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Archive for May, 2012

Looking up at the MSC Melody from the dock.

So, finally! Here are some pictures from our incredible cruise to Namibia. During our time on board, I felt very much like a socialite, meeting interesting new people, spending quiet moments with my husband, doing lunches and suppers with my mom-in-law and her boyfriend, and finally, getting some much needed R&R.

My wonderful father, since his officers are in the harbour, drove all the way down to the far pier to wave me goodbye (the crew had stopped letting people go ashore after we checked in, so I never got a chance to give him a goodbye hug), but waving madlyย to him as the ship took us further from shore, was very special, and a couple of kind gents even gave me a bit of a boost so I could properly see him and be seen (thank you amazing strangers, I got to have a Marilyn Monroe-esque moment)!

Leaving Cape Town Harbour

How would I describe the cruise? Well, in a word, an all-in-one first-class hotel and entertainment venue on water!

Our first day was one of exploration. After our check-in and finding our cabin, we grabbed our lifejackets, poured some coffee, and then hunkered down in our mess hall ย to chat as we awaited the lifeboat drillย (2 floors up from our cabin, with steep, steep stairs – it was a great glutes and thigh tone!). We arrived as the waiters cleared away the lunch buffet and removed the silver chaffing dishes (yes, I waitressed and know their name from numerous times I had to haul them out filled with food, and clear them away back in my days in America). The wait staff removing them was slightly regrettable, as it was an already warm day, so the boiling water below which heated the food filled the air with steam and added to the indoor humidity. After the drill, we could take our ease, which we did.

Every indoors waiting for the life boat drill to begin

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As our days were filled with sunshine, we spent time participating in games, drinking jewel-coloured cocktails, and I even got to spend 2 – 3 hours a day lazing on the sundeck with a book (bliss!). Surprisingly, I have learnt that despite a healthy childhood on the boats in the harbour, seasickness can strike without warning when out on the ocean. Don’t worry, it wasn’t the gross up-heaving ย your probably imagining, thank goodness! It was more of a bone-deep tiredness that suddenly struck after I decided to skip a day of seasickness pills. In hindsight, that was stupid, but on the other hand, I adjusted fairly well after a long nap in our cosy cabin! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I also got to enjoy a soothing Balinese massage by a wonderful therapist. She only gets to visit her family and children once a year, the rest of the time she’s a beauty therapist on MSC. She regaled me with stories of her homeland, and I have added Bali onto my list of destinations that I hope to one day explore.

Alright, enough blathering on about our time on board, and onto the pictures!

Our endless hallway

The above hallway was one of many, and they all seemed endless.

Passengers lazing about on deck.

Passengers relaxing on the sun deck. I became one of them shortly after this photograph was taken.

Hubby in front of the giant swimming pool that was soon filled with adults and children enjoying the warm water.

Passengers relaxing on deck.

This was taken on our second day aboard, and in that short time span, everyone seemed to had found a little niche to relax and socialise in.

Friendly waiter in one of the numerous dining rooms - this was the more formal lunch room.

One of the lovely lunch-time waiters in the more formal dining room.

Orchid center piece.

The formal lunch dining room had beautiful orchid center pieces (one of my top 3 favourite flowers).

Churning water. You can laugh if you want, but it was mesmerising!

The more informal lunch dining area, indoor pool (out of sight on the left), and one the far end, a cocktail bar known as muster station B. ๐Ÿ™‚

The Casino

The casino was always busy throughout the day and most of the night. I won a goodly amount on the slot machines which almost entirely covered my massage! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks to my Granny Loraine who gave me advice about casinos long ago. She said only play with what you bring in, and don’t spend any of your winnings. It’s a rule I’ve stuck to on the few odd times I’ve gambled, and amazingly, almost always walked out with more then I came in with!

Seagulls as we near Walvis Bay.

There were some seagulls floating out at sea as we neared to Walvis Bay.

Entering Walvis Harbor

Heading into Walvis Bay.

Hubby finishing his coffee.

Awesome hubby finishing up his cup of Joe before we head to shore.

In the rental car heading into town.

