After many postponements, BirdLife South Africa’s Flock to Marion Cruise is happening. The Earl and I managed to get somebody’s cancelled tickets and we are so excited to be aboard MSC Orchestra, ready to sail to the Southern Ocean.
This will be a pelagic cruise to see birds that would be impossible to see unless you went to sea so almost everybody aboard is a bird watcher! There are over 40 experts on board and they will be guiding us on the various decks and calling out and explaining which birds we see. The ship sails from Cape Town to within 12 nautical miles of Marion Island and then ends in Durban. It will be a 7-night cruise. I am able to post this blog today as we are anchored in Table Bay but once we sail I will not have the internet so will continue the story when I get home.
All 1700 of us had to pass a COVID test 48 hours before departure and then pass another antigen test this morning. So the ship is now full of negative people!
Originally our boarding time was set for 11:30 am but because of expected high winds, we were all asked to come two hours earlier than our given times. This was not possible for a few as they could not change their travel arrangements. For this reason, we are now anchored in Table Bay, and those passengers who could not make it are being collected in Life Boats and will join us soon. Cape Town Harbour’s entrance is very narrow making it difficult and dangerous for a ship the size of MSC Orchestra to get through it and out to sea.
Because of COVID restricting some people from travelling from overseas or not being able to get fully vaccinated some travellers had to cancel their reservations and sell their tickets to others. The Earl and I, just a month ago, were lucky enough to get such a passage at a reduced rate.
We were very excited when we awoke this morning and couldn’t wait to get going. Our daughter with whom we have been staying for four days booked us on an Uber and we were ready and waiting at the gate when he arrived just after 8. Getting through to have our antigen tests and check-in ran ever so smoothly and MSC and BLSA are to be congratulated on their superb, friendly and efficient service.
Once onboard, we had a short wait before our cabins were ready. We had a cold drink in one of the lounges and then went to have breakfast at the buffet. So far the food is amazing.
So that’s the introduction – Here are the photographs!