Mercy Ships

Mercy Ships
The largest NGO hospital ship in the world providing free medical care to the forgotten poor

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Waves, Mountains, & Penguins!

After a fun and restful summer break I headed back to the Africa Mercy for my 2nd year. I arrived in Durban, South Africa to join the ship as it finished its preparations for the epic two week sail around the Cape and on to Benin. Armed with a supply of Scopoderm Patches (for sea sickness), I enjoyed every minute of the sail and our weekend stop in Cape Town. We started our voyage in winter and as we traveled North, gradually the weather grew warmer as we approached and then crossed the equator. 
The beginning of our voyage with Durban skyline in the background
 (Floor from Holland, Sveta from Russia, me, and Shea from the US)
I made this contraption so my students and I could see the angle measures of the ship's rolls as we sailed.  Our biggest roll hit 20 degrees. Last year I always heard people talking about the sail when plates slid off the table and people fell off their chairs in the dining room and now I finally got to experience it myself!

After 4 days of rocking and rolling, all of us were so glad for a short weekend stop in Cape Town.  I just wanted the world to stop moving around me.

My cabin-mates this year: Stefanie from Germany and Shea
The sunset one night on the sail

Arriving in Cape Town with a view of Table Mountain

Train ride to Simon's Town about 60 minutes outside of Cape Town

African Penguin Colony at Boulder's Beach, Simon's Town, South Africa

 My favorite part of stopping in Cape Town was getting to see penguins up close. There is a colony of several hundred African penguins that in South Africa.  We saw penguins up close - swimming, waddling on the beach, sleeping under bushes, and with their babies. I loved seeing penguins in the wild.
A penguin just walked by me while I was on the beach

My other favorite part of stopping in Cape Town was hiking Table Mountain. It was a pretty challenging 7 hour hike but the views were amazing.

At the top!

We were all super excited to cross the equator. The captain announced our approach on the P.A. system and we all rushed up to Deck 8 to countdown to the big moment.

Below is the ship as we crossed the equator.  Can you see the equator line in the picture?

And finally, after 14 days at sea, we arrived in Cotonou, Benin on August 18!

As you can see in the pictures, we are pretty excited!  All the while, school was in session this whole time! Next blog post: new classroom, new cabin, and the start of the Academy.