Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Ocean Princess...

Last week another cruise ship, the Ocean Princess, docked in Lome, bringing many tourists from around the globe to invest in Togo's economy. She was sailing on her voyage from Cape Town to Dover, England. Tim and I walked over to their ship to invite their Captain and other interested passengers to a tour of our ship, but they unfortunately were working on a tight schedule and politely declined our offer.

This is the third cruise or expedition ship to dock here in the last six weeks or so, and certainly the largest. I know of only one cruise ship docking during our time here in 2010, the Seven Seas Voyager. Whether this increase in traffic is as a result of piracy along the Horn of Africa, I don't know, but I do know that these ships are certainly welcome here in Togo!

 The ship's sleek-looking funnel.

 The port side of the ship.

The aft of the vessel.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Liberia reunion...

One of the many good things about serving with Mercy Ships is that with the high staff turnover you always have crew members coming back to serve... I call them frequent offenders. Well, this last week a couple of old friends who return almost every year came back to the ship. These friendships were forged back in Liberia, 2008, and so we decided to have a little reunion for our friendship group. It was a great opportunity to go out for a lovely dinner and reminisce about old times.

Good People + Good Food = Good Times!

AFM vs Ministry of Health...

The Africa Mercy crew soccer team had the opportunity of playing a team representing Togo's Ministry of Health this past Sunday (13th May). Candace and I took a vehicle and joined the other 70-plus crew members who went to watch this game. The match was played at the Sports Complex near the port, which I had last visited in 2010. It was a great afternoon with a lovely atmosphere, but unfortunately the Mercy Ships team ended up losing the match 2-1.

Here are some more photos from the game!

 The teams meet each other. Mercy Ships in blue.

 Team photo.

 Team huddle.

The game gets underway!

The wind was really strong!

Another view of the action.

Mercy Ships attack from a corner-kick.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Africa Mercy International Film Festival 2012...

The 5th annual Africa Mercy International Film Festival - also called the Valletta Awards in previous years - happened this last weekend. As in previous years, crew members dressed up and enjoyed watching the acting, singing and dancing talents of our multicultural crew. It was an evening that provided plenty of laughter and entertainment, followed by a wonderful spread of finger food in the Town Square area of the ship.

For last year's film festival, click here

 With Candace at the film festival.

Waiting for the film festival to start.

Looking down at Town Square after the event.

The Best Film award went to "On A Mercy Ship", a music video that parodies ship life.

Monday, 14 May 2012

HSV-2 "Swift"

One of the US Navy's Military Sealift Command vessels, HSV-2 Swift (HSV = High Speed Vessel), docked in Togo over the weekend. She berthed directly behind the Africa Mercy and crew members had a lovely view of this sleek and super-cool ship as she entered the harbour. The Togo Navy were patrolling the waters of the port and there was even a US turboprop aeroplane providing aerial reconnaissance overhead. It was a very interesting afternoon as we watched our new neighbour come alongside the quay!

The HSV-2 Swift is no stranger to Mercy Ships. Back in 2008 this vessel docked in Monrovia and we had a cocktail party onboard. More on that here.

 Mercy Ships crew watch the Swift approach the dock.

 The small plane patrolling overhead.

 Swift moving towards the berth.

 Seriously cool-looking ship!

 Interesting little tank-boat passes our ship.

 The Bridge of the Swift.

Safely docked!

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Academy Creative Arts Fair...

Last Wednesday was the Academy's Creative Arts Fair, where the whole ship is invited to view the different art projects that the Academy children are doing. From music to painting and a whole lot in between too, it was a lovely evening spent investigating the talents and gifts with which God has blessed our school children!

 Castle display.

Sunflowers and butterflies.

Depictions of the AFM by some of the younger students.

 Radiating designs.


Diorama depicting a book that the students had read.

Another diorama.

Lovely paintings.

 More beautiful wildlife paintings.

One of the hallways outside the Academy.

A tour of Lome's harbour...

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to join one of our lifeboats during lifeboat training. The deck crew lowered the boat into the water and we then sped off across the waves and explored some of the Port Autonome de Lome. This port is a lot bigger than I originally thought, and there were many interesting canoes, boats, tugs and ships moored in the calm waters.

Here are some photos from our tour of Lome's harbour!

The lifeboats are ready to be launched!

Looking back at the falls and davits.

The hardworking tugs of Lome's port.

National Geographic Explorer was in port this day.

Another view of the Explorer.

Container cranes.

A small fleet of tugs moored in the harbour.

Looking towards the fishing village - and a semi-sunken canoe.

The tanker dock.

There is much work being done as the port is expanded.

 AFM at left and Explorer at right.

 Small cargo ship berthed in the port.

 Another small cargo vessel in the harbour.

Our lovely floating hospital!