March 27, 2002

    When we were returning from breakfast, we saw many flying fishes one after another flying away from the ship. Probably they were surprised at the ship and fled from the ship, because they all flew 90 degrees away from the ship. They flew as long as 30 - 100 m in the morning sunshine. Later we saw more flying fishes from the balcony of our room. More of them fly from the water near the bow, understandably. We were surprised that there were so many flying fishes.

    Being wait-listed for some time, we were invted today for a visit to the navigational bridge of the ship. It was spacious with good view. To our surprise, steering wheel was as small as 20cm in diameter, and no one was attending the wheel, because automatic navigation was used. In the midst of the steering desk, there was a multipurpose computer screen, switched to GPS/map display, map and course display etc. An elaborate radar screen was there too. We learnt;
1. the ship has 13 decks.
2. 173m long, 25m wide and 39m high above the sea level.
3. Maximum draft (depth underwater) 7.2m
4. Gross Registered Tonnage (in proportion to the space to load) 30,000t.
5. Maximum displacement (of water) 17,338t.
6. Maximum speed 21.5 Knt.
We also learnt that the ship has the foldable fin stabilizers extended to both sides which can be dynamically tilted to minimize rolling. The ship has two thruster propellers to move the ship sideways. It was interesting.

    Sue watched cooking competition. Four teams of several people competed in cooking within 45 minutes and four judges voted. Sue found it quite interesting.

    Complaints had better be expressed. Only yesterday we regretted that we had never seen the sunset without clouds. We saw it today. Indeed there were clouds but not on the spot where the sun set. The round sun set beyond the linear horizon. It was really a gorgeous view.

    In this "Casual" evening, we dined with two new couples. John & Pat Dolven from South Carolina and the former representative in Japan of Union Carbide Joe & June Jones from Palm Beach, Florida. Joe surprised us by greeting "Gokigen yo", which is used exclusively in the high society. Both Shig and Sue took "Sukiyaki", which turned out to be soy-sauce cooked beef and glass noodle served on a dish.

 朝食から戻る途中に何匹も何匹も飛び魚を見かけた。多分船に驚いて逃げたに違いない。船の進行方向とほぼ直角に逃れるように飛んだからだ。船の最上部のデッキから見るから非常に小さくしか見えなかったが、銀鱗を朝日に輝かせて30 - 100mも飛んだ。後で自室のバルコニーからもっと多くの飛び魚を見た。当たり前のことだが、船の舳先の海面から多くの飛び魚が飛び立つ。20匹ほどの群が一斉に飛び立つこともある。インド洋は飛び魚だらけなのか、その数の多さに驚いた。

5.最大排水量 17,338t
6.最大速度 21.5ノット



 Casualの夕べに、2組の新しいご夫婦と一緒になった。South Carolinaから来たJohn & Pat Dolvenと、Union Carbideの日本代表だったというFloridaから来たJoe & June Jonesだった。重悳もスミヱも"Sukiyaki"というのをとったが、牛肉と白滝を醤油で煮付け皿に盛ったのが出てきた。

March 28, 2002

    We noticed that the main restaurant never became full after Singapore. It is said that there are only 200 passengers in this ship where 490 passengers can be served by 330 crew members.
1. 217 passengers left Sydney.
2. Many embarked in Hong Kong. 265 passengers left Hong Kong.
3. But many left at Singapore and 200 remained.
4. After Cape Town, only 130 - 150 will stay.
5. But as many as 400 will leave Rio de Janeiro for Florida.
For the time being, we'll have more crews than passengers. It is fine, no complaints about it.

    In the show lounge, there was an interview of the chief purser, Ms. Robin Maurer, who was responsible for immigration and customs clearance as a most important part of her job. The inside stories were interesting and her earnest effort was much appreciated. In ports of call in countries under development, officials come to the ship expecting gifts such as cigarettes and whisky. Sometimes they just walk into the shop in the ship to pick up T-shirts. Officials often bring along their relatives to get more gifts, and in an extreme case, 75 people got on. It is a good strategy of the ship company to assign a young pretty lady like her to this role. She said that Japanese officials were difficult, not because of gift request but of poor English. It was interesting to see a notion that everyone should speak English.

    Today the ship crossed the equator for the first time and got into the southern hemisphere. For both Sig and Sue, it was for the first time to set foot on the southern hemisphere. There was on board "King Neptune Ceremony" to celebrate crossing the equator. Some crew members disguised themselves as King Neptune, Queen Amphitrite, their guards, mermaids, pirates, their captives etc. Neptune first interviewed and tested the Captain and permitted the ship into the southern hemisphere. Then trials were held for captives one after another. A prosecutor jokingly accused the defendants and Neptune sentenced them guilty. The victims were laid out on the execution table one by one, symbolically cut into pieces, marinated with colorful stuffs before thrown into the pool. Americans like this kind of horseplays.

