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Published: April 4th 2020
Saturday 4th April.
Have been trying to catch up with the blog but although not much is going on time seems to fly, especially now we are on our last leg of the cruise.
Have heard this morning we will be anchoring outside Tenerife to refuel in a few days. Other than that we are enjoying the tropics. Passed over the equator yesterday afternoon at almost exactly 4pm, so now in the northern hemisphere. It’s hot and humid, cloudy, but quite pleasant at the moment with some light airs. Better than yesterday when the air was full of moisture and everywhere outside felt like a sauna. It rained several times, but cleared up later in the evening.
Enjoy the news below. We are about 160 miles off the African coast near Liberia.
First picture Cape of Good Hope. Not sure what 2nd one is. Only 2 would upload. Will try more later.
Day 42 - Tuesday 24th March
We are sailing up and down in what looks like an airplane holding pattern in the seas near Durban. See photo if I can insert! The captain still has no word when
we can go into dock and is sounding more and more exasperated. It is likely we will go back to Durban later today and again anchor to wait until we are allowed in.
Today’s activities includes a talk about The Kon Tiki Expedition by Geoff Peters. (We caught up with his talk a few days later in the cabin and his team of 5 Norwegians were an amazing group of men who had been resistance fighters during the war. The expedition had happened in 1947, just after the war. We remembered seeing the Kon Tiki in the Maritime Museum in Oslo)
There wasn’t much else on during the morning, but tonight a movie, 21 Bridges, in the theatre that we had considered seeing when it was on at the cinema but didn’t get round to it. The film in the Screening Room was Dumplin, which sounded like light entertainment, so we booked for that too.
I think I spent the morning trying to get on and write up my notes, I’m finding myself getting behind, as I don’t want o miss anything out of all the information that I’ve collected from the talks. I hope I can get ready for my next blog update.
We enjoyed both films, 21 Bridges in particular if anyone’s interested...... I stayed awake nearly all the time!
Day 43 - Wednesday 25th March, 2020
This morning we returned to Durban and again dropped anchor. A helicopter was despatched to us with a pilot onboard allegedly and the back deck had to be cleared completely to drop whoever. Roger and I smiled at the thought of all the towels being collected as although I don’t think we have any Germans onboard there were a large number of towels on sun beds out on deck well before 7 am Roger said as he had woken really early and gone upstairs for an early breakfast!
Despite all this nothing seemed to happen and the captain spoke to us a couple more times during the day to say we were cleared to dock but had to wait for permission to go in. Who had come and later gone when it came back in the helicopter was a mystery, couldn’t have been a pilot. The back deck had been closed until lunchtime.
I managed to go on the internet and post the blog eventually, as there seemed to be a problem with that too. The tech lady give me some extra time too, due to the problem.
What else was happening today? There was more about PNG from John, and today’s film, Jasper Jones, looked appealing so we managed to book for that. Tonight’s show was a repeat from 2 days ago due to the limited seating so we would go to the piano bar for the evening, after supper.
John. PNG. - Customs cults and cannibalism
One of Johns roles was to go and arrest cannibals charges with black magic and look into wha had happened.
In the highlands it was very common, a man was called the Sanguma man and Metis was the woman.
A witch doctor could be employed as maybe a justification of homosexual advance as a reason to kill, the principal being, I get them before they get me.
John had to go out on patrol to find and arrest sanguma man or the metis
If someone want action, need something personal of person wanting to kill, eg hair, skin, bone, blood
The Sanguma Man ties personal item on end of Bullroarer and then sing song , noise on bullroarer , sing song. ( The bullroarer is a piece of wood, long, that had a hole in the end, tied to piece of string, that they used to whirl around their heads to make a noise. It was a secret how it was made a from the women, as it was special for men only)
The SM would follow victim around , find appropriate time, make victim unconscious, eg clonk them on the head!
The Sago palm has spikes and SM get these, have 12 or so, and are very sharp. He would get a couple, put in excreta and stick down back of neck next to clavicle. Then he’d find a nettle, much worse than our stinging nettles,and rub all over the victim. The victim would wake up feeling terrible from pain of nettles , within 2 or 3 days septicaemia likely to set in and the victim would die!
