Sunday, 29 April 2012

Lake Togo...

Candace and I were able to get away for a night over the Easter weekend. We headed to Hotel le Lac, on the shores of Lake Togo. Here we had a lovely time relaxing by the pool, paddling on the little paddle boat, and enjoying some quality time spent away from the ship. It was lovely.

Nothing like relaxing by the pool!

 Paddling on the lake.

 Fish traps on the lake.

A close-up of the traps.

 Looking back at the Hotel.

 Lovely plants on the shore.

 A Hobie-Cat boat on the beach.

 Relaxing in the paddle boat.

 Fishing canoes on the lake.

The sun sets over Lake Togo.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Cabin 4321...

Well, as you can no doubt surmise, Candace and I are now back on the Africa Mercy, having returned on the 21st of March. It is good to amongst ship friends again and settled back into our respective roles - myself as the Assistant Purser, and Candace as the Hospital Admissions Team Leader. One of the small things we appreciate about being married on the ship is our lovely couple's cabin - cabin 4321! We've decorated it with photos and little pieces of home, and it is fast-becoming our very own little home!

When we arrived there was a trail of rose petals leading to the bed!

And a big heart on the bed!

On Easter Monday (9th April) we joined in the tradition of Open House and opened up our cabin for the general crew to come and visit. We made lovely treats and had a wonderful evening entertaining our visitors!

Outside our cabin door.

Eats on the desk in our cabin.

Browsing through our wedding album.

Our lovely cabin 4321.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Cruise ships in Lome, Togo...

This last week saw no less than two small cruise ships dock in Lome's port. The first to dock on Thursday (12th April) was the expedition ship National Geographic Explorer, on her voyage from Cape Town to Morocco. And then on Saturday (14th April) the Clipper Odyssey docked in Togo on her West African cruise. It is great to see these smaller vessels docking in West African ports - and bringing revenue to the tourist industry in Togo!

The Explorer from across the harbour.

Close-up of the National Geographic expedition ship.

Clipper Odyssey as seen from the AFM.

And, again, a close-up of this small cruise ship.

Our Official Wedding Photos!

Two weeks after our marriage, and a few days before we left Cape Town, we had our official wedding photos taken on Rondebosch Common. This unspoilt green belt in the heart of Cape Town's Southern Suburbs, is literally a two-minute walk from my house. The Common has always been one of my favourite places to go and walk, and Candace and I enjoyed a number of strolls here during our time in Cape Town. It seemed fitting that our wedding photos should be taken here - and we were very pleased at how they came out! Thanks to my cousin Adrian for the amazing photos!

Table Mountain and Devil's Peak make a beautiful backdrop!

Pine trees are pretty awesome too.

Love the branches in this photo.

You wouldn't guess that we're in the middle of a sprawling city!

Leaping into our future together!

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Back-Blogging # 4: SA Navy Festival

The Navy Festival at Simon's Town, the headquarters of South Africa’s Navy, was held over the weekend of the 16th – 18th March. It is an annual event in Cape Town and I really enjoy going and seeing the navy ships, (the last time I went was back in 2009) and so Candace and I decided to visit the festival this year.

And so on Friday, 16th March, we headed down to Simon's Town. Here we explored the naval base and had some tours of the ships and submarines. There were also tug rides, police dog exercises, and a display of the Navy's Marine Reaction Force. Unfortunately, it was a really rainy day which meant that we got rather wet, but it was still a fun day!

Here are some photos from this lovely day!

SAS (South African Ship) Amatola, one of South Africa's four Valour-class corvettes.

Looking up at the bridge of SAS Amatola from the bow.

Candace on the bow of the Amatola.

We also toured inside the ship and saw its small hospital.

The sick-bay.

The small Operating Theatre.

This is the environmental protection and fisheries patrol vessel Ruth First.

Super-Lynx helicopter onboard a German frigate.

The Indian Navy were also present with their hydrographic survey ship INS Darshak.

Onboard the Darshak - each of the little craft it carries are equipped with echo-sounding equipment to chart the sea-floor.

Marine Reaction Force exercise.

SAS Protea, South Africa's hydrographic survey vessel.

SAS Charlotte Maxeke, one of South Africa's new submarines.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Back-Blogging # 3: Final Days in Cape Town

Our final few days in Cape Town were rather full, including many busy days. We visited many of the tourist sites around the city, including the Waterfront, Cape Point and Chapman's Peak, and hiked Table Mountain. We were also able to visit Simon's Town for the Navy Festival. Each of these days warrant a blog post of their own, but, since I am still a little behind, I will just summarise each day's activity in a small paragraph or two.

Friday 9th March

Today I took Candace, along with my parents, to a provincial day/night cricket game at Sahara Park Newlands - Cape Town's major cricket stadium. It was Candace's first-ever trip to a cricket match and we all had a great time watching the Cape Town side, the Cape Cobras, beat the Highveld Lions (from Johannesburg) in an exciting, tightly-contested T-20 cricket match. It was a great way to relax ahead of the Cycle Tour weekend.

Table Mountain makes a beautiful backdrop for a game of cricket.

Monday 12th March

Candace and I headed off to explore Cape Town itself. We visited the Iziko SA Museum, one of my favourite haunts as a child, with displays ranging from fossils and dinosaurs to the various sea creatures that surround the South African coast. From there we drove down to the V & A Waterfront and relaxed by the harbour. We took a boat trip in Table Bay on a sailing yacht and that was lovely. The day was ended watching a beautiful sunset from Signal Hill.

The yacht Spirit of Victoria sails into Table Bay.

Table Mountain and the harbour behind us.

SA Agulhas, South Africa's soon-to-be-replaced polar research vessel.

Looking down at the Waterfront and the Port of Cape Town from Signal Hill.

Tuesday 13th March

Today we explored the Cape Peninsula, driving down towards the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve. We passed through picturesque seaside villages and had a great seafood lunch at the Salty Seadog in Simon's Town. We then drove down to Cape Point and explored the nature reserve there, forming part of Table Mountain National Park. Here we saw tortoises, various antelope, baboons and ostriches. We had a lovely time, and then, having to be back by 5h30 pm for a Mercy Ships fundraiser, we drove home via the beautiful Chapman's Peak Drive. It was a busy, but lovely day!

At the Cape of Good Hope.

Near Cape Point.

Chapman's Peak Drive.

Thursday 15th March

One of our definite things to do was to climb Table Mountain, the world-famous landmark that rises 1,086 metres (3,563 feet) above the city bowl and surrounding suburbs. And so, with Dad and Flicka, we hiked up Skeleton Gorge (from the Kirstenbosch side) and along the Back Table to the highest point of Maclear's Beacon. We then descended down Platteklip Gorge, on the front side (overlooking the city) of the mountain. When we reached the bottom, my legs were seriously tired! But the hike was definitely worth it to be able to explore the beauty of God's creation while getting some exercise!

King Protea, South Africa's national flower.

The Disa, the provincial flower of the Western Cape.

Dad and Flicka on top of Table Mountain.

Friday 16th March

Today was the Navy Festival and, as this blog is of a nautical theme, I will dedicate the next blog entry on this interesting annual event in Cape Town.

Sunday 18th March

After doing a Mercy Ships presentation at my church in the morning, we had a final family lunch braai at home. It was lovely to relax with my family and enjoy their company, before flying back to West Africa the next Tuesday.