Wednesday, February 21, 2007

"such was life...In Leningrad."

We spent a lot of time here. Six days a month for three and a half months straight. Three days per two week cruise. It was a popular season. There is so much to see and all the guests on the ship were out all day touring so the crew had plenty time off.

Leningrad, now known as St. Petersburg was the capital of Russia during Tsar rule. When the communists took over the capital was moved to Moscow. St. Petersburg was Peter the Greats vision and was Russias window on the west. He designed the city around western architecture and culture.

I have spent a lot of time here and there is so much I have left to see. The Hermitage museum which is the original tsarist Winter palace is a have to see. It is the second largest art museum in the world after La Louvre in Paris.

The Tsars amassed a huge collection of western art. Remabrandt, Picasso, Dali, Da Vinci and Michealangelo are all on display. It is awesome. For me too stand and gaze upon an original Van Gogh was a real highlight. They reckon that if you spend 1 minute looking at every single piece in the museum for 8 hours a day you would be there for 3 years or there abouts.

I have many stories about this city, too many to bore you with in one posting. Our "Vodka appreciation evening" is one that I am already drafting. So here are some shots of a two and a half hour walk I took one day.

Nevsky Prospekt

St. Isaac's Church on the spilt blood

The Hermitage Museum


Anyone who is an avid collector of useless information will enjoy reading up on this vibrant city's often tragic past. The seige of Leningrad, Rasputin, The Romanovs, The Russian revolution and not forgetting the lavish lifestyle of the Tsars (Hey If I was digging coal my whole life and my Tsar lived in a palace with 1200 rooms during the winter, I would also revolt.

This is definitely a place that has moved me and will definitely be seeing me again.

Have a safe week


The stretch Hummer- A wedding favourite

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Una Corona Por favor!

Thats Spanish for 1 Corona please, a very useful phrase in and around the Carribean and Mexico
Another one is...
"Tu Madre manega una cambion"
But I wouldn't suggest saying that too often.

Sailing along one day and the captain came over the pa System announcing that there was a corona around the sun. Wikipedia is a little anal about the whole phenomenon, I know. Its basically a rainbow around the sun that I was lucky enough to spot.
This only happens under certain atmospheric conditions apparently. The reason the photo isn't all in frame is that I didn't look through the view finder to get the shot, obviously.
Have a great weekend, I am out of town for the weekend and am going to have an all fall down party at the dam.
Bye Melville

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Gotta love it...

Happy Valentines Day to all of you...

Hope you've made your restaurant reservations, booked your roses and bought your gifts. Spending a small fortune in the process.

Valentines day, to me, seems to be for the newly in Love. After a few years you get to realize that it is a waste of money and personally it seems very unromantic to buy flowers and spoil your love on the one day when everyone else is doing it anyway. But thats just me, single old me.

Joburg is in a tizz about it at the moment... I have taken at least a hundred calls today at the restaurant for bookings tomorrow. Wild eyed guys running in and begging me for a table tomorrow night.

"But please, you don't understand!"

"Oh I do sir... just give me your details and I'll put you on the waitlist."

"Great, how far am I on the waitlist?"


Poor suckers, it's like if they don't get this right they gonna lose their girlfriend/wife forever. Their last chance!

Get home early from work, put a bottle of something nice and expensive in the freezer to chill. Dim the lights and cook her a fantastic dinner. Put on the music she likes, chat and love her. No crowds, no irate, overworked waiters, no lost bookings just you and her, in the place that you feel most comfortable.

Sorry girls, I am working tomorrow night, at a restaurant. Sheesh I hope I haven't lost any bookings.

Back to sea next time. Peace!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

The bottom of the world...

December 2004 was an awesome christmas and birthday month for me. We were cruising from Valparaiso(Chile) to Buenos Aires (Argentina) via Antarctica, then up to the Falkland islands. It was a monster cruise of 16 days I think and that included like 9 days at sea, with rough weather. The Straits between South America and Antarctica join the Pacific ocean and the Atlantic ocean so yes things got veeeery rough.

