Tuesday, – Friday January 16 – 19, 2018
We have four sea days with no scheduled stops. The original itinerary included Madagascar, but that stop was removed because of plague. That’s right – plague! The outbreak began this past August, and spread quickly. Madagascar has a “plague season,” usually involving bubonic plague which is spread by the bites of fleas from rodents. This outbreak is far more dangerous because it is pneumonic, that is, it can be spread by breathing in the airborne droplets from a plague victim.
Even without scheduled stops, there is plenty to do. Anyone who gets bored is simply not taking advantage of the lectures, classes, movies and live entertainment that are available. Today we listened to John Hare, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society talk about a remote area of the Gobi which is home to about 600 (out of a total of only 1,000) wild camels. From Ambassador Scott H. DeLisi, we are learning about the impact Africa is expected to have globally – both politically and economically.
On the lighter side, the ship presented its Grand Gala Buffet on Tuesday, an opportunity to showcase their culinary creations. It’s hard to say no to all of these delicious items. I try to stop before I feel full, but as Thomas Jefferson advises in his Canons of Conduct, “We never repent of having eaten too little.”
We are cruising along the west side and then around the north side of Madagascar. The route to Réunion, our next stop, would be shorter if we went around the south side, but there is a tropical cyclone in those waters. Winds up to 40mph plus rain and thunderstorms are projected. Even on our current route, we lost the sunshine on Wednesday, and encountered fog and rain on Thursday.
We’ve enjoyed some wonderful performances, from singers, pianists and dancers. Thursday’s show was exceptional. Michael Bacala is a young violinist from Poland. His repertoire includes modern as well as classical music, and he plays with visible emotion. He actually brought us to tears twice during his performance, once with “Danny Boy,” and again with “Time to Say Goodbye.”
The fog cleared up, the waves got a bit bigger overnight, a few items got tossed to the floor. On Friday morning, we could see small rainbows that were created when the waves from the ship met those of the sea. The waves continued to be high throughout the day, and one of the song and dance shows was postponed rather than chance any injuries to the performers.