Equator Crossing Day

Friday

Dear Elsie

Today is the day we will cross the Equator! On the day of the Equator crossing, the ship holds a massive gig called Neptune’s Party. They dress some unsuspecting soul into an outfit and ‘baptise’ him. The whole thing is ramped up with very loud music and everyone gathers on the deck. Before the party started, there was a dance class on the deck.

It’s quite crazy because it’s boiling hot and very humid, yet hundreds of people are hanging around in the sun.

It was a lovely vibe to be sure.

The deck before he arrived.

Finally, he arrived – he’s the guy with the white beard.

It was fun to watch, but we didn’t hang about and headed downstairs to the comfort of our airconditioned cabin.

These waters around the equator are super still. In the doldrums..

We will only actually cross the equator later.

We did do some deck walking, first going up to Deck 12 and taking a photo of the ship’s wake…at the bottom of this photo there is a canopy and we wondered what was below it so we went to find out…

Big open unused deck…

The water is a lot closer…

There are no other ships about. I don’t think we have seen a single ship pass by today.

At the start of the day, I’d done some work and this was my view. I go to what is the dining room. It’s quiet there and I never get disturbed.

Time is flying by. We are trying to slow it down. These are easy, restful days. God willing, two weeks today, early in the morning, we should cruise into Cape Town harbour. We are half way through our cruise. We are lapping up every moment.

This afternoon, I went upstairs to get tea. It was just after 4pm (we are still 2 hours ahead of South African time) and the buffet was buzzing, but instead of regular food, there was afternoon tea. Cake and biscuits, fruit and all manner of tasty things.  It’s possible to eat 4 times a day with extra pizza at midnight. I have to really ask myself how hungry am I? So tempting. Today, we got up super early and so staggered breakfast having muesli and fruit at 8am and egg and bacon at 11am. Nothing since! Our 6pm dinner awaits.

The ship is due to arrive in Seychelles tomorrow. Initially, it was scheduled for 10am, but with the delay in Jeddah, it’s now only arriving at 4pm. This has caused some issues for a large wedding party on board. A Welsh family arranged for the bride and groom to celebrate their wedding in the Seychelles, tomorrow at 1pm. The cruise was booked and the arrangements made. Then they discovered the Seychelles was not allowing cruise ships to dock (due to Covid), so they rushed around and changed the venue to Mauritius. Then Seychelles reconsidered and  Seychelles was back on the itinerary, so the venue was changed back again to  1pm tomorrow, only now the ship only docks at 4pm. This poor bridal party are learning how to go with the flow, be flexible and adaptable, but this is not the way to plan a wedding. One way or the other, they will get married though. It’s the topic of conversations across the ship!

The best is yet to come – we are only passing through.

Psalm 104:25
There is the sea, great and broad, in which are swarms without number, animals both small and great.

Keep the smile going.

God bless you.

In His Grip,

Gran! xx 🙂

 

 

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Ship Gossip

Thursday

So this is not for Elsie! Today we exercised in the morning, had a late breakfast and finished up with one of our favourite treats – a little chocolate muffin with cream.

I did some work and we pretty much vegged out during the day. We strayed from our regular eating pattern by having a thin (I’m trying to make it sound tiny) piece of pizza at just before 4pm.  Now it’s gone 6pm here (we are 2 hours ahead of South Africa at the moment) and we are not going to the formal dinner. Instead we will wait and hour and saunter to the buffet a little later.

For the afternoon, we took a late walk around the deck. We stopped off at one of my favourite places which is quite high up next to the engine at the back of the ship.