All John had to do was prove this of course.
Another tale told of a villager that helped the Americans during the war. Papa Yali from Sor village.
He was recruited , smuggled to army Intelligence in Brisbane to help with maps etc,. Soldiers took Yali around to various hangers, reconstructing machines etc, You help us defeat Japanese all this can be yours. They took him to a local brothel gave him condoms, never seen before. A force had gone to the island, killed most except Yali who was picked up by sub, told Brisbane all, gift, condoms x24. Yali walked back to village 200 miles, told leaders villagers about goodies in Brisbane.
Yali set up huts, brought in ‘flower girls’, ie brothels, as leaders for tribes visited , sent into huts, had a good time with the girls.
Power in a tribe was to have something personal belongings someone, what better than the content of a condom! He had the condoms labelled and kept them for the next 50 years! What power!
In Curu, an very isolated place, it was the customs in villages that when someone dies they are smoked, put in caves. After this villagers eat body. It is believed this will pass on knowledge from one person to another Best bits to women, hereditary only in this village. It is now genetic and as the women get older they become ill, like mad cow disease.
Another case - 3 men accused cannibalism.
John asked the 3 men what happened. Said guy knew was going to die, so got his 3 friends. Tradition said gave mortification rights. Piece of buttock. 3 guys cook and eat, Pass on all knowledge. John has to try and find what crime had been committed. Eventually in the Queensland criminal code 2000, he came up with witchcraft! Found guilty, fined 4 dollars each , convicted. Case closed, Respecting tradition.
However,unknown to John as he had moved, 3 yrs later a case had arisen again with same men, who were convicted and sent to prison, one and half years, by the time John heard about it. It should not have happened as can’t be charged with same crime twice, and when he did John helped them get out of prison.
It was believed that the Spirits could move back and forth between Spirit world and present world.
Jasper Jones, the film, proved to be an Australian film which was very good- I didn’t fall asleep!
Day 44 - Thursday 26th March
We woke up in port! Action at last! Now the biggest concern would be leaving. The world news was indicating more and more countries going into lockdown, and South Africa was mentioned. Surely after all this time that wouldn’t happen now? We would just have to be patient and see what the captain came up with. It was out of his control and with the authorities still.
What else did the day have in store for us? Geoff Peters talk today was Ghost Ships....... sounds note resting as ever. A film in the theatre in the evening, this social distancing was limiting the activities indeed. A movie that didn’t appeal to either of us, although the one during the day may be better - personal Shopper. It wasn’t! I slept all the way through. Roger managed to stay awake I think but it was a supernatural theme, although it didn’t indicate this in the blurb. Not our choice!
Geoff and Ghost Ships
It is well know that it’s bad luck to change the name of a boat. That is unless you appease Neptune by having a renaming ceremony with champagne.
To persuade his wife Lee that leaving Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast wasn’t the end of the world he said they could rename the cabin cruiser that they had bought Sunshine Coast. Lee said wouldn’t it be bad luck but they got round this with the renaming ceremony, which Lee liked the sound of, as you don’t have to break the bottle of champagne, just pour some into the water for Neptune, some over the bow for christening the boat and then drink the rest!
It seems to have done the trick as they are still cruising the canals and rivers of Europe after several years.
But what about the Ghost Ships of the past.
Geoff had joined the navy as a 15yr old and the old tars used to tell scary stories to the new recruits.
There was a myth about The Flying Dutchman that was a ship that sailed in the Indian Ocean and has reputedly been seen several times. In the war a destroyer escorting a convoy saw a glow on the horizon and went off to investigate.......nothing
Queen Victoria’s Second and Third sons, Prince Albert Victor and Prince George were on a trip around the world showing the flag, on HMS Bucantee. They were on watch in the middle of the night and saw The Flying Dutchmen.
Admiral Donitz, a U- Boat Commander in the waters off Suez saw The Flying Dutchman.......
After this at some point 100 people on Glencairn Beach near Cape Town saw the ship coming towards the beach....
