Voyage Journal 7106 Day 22


Day 22 - March 24, 2011 - Cape Town, South Africa

By Juan Carlos Restrepo, Geologist

Co-ordinates: S 33º54’17”, E 018º25’24”
Weather: Sunny
Air Temperature: 20ºC
Pressure: 1010 hPa
Wind: 10 knots

Land ahoy!! Since quite early this morning we could already see the African continent in the distance. It was nice to see land after quite a few days at sea. As we came closer and closer we started seeing Cape Town and the beautiful rugged terrain of the area.

Just before 10 am Captain Aleksander Golubyev brought the ship close to Cape Point in the Cape of Good Hope. The visibility was just fine up until that point and luckily we got good views of the Cape. Shortly thereafter the fog rolled in and visibility deteriorated a bit, giving the place a bit of a mysterious atmosphere. But these conditions did not last for long. We got glimpses of the coast on and off all morning and once we picked up the harbour pilot, the sky cleared out and the sun shone in all its splendor as we approached Cape Town smack in its city center.

The Prince Albert II, in a very impressive maneuver performed by our skilled Captain, did a 270º turn and came smoothly alongside at the Victoria Basin in the V&A waterfront. A very popular local band called “The Cape Minstrels” was playing for us at the pier. These seven smiley gentlemen in their bright pink outfits played different brass instruments, drums and a banjo as they strolled up and down the quayside interpreting local music to welcome us to their motherland.

After such a warm welcome, the local officials came on board for immigration and customs clearance, which took less than an hour. Once the ship was cleared, many of our guests eagerly disembarked to go explore Cape Town on their own. At 3 pm a group of about 17 of our guests went on a tour to the Table Mountain followed by sundowner cocktails at a nice venue at signal hill, where they had champagne and canapés whilst enjoying great views of the setting sun.

Meanwhile everybody else enjoyed the warm and welcoming atmosphere of this beautiful city. The V&A waterfront was teeming with local artists; there were also great shops and food venues. I had a wonderful afternoon watching the gulls and seals, tasting the local delicacies and enjoying fantastic weather. What a day!