It was here we practiced our dance steps, which is still confusing for me! View from this level…

We then hit the walking track, where we encountered the couple who Mike had sat next to in Hurgharda. At that time, the lady had told Mike there had already been 2 deaths on the ship. I wasn’t expecting to hear that. She went onto say there is a morgue on the ship and if someone dies, they are kept there until the next port. What a shocker to hear that a man had died during the first night of the cruise. It takes such a lot of organisation and planning to get from home, wherever home is, to Venice to get onto the ship that the idea of it being cut short on the very first night is too tragic to contemplate. The lady (I must get her name) said a second man had collapsed at the pool deck and wasn’t able to be revived. So this was told us in Hurgharda which was Friday last week. When we saw her today, I raised the topic, asking if she had found out the nationality of the man who had died the first night. She said she didn’t know but since last Friday there had been 3 more deaths, all ladies. It has been noticeable that there are a lot of very old people on board and I guess this is to be expected. It is sobering, but at least they spent their last days enjoying a cruise and making the most of what life they have. Death comes to all of us.  Every day, I write we are only passing through, but death is not something that we like to dwell on. Heaven brings more positive thoughts.

Apparently, there is also a jail on board!

The other thing we heard was we are only arriving in Seychelles at 4pm on Saturday afternoon instead of the original 10am. This is due to the late departure from Jeddah and it means a bunch of the excursions have been cancelled. We hadn’t booked an excursion, planning instead to do a walk. We are overnight in Seychelles so will do the walk, hopefully on Sunday.

So that was the ship gossip for the day. Mike and I have pretty much been keeping to ourselves so we don’t get to hear too much news.

The other thing that happened today is I had a haircut.

There we are heading towards the equator with Seychelles beyond. The wind has dropped and it’s warm and humid.

Another good day at sea.

Psalm 95:5

The sea is His, for it was He who made it, And His hands formed the dry land.

The best is yet to come – we are only passing through.

Keep the smile going.

God bless you.

In His Grip,

Helga xx 🙂

 

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Deck Games and Dolphins

Wednesday

Dear Elsie

Today was the day we got up a little later than usual and headed for the deck to swim! A lot of people were already at breakfast so there were not too many people in the pool. I swam for half an hour. We than changed and went to the gym where we walked for another half an hour.

As a result of being late, we only sat down for breakfast at 10:45am, but I made up for it – I ate a bit too much! Today I decided I’m okay with gaining a bit of weight but not so much that I need to spend a year trying to lose it.

I had a good work day.  The internet was working well, so I had a good video meeting and also took 3 voice calls. I must have worked at least 4 hours.

But I also got to enjoy some of the sights of the ship. Our cabin is slightly towards the back and if we walk right to the end of our passage and out the door we are on the back deck.

It’s a real sun trap. The weather has been fine and warm with a maximum of about 28C. It’s a bit humid but not unbearably so and inside it is well air conditioned.  This afternoon, we sauntered around the deck and watched some of the deck games happening. They are simple, but I have to tell you they are harder than they look. We only saw one person successful knock the tower of blocks down.

These days at sea are very pleasant. While sitting on the top floor, we saw a school of dolphins. Unfortunately, as the ship was moving we passed by them pretty quickly, but they were fun to see and I’m sure there will be more.  Talking of the ship moving, we are not flying through the ocean – we are travelling at roughly 33km/ hour, but we just don’t stop between ports so we get to where we are going. Right now we are slowly edging around Socotra Island out of the Gulf of Aden and into the Arabian Sea. Next stop is Seychelles (Green pin) where we are due to arrive on Saturday morning.

Cruising is not for everyone, but it certainly appeals to us.

Maybe one day, Elsie, you’ll get to go on a cruise as well. 

Psalm 34:1
I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.

The best is yet to come – we are only passing through.

Keep the smile going.

God bless you.

In His Grip,

Gran xx 🙂

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Between Africa and Asia

Tuesday

Dear Elsie

Today was the day we crossed through what we called the Straits of Djibouti – it’s a narrow strip at the end of the Red Sea that becomes the Gulf of Aden. On one side is  Yemen & on the other is the small African country of Djibouti. It was memorable looking to one side and seeing Asia and looking at the other and seeing Africa. It was really windy outside so it was difficult to get decent photos. The land, despite looking close on the maps is actually quite far away. The Gulf of Aden gives way to the Arabian sea. We’ll cross the equator and be in the Indian Ocean.

