I've said a sad farewell to my partner. Nine months is a very long time. And I'm now on the MV Baltic Trader and through a miracle of technology now posting this blog using my mobile phone. (This is going to be an expensive phone bill, but hey it will be the last for a while as there is no mobile service on Tristan.) There is just one little problem. We are still in the dock in Cape Town. It took much longer than anticipated to load, and now the cargo is being secured in the hold. Everything takes longer in Africa. The sun has gone down and so a nice shot of Table Mountain will have to wait until my return in 9 or 10 months.
Let me tell you about my fellow passengers. There is a Tristan couple and their young boy and three goldfish, returning home after a holiday in the UK. A BBC Radio Southampton reporter going out for 6 days to do a piece to mark 50 years since the evacuation of the island (to Southampton). An electrical engineer going out to do maintenance work on the island's electricity diesel generators. A doctor who is going out at 5 days notice for 3 months to relieve the island doctor. (Nobody is sure why the resident doctor has become indisposed so suddenly.) And two tourists who are both fulfilling a lifetime dream to visit the island - even if only for 6 days before returning on the MV Batic Trader.
The ship is owned by a British company, crewed by Russians and flies a Panamanian flag. I'm not quite sure what nationality the captain and the first officer are but the engineer is South African. Pretty international eh?!
We have just had pan fried lamb with boiled rice, followed by canned fruit for dinner. But I've taken the precaution of stocking up on nibbles, crisps and chocolates before boarding. And special sea sickness tablets you don't have to swallow - you put them between your gum and cheek and let them dissolve slowly.
I think we might be about to go as a siren has just sounded. Ah yes the engines have just been started up. Better go... The forecast is good so I hope I'll be able to speak to you in 6 days time (or so).