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South Africa

Sept. 11-  On Sunday, I said farewell to my home church in Tyler, TX, the Smith Temple Church of God in Christ.
I gave a short talk thanking them for the kind hospitality they've shown me, and gave a gift of Mercy Ships coloring
books to all  the children of the church.  Bishop David R. Houston, the pastor, prayed a blessing for me.  Attending
church at Smith Temple is what I will most about the time spent at the International Operations Center in E. Texas.

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The Caribbean Mercy is currently laid up in Chickasaw, AL just north of Mobile.We were concerned that the hurricane had caused
damage to it. We weren't able to get to it the first few days due to the water level. A friend and former shipmate who's a Colonel
 in the Civil Air Patrol snapped these pictures of the ship as he flew overhead. As you can see, there was little damage-though the
swimming pool was over fifty feet from where we had left it !!!  After, the ship was then used as a base for our relief team there.


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Sept. 10- Saturday, Kathia & Alberta threw a farewell party for me. Friends from Gateway, CBM & the IOC came to wish me a good trip.
In true Mercy Ships fashion, there was food to feed an army. I was amazed by the turnout, & it was nice to see everyone one last time.





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Sept. 16-18- I arrived in Cape Town, South Africa to board the M/V Anastasis.  Cape Town is a beautiful city with a lively harbor, known as 
the 'Victoria & Alfred Waterfront', or simply, the V & A. It's very similar to Boston's Fanueil Hall or Baltimore's Inner Harbor. There are some 
folks from the CBM already on board, so I got to see some old friends. I had arrived late Friday afternoon, so I had the weekend  to explore.

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Sept.23- This weekend is our last weekend for tours. It's also a holiday, Heritage Day, in South Africa. We had a whopping
3500
 people tour the ship today, for a total of 17,302 people during our time in Cape Town. Tours help to raise the profile
of Mercy Ships,  which bring more volunteers and supplies.  They also generate a modest amount of financial  help through
donations given for the tour, as well as money that is brought in from the gift shop that we have on board the Anastasis.

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Sept 24- This weekend, a local couple, Neville & Sue Boddington, took Sandy, Jen, & I to Stellenbosch, the wine country of South Africa.
Stellenbosch was settled by the Huguenots in 1680, & now the loveliest region in South Africa produces some of the best wines the world.
We saw many wineries, scenic areas, & shops. Our trip was topped off  by a visit to 'Oom Samie Se Winkel', a 100 year-old 'general store' 
that was like stepping back in time. This was the highlight of my time here, and bless you, Neville & Sue for your gracious hospitality!


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Sept 25-30- We were busy all week. We moved the ship to another dock nearby & loaded all of our cargo on. Between the stores
we already had, the containers that arrived, & the medical supplies that were donated, we had a good bit of loading. We head back
to our favorite spot at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront Monday. Below, Dominique, Don Gyu, & I sort out some assorted palettes.


 

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Oct 1.-  Ben Colby (Maine) and I hit the road to explore Cape Town by bike. We followed the waterfront around the city, winding
up on the other side of 'Lions Head', one of the mountains that surround the city.  We hiked over the mountain,bikes in hand, and
came down in the back of the city. We had a fantastic lunch of Gnosh Vindaloo and Chicken Zafredi at Jaipur Palace, which had the
best Indian food I've ever tasted. After lunch, we continued exploring downtown, stopping at St.Georges market. After quick stops
in Thibault Square and Greenmarket Square, we headed on back to the ship.  Low-lying clouds and winds kept temps cool all day.



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Oct.2- A dozen or so of us hiked up Table Mountain today. Table Mt. is a massive flat-topped mountain that dominates the Cape
Town skyline. It was designated a National Monument in 1957. It took about 2 hours up steep, rocky terrain. The mountaintop is
populated by brown 'Rock Rabbits', or 'Dassies', as the locals call them.  The top was shrouded in fog, as usual ( the local call it a
Tablecloth), but it was burned off 15 min. after we reached the top, giving us a stunning view for miles around. There's not enough 
room on my website to show a picture of every view, but I put up the most I could fit. That's me & a Dassie (dossy) at bottom left.



 

 

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Oct.8- Went biking around CT again today, this time with Joe, a friend from Halifax I met @ the IOC a month back. We went
along the shoreline, then cut into the city. We visited several markets, 'fed the seagulls' in the botanical gardens, and ate lunch
outside a Castle. My friend Dan Connors (Manchester, NH) came aboard today. He teaches BST at the IOC in Texas, & is aboard
to do some training for a couple weeks. Check out the funny sculpture on the left...hey, I don't know art, but I know what I like.

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Oct.9-Went to World of Birds today. It was a large aviary/monkey house about 30 minutes outside of Cape Town. We saw just
about every species of bird known to man, and spent a chaotic thirty minutes in the 'Monkey Jungle', being assaulted by dozens
of spider monkeys.  Afterwards, we went on a scenic driving tour of Cape Town, visiting  Camps Bay, Signal Hill, and Bo Kaap.
I went along with my roommate John, a retired Deputy from Oregon, his co-worker Franz and daughter Marsha from Holland. 

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Oct 12.- A few more Cape Town pictures that didn't fit anywhere else-Loading cargo, Oscar the seal, group shot, Dan at the
Clock Tower, an African tree, James & Kishor at Castle of Good Hope, and, finally, Jen and I  at the wheel of the Anastasis...

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Oct.14- Sights and sounds of Cape Town. These are some 'mini-movies' I
filmed around Cape Town of some of the wildlife there. Click each to watch.
 

 See a 'Dassie' in action on top of Table Mountain.       Watch some seals 'battling' at the V & A Waterfront

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Oct.19- Departure...We left our beautiful spot at the V&A Waterfront and set sail for Liberia. It will be about a 9 day sail, give or take. While
it was to leave such a beautiful place, the crew have their hearts geared up for the outreach. We'll be staying in Liberia for the next 8 months.


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Oct.26 & 27-  We crossed the Equator at 10:17 local time, at Longitude 06į39.5' West. We celebrated with a braai on the back 
deck, followed by games, races, & contests. I was the emcee for the tug-of-war contest, where we matched boys vs. girls, Dutch
vs. Norwegians, kids vs. parents, and any other combination we could think of, including deck vs. engineering, which deck lost
after a mighty struggle. I was a lot more fun than the first time I crossed the equator in the Navy. The next day, we stopped the
engines & drifted for a few hours so the communications team could get some good pictures.  After, we got a nice break when
the captain announced a 2-hour swim call. Our own Mark Elliot did a quick scuba search for sharks, and we all took turns in the
water. There's nothing quite like going for a swim in water that's over a mile deep. You can see how blue the water was, below.




These are a few of the fantastic photos our communications man, Martin, took...


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For earlier news, go HERE.
The next page has photos from my time on the
Caribbean Mercy and at the IOC in East Texas.