Leaving Cape Town, The Royal Mail Ship St Helena

So, as the second day of my adventure draws to a close I have time to add the second entry for my blog. I don’t expect a daily pace of writing will continue, but after the incredible day we have experienced a few more paragraphs won’t hurt.

The day started with breakfast in style, a spread of food fit for a king, from cold meats and pastries, to fresh fruit a plenty; varieties of sausage, bacon, potatoes and more; and omelettes, pancakes and waffles cooked fresh to order.

With a family full of food we set off on a taxi ride to the base of Table mountain, via a less than kosher money exchange shop and via the most stunning coastline of Clifton and Camps  Bay where the moneyed of Cape Town live. Table Mountain awaited but sadly time beat us and we could not take the cable car ride to the top, but the view across the city and the Atlantic Ocean from its base is a site to behold.

IMG_6021

Leaving Table Mountain we headed back to our transfers to the Royal Mail Ship St Helena, the last Royal Mail Ship in operation, and our home for the next five nights.

Our New (temporary ) home The Royal Mail Ship St Helena

Our New (temporary ) home The Royal Mail Ship St Helena

Our experience did not start well, as within an hour of embarking the ship a frantic search ensured for our lost luggage. After enlisting an army of staff, and inspecting every room on board, the lost bag was found in the ship’s hold. Expecting that I had wrongly labelled the bag and was due to buy a beer for each and every member of staff involved, not to mention the wrath of my wife, it was to my great relief I spotted the golden, and correct, label attached to the large red suitcase, and that the fault lay at someone else feet leaving me and my wallet to rest easy.

So, with luggage gate crisis averted we headed to the deck to watch Cape Town disappear into the distance, a stunning city that I vow to return to in 12 months with more time to explore. The ship is quiet tonight, with all but the hardiest of guests retiring early to adjust to the gentle but significant rocking of the ship and to find their sea legs.

Leaving Cape Town

Leaving Cape Town

I look forward to awakening tomorrow to blue skies, and endless miles of Atlantic Ocean abound.

Sun Down Over Cape Town

Sun Down Over Cape Town

Two Years in the Atlantic, what’s that all about?

So Two Years in the  Atlantic, what’s that all about? Well apparently this is a blog, I say apparently as I don’t really know what a blog is, not because I’m some grey haired retiree (more on retirement later) who doesn’t use technology, or  god forbid social media, far from it I can’t get off Facebook, but because I’ve never read or written a blog. From what I can gather it’s like a diary, but one which the whole world could potentially read. That being the case, unlike Adrian Mole and his not so secret diary I won’t be discussing the number of pubic hairs I have. Moreover, for the first few entries I shall discuss the topic of trains, plans and automobiles, or in my case, a plane and a boat, for a bloody long time.

Now, I think I’m right in saying that blogs should not just be about the art of blogging, but should have some content that the reader consider worth reading, in this case I’ve eliminated most of the world and I consider my target audience to be my friends, family and people who may be considering the prospect of a job offer they have been made on the tiny, remote Island of St Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean.

I say this because a little under 6 months ago my wife was considering accepting a job offer on the tiny, remote Island of St Helena in the South Atlantic, and now, having accepted that job offer, I am sat here, in the Commodore Hotel in Cape Town, next to my eldest Son Oliver (6) who is snoring, writing the first few lines of this blog.

If you are still with me and haven’t got bored of my obvious attempt to make this blog in some way witty, then I shall get down to the point of it all. My incredible wife, Bev, has been offered a job as a Marine Studies Advisory Teacher on St Helena, a remote British Overseas Territory in the South Atlantic. I could tell you lots about this Island and its incredible history, but I suspect that google is your friend and could do a better job. Suffice to say this, for me and my family is an epic journey and life change to an island accessible only by Sea, in the South Atlantic.

That’s the background done, rather than tell you about me, my wife and our two children, I shall tell you about our adventure, and the rest I hope with unravel along the way.

Tonight I sit in a hotel bed, my wife and youngest son in the room next door, not how I planned my first (and only) night on a new continent. We departed Heathrow Airport a little over 24hrs ago, flew through the night and arrived in Cape Town this morning.  I’ve always wanted to visit Cape Town, to see South Africa and to learn first-hand of the effects of the shameful years of apartheid and how the country has changed since.

 I have been here only a few hours but I have felt more at home and welcomed than any destination I can thus far care to mention. A city of stunning beauty equalled only by the welcome and friendliness of its peoples.  I have experienced hospitality, fantastic food, pickled crocodile, vuvuzelas and local beer.

 

 

I have toured the tenth greatest aquarium in the World (you’ll no doubt hear more of aquariums as time passes) with an exclusive behind the Scenes Tour of the superb Two Oceans Aquarium and spoken at length with a wonderful Scouser (there is no escaping them) about the problems of education in the UK. We are staying in the hotel with several other adventurers off to start new jobs and new lives on the Island, and Christine is one of the first we have bonded with, a warm hearted lady full of scouse humour, wit and attitude. I think I shall make firm friends with her

I have spoken to some  of the  most welcoming people, the local Afrikaans, that  have met anywhere in the World and feel as though leaving this city tomorrow will feel more of a wrench than one night should wreak. But alas leave I must, bound for St Helena on the last remaining Royal Mail Ship, RMS St Helena a 6 day 5 night voyage across the Atlantic.

But before I close my opening blog I shall end at where I began, what is a blog and why am I writing it. To me this is a diary; it’s a diary of a period of my life full of unknowns, of excitement and trepidation in equal measure. Although my wife now refers to me as unemployed, I consider myself retired (at the age of 34) or at least retired for two years, and retired people do things that the rest of the population have neither the time nor the inclination to do, hence a blog. I warn you for those who appreciate the written word, this is as good as it gets, and my longer term intention is for my blog to become a showcase for my new found passion, photography. But until such time as my skills move from point and click (or P mode for the photographers out there) to photos I am proud to share then my late night ramblings may have to suffice.

So thanks for reading and I hope to keep my updates to less than an undergraduate dissertation in future, I look forward to my second and last day in this unique, fascinating and wonderful city of Cape Town and set off with the Words, “I’d be surprised if you don’t see Southern Right Whales on your journey” ringing merrily in my giddy head.