    It was an "Informal" evening. We dined with a four member Teel family of a former Bank of America executive, Woody, Karen, mother Adelaide and sister Elizabeth. Both Shig and Sue took pasta dinner, which was rice cooked with mushrooms.

4.Cape Townを過ぎると130-150人に減る見込み。大西洋横断が主な航海になるから仕方ないか。
5.しかしRio de Janeiroから米国までは大勢乗って400人に達する。二人目の料金半額キャンペーンが効いたか。

 ショーの舞台で、事務長Ms. Robin Maurerのインタビューがあった。最も大事な仕事として、乗客と乗務員の入国・税関手続きをまとめて済ます責任がある。内輪話は面白かったし、彼女の大変な努力に感謝した。発展途上国の港では、係官がギフトを期待して乗船してくるそうだ。マルボロやジョニーウォーカが有効だが、時には船内の売店に入り込んでTシャツを要求したりもするという。しばしば親戚縁者まで連れ込んでギフトや飲み食いの機会を増やす。或る時には75名も乗り込んだことがあったそうだ。彼女のような若い美人をこの職に置いていることは船会社の作戦でもあろう。彼女の話によれば日本の係官も難しいうちの一つだとのこと。まさかギフトを要求する訳ではあるまいと思ったら、やはりそうではなくて、英語が下手で困るということだった。誰でも英語を話すべきだという概念が垣間見えて面白く感じた。

 今日船は赤道を越えて南半球に入った。北緯1度余のSingaporeまでは何度も来たことがあるが、お恥ずかしいことに重悳もスミヱも南半球は初めてだ。船上では"King Neptune Ceremony"と称して赤道祭が行われた。乗務員が扮するNeptune王、Amphitrite女王、お付、人魚、海賊、(可愛い)捕虜などが出てきた。Neptuneはまず口頭試問で船長を試し、船の南半球への立ち入りを許可した。それから捕虜を一人ずつ裁判にかけた。検事が冗談めかして罪状を列挙するとNeptuneが死刑を宣告する。受刑者は死刑台に寝かされ、象徴的に切り刻まれ、カラフルなものを掛けられてマリネにされ、プールに投げ込まれた。おかげでその直後プールは閉鎖され念入りに掃除された。米人はこういう馬鹿騒ぎが好きだ。

 夕食はInformalで、4人で来ている元Bank of Americaの幹部Teel一家(Woody, Karen, 母Adelaide and 妹Elizabeth)と一緒に食事した。重悳もスミヱもPasta Dinnerをとったが、それは茸を入れた米の煮付けだった。

March 29, 2002

    When Shig got up at 5am, the splendid full moon was shining bright right outside the window and waves were reflecting moonlight. Shig woke up Sue and appreciated the view together listening to the wave sound caused by the ship, before Sue went back to bed again.

    As the day broke, the ship sailed with view of islands afar and eventually into Port of Victoria of Mahe Island with smaller islands in the offing. Mahe was found an island of steep mountains with walls of granite rocks. The tops of the mountains were covered with clouds and it made us uneasy because we were to cimb up to the mountain today.

    There were only 3 strange persons, ourselves and Woody Teel, who dared to climb the mountain. Rachel from the tour desk and the local guide accompanied us. We took a minibus along a winding road to reach a west side mountain foot. There was a narrow steep trail with a signpost "Morne Blanc National Park, 1km". "Morne Blanc" is equivalent to "Mont Blanc" and that made Shig wonder why "Blanc" ? The mountain was granite rock covered with thick green. The guide explained that it was named "Blanc" because the mountian was always covered with white clouds. The humid air on the Indian Ocean hits and rises at the mountain to make clouds.

    We climbed with frequent stops for explanation of the nature by the guide, such as wilding lemon grass, endemic birds called Seychelles Bulbul, jack fruit trees, wilding and really wild coffee trees. The jack fruit is unique in that the tree bears the fruit directly from the main trunk. The fruit is like a durian in appearance and smell. It was concerned at first that Sue might be the weakest climber to retard others because Woody was a big sturdy man and Rachel was a strong young lady. But Sue proved to be strong enough not to retard others in any way. We climbed up the altitude difference of 250m in 75 minutes including frequent recesses for study, and reached the top of a big upright granite wall.