The Lady Lovibond - 12th February 1748
Captain Simon Peel married Aneka and planned to take his new wife on honeymoon on the ship to Portugal. His best friend was the First Mate, John Rivers, who was actually also in love with Aneka and very jealous of his friend, compounded by hearing them aboard on their wedding night! He went ashore and got roaring drunk, and complained about women on ships and bad luck. Their route was to take them via the Goodwin Sands which has claimed over 2000 ships over time. They left on 13th with a party onboard. During the festivities Peters snook up being the helmsman, knocked him out and ran the ship onto the Sands. All were lost.
50 years later to the date in 1798 The Edenbridge, and a fishing trawler said they saw a 3 masted ship crossing their bows. 50 years later in 1848witnesses overlooking the cliffs near the Sands said they saw a 3 masted ship heading for the Sands. In 1898 there was an identical report, a ship seen heading for the Sands and the lifeboat station was called and a lifeboat sent out....... In 1948 a Captain Prestwick reported seeing an ancient 3 masted ship go by, heading for The Sands. Called for a lifeboat to be sent out. Caused quite a stir as nothing there, the captain was investigated and crimping charges were considered but he had been a Commander of an American ship in WW2, very highly though of and the charges dropped.
In 1948 the local council decided to promote this to encourage tourism to the area. Questions were raised in the House about how this should not be allowed, feeding myth and superstition. 1000s of people turned up that weekend but there was bad weather.........
And then there was The Marie Celeste.....
She was on her maiden voyage in 1861 from Canada to the Amazon when her captain died from a disease. She was given a new captain but by 1867 she was written off as a wreck. She was bought for $9000 by an American business man who tried to restore her, but despite throwing more and more money at the project, he became bankrupt.
In 1871 she was purchased by a well respected and excellent seaman of the name Benjamin Spooner Briggs. He had married his cousin Sarah and had 2 children. He was a God fearing man and was going to take the ship to Genoa in Italy. He renamed the ship Marie Celeste. He took 7 crew, also excellent seamen, well respected and experienced. His cargo was distilled alcohol. He set sail on 7th November 1872. The de Garcia left New York 8 days later and came across The Marie Celeste, went across to her but couldn’t find anyone on board. When they went onboard everything was intact, nothing out of place. Cpt Moorhouse put a crew onboard who sailed the ship to Gibraltar where it was impounded. Theories abounded, mutiny, piracy, insurance fraud, paranormal activity, sea monsters, fumes from cargo, had they abandoned ship? Why? It was left as an open case and a quarter of its value was given as bounty. In 1873 it was returned to New York but no one wanted her. In 1879 a Cpt Tuthill too her out, but he died of a strange illness. In November 1784 she was shipwrecked on a reef near Haiti. Her owner, a Mr Porter fraudulently tried to claim insurance but he was prosecuted, but later died in mysterious circumstances....
During supper we left port! Southampton here we come.
Day 45 - Friday 27th March 2020
As promised by the captain last night the seas got very lumpy after we left the shelter of Durban and we were ploughing through with Force 7 winds, with up to 4 meter swell. It wasn’t raining, just rough. Entertainment today was John and PNG this morning, the film Bombshell in the Screening Room, and then a repeat of a previous show this evening, a sit in the piano bar I think! No seats for the film either, as only half as many available per show now with the social distancing.
John’s story started in PNG. - Destination of the ring
John travels around on cruise ships as he is now talking about PNG. On one of his trips in 2017 on the Sun Princess they were visiting PNG and he went to visit some of his friends. A ring was produced by a woman who was the sister of a farmer, Liam, who had just built a house for his mother and found the ring while digging a garden. It had been found in 2013.
John looked at the ring and thought it was an Alumni ring, with Audubon High School 1938 engraved on it. Also the initials EDD. John did a bit of research and found the school in New Jersey, and got in touch with the Alumni Association. They looked in the yearbook and found the owner, who was deceased but got in touch with the son to see if they would like the ring returned. The son was called Richard and actually there had been a misprint when the ring was made with the wrong middle initial for his father. He had been in PNG during the war at a US base circa 1942/44 and had lost the ring there, later found by Liam.
