2012 MSC Melody Cruise & Italy & France
Departed Walvis Bay at 530pm on the 22nd February 2012
Two full days at sea and then St Helena.
Distance from Walvis Bay to St Helena 1227 Nautical miles.
Average maximum temperature around 21 degrees and partly cloudy.
Spent most of my time ready and socializing with the folks on board. Breakfast, lunch and dinner, oh and let’s not forget afternoon tea and the midnight buffet. Oh boy was I going to pick up some extra kilo’s.
I was really looking forward to getting to see St Helena. Due to arrive at around 1pm on the 25th February 2012.
A little history about St Helena.
Jamestown is a seaport and capital of St Helena. The town was founded in 1659, when the English East India Company built a fort and established a garrison on the sight of James Bay, naming it after the Duke of York (later James II). Jamestown consists of little more than a single street, running up a narrow deep sided valley for a mile to a height of 150m. The main source of revenue for St Helena are customs duties, wharfage, and the sale of postage stamps to philatelists. Places of interest:
Plantation House (The Governor’s Residence)
The Cathedral of St Paul’s
Longwood (where Napoleon was exiled and died)
One of Jamestown’s most notable features is Jacob’s Ladder, a long Inclined Plane that is reputed to “break your heart going up and break your neck coming down”. It was constructed in 1829 to connect Jamestown to the garrison on Ladder hill, and was used to haul ammunition. Jacob’s Ladder has 699 steps.
As I am an early riser - 1st cup of coffee out on deck and then off to breakfast. We were only due to anchor off Jamestown around 12pm so plenty of time to meet the gang in our usual spot until time to disembark. I prefer to do my own thing when we get to port and the rest had all decided to go on excursions, we decided to meet again once we were all on board later (630pm).
At round 1115am the island started to appear on the horizon and very gradually came into view.
The 1st thing I noticed is how blue the sea had become – it was amazing - the colour of dark blue ink.
Jamestown suddenly appeared around a bend in the island and there it was. As I was not going on an excursion, I had until 2pm to meet in Club Universe to get the tender to Jamestown, so just enough time to catch a quick bite to eat and the out on deck to watch the tenders being lowered and ferrying the passengers to Jamestown.
It was while on deck that one of the pool attenders caught my attention and almost dragged me to the side of the ship to show me this enormous Whale Shark swimming just below the surface of the ocean. What an awesome sight.
Then it was off to Club Universe to wait for my turn to go ashore.
This is what I was waiting for – this was going to be an opportunity to take some close up pic’s of the MSC Melody as we came around her on our way to Jamestown
Once ashore decided to do Jacobs’s Ladder – well I tried anyway - got half way and could not go any further so decided to catch my breath and settle the quivering calf muscles. The view from half way up is spectacular; it must be awesome from the top. But I was not going one step further, so took a few pic’s and headed back down. Took a stroll along the main road and stopped at the Post Office to send a few postcards back home to Cape Town. (and herein lies a funny one – the post cards only arrived in June – almost three months after my trip)
The people that live on the island are the friendliest, most charming people I have ever met. There is never enough time on the shore excursions to really get to see and do more. But there is always a next time.
Their way of life will change now that the airport is being built and I wonder if it will be for the better.
Bumped into Pat & Elaine on the way back and travelled back with them on the tender to the MSC Melody.
Departed at 7pm and sailed off into the sunset and left a little bit of me behind. Good excuse to go back one day.
Next Stop Dakar Senegal on the 1st March 2012