This Blog serves as two things: a photo-diary of our lives between 2007 and mid 2011, when we saw some incredible things and met some amazing people; and a reflection of our more normal lives since then.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Rumors circulate in Liberia that water will turn to blood

Liberia's water supply was crippled during the country's civil war when the main water treatment plant was destroyed. A 2006 report found that the majority of Liberians rely on untreated wells, rivers, ponds, creeks and swamps for drinking water. But these water sources have been further harmed by widespread superstition and rumors. Myles Estey is a journalist based in Monrovia, Liberia. He writes on his blog "Esteyonage" about a recent scare there, when people became worried that the water would turn into blood or would turn bitter. "People here just believe anything," a local journalist said of the situation. "They believe in powers and forces that don't actually exist, just because someone told them so".  Click here for full article. Olly

On-line video about Mercy Ships screening days

There is a great on-line video available about the Screening Days held by Mercy Ships in Cotonou last Thusday and Friday. Click here to watch it. Olly

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Surgery starts again

After successful Screening Days last Thursday and Friday, surgery started again yesterday on board the Africa Mercy, in all six operating theatres. 423 patients have been scheduled for surgery over the next ten months; this number will double or treble as more patients are scheduled over the coming weeks. Olly

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Pancake day

Today is Shrove Tuesday, AKA Jiff Lemon Day, AKA Pancake Day, AKA the day before Lent begins! Sally joined a handful of Brits cooking pancakes in the crew galley for the other 60 British crew, to celebrate what appears to be a uniquely British festival. A good time was had by all (except me; I hate pancakes). (And Sally, who got hot and sweaty and ended up smelling of pancakes and burnt fat).

Above: Sally cooking pancakes. The guy behind her (sipping batter) is, of course, an American. Olly

Bush Cows Go on Rampage in Liberia, Injuring Citizens

Bush cows are said to be on the rampage in Gogala, Gbarpolu County, injuring several persons. Citizens of the town and surroundings, through Chief Jallah Lone, informed President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf that the bush cows were on the rampage destroying their crops and injuring them. Chief Lone said the bush cows have made citizens of Gogala and surrounding towns and villages to halt farming activities for fear of being attacked. He said recently that two of the bush cows entered in one of the towns and injured several persons. Chief Lone disclosed that one of the cows was subsequently killed by a group of citizens. He attributed the rampaging of the bush cows in their areas to the imposition of embargo on the usage of single barrel guns in Liberia, voicing a strong appeal to President Sirleaf to give them the authority to use single barrel guns, to get rid of the bush cows. But in response, the Liberian leader, who empathizes with the citizens of Gogala, said the armed embargo is still on Liberia, and therefore could not authorize the citizens to acquire single barrel guns. For full article click here.

Anastasis gangway refurbished

Do you remember the main gangway on the Anastasis? I wonder how many times I walked up and down that in the two years we lived on the ship. It passed over to the Africa Mercy when the Anastasis sailed off to India, and was used as the patient gangway at the aft of the ship during the 2007 and 2008 Field Services in Liberia. However, the wooden planks became rotten beyond repair, and during the sail from Tenerife to Benin they were replaced with plastic planks, the whole gangway was repainted, and the hand-rail replaced with pipe.

Above, Lourens Lessing (South Africa) and Karl Schmutter (Australia) cutting off the old handrail on the sail.
Above: as good as new.
The quality of the refurbishment is top quality; I reckon the new and improved gangway will far outlast the Africa Mercy. Olly

Monday, 23 February 2009

Photo of the day

Something weird happened to our bread today. Libby says each slice of bread is in the shape of a jellyfish. Olly