From the back of the ship. Asia left – Africa right.

Up to now, it has been smooth sailing with the Mediterranean Ocean, Suez & Red Sea very calm and flat. As soon as we hit the major oceans, this may change and the trip down Africa may turn a little rough. If I start feeling a little green around the gills, I’ll pop a seasickness pill which will help.

For the rest, ship life is taking on a bit of a routine. We wake up when we wake up. One of us goes and gets coffee. Then we relax and get up in our own time. From there some form of exercise takes place. If it’s too windy on deck I head for the gym which I did this morning. A full hour of walking and/or cycling takes place before we both collapse in a heap in the cabin, have a shower and freshen up. By then it’s heading for 10am and we go to the buffet for breakfast. We wash it down with coffee and a muffin in our cabin.

From there it’s work for the rest of the morning. Yesterday, after that, we got swept up in the dance class. Today I went and sat in the Pasha Lounge on the top floor at the back of the ship and watched us go through the gap. This is what the Pasha lounge looks like.

We chill or work in the afternoon before dinner at 6pm. We try not to eat between breakfast and dinner. But we did have coffee on the deck, which meant walking right past the pizza station.

After dinner there’s sometimes a show or other event. Then it’s back to the cabin and we watch TV, a movie or YouTube. Life is passing very comfortably indeed!

We are doing well, are healthy and happy. For this we are grateful. While this is full on a floating hotel, it has an inordinate number of old people on board and the clattering of walkers, walking sticks and wheelchairs is a common occurrence. We are happy to be able to walk and run and take the stairs, to dance and stretch and not overeat! We are nearly half way through our cruise, so need to embrace every moment.

I read this today.

1 John 3:20

If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything.

The best is yet to come – we are only passing through.

Keep the smile going.

God bless you.

In His Grip,

Gran xx 🙂

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We Thought They Were Pirates!

Monday

Dear Elsie

The last 24 hours has been laden with excitement! Last night we were supposed to leave Jeddah at 6pm. As we sat down to dinner, they announced the departure would be 2 hours late due to technical issues.  When we got back to our cabin at about 7:30pm, there was such a sight to see. Right below our cabin was a massive service vessel that had a pipe going into our ship. We presume it was refueling.

It went on and on and on. It finally finished and left, but it was after 11pm before we were able to cruise out of Jeddah. Let me pause at this point to mention there were a lot of unhappy drinkers on board. No alcohol allowed to be consumed in Saudi waters so those who had the (very expensive) drinks package weren’t allowed to partake. The drinks package was only worth it for really heavy drinkers who have more than 4.2 units of alcohol a day. We learned this from someone who bought the package and had done the sums. Crazy hey! It’s like drinking a bottle of wine a day as the starting point. While on the subject, Mike enjoys the odd glass of wine. Occasional drinkers as ourselves pay heavily for the privilege of a glass of red with dinner. Euro 6.5 + a 15% service charge = Euro 7.47 – in rands at today’s value that’s a cool R134 for one glass. The Italian coffee on board is not bad but it’s nice occasionally to have a proper cappuccino. I ruined it for myself by working out the Rand value. R152 for two cappuccinos. Darn! I can’t bring myself to spend that when regular coffee abounds, but at least it’s cheaper than wine!  But I digress.

While still in port last night, there was a furor in the next door cabin. After the animated voices died down, it was replaced by ongoing tearing of tape on the balcony. A big thick roll of tape would be pulled out and cut. Then another, then another and so it went on and on and on. We were perplexed as to what was going on so eventually, we did what is really bad behaviour on a ship and we looked into the next balcony to find out what was going on. There was one of the ship maintenance men and he was responsible for the excessive taping. When we asked what happened, he said the service vessel had bumped into the glass panel of the balcony and had shattered it. It’s safety glass so it hadn’t actually broken, but it had pushed it in. I planned on taking a photo today but it’s windy and to do so would mean reaching over the balcony with my cell phone and risking it blowing into the back end of beyond and sinking into the inky blue ocean. I thought better of it. The maintenance man taped it as best he could and it’s managed to stay put for today. I figured the service vessel’s rubber stopper must have bumped it as it went past. How I wish I had been in the cabin!

