Nautica Captain fends off Pirates

While sailing the Nautica down the West African coast, our Captain Jurica Brajčić spoke to passengers about pirates and the attack made on the Nautica in 2008. Here is his story:

Captain Jurica Brajčić Fotograf: Feđa Klarić / Cropix

There were around two dozen passengers today who were on the ship when pirates attacked in 2008. Pirates target vessels traveling 14 kph (9mph) or less and have low clearance to water. Ships are captured for ransom but in West Africa it is oilrigs and ships in ports that are targeted. (more…)

Sailing Oceania’s Nautica

Nautica passengers

What was it like cruising for 30 days aboard the Oceania Nautica? As with everything, likes and dislikes are individual tastes. Here are mine:

There are many pluses about the Nautica. The multinational staff is very good. The rooms are comfortable with marvelous mattress and bed linens, DVD player, plenty of storage, and adequate 220 and 110 outlets. I could bring alcohol and wine on board. Water and sodas are complimentary and water is always on the gangway as one debarks. Also, my cell phone received a signal on days at sea and in most ports (I have a SIM with both US and international numbers). Nautica’s best attributes are its size and itinerary. These were the two reasons I chose to sail with Oceania and in neither was I disappointed.

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Cape Town

Table Mountain

After 8515 nautical miles, we arrive in Cape Town surrounded by dense fog. Every 2 minutes, our Captain sounds a long double blast of the horn to warn others of our presence. This spectacular harbor, so looked forward to, is closed. At noon, the boom of the Noon Gun cuts through the fog. We do not. We sit a half-mile outside port to wait for 3 hours.

Dramatically, quickly, the fog lifts to reveal Table Mountain and at its base the beautiful city of Cape Town. Table Mountain is covered with a drapery of clouds flowing like a waterfall down its side. Referred to as its tablecloth, the effect is stunning.

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Namibia

Roaring Dunes

The dry lands of Namibia were inhabited since early times by Bushmen and since the 14th century by immigrating Bantu. A German Imperial protectorate in 1884, it remained a German colony until the end of World War I. In 1920, the League of Nations mandated Namibia to South Africa, which imposed its laws and apartheid policy. In 1966 uprisings and demands by African leaders led the UN to assume direct responsibility over the territory. South West Africa People’s Organization was recognized as the official representative of the Namibian people in 1973. Namibia, however, remained under South African administration. With the exception of Walvis Bay — a harbor town that remained under South African control until 1994 — Namibia obtained full independence from South Africa following the Namibian War of Independence in 1990. (more…)

Benin

Motorbike taxis buzz by.

A few degrees north of the Equator, we have sailed under modern power for 6000 miles. The Atlantic is smooth with rolling deep-blue 2-3′ swells, clear skies with clouds on the horizon. Temperatures are 85-92º with humidity 60-65%. However, the sun is blasting directly overhead and makes an oppressive heat – and this is the dry season.

Benin is the size of Louisiana with a population of about 9 million, mostly living on its small southern coastline on the Bight of Benin. It is a tropical, sub-Saharan nation, highly dependent on agriculture. The official language is French. Roman Catholicism flourishes alongside a strong faith in the power of Voodoo. (more…)

Togo

Togolese dancers

Togo is the size of the state of Georgia, tropical, sub-Saharan, with its 6.7 million people dependent upon agriculture. The official language is French. Most people (65%) observe indigenous religions (voodoo) with minorities of Christian and Muslim. This coastal region, known as “Slave Coast,” became a protectorate of Germany in 1884. Transferred to France after WW1, Togo gained its independence in 1960. The same family has led the government since 1967.

We were greeted in Lomé by dockworkers waving and shouting, “Welcome to Togo.”  I watch a performance of frantic drumming, dancing and acrobatics reminiscent of Hollywood films (think of the scene in King Kong when the captain and crew come upon the native dancers for the first time). (more…)

Ghana

Elmina Castle 1481

Ghana, meaning “Warrior King,” is about 92000mi² (smaller than Oregon) with a population of about 24 million. Home to over 100 different ethnic groups, it has not seen the ethnic conflict that has created civil wars in many other African countries. The official language is English. The predominant religion is Christian, with 16% Muslim and 9% practicing traditional African beliefs (Animist/voodoo). (For those who may not know, the people of Ghana are not Gonorrheans.) (more…)