Tuesday, March 7th, 2006
Wow! I said it would be busy on the Picton Castle in Cape Town, but I’m not certain even where to start on just how busy. Right now as I write this, I can hear several drills, see sparks from a welder, hear unbearably loud banging, hear shouts from aloft, and smell paint. There is so much going on that is loud, messy, smelly, and dirty. It is not our prettiest. We have the cargo hatch wide open re-loading the food and rearranging the supplies down there; there are bits being painted here or chipped there; some ladders are no longer there and some rigging work here and dirt everywhere.I have had to explain to visitors, friends, and parents that this is not what is called “ship-shape,” this is called “ship yard visit.” I don’t know if they believe me, but it’s true—heads are torn apart to be overhauled and painted and insulated. People’s bunks literally look like someone burgled them. Either crew left in a hurry of digging for shore clothes or they have been digging for goods to give to family and friends or to send home from here. The ship itself is not looking so hot! But when we are done in Cape Town, even those who don’t like ships are going to say we are “Da bomb!”
The weather has been lovely and cool the last couple of days, only to have a sudden heat wave attack us today. It is warm and dry with no breeze, but it makes for good paint drying weather! And no matter how you look at it, it is still much cooler than Reunion.
We have had 6 out of our 10 new people arrive, and it is fun getting to know them and showing them life on the ship. For the first few days they always kind of look a little shell-shocked, but it’ll be okay! Mums and Dads of the newbies: Don’t worry, we are looking after them!
Also on the news front is that the crew finally got to visit and meet the teachers and students of Christel House, South Africa (http://www.sa.christelhouse.org). It was a brilliant day and the kids still so amazing that I feel so lucky to visit their magical and wonderful school. They had a special assembly for us with lots of singing, dancing, and musical instruments, and their talent never ceases to astound me and others who were there. The only problem? They expect a return assembly! We do have a semi-band onboard at the moment and they do know one song. We can sort of do the dance they taught us in Palmerston, and we can sing to our discmans and ipods. But after seeing their shining faces do so many talented acts, we are just plain embarrassed to show them our stuff! However, what we can show them is our ship and their ship and actually we are pretty talented at that. So starting next week we will have approximately 120 children visit the ship every day until all have wandered around and patted Chibley to their hearts’ content. I can’t wait. It always so much fun to have kids on board and these kids are special to us. (I would like to say much more about this but will wait to write a log solely on Christel House and what they do).
Also on the schedule: Some have already gone to visit Danie and his family on their farm, most have taken winery tours, trips to Cape Point and Simonstown to see the penguins, over and down to the East to Knysa to eat oysters, motorcycle touring on Harleys, over to Robben Island— where those in the Freedom and Democracy movement spent so many years incarcerated—and looks around the District 6 Museum, which documents urban renewal old-Apartheid style, kind of rough.