That was last night’s drama. Today there was an event that had all the guests who witnessed it all atwitter!  We were cruising down the Red Sea in the middle of nowhere.

There are occasional cargo ships to be seen in the far distance, but generally there’s sea all around. Then this afternoon  we spotted a cluster of vessels not moving a short distance away.

To our surprise and consternation, an inflatable started coming towards us. There were no distinguishing marks on the rubber dingy. It looked super suspicious!

As it got closer we got more nervous. There  were three men onboard dressed in dark clothing and clearly they were heading our way.

They looked up at us, not waving, but just looking. Then they went behind the ship and headed directly to the bridge where the pilot usually boards. Everyone was nervous. They looked like pirates! We were trying to see if they were armed. To make it even more strange, the ship had slowed right down. What was going on?

We went back to our cabin to get my binoculars. The boat was now on our side and we watched as the men handed a package up to the bridge. They then turned around and as they went past us they smiled and waved.

Who knows what they had or what it was for. Through my binocs, it looked like the other boats were more kind of research vessels. It was the strangest interaction I’ve ever seen at sea.

And finally, the other thing we got hooked into today was a dance lesson. Shew! We walked 4km in the morning and danced for an hour at lunchtime.

We got our steps in.

Now it’s off to dinner.

2 Peter 1:2
Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

The best is yet to come – we are only passing through.

Keep the smile going.

God bless you.

In His Grip,

Gran xx 🙂

 

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Jeddah

Sunday

Dear Elsie

Today your Mom sent me videos of you playing on the new jungle gym and slide at the Padstal. It was so lovely to watch you! You are growing up so fast!

Meanwhile, today was the day our ship docked in Jeddah. I got up early and saw the sunrise..

It was amazing coming into Jeddah port. It sort of reminded me a bit of the layout of Cape Town harbour. The skyline, in places was not dissimilar as there was an upper freeway that could be seen from the ship. Also the bay around Jeddah is quite extensive. Of course, there’s not a mountain in sight.

Once we had docked, we walked 4km around the deck and then had breakfast. It was a hot day with the temperature in the early 30s. I spent the morning working in the cool of the dining room. The afternoon, we went up on deck and watched some amazing sights. It’s a working harbour and as it’s a Sunday, it’s a work day. There were cargo ships coming and going with tugs pushing and pulling.

And then there was this enormous floating crane that had a bunch of old containers on it. It carried them across the harbour and dumped them on the side of the dock.  It was all very interesting to watch.

The sun sets early and fast. It’s already disappeared and it will soon be dark. Sunset in Jeddah. Looks like something out of Star Wars.

We are now about to go to dinner and are really hungry so it will be much appreciated.

Psalm 33:11

But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations.

The best is yet to come – we are only passing through.

Keep the smile going.

God bless you.

In His Grip,

Gran xx 🙂

 

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Day at Sea

Saturday

Dear Elsie

Today we had a day at sea. Last night we left Safaga and now we are on our way to Jeddah. We should arrive early tomorrow morning. We will see Jeddah from the ship but we are not going on shore.

Today we were also told the clocks were moving forward an hour so instead of waking up at 6:30am, we woke up at 7:30am. It instantly became very confusing. Eventually, I changed my cell phone clock which in turn changed my watch time and now I’m fully on ship time. It means we are an hour ahead of South Africa.

We took advantage of the warm weather to get washing done, which we hung out on the balcony.

Deck drinks.

It’s easy to eat wayyyy too much on the ship & I can feel my girth growing. Today I had breakfast and lunch and decided to forego dinner. We swam, we walked the deck and we slept. Later this afternoon, I went to the gym. I listened to several chapters of Daniel. It is quite an experience reading this book in chunks. It gives a much clearer overview of what was happening and when.

