Friday, September 19, 2008

Star Gazing in Namibia

It took an hour of driving through the desert to get to the beautiful canyon wghere we'd be sleeping. It would have been shorter but out line of 8 SUVs got lost a couple of times between diamond mines and olive farms.

Millennia ago, shale, quarts and volcanic rock erupted out of the flat, arud terrain. Two hundred-foot towering walls remained, which sheltered us from the dusty winds. They also enveloped the 40 shwanky two-man tents and three bonfires that were set up for our touristy pleasure.

Nice dining tables were set up for a delicious buffet meal that the our two guides cooked themselves. They served fresh papaya with balsamic, steamed vegetables (including the most succulent potato) and an orange-glazed desert topped with homemade caramel-cream sauce- for beverages, a full bar and rich coffee. These Namibians sure knew how to make us AMerican happy.

Besides the food, the view from the top of the rock walls were amazing. A pre-dinner climb in my top-siders was painful, but worth it enough to wake up at 6 the next morning to do it again during sunrise. And our attempt at meditating was all the more beautiful since the first climb was at 6 pm, when the sun dipped below the nearest rock formation and our call of "we are the goddesses of Africa!" still echoed from wall to wall.

I can't believe I'm in Africa. 

This sure isn't jersey because... our astronomer was pointing to the Southern Cross. So long North Star!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

We're Not Alone!

Today as I lay on the pool deck reading "Heart of Darkness"- guess what I saw? A bird. It was the most comforting thing I'd seen in days. We were less than a day from land!
I'm not only excited to reach Namibia because the incessant rocking and rolling is getting to my sanity, or because of the amazing memories that will be made, but because we will get a break from moving east. For the past week we've had to groggily get up for breakfast's 8:30 cut-off after pushing our clocks forward the night before. Our fast pace moves us into new time zones every other, if not every day. But it beats a 6 hour one time shift and 2 days of jet lag.

This sure isn't jersey because... people applaud the site of seagulls.

Monday, September 15, 2008

In the Middle

It's strange not to have seasons. It's even more strange to move in and out of them, north to South to them.
And because of the sped cycle I miss autumn. THere are no leaves on the boat to turn colors and float away. Or apple picking and pumpkin carving. But there IS an ocean- so I'm not complaining.

A lot of you have been wondering about the middle of the Atlantic. Truthfully, it's not as spectacular as you (if your like me) might think.

Like you'd imagine its blue for as far as you can see. But even though we are a significant distance from land, the water is as calm as it is near the coast. A difference: Yesterday the captain's voice rang through the loudspeaker with an unnerving comment: "We have moved for exactly 48 hours without seeing signs of any other vessel" (except some whale spouts).  It made it a little more real. It made us realize that as we floated over the great divide at the fast pace of 20.2 knots, we, and the high tech sonars, were alone from horizon to horizon.

This sure isn't jersey because... students can volunteer to go on pirate watch.