West African Nations - 2012

INTRODUCTION No traveler could ask for more variety in scenery, cultures, ancient & modern histories, modes of travel, peoples, flora and fauna, economies, cuisines, accommodations, arts, religions, governments, sightseeing opportunities, and emotional impacts than we experienced on this 51 day odyssey from Windhoek, Namibia, where we began through Prague, the Czech Republic where we completed it. AS noted, this journal will detail the entertaining repositioning cruise from the completion of our Namibian Safari to the start of our Elbe River Cruise in Germany. We had a delightful stay with a friend at her home in Scotland in between these trips but those details remain private, So after our spectacular flight and drive journey through the unique landscapes of Namibia, we join the Clipper Odyssey to make our way to the rendezvous point of the excited travelers awaiting our sailing adventure up the west coast of Africa. THE REPOSITIONING CRUISE Well, we already knew that we love this kind of trip because we have done a few before, but we would never have thought that this one would be such a high spot in this 51 day trip. But it was and there are many reasons why! It was six full days at sea--what bliss--even if they did put up barbed wire around the decks and deploy alert watchmen at various points on deck--stick figures in yellow sou’westers and slouchy rain hats. You would have had to be on board to see that these “deterrents” had no legs and that their “arms” were the empty sleeves of the raingear lashed to deck railings. They looked pretty real to us when we were in Zodiacs looking back at the ship. But maybe we just wanted to believe that they would repel would be pirates. And what about those pirates? We had no idea that pirates were operating on Africa’s West Coast as they are off East Africa. However, these fellows are nearly as intrepid and ruthless as their East Coast cousins. They do not venture far out to sea and they have taken no hostages. They usually lay in wait in port while tankers and other vessels sit still until the pilot boat comes out to lead them into their anchorage. When they spot one loitering along, they board it and steal what they can from crew members and take loot from the cargo. To date, no one has been hurt in these forms of armed robbery at sea. Our captain endeavored to avoid such incidents in two primary ways: first, he never came into port until the pilot boat was heading for the Clipper and then he came in very fast, no

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