In the rental car heading into town. The small palm trees lining the wide roads were a pleasant surprise.

Desert meets the ocean

The desert meeting the ocean. Having grown up around greenery and mountains the flat desert landscape was quite surreal to me.

Golden sand and steely ocean

I love the contrast of the beige desert (though beach is likely more appropriate) meeting the steel-coloured ocean.

A sign in town

A bar sign in Swakopmund – so cute! It was quite a German town, but I could make out what most of the signs said, thanks to being fluent in Afrikaans. ๐Ÿ™‚

Cafe Anton

Darryn’s mom used to come here often when she lived in Namibia, so we decided to stop in for some coffee and brunch.

George and mom.

George, moms boyfriend, and mom.

On the way to Dune 7

Almost at Dune 7!

The ever-shifting Dune 7 in it's full majesty.

The ever-shifting Dune 7 in it’s full majesty. It’s enormous!

 Me, posing in front of Dune 7.

Posing in front of dune 7 – I was quite surprised at the sudden pops of green in the landscape after only seeing miles of sand.

Some brave souls attempting to ascend Dune 7.

Some brave souls attempting to ascend Dune 7. I did attempt it, but was foolish enough to only bring sandles. Three steps in and the boiling sand caused me to quickly re-think my original gung-ho approach. If you ever head here, bring takkies (aka sneakers for those of you who are international).

Walvis Bay hospital.

Walvis Bay hospital, where my hubby was born. Below, he’s posing in front of it.

Where Darryns childhood home used to be.

Where the house was that Di lived while in Walvis, and the home that Darryn grew up in. Sadly, it was bulldozed several years ago to build seaside residences and holiday cottages.

Mollusks on the rocks.

Mollusks of some sort I assume on the nearby rocks. We then visited the local M.O.T.H.S club (Military Order of ย The tin Hats) as mom and George are both members of the Southern Suburbs one in Cape town. We had a drink, a quick tour of the facilities, and then headed back to the ship. Below is a photograph from our MOTHS club tour. On board, after all the walking we’d done, I grabbed a quick shower before heading off to get a massage!

Moths club painting.

Later that night, we attended the captains dinner, which was a very grande affair. I have a few professional photographs from that night I must try and upload here at some point. I wore my new black and cream cocktail dress, and Darryn looked very dapper in his suit. We drank a welcome cocktail, ate a lovely supper, and caught a show (image shown below). After the show we sat on deck under the stars for several hours talking and recounting the last few days adventures. It was early (or late) morning when we finally headed indoors. We snuck into the empty theatre up the hall from our cabin, sang my husband a ballad on the empty stage (I’m an amateur actress, so how on earth could I pass up that opportunity).

MSC Melody show

The next morning we awoke and caught the last serving of breakfast (phew) before heading up to the deck. Table mountain was a brief blur over the horizon, and I was both happy and sad that we were almost home.

Heading towards Cape Town.

I had already packed, so hubby headed back to the cabin to finish up on his, I headed to one of my favourite spots on the ship. The below photograph doesn’t do it justice, but I fell in love with this little nook as soon as I discovered it. It reminded me so much of the one on board Tau’s ship the Solaris (from the Mysterious Cities of Gold, my favourite childhood show). Despite it being a throughfare from deck to deck, there were never too may people and with my iPod playing soft lounge music in my ears, I spent several hours alone thinking. Whileย here over the course of two days, I spotted six seals throughout our voyage, watched seagulls diving into the ocean depths, and just stared out at the endless horizon on display pondering all kinds of things.

My favourite nook on board the MSC Melody

I headed back to try and get some photos of Cape Town, though my camera was on it’s last bar, it pulled through and I got a few nice shots. I won’t include them all here, but I’ll end of with a few last pictures. Also, a seal popped up to say hi, but I only caught him as he dived … ah well, practice makes perfect ๐Ÿ™‚

Table Mountain and signal hill with yacht. You can see the flat top of table Mountain, the CBD, and the yacht is closer to us

Signal hill looming over Greenpoint Stadium

Breakers along the harbour

The friendly seal I almost captured looking up at us

Wind swept well wishes to all! :)

Ja ne till next time.

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