John’s niece just happens to live in New Jersey, within a few miles of Richard and she agreed to hand over the ring to him if John sent it to her. The ring was posted and despite a muddle with post codes and a couple of months delay the ring arrived to be handed over. Richard wasn’t sure about the coincidence of all this and agreed to meet John’s niece at a carpark near a police station so he could get backup if needed for this scam! No scam and the ring was handed over.
This was a big news story all over the world and there was a ceremony at the school with. the ring
Now the ring was made of gold and although jewellery didn’t mean a great deal to the tribes in PNG nonetheless Liam was very proud of it. So John had said he’d help Liam from the charity they are associated with to help sort of the mum’s garden. The Alumni Association decided to do a collection for Liam who wanted to pay for his children’s education. They collected some money but when investigated price of a new ring was $750, which wouldn’t leave much for children. So it was suggested that with the story the makers be asked if they would make any donation towards it. The gave it all and so many was available for Liam’s children.
There was discussion about how to get the ring back and then John presented it to Liam in a ceremony when the ship was in port.
The family were consulted about the money for the children and Liam’s mum said not to give it to Liam as he would waste it! So as and when the money was needed it was transferred to Liam’s sister’s account for the children. They were not actually young children, but studying for careers so the money was spent on computer equipment, and courses, etc. to help the, with their studies. What amazing connections in this story.
I spent a deal of the rest of the day in the cabin as the swell was making it difficult to get around the ship and I felt uncomfortable with a bit of a headache. There were films on the TV and I also did some of my tapestry. The film in the Screening Room was sold out. My WiFi time had been extended as there had been poor connection the previous day and I spent time answering various messages and emails from friends around the world. I was very touched to hear from Little Peter in Jerez, one of my first ‘children’!
Day 46 - Saturday 28th March, 2020
Our daily Five to Nine message from the Captain gave us an update about the weather. He told us to look out for the signpost coming up saying Atlantic Ocean / Pacific Ocean which we would be coming across later in the afternoon as we rounded the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Town. He said he had lashed himself to the wheel overnight to guide the ship through the rough seas but it become should calmer later. The temperature was about 20 degrees and after we had been to Geoff’s lecture about The Dutch East India Company we went up and sat around the pool where the roof was closed. It was nice and bright there, but when they opened the roof later the wind was rather cool.
Later we watched a film in the cabin .
We had been travelling parallel to the African coast since leaving, within sight of it. The Captain informed us that we were approaching the Cape later in the afternoon, as we went for supper the Cape was very clear on the Starboard side. Pictures were not bad! I’ll try and include. If they’re in, the highest ones are Cape of Good Hope, the lower ones are table mountain, if yo look for the bit that is flat!
In the evening went to watch David Copperfield, an entertainer in the theatre. (Have I said this before? , if I have, apologies!). I wasn’t terribly impressed as although he was amusing at times he made fun of people in the audience, not always in a sympathetic way. He did have a very good singing voice though.
Geoff’s talk about the Dutch East India Company was very detailed. I want catch up on the days now so I’ll write these up later, maybe after I get home in the long solitary days we have ahead of us. He is an excellent storyteller and his audience is bigger than for the evening shows!
Day 47 - Sunday 29th March, 2020
Today temperatures again not particularly warm, 19 degrees forecast, with passing showers. Force 2/3. We were now picking up the South easterlies, the Trade Winds. The captain said he’d be putting all the sheets out up on deck to catch the light airs this afternoon.
Roger went to the interdenominational service this morning and we went to see a film this afternoon. It was about James Brown, a documentary interspersed with his performances and clips of his contemporaries talking about him and the black movement and race struggles of the 60s and early 70s in The States. I think it was quite interesting, the bits I saw were anyway. Roger said it was very good.
Although the weather wasn’t particularly warm it was very pleasant on the sun deck with the roof closed, and even under the canopy when the roof was opened.
In the evening we went and sat in the piano bar, after a walk all round the deck.
Day 48 - Monday 30th March, 2020
Happy Birthday, Leila!
Next blog - coming in a few days.
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