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A Rescheduled South Africa Day

The Picton Castle boasts nationalities from around the world. We have Canadians and Americans, Norwegians and Germans, Dutch and Grenadians, Swiss and Bermudians, Pitcairners and Palmerstonians, Irish and British. We also have South Africans. Since we enjoy celebrating all of our national holidays aboard we were excited to see what our South African representatives had planned for September 24th. The first surprise was that they went on strike! They postponed South Africa Day until further notice with placards and signs and chants. Perhaps it was the timing. We had just sailed into Suva and the city and all of it’s excitement awaited us. South Africa Day deserved our undivided attention it seemed, and at sea.

So we waited… until we were four days into a busy and beautiful sail and then on October 8th we heard the word from Georgie and Davey that the time was nigh. The day had been a busy one, but the activities were set to commence at 4 pm and everyone was excited to participate. The creativity of this crew (especially when it comes to costumes) never ceases to amaze. As we all gathered at midships we had it all. We had a lion, a tiger, a leopard, a giraffe, a gazelle, two elephants, an exotic bird, a tokolosh (the South African equivalent of a boogey man), safari guides and trackers, tourists on safari, city tourists, a helpful taxi-cab driver, musicians, a Georgie look-alike and a Davey look-alike, a Mandela look-alike, rugby players and ‘football’ players and braai masters (braai being a big BBQ in South Africa, a BBQ with only meat, nothing else, not even potato salad and, oh yes, plenty of cold beer).

You could take a ride in a cab for a very reasonable price around to see the wild animals on the plains of Kruger National Park (the galley house), jump in again to visit the braai masters at a backyard BBQ in Johannesburg (starboard side) and then take the quick ride to Sibo’s Shabeen (a local bar) on the hatch where everyone gathered for music and refreshment.

Davey (from Durban) and Georgie (from Johannesburg – aka “Jo’burg”) organized some trivia questions and combined it with rugby-like passes – pitting one watch against the next in a fearsome match. Some of the questions included:

Which animal is not in the big five? Is it a) the leopard b) the cheetah c) the buffalo

What was the prison Nelson Mandela was kept in? a) Westville b) Robben Island c) Guantanamo Bay

What is the National Flower? a)the rooibos b) the protea c) the dagga

Where is the best surfing in South Africa? a) Durban b) Cape Town c) Jeffrey’s Bay

And the crew favourite…

Are there mosquitoes in South Africa?

4-8 showed off their smarts and crossed the line to victory first.

This was quickly followed by a gumboot dancing competition. Davey and Georgie demonstrated a well-rehearsed and seamless example of this athletically synchronized dance form and the rest of us were forced to compete – sans rehearsal or forewarning – for best gumboot dancing duo. Hilarity naturally ensued. Among the pairings we had a football player dancing with an elephant and a rich tourist with a cheetah. The crew was reassuringly encouraging and the music choices brilliant. The competition was stiff but 8-12 walked away with the prize in the end.

The evening finished off with a delicious braai. Yay for South Africa Day – the Rainbow Nation. Well worth the wait!

Ali and Taia gumboot dance
Big game hunting
Georgie and Davey call the trivia

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