This is a small and rather simplified report of my mini-holiday down in Richards Bay from Monday 2 May till Saturday 7 May 2016.
I had high hopes of taking loads of pictures and such-like, but I am not trigger happy anymore – I took maybe a few photos and that’s it.
Therefore if you were hoping to see lots of pictures then I’m going to disappoint you!
Driving through the fog (mist) is the worst because it slows your driving journey time down. I drove between 10km/h and 40km/h in the worst patches and only up to 60km/h in the best of the bad places, while other drivers overtook us doing 80km/h or more.
The drive down to Richards Bay took a long time and by the time Dad and I checked in, I could have slept. I didn’t sleep. We went straight to the task of gaining access to the quay so that I could watch the Logos Hope coming in and all that jazz. The people we spoke to were very helpful, but due to protocol, they were unable to help.
One happy memory is going into the Port Control office – That was like walking into a candy store! We were helped and I got to hear the ships making contact and being told where to go to wait for the Marine Pilot.
Before MDT, I had set my mind on becoming a Marine Pilot. After MDT and learning more about myself regarding the Aspergers Syndrome (High[er] functioning autism [what-what]. (Actually lower autistic folks are pretty high[er] functioning [too]. Psychology is more odd than English.)) diagnosis, I crossed off the third option. A Marine Pilot would not suit my sensory profile like the Piano Tuning is.
Back to the story. After getting hold of the correct person, I gave up on humans letting me see [up-close] what the Deck guys do. We went back to the hotel room to catch a little snooze.
We got back to the area behind the quay. There were quite a few people waiting there and sitting at the shop tables. We went behind the shops to the fence to see what could be possible to see. There was shrubbery and a small building preventing a good view. There were a good 40 minutes to wait before the ship came in, according to what the Port Control officer had said.
One of the locals came to chat with us. He was happy that we were also there to see the ship come in. He said that they forgot to bring a flag or something colourful. I brought my colourful umbrella. I knew it could be seen from far off because in Lesotho I saw Big Anne [Davidson] at our campsite from the top of a mountain with a similar umbrella.
I recognized one of the OM Advance Ship team members and went to chat with her. She said that Jan was trying to see if he could bring everyone inside the quay. Deep down inside I knew it was possible, but my mind knew otherwise and assured me that this was impossible. As a crowd gathered, I went back to the fence behind the shops to watch the ship slowly appearing with her lights switched on.
An excited young boy came running to his brother to tell him that they were allowing us to walk in. When we got to the gate, security was sticking to the protocol and not allowing us onto the quay. I remember saying a prayer requesting access.
Prayer works, because moments later we were allowed onto the quay!
The coffee provided in the room was okay for instant coffee with milk?!
I slept really well that night because Dad and I were invited to the official opening of the ship on Thursday morning! Also, the driving added to my sleep requirements…
I had to find something formal to wear to the ceremony. Finding long pants and a shirt was an easy task compared to finding shoes that were comfortable. We eventually narrowed our search to two shops, but my feet were tired and it was decided to rather come back the following day.
One amusing conversation I had was with Anne Bloem. She thought that I was her car mechanic when she called me. After recognizing who I was, we had a small chat.
During our late lunch break, I recognized Reg & Cynthia walking by. I knew by the internal feeling I felt that I would see them again somewhere soon.
We had breakfast at Elephant & I, and then met up with John Briscoe for coffee.
After coffee, we went back to the two shoe shops and I made a comfortable stylish decision about the shoes – brown ankle boots. My formal outfit was now complete and we could finally get away from all the shops – busy, bright and noisy.
The restaurants by the waterfront had successfully called us to investigate their offerings. We looked at a few places, but they offered boring Pretoria food. Before making a final decision, Reg & Cynthia happened to walk past. Nervously I took a deep breath and rather blurted out my question. It took me by surprise – I don’t just do that sort of thing!
We decided to eat at the only place that offered seafood, plus they had half-price sushi on Wednesday evenings. I enjoyed the friendly atmosphere and decided that this would be the place to take the shippies out to dinner!
I sure looked smart in my blue and white striped button-up shirt, dark blue chinos and brown ankle boots!
The first person to be happy by my presence was Ivy. She was delighted to see me. After a big hug, I was able to meet Esther. Always smiling and happy to see me.
