So its Wednesday afternoon and I sit, still on board the RMS, it has been a very long week, and the longest day maybe of my life, watching a clock tick by hoping that at some time soon Captain Rodney will announce that the winds have dropped sufficiently to allow us into Cape Town Port. Since Monday, and my last blog, the waves picked up considerably, slowing our journey and making our arrival in Cape Town very late. Immigration was closed, and we were told that an extra night on board the RMS would be the result. Bad news got worse as we were then told that high winds had closed the port to all traffic, and that, looking at the forecast it would be sometime around midday that we would be able to get onto dry land.
Alas even that claim was optimistic, and so it is that I sit, at 4.30pm, still doing circles out in Table Bay. Our flight will be missed, and it wont be until Friday, two days late, that we will eventually take our flights to London. The RMS is a long journey at the best of time, mentally an extra day feels like an eternity and the day has been a mix of long drawn out periods staring blankly, games of cards, and a good deal of TV. At one stage, two of our fellow travellers were engaged in a game of Guess Who, and, such was the boredom on board, were watched intently by five adults, awaiting the result of the hotly fort contest.
We are lucky to have on board Colin Owen, Financial Secretary for St Helena who has been in touch with St Helena Governments HR to re-arrange our flights. Others, have not been so lucky, missing flights, connections and starts of holidays. The Days now need an expensive taxi journey to catch up with holiday companions. Although the journey has been long, our spirits have been lifted by the ever staggering sight of Cape Town, sat under Table Mountain with its table cloth of white cloud flowing down the slopes. We are saddened that our time at home has been cut short, but must make the most of the circumstances and enjoy an extra night and day in the wonderful city of Cape Town.
Oliver and Charlie have behaved impeccably, I have been astounded at how well they have played and entertained themselves. The children have all provided each other with entertainment and companionship and have found an endless array of games to play and ways to keep themselves amused.
As I type, the piolet has just boarded the vessel to take us into Port. I am reliably informed we have around an hours journey time left, a welcome relief that our seven day journey is nearly at an end. The journey has not all been bad, I have cemented old friendships, and made new. We shared our journey and dining table with a Sailor of World renowned, and heard tales of round the World Trips and trans-Atlantic rowing from a man who holds once held a World Record for rowing the Atlantic single handedly. Both Oliver and Charlie are now set on being sailors when they grow up.
Did not realise that you were coming home Paul. Assumed you were visiting South Africa. Superb photograph of Cape Gannet. Next time you leave the island, you could of course go via Ascension Island and fly to RAF Brize Norton! Ascension is brilliant for green turtle nesting and hatching from March to May and your camera would be fully employed. But no doubt there are a few green turtles on St Helena.
Hi Roy, yep back in the UK for four weeks. Lovely seeing family but I miss the Island already.
Hi Paul. I’ve enjoyed your blogs immensely. Particularly as my family will be visiting St Helena in March/April next year. Your pictures are superb – you certainly put that 300mm lens of yours to good use in capturing the gannets and albatrosses in flight. One thing, however, although I don’t know much about sea birds, I don’t think wandering albatrosses have a black eye stripe. Definitely albatrosses though, and I would be very proud of those pics.
PS. The more I look up on albatrosses, the more confused I get….
Back to the albatrosses. Speaking as a complete novice when it comes to sea birds, I think your birds are black-browed albatrosses. They appear to be almost the same size as the cape gannets (maybe a little larger). Cape gannet weighs about 2.5kg with a wingspan of about 1.8m, while a b-b a weighs about 3 to 5kg with a wing of 2-2.5m. Compare your picture IMG_2917 with the following ones https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cf/Thalassarche_melanophrys_in_flight_2_-_SE_Tasmania.jpg – & http://ibc.lynxeds.com/photo/black-browed-albatross-diomedea-melanophris/2-birds-flying. These birds range far and wide over the southern oceans and the b-b a’s have a very large breeding colony on the Falklands. On the other hand the wandering albatross is very big. (weight 6-13kg, wing 2.5 to 3.5m). See http://ibc.lynxeds.com/photo/wandering-albatross-diomedea-exulans/adult-soaring-ocean.
Hi Grant, you are probably right. I didnt look it up before posting. The eyes look right for the BB albatross too. Thanks for the nice comments regarding the photos. The lens is great.