Places to eat in Cotonou

Thanks to our good friend Rob Baker for compiling this report of tried and tested places to eat in Cotonou. Bon appetit!
Chez Tony - good burgers and chips for about 1,500cfa. Take the road opposite the 'Eglise St Michel' and it's down there on the right.
The Crux - down "the strip" in Cadjehoun, next to the 'Championne' supermarket. Excellent pizza and other French food + great service. Pizzas from around 3,500.
The Beer Garden. It's on the coast the other side of the lagoon from the port. Ask for 'Quartier Jacques' then keep going towards the beach. Great food and a nice cool breeze from the coast. Bit pricier than some, but the portions are BIG!
The Gerbe d'Or on the main street in Ganhi (very close to the port). Good food and milkshakes!
The Secret Chwarma - best Lebanese chwarmas (ie doner kebabs) in town. Only 1,500 each and you'll do well to finish one! North over the fly-over in town then almost immediately right, on the street with 'New Look' on the corner. It's just on the right, called 'Boucherie Libanaise', just before the 'Hotel le Crillon'.
The Hai King Chinese, on the main roundabout next to the Festival des Glaces in Cadjehoun. Great value & service. Delicious food. Sit up the very top and watch the traffic as you eat!
Chez Davia et Fils - EXCELLENT curry for 3,000 a head. Read Rob's review here.
Bangkok Terrace - great Thai food, near DFC on the road to Hall Des Arts.
La Branche (if it's still there) is part of the 'Kora' supermarket, just off the 'Rue des Trois Banques'. Good atmosphere, air-con and nice food.
Le Sud-Ouest. Very near the English School off "the strip" in Cadjehoun. Nice for a 'posh' meal out. French food (inc. frogs' legs) and nice atmosphere. Will cost you around 35,000cfa for 2 to eat.
The Repaire de Bacchus, very near the new overpass in town - live jazz every Thursday night from 10:00-1:00. A late night, but great atmosphere and delicious, cheap food. Only 3 mins drive from the port (but don't risk walking or zemming it that late).
Thanks again Rob. So much to chose from. Olly

Vehicles cleared

Thanks, Marius, for pointing out that I never blogged about when our vehicles were cleared. So, we arrived in Cotonou on Tuesday 10th February, and the vehicles were finally given the all clear to drive a week later, 8pm on Tuesday 17th February - not a minute too soon, as our big day, the Screening Day, started one day later on Thursday 19th February. So its back to fixing problems again. And today we move our tent and workshop again, because the ship moved at the weekend - so we're setting up again for the second time in one week. C'est la vie dans Benin. Olly

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Photo of the day

Sunday 22nd February 2009: Local fishermen flying the Union Jack (to help identify their boat amongst dozens of others) return to the fishing port.

God save the Queen!


Saturday, 21 February 2009

A miracle!

Can you see the five giant cement hoppers in the photo below, taken Tuesday 10th February as we sailed into Cotonou's port? (Click here for the original article).


Well, on Wednesday 11th February, one of them collapsed. If it had happened only 24 hours previously, it would have killed members of our Advance Team and Mercy Team, who were waiting for the ship in its shade. Praise God that this didn't happen. It lies, to this day, on its side waiting for repair. Olly

Benin then and now (continued)

We went for a long drive today (before the trip to the pool), and hardly recognised Cotonou. There are new roads and flyovers everywhere, and the most fantastic fancy and modern houses and restaurants that weren't here 4 years ago. The places we often frequented look quite shabby by comparison to their new neighbours. And we can't get over the abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables, which are found at fruit markets at regular intervals throughout the city (how different from Liberia, where there was hardly any agriculture or horticulture and a constant shortage of fruit especially). One thing that Benin has in common with Liberia is the stuff the street vendors sell - weird stuff of all types, that no-one really wants to buy when they're waiting in a traffic jam (surely?) - electric irons, toy guitars, DVD players, radios, coffee makers, digital clocks, plastic flowers, steering wheel covers...the list is endless. My favourite is a framed photo of Barack Obama - who on earth (well, in Benin) would want to buy that at random when they are driving from A to B? Olly

A day at the pool

Leisure facilities in Benin are few and far between. The beaches are not an option due to the murderous rip-currents that are everywhere, so the only option is the swimming pool at the local hotel, which we can afford to go to every other weekend. Today we joined 50 or 60 other crew at the pool of the Hotel Du Lac, and enjoyed the sunshine and warm water for the first time since early December. It was a lovely day - our big kids went off with the other big kids, and Libby bobbed around all day in her floaties. Noah, Anna and Sally mastered diving off the high diving board (I'll do it next time, I promise!). We arrived back at the ship after 5pm, tired and hungry, to find that the ship had moved 100 feet during the day (at the request of the port authority) and the poor old Deckies had been hard at work all day. Olly

Friday, 20 February 2009

Libby's dreams

Libby is doing well at night again. Since the request went out asking for prayer for her, she hasn't been haunted by bad dreams. She had people praying for her all over the world! I am utterly convinced that the dreams were a spiritual warfare issue; several people around the ship had the same bad dreams at the same time. Without trying to sound like a religious nut-case, I believe this is precisely how our enemy tries to disrupt and confuse our lives, as we seek to bring God's love to Benin. Please will you continue to lift us and the rest of the crew up in prayer; that we continue to be kept safe from the efforts of the enemy. Thanks. Olly

