01.12.2009 - 01.12.2009
It was coming to the end of the my first full day at sea. Cape Town is now but a distant memory. I was just before 18:00 and I had just come up from dinner. I still had my coffee, and went for a look outside. Usually, I go out on the Starboard side on A Deck, but unaccountably, on this occasion I decided to go out on C deck, and to the Port side. For whatever reason, I had timed it absolutely perfectly: Barely 1.5km away, and just about to pass us heading south was the RMS St. Helena.
She is unmistakable in design and i realised immediately: If there were any doubts a quick trip to the bridge confirmed it. Probably the only ship in the world that I could recognize at distance and at sea without any hesitation, and the one ship that actually means anything for me. From my advanced height, I was amazed at just how small she looked – I have seen bigger fishing boats. She was also looked quite low in the water, but i kind of knew that it was partly an illusion, especially seeing her from an angle I never have before.
At 6pm, the bar would be open and they would be preparing for the first of the evenings dinner services. Dots of people were clearly seen on the outside deck, and I wondered who might be on it: Which of my friends, acquaintances and doubtless family members were leaving the island this time?
Though I can't really explain it, I was immensely happy – if a bit sad that I was not either on board her, or heading to the Island – to see her. It seemed to add a nice touch to the end of my trip, and as the call at Walvisbaai will also do adds to the closing of a circle for my time in Africa on this trip.
Barely 20minutes later, we had passed and the RMS was now just a small dot in the distance as she headed for Cape Town. The excitement (mine, not the crew's - for whom she was just another ship - or anybody on the RMS, for whom we were just a passing diversion) was over, and our mutual voyages continued into the increasing twilight.