Published: April 24th 2010April 20th 2010
Upon arrival in Durban the Cruise Director, Jamie, made an unusual announcement. He strongly recommended that guests do not go into the downtown area of Durban. South Africa is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. It is rich with natural resources, exotic flora and fauna and ringed by stunning beaches. But South Africa is a troubled country still trying to overcome the consequences of Apartheid and the AIDS plague and skyrocketing crime rates. Right now South Africa is preparing to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup soccer tournament in June. There is a strong campaign to rein in the robbers and murderers before the country is in the world spotlight. Recently a white supremacist was bludgeoned to death by two of his employees. This has raised racial tensions dramatically and there are demonstrations and protests taking place throughout the country. Heeding Jamie’s advice, we went to the beach area and checked out the new World Cup football stadium. The uShaka Village is a unique market overlooking the Indian Ocean that has been built around a grounded ship and houses a sea life park, souvenir shops and restaurants. Durban is known for its culinary specialty called bunny chow. This
is a hollowed out loaf of bread that is filled with curry. It came into fashion during Apartheid when blacks weren’t allowed in many restaurants. This meal in a loaf was sold as a to-go item and thus the parks and beaches would be filled with people enjoying this dish. Now it is still served both inside and outside of local restaurants.
Mark Conroy, President of Regent Cruises, came on board along with his wife Marilyn and cruised to Durban. He held a town hall meeting with all of the passengers and gave a status report on the cruise industry in general and Regent in particular. He fielded many questions from the audience and also met privately with passengers who had specific concerns. Mr Conroy is a very personable and approachable man who knows the cruise industry inside and out. He spends about half of his life on airplanes going to and from his fleet of ships.
After leaving Durban there was an emergency medical evacuation via helicopter for one of the passengers who was gravely ill. The medical team was lowered onto the pool deck and while they were stabilizing the passenger the helicopter hovered outside our
Regent Pres. and CEO
balcony for about an hour. These helicopter evacuations are quite tricky operations.
We spent the sea day packing up Dr Tinkle. Because of a series of falls, it was necessary for Lloyd to leave the ship and go into a hospital in Cape Town. We took Dr Tinkle to the Captain’s farewell party wearing his newest headgear—a Zulu ceremonial hat called an isicholos. It was a bittersweet party as all of Lloyd’s friends bid him goodbye.
Tink wasn’t the only one leaving. Captain Dag would be handing over command of the ship to the new master, Gianmario Sanguineti in Cape Town. Much to the chagrin of many cruisers Regent has instituted a new policy for Captains of three months on and three months off. After the farewell party we got together with Captain Dag, the Chief Engineer and Mike and Sherry for a drink. We recalled that our first meeting with this charismatic captain was in Cape Town in 2003. We figured out that we have spent about two years cruising together over the last seven world voyages. Dag will be greatly missed during the rest of the cruise.
Upon arrival in Cape Town we were met
Capt Dag & Dr Tinkle
Our Dynamic Duo departed in Cape Town
by an ambulance which took Dr Tinkle and us to the Christiaan Barnard Hospital. This is a first class, private hospital named after the famous heart transplant surgeon. It took several hours to get Lloyd settled in. There were a battery of tests done and it was determined by the doctors that Lloyd was fit to fly home with the assistance of an escort nurse. We spent our three days in Cape Town at the hospital keeping Tink company and getting all the paperwork squared away. There was a great deal of confusion at the beginning because the hospital computer had registered his birth date as 02/20/10. So it showed that he was two months old rather than 100 and 2 months. Many of the hospital personnel couldn’t figure out why all of these tests were being done on a little baby. We took our pillow chocolates to the hospital for Lloyd to give out to the nurses. So he got a great deal of attention from the staff. Lloyd became a minor celebrity and the local newspaper sent out a reporter and photographer to interview him. They gave him a South African soccer hat and flags. The next day
his picture was featured in the Die Burger newspaper. It was difficult to leave Dr Tinkle but we knew he was in good hands at the hospital and that a nurse was en route to Cape Town to escort him home to Sioux City in a few days time.
Fortunately there was a great crafts market just two blocks from the hospital, so we were able to pick up some nice party favors for our guests. We had a sail-away party on the aft deck as we departed Cape Town. One of Larry Ellison’s yachts was parked behind our ship. “Rising Sun” is a 453 foot monster complete with basketball court and crew of 50. To get an appreciation of the size, our ship is only 220ft longer and carries 700 passengers and 450 crew members. I can only imagine what the staterooms must be like on Mr Ellison’s boat. Oracle has been good for Larry! By the way “Rising Sun” is for sale if you have an extra $200 Million to spare.
It was a gorgeous sail-away with Table Mountain in the background and the city skyline gleaming in the setting sun. The “Cape Doctor,” a ferocious
Cape Town Stadium
World Cup Football Site
wind that had been blowing for two days, died down just in time for our outdoor party. As we were sailing out of the harbor we could see Lloyd’s hospital from our ship. We sent a silent message of good luck and Godspeed to our 100 year old friend.
There are more photos below