Saturday, 26 February 2011

My Shipbuilding...

So being a rather meticulous chap, one of the hobbies that I used to have was model ship building. I'd see a picture of a ship, draw up the plans myself (on a 1:100 scale) and build the ship out of cardboard. No model kits here (other than the helicopters). Just my mind. There are three of these models which I built back in 2002-03. The RMS St. Helena, SA Agulhas, and the SAS Protea. Will there be an M/V Africa Mercy one day? Only time will tell...

My first build (2002) was the RMS St. Helena. For more on this quaint ship, click here.

RMS at anchor off St. Helena.

My RMS at anchor on my bed's duvet cover.

Starboard side view.

Starboard side of my model.

RMS at St. Helena.

Aft view of my model.

Aerial shot.

My second build (late 2002) was the SA Agulhas, the South African National Antarctic Programme's research vessel and ice-breaker. This was a rather crude build and is largely incomplete.

An old picture of the SA Agulhas.

My model of the SA Agulhas.

SA Agulhas docked in Cape Town and displaying it's current colour scheme.

View off the starboard bow.

SA Agulhas also used to carry two South African Airforce Oryx helicopters - modified and specialised Super Pumas for use in Antarctica.

I used a model kit and changed the colours to suit my needs.

Aft, port side of my model.

My third and final model (2003) at present is by far my favourite. The South African Navy's hydrographic survey vessel, SAS (South African Ship) Protea. This was my most meticulous and detail-oriented build to date.

Starboard side of SAS Protea.

Starboard side of my model.

SAS Protea in Simon's Town, looking towards the starboard bow.

Looking towards the starboard bow.

View from the starboard side, aft.

Same view on my model.

Detail of the bridge. Note under the bridge windows the Protea crest of the ship.

In-shore survey motorboat. I made this with matchsticks and toothpicks for the frame and then cardboard cut out and stuck over the frame. Also improvised with folded paper clips for the aerial and railings.

SAS Protea also carries one South African Airforce Allouette helicopter.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Mercy Ships on SA national news...

My sister is in the television business and thus has contacts in the news industry in South Africa. She told them that the Mercy Ship was docking in Cape Town and they sent a film crew down to the Waterfront. The following piece appeared on the news that evening!

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

My Cycling and Mercy Ships...

Last week a piece also appeared in the Cape Argus (Cape Town daily afternoon newspaper) which focused on my cycling and Mercy Ships.

Mercy Ships in Cape Town media...

Over the last few days there have been several articles and photos that, either by chance or on purpose, have cast publicity and awareness to the Africa Mercy and our brief visit in Cape Town - and what Mercy Ships does for the people of West Africa. There was even a news piece that appeared on South African National TV news the day the ship docked in Cape Town. I will try and post this shortly. But for now here are some pictures and brief articles that cast light on Mercy Ships.

The front page of the Cape Times (Cape Town daily morning newspaper) last Tuesday. The Africa Mercy is visible just above and to the left of the "f" in Waterfront.

A clearer shot in the same newspaper. Although the story was about South Africa's number one tourist destination, the V & A Waterfront, being sold, it's still great publicity for Mercy Ships with the website address clearly visible on the ship!

The next day the Africa Mercy had a couple of paragraphs in the shipping news - bottom right of the article.

Saturday, 19 February 2011


Those of you who follow this little blog of mine may be surprised that there have been no posts regarding the ship's departure from Cape Town and the sail to Sierra Leone. And then the next question I need to answer is that yes, the ship did sail late on Valentine's Day and has not been delayed in Cape Town. But I am still here.

You see, being the patriotic South African that I am, I love South Africa. Yet I did not enjoy my time working here. I was tired, stressed, fringing on burning out and when I wasn't in the office I was always thinking about work and the long list of "Things to Do" that needed to be done. This was not healthy for me or for Mercy Ships. I had also lost a little bit of my passion and thus felt the need to distance myself from the ministry to rediscover my love of serving God through Mercy Ships - and to discover how to effectively deal with the pressures of work in a community environment.

