Friday, September 23, 2011

Capetown! Dawn to Dusk

Blog Entry #19: Capetown!  Dawn to Dusk

Friday, September 23, 2011

Sunrise over the Western Cape, South Africa
Lionshead looms over Capetown suburbs
Pat and Rainbow over Atlantic
Dawn on the South Atlantic rose over Capetown!  What a stunning sight it is to approach this southernmost part of Africa from ship: Table Mountain and a long line of peaks rising from the sea.  Sunrise came over the Hottentotholland Range to the east, shining on the buildings lining the waterfront, among them Capetown’s gleaming new soccer stadium, built for the World Cup South Africa hosted in 2010.  A rainbow shown over a storm out on the Atlantic, and breakfast on the deck with Table Mountain rising behind us – what a treat!

We seem to have arrived early as the captain had our ship make a broad circle outside the Harbor, which gave us a wonderful 360-view of the region, including Robben Island to the north, where Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years in prison.

Pilot Boat guides us into the inner harbor at dawn, Capetown

Shortly before 8:00 am we entered through the narrow portal to the inner harbor and docked.  Pat and I gathered our group of students for our field day looking at religious responses to climate change and rural poverty (next blog entry).  While driving through the city, we saw signs everywhere of twin passions in South Africa: the new South African flag representing the democracy they struggled for so many years, and the Springboks rugby time, currently competing in the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand (if you watched the movie Invictus you have some idea of the place of rugby in South Africa).

Pat & Dan with Darwin in the Capetown Harbor

We returned to the ship just before sunset and again enjoyed a meal with a stunning backdrop as the lights of the city slowly came on.  The Capetown skyline is as stunning at night from the water, as during the day.  Tomorrow we head southeast along the coast to Hermanus, to visit John and Isobel DeGruchy, old friends from Holden Village, and watch the southern right whales in their annual migration.

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