We went to Ushuaia, Argentina, as our first stop on Christmas day. This is the most Southern permanaetly inhabited town in the world also known as worlds end. The trip there was awesome. The glaciers and fjords compare to Norway in every way. Got some time off and phoned home and bought some Souveniers. You must remember that this was a normal working day for everyone.

Ushuaia, the end of the world as we know it...

All the Saffas got together on deck the afternoon that we docked in Antarctica. We dressed up in our warmest fineries but alas after five minutes in the Antarctic cold we were tickets, The wind was bitingly cold, never have I experienced that sort of cold, don't forget this was "summer".

This is Wattana, a great guy I met from Thailand. He looks a lot like an Eskimo in this shot...

I have collected hundreds of sunset photos over my travels but this one has to be one of the most memorable ever...


Antarctica is very protected in an enviromental sense. No food is allowed to be served on verandahs and no waste is allowed to be disposed at sea (although our cruiseline's enviromental policies did not allow us too discard any waste at sea).

The other thing we did was to send a rescue boat out and hacked a huge piece of ice off an iceberg. Martinis were then made with this ice in the bars that night. Icebergs contain the purest ice in the world. Having been in a frozen state for hundreds of thousands of years. The ship photographer got a ride on the boat and took some awesome photos. Now if can only figure out how to get photos off a powerpoint presentation I could get them posted for you all to see. I am sure someone could email me directions, Pleeease help.

Thanks for the comments and the support, have a great week.


Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Corcovado

So once we had whiled away a few hours on the Copacabana our merry group went their seperate ways. The soccer enthusiasts had organised some tickets for the afternoon match at the Maracana stadium, which used to be the biggest soccer stadium in the world. The biggest now being in Belo Horizonte. I have no interest in soccer so I made my way back to the ship and picked up my tour bus to0 The Corcovado. This is the mountain with the famous statue of Jesus on it.
It was a beautiful afternoon and I was looking forward to taking some magic photos from the top. We met up with another group of mates from the ship and waited in the que. We got our coach and started the trek to the top. There is some awesome tropical forests which are part of a national park in Rio surrounding the mountain.
When we got to the top the unthinkable had happened


A lone cloud had gathered over the top and completely obliterated our view of the statue and of the city of Rio De Janeiro. We were all gutted. Spent an hour waiting for the clouds to clear and just when we were waiting on line for the coach down there was a break in the clouds and We got a few hurried photos...

So we did manage to get a few good shots and all in all was a great day. I reckon is Rio is right behind Cape Town in the beauty stakes.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Her name was Lola...

SO, we were in Rio for 3 days, dropped off the old passengers on the first day and picked up the new ones on the 3rd day. So yes geniuses, we had one full day off in Rio. I had organised a tour up the Corcovado(With the statue of Jesus on top) in the afternoon so I had the morning to do some serious touristy stuff, there was only one place to go...

"We went to the Copa..."

We piled into a taxi and off we went. Got warned in the taxi about crime and pick pockets and the likes. It is bad in Rio. The one thing I noticed about Rio was the Soccer, every single available open space is taken up by a soccer field.

Got to the Copacabana and it is as good as it sounds. Sun, sand, people and lots of soccer. We hit the beach and met up with a bunch of girls from the ship as we got there. We drank the local beer and watched the Brazilian People do what they do best... Have fun, play soccer and look darn good ( the girls anyway), enjoy the pics.

Days off-Deserved

Being a perfect gentlemen and helping the lady out.

Oookay, One for the girls then...

All hardcore sailors get henna tattoos


Looking right towards Ipanema

Well suffice to say that it was an awesome day, will let you know what the rest of the day was like another time. Time for me to go to work. Probably wont post for the next few days. Its my days off ( Gotta love the restaurant business). I shall leave you with a quote for the day

"It is better to die standing, than to live on your knees"

Che. Guevarra

That pretty much sums it up for me


Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Optical Delusions...

Well this post is not following on from yesterdays cause I didn't load the right photos on my stick.

Anyhow I thought I would touch on the average passenger we had on our ship.