The bites on my back have gone from painful to itchy, so that’s a move in the right direction. We put the cream in the fridge so when applied it is more soothing. They should start being less angry looking over the next few days.

Being a Saturday, I got to talk to you Elsie and see your amazing bathroom renovations. I’m so glad it’s looking so good!

I’m trying to slow the days down and embrace them one by one. It’s such a treat being on a ship and getting to cruise back to Cape Town, like this. We are feeling blessed.

Hebrews 12:28
Since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God with reverence and awe.

The best is yet to come – we are only passing through.

Keep the smile going.

God bless you

In His Grip,

Gran xx 🙂

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Surprise in Safaga, Egypt

Friday

Dear Elsie,

Sometimes you go places and don’t expect much and then you get a big surprise when you find some good thing about it. That’s what happened today is Safaga, Egypt. We arrived to a majestic sunrise.

I’m sad to say that Egypt altogether is a bit run down and lacking in finished buildings. Every city and town we have gone to or passed through seems to have buildings that are really badly built. Safaga is no different. Today we docked here and then went on a coach tour through to Hurghada, a coastal town an hour north. We had been to Hurghada before as well when we went to Egypt in 2019/2020. We swam in the Red Sea…this was 4th January 2020…

Today we went to a different beach in Hurghada and the biggest surprise that welcomed me were the FISH! There were little outcrops of coral and as I swam, I saw loads of fish in the most amazing array of colours. There were black fish and multi-coloured fish – fish that were green and purple and amazingly smart looking fish. The smart ones were the ones that got my attention They were corporate fish – they looked like they were going to the office. They had pin striped bodies with blue outlines to their tails and orange under their fins. I found out they are surgeon fish. There is a website that has documented most of the fish in the Red Sea and they posted these photos…there were lots of surgeon fish.

And there was this weird one as well. It was nudging the ocean floor with the side of its mouth. It’s called a broomtail wrasse.

Very peculiar. It was a different world down there! I was so excited. I did a fair bit of swimming and in the process I got STUNG! This time there was something on a rope that was in the sea. I swam under it and my back touched the rope & I immediately felt something scratch the area over my left shoulder blade. It was very uncomfortable – worse than when I’m stung by itchy things in Fish Hoek. This was painful. I carried on swimming and had a wonderful time –  I swam out to this boat which was called Scorpio…

Meantime, Granpa had a swim and then spent his time enjoying the sunshine.

Now, sweet Elsie, I’m going to tell everyone what happened next. I got the biggest surprise of the day.

We got back to the ship just after 3pm and I was keen to see what was going on on my back, so I took my shirt off and Mike had a look. There was a big welt about 20cm by 10cm filled with bumps and inflammation – he says it was like a big welt. And we nothing to put on it, so Mike went to the reception to ask if they had some cream for an insect bite. They said I’d have to see the doctor and that would cost 100 Euro! So Mike googled chemists in Safaga, found one 2km away and off we walked, off the ship and down to the dusty, smelly Main Rd of Safaga. We dodged endless taxi drivers offering us lifts and walked determinedly in the direction of the chemist. Before we got to the one on the map, we found another. We walked inside and asked for the cream and the shop keeper bought it along and announced it was 5 Egyptian pounds (R4.71). It was 20g tube of Allergex. We didn’t have 5 Egyptian pounds and the chemist didn’t have a machine. This meant we’d have to go look for an ATM. But then the Lord sent a couple of angels! As we left the chemist to look for an ATM, we saw two Westerners and thought they must be people from the ship. Maybe they would have 5 Egyptian pounds, so we approached them and asked if they were from the ship and did they have local currency. ‘Ah you are from the ship?’ said the lovely lady. ‘No, we are not from the ship, we are living here. We are from Holland!’ I told her my story and she opened her purse and pulled out 10 Egyptian pounds – that was all she had. We asked what they were doing in Safaga (a dreadful place to be honest) – they said they were staying at a resort around the corner (in the nice coastal part) to escape the Dutch winter.  We thanked them profusely and returned to the chemist triumphantly presenting our 10 Egyptian pounds. I had noticed the couple walk into the vegetable shop a few doors down, so once our transaction was complete, we rushed over there and gave them their change. They laughed and Mike got the photo, although the wife is hidden behind her husband…

