.

Sailing along the open seas, I slept the afternoon away - the steady rocking motion of the ship really puts me to sleep, like a baby in a crib. This drowsiness is my only symptom of seasickness. I really do enjoy sailing. And then after supper a large contingent of the crew made it out onto the bow from where we watched the sun slowly set beneath the waves. It was the perfect first day at sea.

With that being said we are now sailing a ten-day voyage to Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands. Please continue to pray for safe travels and smooth seas. Thanks and God bless!

Deck department secure the main gangway.

More hardworking deckies on the aft mooring deck.

Tug Cauris stands by.

Pilot boat Emergence awaits our departure.

Cauris takes the strain...

... And our stern is pulled away from the dock!

Crew watch as the Africa Mercy clears the dock.

The now empty berth where we were docked for ten-months.

Passing the breakwater and entering open seas!

The pilot boat approaches us...

... Takes the pilot onboard...

... And speeds back to the harbour!

Leaving the Africa Mercy sailing out on the Atlantic Ocean bound for Tenerife! Farewell Benin... We love you and will miss you!

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