West African Nations - 2012

TRACING THE WEST COAST OF AFRICA On April 9, we began the Zegrahm trip “Tracing the West Coast of Africa.” This is the day we met the other 78 travelers who had not been on the repositioning interlude just described but joined us and the Clipper O in Douala, Cameroon. However, we had an unexpected maritime lesson the evening before as the ship sailed into the Cameroon Estuary where we would spend the night moored at the city dock. We arrived about 5 p.m. so there was plenty of light to watch the pilot boat lead us through the shallow and tricky route. We navigated that portion of the docking procedure without incident and then a line was tossed from the bow of the Clipper O to a much smaller boat that pulled it to the dock and it was attached to the bollards. Then a tugboat began to push the stern of the Clipper towards the dock with the hope that the ship would tuck in handily between two container ships--the space between them was very small so no maneuvering would be possible. As the tug huffed and puffed and shoved the Clipper ever closer to the dock, there was suddenly a tremendous explosive “POW” as the bowline snapped! Of course, we drifted right past our “parking spot.” Unfortunately, we were called to the Pool Deck for a group photo and never saw how the Captain & the port crew managed to get us into the right spot. We just know that when we were finished with our “close ups” the Clipper was between to the two ships as originally intended. And we had a great lesson in how powerful the snapback on a broken line could be. No one would want to be in its path and luckily no one was. The trip began in the largest city (Douala) of this former German, French and English Colony. This is where the 78 passengers joined the rest of us who had done the repositioning cruise. We were so happy because though we rather “resented” having this big invasion of strangers we knew that among the interlopers were our friends, Micki and Dan. We had not travelled with them in a little while and we were exhilarated to have adventures with them once more.

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