It's hot

I'm struggling to get used to Benin's temperatures after the cool of Tenerife and the sail. Today on the dock (where I work) it was 36 degrees (C) in the shade, and 43 degrees (C) in the sun, very humid and without any breeze. Olly

Screening day

Cotonou, Benin, Thursday 19th & Friday 20th February: Approximately 3000 people (some of whom had arrived the day before) stood for hours outside the city's Hall des Arts stadium in the hope of being selected for free specialist surgery onboard the Africa Mercy. More than 600 eye patients were referred on to field eye clinic sites at other locations, as were dental patients. The ship's crew began arriving on the site as early as 4am to begin supervising the queues. Sally arrived at 9am, and worked until 5pm escorting patients from one part of the process to another. She said it was an incredible day, and full of emotions as some people with operable conditions were accepted for surgery, and others with inoperable conditions weren't. Prayer held the day together; it gave strength to the crew in the thick of it, and was offered to the people who we were unable to help. I think around 1300 patients have been selected for surgery. Olly


Thursday, 19 February 2009

Anna

Anna lost another tooth last night, in the dining room (which was a little embarrassing, what with all the wailing and blood which put more than a couple of people off their dinner)...Olly


Prayer request

Part of the Africa Mercy's original air conditioning system that covers our cabin is having problems, which means the air is not as cool as it should be. Temperatures vary between humid 24 degrees centigrade (75 Fahrenheit) and 28 degrees centigrade (82 Fahrenheit)*, which is the upper limit of the human comfort zone apparently. Please join us in praying that the parts needed for the faulty compressor get here quickly, and that a speedy repair is made. *I know, this is nothing compared to the 36 degrees centigrade (97 degrees Fahrenheit) we lived with for six weeks on the Anastasis in early 2005, or the temperatures we lived with ashore in Liberia,  but it'd be nice to cool down for a bit. Olly

Some photos of Benin

The local fishing fleet. They use the different flags to identify their own boats.


Can you guess what this guy sells? Olly

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

I just realised...

...I really DID leave my heart in Liberia. Sob. Olly

Cell phones

Sally and I now have cell phones, so you can reach us anywhere, anytime, if you can't get through on the ship's phone. Sally's number is 00229 96275964 and mine is 00229 96341253. Olly

Wednesday 18th Febuary

Today our newly recruited local staff came to work. Working for me are Matthieu (a mechanic) from Togo; John and Adrien (translators/drivers/cleaners) from Cotonou, and Mathiew and Thomas (ambulance drivers) from Cotonou. They are all mature men with good references from their churches; I hope they will be easier to manage than some of Liberian guys who worked for me last year. Whilst the new guys spent the day washing cement dust off our vehicles, Moses and I spent the day setting up our dockside workshop, which consists of a 20 foot shipping container that holds our tools and Land Rover parts, and a 20 x 20 foot tent under which we can work to avoid the sun/tropical rain/cement dust from neighbouring ships. We are trying very hard to have everything in a state of semi-readyness to lift back onto the ship in case we have to move berth at a moment's notice, which we will have to do if the port wants our berth for other ships. Olly

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Beninoise staff

This afternoon we took on over 180 locals to help us run the ship in Benin. They had all been recruited over the last couple of months through the local churches, and some worked with us in 2004/5. They will work as cooks, cleaners, engineers, painters, drivers, mechanics, engineers, deck-hands and translators (for the 16 different local dialects in Benin). The ship will soon be at bursting point, with a full crew of over 400, plus over 180 local staff, plus the patients and their carers. Olly

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Zemidjans

Can you count how many zemis are in the photo? Olly


Sally the linguist

Sally has lately begun showing us her linguistic skills. She knows as much Spanish as I do (ie none), but during our 6 weeks in Tenerife was able to tune herself into the language so she began to understand directions, menus, ingredients etc, all of which remained incomprehensible to me. And now we have reached French speaking Benin, she's chatting away to anyone and everyone in rapid French that leaves me way behind. She assures me that her French is still very basic, but I'm well impressed. Olly

