Summer and shipmates have already spent their first day in South Africa and should be well underway into their second day… They arrived at Cape Town at 8:00AM local time today, the 26th (which is 7 hours ahead of EST and 10 hours ahead of us). They had their usual briefing before disembarking but they should have been well informed about South Africa since they had the honor of traveling with Nobel Peace Prize Winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu who joined them for the sail from Brazil to South Africa… The Archbishop has been a friend and contributor to the SAS program on a number of occasions since he last sailed aboard ship in 1992. As a very charismatic and engaging lecturer, the experience was surely a mutually memorable one as we’ve heard it has been on each prior occasion. What a treat and great learning experience is that, to have him on-board for their sail… for the first time since 1992!?!
We are not sure what Summer’s schedule will be now that their voyage’s Kenya port stop has been cancelled… (see official SAS notice below). They will now be staying in South Africa an extra two days and then traveling to the Island of Mauritius near Madagascar.
Summer’s original plans for South Africa were:
Attending a Township Music Performance
Cycling in the Winelands near Cape Town
Taking a Cape South Coast & Whale Watching trip/sail in Hermaus
A day of river rafting on the Breede River
Participating in an Operation Hunger visit & day of volunteering at a local orphanage
Attending a Performance by a Township Choir
Who knows though with the addition of 2 extra days there, a full week now… She might be able to squeeze in a trip to the opera, that she was interested in but couldn’t fit in otherwise, or perhaps they can go to a game reserve or wilderness safari in South Africa since they will be missing their safaris in Kenya and/or Tanzania.
Below is the message we received from the ISE/SAS Office today…
Latest Update… One lost Camera
This is an Important announcement concerning the fall 2005 voyage of Semester at Sea. On September 23, 2005, the United States Department of State issued a new Public Announcement concerning East Africa. This announcement can be found at the following link: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/pa/pa_1158.html
We have discussed at length our plans to visit Mombasa, as well as considerations for alternate ports of call, with officials at OSAC (Overseas Advisory Council), and State Department’s Regional Security Office in Kenya. It was made clear that the State Department’s decision to update this public announcement was based on new information, which raised concerns regarding maritime travel along the East African coast at this time. In light of this information we felt it prudent to alter our itinerary and cancel the visit to Mombasa, Kenya, replacing it with a stop in Port Louis, Mauritius. The stay in Cape Town will be extended two days, and the MV Explorer will depart on October 2nd at 2300 hours. The ship will arrive in Port Louis on October 9th at 0800, departing for India on the 11th at 2300.
Semester at Sea has visited Mauritius on past voyages. It offers the shipboard community the opportunity to experience a beautiful island with a fascinating history and culture. The island was mapped by Arab explorers in the tenth century, and colonized by the Portuguese in 1505. It was held by the Dutch, French and then the British until 1968 when it gained its independence. The population is largely of Indian decent. The official language is English, but French and Creole are spoken by many of the island inhabitants. Mauritius is a volcanic island, ringed by one of the world’s largest continuous coral reefs.
Mark Twain described the island by saying, “You gather that Mauritius was made first, and then heaven, and that heaven was copied after Mauritius”.
A full program of field options will made available to the shipboard community. There are also a variety of things to do and see in and around Port Louis, which is the Capital. The Port Louis Market, Le Caudan Waterfront, Chinatown, the Muslim area and nearby Royal Botanic Gardens provide opportunities to experience the culture of Mauritius. For more information about Mauritius please visit some of the following websites:
We recognize the disappointment felt by the students, faculty and staff, as well as their families, because Kenya will not be part of their experience. Our decisions related to the itinerary are always made with the utmost care and consideration, with the safety of the shipboard community as our first priority. We appreciate your understanding and flexibility.
The staff of the Institute for Shipboard Education