Newly retired, golf estate living types who normally had retired to Florida. I think it is law in the States that when you retire you go live in and around Miami, Fort Lauderdale. There is a huge community of reired people there and they all seem to come from Boca Raton. There is an equally large community of South Africans that work at these golf estates over the summer so they all know all about us.

"Y'all from South Aaafrica, its really terrible what they doin in that cuuntry."

A good handful of these ladies have had every likely nip/tuck, nose, boob, botox job on the menu.

But what really got me was their fashion sense...

Ag shame, she was with us for about a month and she was a really sweet old lady after she got to know you. The kind that walks around giving everyone sweeties.

The other thing that got me was their diet/s...

"I'd like a cheese burger, extra cheese, extra pickles, no onion, no bun (Atkins phase), extra fries, with mayo and ketchup"

"Certainly sir, anything to drink?"

"Oh yeah... a diet coke"


The worst thing is that now you have to explain this order to a Filipino chef whose english skills are very weak.

It got funny after a while, but it does sap the life force from you sometimes.

Later Guys

Monday, February 5, 2007

Free as a bird

I'll never forget this day, a cruise going from Costa Rica, the Pacific side, to Chile in 2o04. The west coast of Peru is very similair to that of Namibia with deserts going all the way to the sea. We had been at sea for two days and before that I hadn't been able to get off the ship because of work. Serious cabin fever had set in...

My mate Dean and I decided that today was the day to go out. We were docked in Salaverry, a really underdeveloped town in Peru. All the guests were out on a day tour to see some ruins. The town was walkable so off we went. As we walked we saw this beach which was covered with seagulls, and I knew that there was only one thing to do...

I caused havoc, good for the soul sometimes.

Thats all kiddies, got to get to work and will carry on the story with photos from the dodgiest town in the world.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

The Land of the Midnight Sun


This was one of the highlights of my entire time at sea.

Midsummer night at the North Cape (or Nordkapp) in Norway. This incidentally is the northern most point in Europe sticks quite far up into the Arctic circle. Summers are sunny for three months and winters are dark for three months giving it a high suicide rate. And obviously midsummers day being the longest day of the year makes it the most spectacular day to see it (Not the suicides...Hah you see, I'm not a writer).

The sun hits the horizon and starts coming up again, absolutely fantastic.

Midnight- Shade

It' s something you have to see to actually appreciate properly. I had worked a full day and was exhausted, but the more you stand out there the more energised you feel. It took me an hour to fall asleep that night.

There was a huge gathering of people and photographers, all die hards that had travelled from all over the world to witness this spectacular event.
We then headed home at about two in the morning, and saw reindeers on the way and a bit of snow, we had to stop and the rest of Europe laughed whilst seven South Africans played with "hard ice".
Ice in mid summer shows how cold it must be in mid winter.
Incidentally this is were you can see awesome Aurora Borealis's (huh) in mid winter, thats still on my to do once in my life list.
I am off to bed soon and will carry on soon. I am getting hooked..
Have a great week.

Ahoy There

Cruise ships-SWELL

Ahoy there

I am writing this blog so that I can share my travels with the world.

I have worked on a cruise ship for the last few years and have collected thousands of photos and hundreds of experiences to share.
I wish I could have done this from the beginning so that it could have been a live blog, but my schedule would never have allowed it.
I used blogs to keep in contact with South Africa. A good friend of mine
bigric started a blog, and although the satellite internet wasn't always the best, it was a great way to keep in contact with mates.
Chumpstyle, Aquila, Champers, Katt and many others helped me along too.

So here comes my blog, it's not always gonna be in chronological order, I may change some names due to U.S Penal laws and I may have forgotten some names over the last few years too, Eastern European people have some beauts (Slobodan being my personal fave).

You shall find out what you should do with a drunken sailor, what to expect when you have a Turkish cabin mate and what its like to be in 8 ft swell in the middle of the Atlantic. I am gonna enjoy this, its what I know and I have had crrraaazy ride.

Please feel free to comment, I am not a writer but would love to improve my skills, so constructive criticism is always welcome and excpected.