Unloading fish Benin style

In Liberia, small ships bring boxes of frozen fish into the port from big factory ships at sea. The boxes are loaded one-at-a-time by hundreds of casual labourers into non-refrigerated containers carried by horribly maintained lorries. The whole operation is very noisy and very messy and disorganised, and the frozen fish start melting immediately. In Benin, just along the West African coast, the same operation is astonishingly well organised and quick - the boxes of frozen fish are lifted into waiting, well maintained, refrigerated trucks by fork-lift trucks. The whole operation is silent and effortless, and involves about three men. I am bemused why there is such a difference between similar West African countries - Liberia has plenty of working fork-lift trucks and refrigerated lorries after all. Just one more difference between the two countries. Olly

Mail delivery

On Friday our first boxes of mail arrived for 3 weeks. They included toys Noah and Anna bought with their Christmas money:

Above: Anna is now the proud owner of an American Girl Doll. Each doll comes with a story book about it - this one is Emily, an English evacuee, who was sent to the US during WW2 to escape the London Blitz and is the best friend of Molly, the main American Girl.


Above, Noah is continuing to expand his Lego collection (you can never have enough Lego, can you?). This lot is Star Wars Lego - Imperial Storm Troopers and Clone Battle Sets etc.

And Sally and I got some new bed sheets with our Christmas money. Woo hoo! Olly

Saturday, 14 February 2009

BENIN: "Mercy” health care ship docks


UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs: COTONOU, 12 February 2009 (IRIN) - The 150m-long mobile hospital called "Africa Mercy" has docked in Benin's economic capital Cotonou and is expected to provide free surgeries and other medical care until December. To read more, click here.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Benin and us; then and now

As I've probably said already, our first time in Benin commenced early November 2004 and lasted only four months, and was our first experience of West Africa as a family. Noah was 5, Anna was 3, and Libby hadn't even been born yet. The heat and humidity was very challenging to us, and our first walk into town off the air-conditioned Anastasis lasted only half an hour, before we returned exhausted and hot. Four years ago there were only 30,000 zemidjahns (little motorbikes) in Cotonou and thousands of taxis; now there are 80,000 zemis and hardly any taxis. Four years ago we were overwhelmed by the number of beggars and aggressive street vendors; now we hardly notice their presence, but the good news is their numbers don't seem to have increased. Four years ago security in the port was much tighter; now it seems to be non-existent (I walked through the gate today past a sleeping policeman). Four years ago the roads were busy and the traffic heavy; now it is insanely busy. I guess Benin has changed a bit; I guess WE have changed a lot. We can walk through the hot and humid weather, through droves of beggars and street vendors, and feel confident enough to banter with them instead of feel threatened by them. It's good to feel this close to the people we feel called to serve. In the meantime, the ship's vehicles have still not been registered by the Ministry of Transport, so we can't use them yet, 5 whole days after our arrival. We've still not had the opportunity to explore Cotonou properly, and have no idea what the weekend has in store for us if we can't drive anywhere. Olly

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Photos for Anton

Anton wanted to see these photos of when the Anastasis crashed into the dock in 2004 in Benin:

Above: the crash. Photo taken by Christophe Baer from the Advance Team (and CDS).

Above: damage to the dock (hardly any).

Above: damage to the Anastasis. The bow was broken, and the forepeak water tank torn open.

Above: men from Ghana came to repair the ship.

Above: Captain Jay surveys the work once the damaged bow has been removed.

Above: a new bow has been welded into place. A beautiful job!

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Benin -v- Liberia

The Africa Mercy was cleared by Benin Immigration late last night, so today I went exploring ashore. I got my bearings very quickly, and the noises and smells bought back many memories of our time in Benin 4 years ago. I couldn't help but compare Benin with Liberia. There is obviously more personal wealth here; there are more cars and privately owned scooters, and more overweight people (another sign of wealth). Within half a mile of the port are several clean and shiny western style banks with ATMs, and shops and pharmacies with glass fronts, air-conditioning and a huge range of stock. There is running water and mains electricity, a fully functioning postal service, manhole covers and working drains, tall buildings with glass in their windows, painted walls and beautiful fresh flowers and fruit for sale. There is no razor wire, few window bars, no bullet holes, no visible refugee camps, no open sewers or missing pavements, and the roads are decent. But the place is covered with sand, building rubble and garbage, and amongst the garbage live the poor and needy, including the thousands of people with disfigurments and medical conditions who we are here to serve over the next ten months. This afternoon our vehicles were cleared by Customs, so we can now start unloading them and setting up the dockside workshop. Its great to be here! Olly

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

New family photo

Here's our new family photo, taken as we sailed into Benin. Click on it to enlarge. Olly


Fruit bowl

Our fruit bowl is looking very sad, after our ten day sail. Olly


Made it!