We walked back to the ship, saying a prayer that the Lord would bless these two sweet people with an abundance of life.  That was a great surprise in Safaga. Mike put the cream on my back and it has certainly helped.

R4.71! I won’t get it at that price in South Africa.

It was a real blessing.

2 Corinthians 9:8

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

The best is yet to come – we are only passing through.

Keep the smile going.

God bless you.

In His Grip,

Helga xx 🙂

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Camel Rides in the Sinai Desert

Thursday

Dear Elsie

Today was the day we went on a camel ride! We arrived in Sharm El-Sheik, which is a sunny holiday resort on the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt. It looked rather grand when we arrived this morning with lots of yachts and tourist boats in the harbour.

It is also very close to the edge of the Sinai desert. When you read the Bible, you learn all about the desert. It’s described as vast and dreadful & we got to visit a little piece of it to see just how arid, dry, featureless, dusty and hot it is. It couldn’t have been an easy place for the Israelites to spend 40 years. We were much further South than the Israelites went, but just to be on the Sinai Peninsula was an experience we won’t quickly forget.

We imagined hundreds of thousands of people. We imagined manna being on the floor and the need for water for both the people and their flocks.  Today the weather was not very hot, but come summer, it must be boiling.  No wonder the Israelites grumbled. It’s just kilometer after kilometer of dry and arid landscape. Dusty and sand-swept. We cannot begin to imagine what they went through. If these mountains could speak, they would have lots of stories to tell.

Before long we had arrived at the camels. We met young Ahmed who was our camel minder. Our camels went by the names Ferrari and Whisper.

The camels were ready for us to get on, so we did!

Ahmed led us on our journey…

View from the camels…

We went to a Bedouin camp site where we had sweet black tea and some flat bread. By mid-afternoon, we had returned to the ship. We cooled off in the pool and will soon be going to dinner.

It’s been a memorable day. We are a long way from home and still have 3 more exciting weeks on the ship.

Colossians 2:6-7
Just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

The best is yet to come – we are only passing through.

Keep the smile going.

God bless you.

In His Grip,

Gran  xx 🙂

 

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Sooty Sokhna, Egypt

Wednesday

Dear Elsie

Today we have been on the ship a week!

Overnight, we arrived in a small city on the coast of Egypt called Sokhna. I have to say it did not come with great first impressions. When we woke up this morning, we had already arrived and were in port. We looked out the balcony to a pretty dismal sight.

I’m not sure who lives in the tents but they look like dwellings on a construction site. The other side of the ship was not much better. It is a working container port with these huge crane like structures that move up and down lifting containers on and off trucks. The engines of these machines are diesel and throughout the day they have acrid smoke coming out their exhausts. It really makes for a sooty, smelly, polluted port.

But as the day wore on, the pollution seemed to improve. Sokhna is 120km from Cairo, so those on the ship who hadn’t seen the pyramids, the Nile or the other highlights of Egypt, today was the day to do it. They left at 6am and got back a short while ago. We had planned on walking into Sokhna but shortly after arrival, the message came through to say that no one could leave the ship unless they were on an MSC excursion or had a taxi or other company picking them up. Having neither, we stayed aboard, finding a quiet spot in the dining room and working.

To enforce the no passengers on the Port policy, three police vehicles arrived and stayed in front of the ship for most of the day.

The smog lifted as the day progressed and it was a little easier to be on deck watching the containers being lifted on and off trucks. Truck arrives…

Big clamp thing (in yellow) goes down to pick up the container….