Dad and I were shocked to see that there was a spread of food. We had just finished with breakfast, but could fit some extra food in.
Finding a place to sit, we stood instead. Joy and Cynthia came to chat. Joy recognized me from MMT in the first half of 2014. That was pretty cool. She enjoyed catching up on my journey and inspired me for high hopes in many things.
The presentation was interesting, but I was there to see the book fair and my friends as well as to decide if the Logos Hope had any future with me.
Among the many books on the shelves, there was one book on Greek that provoked my interest. It was one of the “expensive for cheaps” books and I decided to really examine myself if I really wanted it or not. I saw a small one-of-a-kind book about Hebrew – it is proving to be an interesting read so far!
Dad and I were invited to lunch with Reg & Cynthia. The dining room chairs looked familiar, and then we were whisked away to the front desk to get visitor tags. Ivy came to join us and we managed to catch up some, plus she managed to corner Samuele and got him to come say hello. Dad happened to sit next to the Captain’s wife and had a good conversation with her. I stayed true to myself and was still eating my way through lunch once most people had left the dining room!
We were also invited for a tour of the ship after some staff meeting after lunch. We went down to the book fair to browse their titles and wait for our tour guides to return. While waiting near the welcoming desk, I managed to view the introductory video a few times over while the book fair crew were testing and making ready for the arrival of the public to the book fair. The cabin looked bigger than I imagined it to be, but it was good to see the actual size.
On the tour, I learned once again that the Logos Hope is a whole lot more than meets the eye. Keeping all those carpets clean, feeding and washing up, making sure the lights stay on and the toilets flush – yup, I gathered that from the tour. Just remember that I’m a Detailer and an Aspie, so the yummy tour information like crew members, staffers, on board school and cabins simply didn’t appeal to me like they would for you!
Today I had decided on a Greek book to better my understanding of the New Testament books in the Bible. Before going back to the ship, dad and I wanted to see the coastline before the high-tide came to chase us away.
I discovered that Naval Island was easier to access than I expected and that I may have been able to see the ship come into the harbour if it came during daylight hours.
Pelican Island brought back many happy memories from late December 2010 till the 2011 New Year celebrations with my friends from Pretoria. Footy, pasta, and wine tasting – those were the days!
I also managed to take a blooper picture – this physically does not exist, but it is a cool concept nonetheless:
After a tiny lunch of ice cream at Snow Haven, I paid for my dad and then saw that he could have boarded for free – Five Rand is a trivial amount to worry about. Ten Rand was a better donation. I bought my book and dad bought a few others for the family. I decided to walk slowly through the picture-based story and follow it without trying to walk faster than the story could keep up with me. Such a good story.
As we passed through the International Café I decided to try their soft-serve ice cream. We sat down at a table to be joined by a crew member who spoke to us while I ate my wonderfully lekker cone of super fine flavoured ice crystals. He also offered to help me to get hold of Vicky in the book hold to make sure he knew about the dinner later, after I had finished my ice cream.
Once again, we bumped into Reg & Cynthia while waiting for Vicky to come up from the hold. I found it amusing that whenever we came to the ship we bumped into them.
Dinner was at Porky’s with four awesome fellow MDT’ers (2014 team #1). Unfortunately, Esther was not able to join us, but I managed to greet her on board later on in the evening. Both Dayna and Ivy shared a sushi platter, while Samuele and Vicky had pizza. Dad and I each had grilled fish.
Vicky invited us on board for a special tour of the book hold. There were an uncountable (really large) amount of books in the hold for me to see, but at least they are processed and counted by the book fair crew.
On return to the entrance hall, we had our picture taken. Unfortunately, Dayna had to run off to a meeting. I cannot share the picture, but once I can I will post it here.
It was a real blessing to see my friends again and to view the Logos Hope first hand instead of seeing models of it and looking at pictures. I don’t know what the future holds and where piano tuning will take me, but the Logos Hope may not have seen the last of me!
We left on a wet and miserable day for entertainment on a beach, but excellent for traveling back home to Pretoria.
Not much to report, but I do know that I gave the wheel to my dad because I felt drowsy driving after the first hour. After lunch, I drove again. We got home after eight in the evening. I just wonder how I managed to drive all the way to Richards Bay without sharing the drive.