Tuesday 10am, Cotonou: We made it! Thank you for all your prayers. Our engineers got the engines working again late last night, but we stayed at anchor until daylight and experienced a very uncomfy and disturbed nights sleep as the ship rolled badly in the water (although Libby slept well - thanks for your prayers for her too). This morning we sailed into the Port of Cotonou around 9ish:
Above: members of the Advance Team and the Mercy Team wait on the dock to great us.

Above, the dock looking North.

Above, the dock looking south.
The dock is just how I remembered it - caked in cement from the regular bulk carriers that bring cement clinker to Benin (how I hate them!) and very public. We are surrounded by smaller cargo and passenger ships, so please pray for our safety and security on the dock. Captain Tim berthed the Africa Mercy starboard side to the dock and will send divers down later to see if the water is deep enough to turn around. We are waiting for Customs and Immigration officials to come aboard to start clearing the crew and vehicles before we start the mammoth job of unloading and setting-up our dockside workshop. More later. Olly

Monday, 9 February 2009

Day 9 at sea

At anchor off the coast of Benin, 3pm, Monday: The arrival ceremony should have begun an hour ago, but due to engine problems that have occurred only in the last couple of hours, Captain Tim has wisely decided that it is currently unsafe for the Africa Mercy to enter the Port of Cotonou. Our time at anchor should give our engineers and electricians time to rectify the faults. Maybe we'll be able to reach our berth tonight; maybe not. It's disappointing not to be able to go ashore after nine nights at sea, but we are grateful that the faults were discovered before we entered the port. We are ever mindful that our spiritual enemies are praying against our safe arrival in Benin (this is, after all, the birthplace of Voodoo). Meanwhile, we had another bad night last night - Libby was awake again from 1am to 4.30am, haunted by snakes again, so Sally and I are looking forward to a good nights sleep tonight. We're off to a prayer meeting now to pray that the engines are fixed quickly and we can go to our berth. Olly

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Crossing the Greenwich Meridian

Sunday 1,30pm: We just sailed over the Greenwich Meridian. This is the furthest east we've been in West Africa since 2006, when we were in Ghana (whose waters we are in now). Rodrigo, on the bridge, told us over the ship's PA system to look out for the white line in the water, and be ready for the bump as we crossed it, and the kids believed him of course. Olly

Day 8 at sea

Libby slept soundly for 13 hours, and wasn't haunted by snakes or anything else nasty. So we had a great evening and night's sleep. In the evening, someone organised the first Africa Mercy record-breaking evening in the dining room - it included record-breaking events such as: who can make the tallest tower out of cutlery; who can hold water bottles at arms length the longest; who can put a load of chairs on tables and take them down the quickest; who can drink 1 litre of pear nectar the quickest; who can do the greatest number of push-ups in a minute etc. The last record-breaking event was - how many people can be squeezed into a small ship's shower-room - and they managed 25. They were even posting people into the slot above the other guys head. Not for claustrophobics like me. Anyway, Sunday morning has arrived and the sea is still calm, the sky is hazy but clear, and its hot. This time tomorrow we will be able to see Benin I hope, and will be making preparations for arrival. Olly

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Day 7 at sea

Libby was convinced she had snakes in her bed last night, so we were awake with her from 1am to 5am. During that time I did notice a number of bright lights on the horizon - maybe one of the big cities in Ivory Coast, or oil rigs. Today the sea is smooth, the air is warm and humid, and the sky is overcast - we had a huge downpour yesterday afternoon, and more rain overnight, but none so far today. We did a Man-Overboard Drill this morning, and shortly afterwards were treated to a magnificant orca show off the bow - the orcas jumped right out of the water, I'm told. I missed it because I'd nodded-off whilst reading a book (yeah, thanks Libby!). We're managing to keep the boredom at bay by taking everything slow, and making it last. Olly

