As I write this, we have left the fascinating continent of Africa and have just 2 ports left before disembarking in Ft. Lauderdale. We should be home by May 3 and by then (if not sooner) we will begin uploading the regular episodes of this voyage, most of which have already been written. They will probably appear every other day or so until finished. So if you have been wondering what all we have seen & done, you will start seeing it soon. If you were on the voyage with us, or have been following along on one of the many other passenger blogs or the Captain’s blog, then this will be your chance to live it all over again through our eyes.
When we left you last we were on our way to Maputo, Mozambique, our first stop in Africa proper. We only drove through Maputo on the way to Kruger National Park in South Africa, where we spent 4 days & 3 nights on a safari. Camp Shawu (wood & canvas huts with wooden verandas) was on the edge of a small lake filled with hippos, crocodiles & all varieties of birds, while other animals (elephants, rhinos, wildebeast) came there to bathe and drink. Each day we went on two game drives to see other animals & birds in the park, one leaving before daybreak and the other returning after sundown. This was easily the highlight of the whole voyage & an unforgettable experience. We took many hundreds of pictures, so here are just a few.
We had two days in Capetown after returning from the safari. A very interesting, beautiful and cosmopolitan city with much too much to see in just 2 days. Then a day in Namibia viewing flamingoes & exploring the sand dunes & rocky interior they call the moonscape (sometimes used in Sci Fi movies as moon settings).
After that we visited three cities in western Africa: Luanda, Angola; Banjul, The Gambia; and Dakar, Senegal. Very colorful & interesting ports that aren’t often visited. While there was some tension involved in visiting this area & we received numerous reminders about safety precautions, it turned out that negative incidents were few and there was a great deal to learn and enjoy in these places.
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At this point I want to note something that has really overhung most of this voyage. You may recall in our first post about this cruise, back on January 4, we mentioned that this was a reunion of sorts for the seven people who sat at our table in 2016. We were all back at the same table for the 2018 cruise, picking up where we left off as a happy & compatible group of travelling friends. None of us were more enthusiastic about that prospect than Lee Wolfle, who had tee shirts made for all of us showing the itinerary and titled “Around The World Together Again . . . Table 65.”
Like the first world circumnavigator, Ferdinand Magellan, Lee didn’t make it back from the trip. He began feeling poorly probably in New Zealand, was never able to get his strength back & had to leave the ship in Singapore. He was diagnosed with Leukemia in Singapore and was flown as far as Los Angeles, where he entered Cedars Sinai hospital for treatment. But that didn’t work out & he died there three days ago as I write this, when we were approaching Banjul.
All of Lee’s friends on the ship, particularly Robert, Bill, Bob, Judy, Peggy, Karen, Kathy, Corinne, Kay, Rick & Mary, have been shocked at the speed of his demise. Many of us were walking on the beach with him in the South Pacific just six weeks before he went into the hospital and at that time he seemed hale & hearty. Lee was a very big man, about 6’7”, and very active (he took an expedition to Antarctica last year) so it was hard to picture him as being so seriously ill. Needless to say, his ordeal has cast a pall over the remainder of the voyage for all of us.
We only knew Lee for about two years. But he was a good friend & the nicest guy you will ever meet. We all miss you, big guy, and still can’t believe you are really gone.