Lifts it up…

And up and up until it finds the spot to put it.. (truck has already driven away and the next one is waiting to be loaded up)

 

And this went on and on and on until way after dark.

I slept for a couple of hours this afternoon! What a treat that was.

Then I went walking at the gym and this is the view from there…

So that is Sokhna. Tomorrow we go to the Sinai desert!

Now we are wide awake so are going to listen to a pianist.

Psalm 23:6
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

The best is yet to come – we are only passing through.

Keep the smile going.

God bless you.

In His Grip,

Gran! xxx 🙂

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Suez Canal 2022

Tuesday

Dear Elsie

Today we passed through the Suez Canal. There are lots of things that happen along this waterway….

The friendship bridge…

One of many Egyptian towns..

A tug tearing past.

Fishermen…

At the back of the ship…

In the morning, we went downstairs to one of the quiet lounges and I worked for three hours. This was my view…

When I reflect back on this day in the future, I will remember swimming in salty pool water and then doing what I used to do when I was a child. I lay down on my stomach on a warm wooden deck to dry off.  The sun was not boiling hot but it was comfortably warm – enough to feel I was sunbathing, but not enough to burn. The other thing I will remember are the FLIES! The Suez Canal is close to land and the flies thought dinner had arrived. They came in droves and settled on damp legs and arms, annoying everyone who flicked and flapped them away. Teddy didn’t mind.

The other thing I will remember is the fun shower I got under the orange bucket! Remember this:

I stood under it…this was just before the water came and I was anticipating it…

Down came the water! It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be…

Yay!

There’s lots of fun to be had on a cruise. Maybe, Elsie, darling, one day you will get to go on a cruise too!

This afternoon we rested and watched the world go by.

Psalm 138:8

The Lord will work out His plans for my life – for Your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever.

That is very comforting to know.

The best is yet to come – we are only passing through.

Keep the smile going.

God bless you.

In His Grip,

Gran xx 🙂

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Jeans Washing Day

Monday

Dear Elsie

We had a good time last night at the gala dinner. Everyone dressed up quite smartly and we all sat down to dinner.

Today was the day I washed my jeans. When you are on a ship out at sea, there is no washing machine that’s easy to use. We left Cape Town on 6th November and today is 21st November. I wore these jeans pretty much none stop from 6th to 16th November! Ten days straight. Urgh! When we got on the ship, I threw them into the cupboard for washing. Today it was hot enough to get them out and wash them by hand in the bathroom sink.

I gave them a good wash and then squeezed them out. Just look at the water! Most of that I have to admit is blue dye.

The afternoon sun pours onto the balcony of our cabin and now that we are close to Egypt, the sun is warm and the balcony hot. It’s a perfect place to hang washing. My jeans will be like cardboard before long.

Meanwhile, as we get closer to Egypt, we are beginning to see more water traffic. This was a fishing boat that was miles away from land but actually quite close to us. Through the binoculars I could watch it bobbing up and down. I couldn’t see anyone on board but it did have a lot of netting in the water.

The internet has been a bit spotty today, but I did manage to get 3 hours of work done and had a meeting on Teams albeit without the video. They say the satellite connection may get a bit more unreliable over the next few days. If you don’t hear from me, that will be why.

Another happy day at sea. We are grateful to be in good health!

Psalm 120:1
I call on the Lord in my distress, and He answers me.

The best is yet to come – we are only passing through.

Keep the smile going.

God bless you.

In His Grip,

Gran xx 🙂

 

 

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A Special Ship Night

Sunday

Dear Elsie

Today is an exciting night on the ship because it’s Gala Night. That means that everyone dresses up in their very nice clothes and go and have a very nice dinner. So we are preparing for that and Gran and Granpa have cleaned up pretty well!

I hope to post more photos tomorrow.