Friday, 6 February 2009

Day 6 at sea

Today we leave Liberia's waters and move into Ivory Coast's waters. The sea is perfectly smooth, blue and sparkling, and the sun is hot. We have a long and boring weekend ahead of us, but on Monday we should sail into Cotonou and begin the hard work of unloading the vehicles, setting up the dockside workshop, recruiting local mechanics and cleaners, and start sourcing local suppliers etc. In the meantime, the kids are celebrating the 100th Day of School and are doing activities involving 100 - Libby made a paper crown and put 100 stickers on it; Anna ate 100 M&Ms, and Noah gave out 100 M&Ms. Olly

Benin time

At 1am this morning we switched our clocks forward one hour to 2am, so we are now on Benin time (which is GMT +1) and Central European Time, and British Summer Time. We also changed course, so we are sailing eastwards. Now the sun rises on our bow and sinks on our stern, so our cabin stays in relative coolness of the shade all day (aren't we POSH?) Olly

Thursday, 5 February 2009

65 miles South West of Monrovia

8pm Thursday 5th February: the bright lights of Monrovia (?) are just over the horizon. Its a weird thing to be so close and yet so far away from the many good friends we left behind. Please pray for them; that God continues to protect them and keep them well and safe, and that their work continues to His glory. Who are they? The Dunseath family; the Shank family; the Chapman family and Frieda; the Ecklund family; Jen & Matt & Andrew in ORR; the guys in Equip, Samitans Purse, Tearfund, SIM ELWA, Living Water, Grass Roots, CAM, Acres of Hope, and our many Liberian friends...God bless them all! Olly

Day 5 at sea

Today we move from Sierra Leonian waters into Liberian waters, and guess what? It's raining. Typical Liberian weather! I hope we are close enough to see land - the first part of Liberia we sail past is Grand Cape Mount County, where Libby was born. It is usually possible to just make out the "grand" mountain that gives the county its name. The sea temperature has already risen from 20 degrees centigrade (when we left Tenerife) to 30 degrees. Hmmm, lovely! Otherwise, still a smooth and pleasant sail (although the rain is stopping Moses and me from working on the vehicles on Deck 8). Olly.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Day 4 (is it?) at sea...

Somewhere off the Guinea/Sierra Leone coast: I'm losing count; the days are all merging into one, with nothing to relate to except blue sea, blue sky etc etc. And meanwhile, the UK is deep in snow! Only another five more days to go. Tomorrow we will be in Liberian waters...which is nice...Olly

Another photo of loading vehicles in Tenerife

That's me in the yellow jacket in the driver's seat (click on photo to enlarge). Olly

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Benin's Religions

42.8% of Benin's population is Christian; 24.4% is Muslim; 17.3% practices Voodoo; other 15.5%. Source: Marius's Alumni newsletter (thanks pal).

Day 3 at sea

8pm, somewhere off the coast of Senegal; weather the same - blue skies, calm blue seas, bright sunshine and warm temperatures. As we continue to sail south the lengthening hours of daylight are quite noticable. Localised thunder storms are predicted overnight and tomorrow, but the seas should remain calm. Olly

Monday, 2 February 2009

Day 2 at sea

3pm, somewhere off the coast of Mauritania: blue skies, calm blue seas, bright sunshine and rising temperatures. It doesn't get any better than this. Olly

Departing images of Tenerife

This guy has been a big Mercy Ships supporter for many years, and always comes to play his trumpet during our arrivals and departures, no matter what time of day or night. The last thing we always hear as we sail away from Santa Cruz port is "Onward Christian Soldiers". Bless him! Photo by Michel Petzer.
Land Rovers waiting to be loaded. Photo by Esther Biney.

A Spanish media team filmed our departure from a ridged inflatable kindly provided by the local sailing club.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Day 1 at sea

Sunday 4.30pm. We are imagining that the sun is already getting warmer, even though we are probably only 300 miles south of Tenerife. Despite the calm seas the Africa Mercy is rolling a lot. Yesterday, we saw whales within 3 hours of departing from Santa Cruz, and a school of dolphins within 5 hours (can you believe that, Jodie?). Today we saw a massive school of dolphins from our new cabin's windows, some of which swam very close to the ship. Libby is continually saying "I can see humpback whales"...I don't even know if there are any in these waters. For me, it's been a long day as we've all been trying to keep busy after the fun of Tenerife. Tomorrow its back to work and back to school. Olly


A dolphin keeping pace with the Africa Mercy's bow. Photo by Michel Pelzer.