And so I decided to take a little breather from Mercy Ships and it just made sense for me to disembark in Cape Town, my hometown. I still remain a long-term crew member with Mercy Ships, but have taken a leave of absence. This was not an easy decision to make, but it was one that needed to be made. And I am thankful that Mercy Ships were gracious enough to grant my request.

That being said, the blogging will continue here in Cape Town, but the posts may be less frequent than usual... I will return to the ship in Sierra Leone in late March, so expect more frequent posting then. Have a blessed week ahead!

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

RMS St. Helena

On our helicopter trip the other day we happened to fly over the RMS (Royal Mail Ship) St. Helena, one of the last Royal Mail Ships in commission, having just returned from the South Atlantic Islands of Tristan Da Cunha and St. Helena.

This small passenger-cargo ship of 6,767 GT (Gross Tonnage) services the Island of St. Helena in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean, and it will forever bear a special place in my heart. The RMS, as she is affectionately known, was the first ship I ever sailed on back in 2002, and it was while sailing on her that my love for the sea and all things maritime was further entrenched. My career with Mercy Ships is thus linked to this little vessel.

I highly recommend a trip to one of the world's forgotten jewels, St. Helena Island, onboard the RMS. For more on the RMS, click here.

AFM from the air!

On Monday I had the privilege to take a helicopter tour over Cape Town - and this meant an opportunity to take some shots of the Africa Mercy from the air.

Cape Town with the Africa Mercy towards the right of shot.

Close-up of the ship alongside the V & A Waterfront berth.

Looking back from above Green Point.

Approaching the harbour from the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town.

Africa Mercy docked next to the cable-layer Chamarel.

Another photo as we come down towards the heliport.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

More arrival in Cape Town pictures... from the shore!

These pictures are thanks to my parents who were watching the ship come into harbour from the shore.

Africa Mercy in Table Bay.

Being guided into the harbour.

Clearing the breakwater.

Passing the Port Control tower and entering Cape Town's harbour.

Backing into the berth.

Lovely photo of the ship with Devil's Peak in the background.

Many crew watch as we come alongside the quay.

Arrival in Cape Town!

It was still early on Sunday morning when the Africa Mercy came within sight of the distant flash of Cape Point's historic lighthouse. We sailed across the entrance of False Bay and then turned a little north by west as we headed along off the rocky coastline of the Cape Peninsula. Photo: Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope.

It was approximately 11am when we entered Table Bay and came to a halt at the Port of Cape Town's pilot station, under the majestic shadow of Table Mountain, where we awaited our pilot's arrival. Shortly thereafter the pilot boat, PB Gannet, came alongside and dropped off our pilot, and soon we were heading to the entrance to the V & A Waterfront's Victoria Basin. Photo: Our pilot approaches under the beautiful Table Mountain.

It was an emotional day for me, having raised the SA flag in the mast as we approached my hometown, and now sailing into the harbour I could see my family and friends waving wildly as the ship approached the berth. We were tied up alongside at about 13h00, and after some immigration formalities, the ship was cleared by 14h00 and crew were free to go and explore the rich beauty and culture of Cape Town. Photo: Hoisting the South African flag in the waters off the Cape Peninsula.

I spent my afternoon giving friends and family tours of the Mercy Ship, which was such a privilege and blessing as I was able to show them my floating home which up until now they have only seen in pictures or read about in words. The day ended having a lovely meal with one of my closest friends and supporters in one of the Waterfront's many restaurants. It was a day I won't often forget. The day the Africa Mercy sailed into Cape Town. Photo: Friends and family welcome the ship to Cape Town.

Enjoy some more pictures from our arrival into the Mother City.

An amazing sunrise as we approached Cape Point.

Cape Point - the very tip of the Cape Peninsula.

My flag flies proudly off my hometown.

Off the rugged, mountainous coastline.

And the City of Cape Town comes into view!

My hometown!

Seals swim in the waters of Table Bay...

... And even leap out of the water!

Our pilot comes onboard.

And the PB Gannet speeds back to port.

God really blessed us with an amazing day to enter Cape Town!

With my friend Estelle, a fellow Capetonian crew member.

The Africa Mercy tied up in the Victoria Basin.