For the rest of the day, we had a quiet one at sea. There is no land to be seen. Just water all around. This is from the bridge on the top deck…there is a water park with a huge orange bucket of water that fills up and then falls over and will splash anyone who is below. We definitely will try that out as we cross the tropics. The orange bucket is in the middle of the photo below…

Granpa and Teddy watching all the activities…mainly people lying in the sun and eating!

We got to swim in the beautifully warm swimming pool.

And we rested in our cabin, did some washing and slept. It’s been a peaceful day at sea. Tomorrow, I will try to do some work, although the internet has been a bit spotty & we should enter the Suez Canal tomorrow as well. This is the back of the ship….

We went to gym this morning and while walking I listened to all of Psalm 119. This verse jumped out at me…

Psalm 119:165
Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.

The best is yet to come – we are only passing through.

Keep the smile going.

God bless you.

In His Grip,

Gran xx 🙂

 

 

 

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Katakolon Greece

Saturday

Dear Elsie

The first thing about Katakolon in Greece is we have been mis-pronouncing it. We came here in 2017 and went to Olympia which is about 30km away. Having done that main excursion, the next best thing was to walk around the little village and see the sights. It’s not pronounced Kata-kolon, but rather Ka-takalong.

We walked up the donkey track….

To the Katakolon lighthouse which was built in 1865.

The donkey track has a good view of the port and the ship.

Along the port road…

One of the other things along the donkey track was a junk-yard. Apart from a lot of rubbish there were a lot of mangy cats and three chickens.

This was the prettiest cottage in Katakolon…

The streets of Katakolon…this is the backstreet which is older….

Tourist centre…

On our return to the ship, the crew had checked out one of the life-boats, lowering it, taking it for a spin and then returning it to the ship. It was interesting to watch…

And there was this weird swarm of something – it made no noise but there were millions of tiny birds being driven by the wind…

Elsie, Granpa LOVES pizza. Here he is eating his first piece of the day.

And the other thing we have just done is had a nice chat with you Elsie and with your Mom. It’s good see you looking so well and busy.

We are now going to head up to the top deck because the ship is about to leave Katakolon. From here we head towards the Suez Canal.

Psalm 116:5 The LORD is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion.

The best is yet to come – we are only passing through.

Keep the smile going.

God bless you.

In His Grip,

Helga xx 🙂

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Getting Some Relaxing Done

Friday

Dear Elsie

Today was the day we were able to start enjoying the cruise and get some relaxing done.  The biggest surprise I have seen on the ship so far is the lack of Covid protocol. It’s all but gone. I’ve seen one or two passengers wearing masks & the crew have to wear them, but that’s where it ends. No temperatures are taken and there’s no enforcement of hand washing at the entrances to the dining areas.  We also were told that there are 1400 passengers, while the ship can carry 2000.

Today we were at sea, slowly cruising through the Adriatic ocean towards Greece. It was a lovely day for watching the world go by…

And also getting a little work done…

We woke late. We also had the clocks put forward an hour so we are now back on your South African time. This meant waking up at 6am, made it 7am. So confusing! We got up late as a result and while I went off to gym, Mike went to the exercise deck. I walked/jogged 3km, did a bit of other exercise and rode the bike before skipping joyfully back to the cabin dripping with pheromones!

Breakfast followed. We were too late for the fancy breakfast (I was after eggs benedict with salmon) so went to the crowded buffet and had muesli,  flap jacks and a croissant instead. We sat at a table with other Capetonians. They live in Pinelands and have a holiday house in Scarborough.

This afternoon, I did what every good cruiser should do, I napped. There is no stress here. We are both in good health. I have purposefully not eaten since breakfast and in an hour we will beetle off to the main dining room and take our seats for the proper ship dinner.

This is the flow of life. Most days are good. Some days are hard. Elsie, my kind, may all your good days strengthen you for the hard ones & may those be few. I love you my darling!

Deuteronomy 31:8
The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

The best is yet to come – we are only passing through.

Keep the smile going.

God bless you.

In His Grip,

Gran xxx 🙂

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