    The summit was sometimes covered with pure white clouds, other times commanded a great view overlooking the western shore of the island below, including smaller islands, white sand beaches, Berjaya Mahe Hotel, and hamlets. White long-tailed birds named "White Tail Tropical Birds" glided in the wind far below and sometimes near us. We stayed there for about 30 minutes before descending. Climbing down was not so easy to our knees, but we returned to the starting point in 30 minutes. But the minibus was not there. The guide suggested to walk on the highway until we'd meet the minibus. We walked for 45 minutes this way until the minibus picked us up. Shig strongly complained about this irresponsible arrangement and didn't pay any tip. But, except this minibus issue, everything was wonderful and beyond expectation. Sue said she was glad to have chosen this tour.

    After lunch in the ship, we set out again. The town was all closed today, because it was Good Friday in Catholic. We first visited the Botanical Garden for a walk. Then we wanted to see around the town, but taxi driver insisted and we nodded that we should make a drive around the north beach. The seashores between the sea and rocky mountains were similar to and as pretty as those in Izu Peninsula in Japan. Sand beaches here and there had pure white granite sands and, therefore, the sea water was clean and transparent. We returned to the ship once, and immediately got on a shuttle bus to Berjaya Mahe Hotel, which we saw in the morning from the mountain. Unfortunately, however, it started to rain rather heavily and we could not get out of the hotel. We returned after purchasing something in the gift shop. We learned later that swimsuits were optional on the beach of that hotel, and someone from the ship saw many top-less beauties, to Shig's regret.

    It was a "Casual" evening. We dined with Joe & June again and Herb & Leah again. Shig ate boiled rice with boiled squid and Sue took jumbo shrimp. The show after the dinner featured Broadway hit songs sung by The Peter Grey Terhune singers.



 敢えて山になど登ろうと考える変わり者は、我々2人とWoody Teelの3人しか居なかった。Tour DeskのRachelさんと当地のガイドが加わって5人の一行はミニバスに乗って、どこか天城を思わせる岩がちな緑の濃い九十九折れの道で東側の山を越え、西側の山の麓に着いた。狭い急な登山道があり、"Morne Blanc National Park, 1km"という道標があった。"Morne"という仏語を知らないから多分仏語ベースの当地語Creoleなのだと思うのだが、"Mont Blanc"と同義と聞いて、なぜ"Blanc"?と狐につままれた。山は濃い緑に覆われた花崗岩だ。しかしガイドの言うには、この山はいつも白い雲に覆われているからそう呼ばれるのだとのこと。インド洋の湿った空気が山に当たって上昇し雲を生じるのだろう。

 我々は登りながら度々立ち止まりガイドの自然学の説明を聞いた。野生化したレモングラス、当地固有の小鳥Seychelles Bulbul、Jack fruitの木、野生化種と本当に野生のコーヒーの木など。Jack fruitはベトナム以来ずっと見ているが、幹から直接実がなる不思議な木だ。フットボールほどの実はDurianドリアンそっくりの外見と匂いだ。スミヱがもしかして一番足が弱くて他の人の足を引っ張るのではないかと重悳は最初心配した。Woodyはガッチリした大男だしRachelは強そうな若い女性だからだ。しかしそんなことは全然無くて、実際スミヱは他の人ほど息を切らすことも無かった。学習のための頻繁な足止めも加えて、行程1km高低差250mほどの道を75分かけて登り、巨大な花崗岩の垂直な岩壁の頂上に立った。

 辺りはあるいは真っ白な雲に覆われ、あるいは雲が切れると島の西海岸線が眼下に見えた。熱帯特有の青い海に小島が浮かび、真っ白い浜辺に波が押し寄せ、Berjaya Mahe Hotelという近代的なホテルが見え、島民の村が見下ろせた。"White Tail Tropical Bird"という名の白い長い尾の鳥がトンビのように風に滑空し、遥か下を飛び、また気流に乗って我々の近くまで上って来た。頂上で30分ほど見晴らしを楽しみ休憩した後、同じ道を下った。下りは膝に優しくはなかったが、30分で出発点に戻った。しかしミニバスが居ない。ガイドはミニバスに出会うまで道路を歩こうと言った。結局ミニバスが来て乗るまで45分歩いた。重悳はこの無責任なアレンジに強く抗議し、チップを上げなかった。しかしこのミニバスの一件以外は全てが素晴らしく期待以上だった。スミヱはこのツアを選んでよかったと言った。

 船で昼食後、波止場のタクシーと交渉して町の見物に出掛けた。今日はカトリックのGood Fridayで、町中が敬虔なカトリックであるこの町では店は全部閉まっていた。まず植物園を散歩し、島固有の陸亀や珍しい植物を見学した。町の中をタクシーで見て回るつもりだったのだが、それでは商売にならないと見た運転手が島の北海岸線を案内すると言い始め、それもいいかと従ってみた。伊豆の海岸線を思わせる山が迫る海岸の景勝がある。所々にある砂浜は花崗岩の島らしく真っ白な砂で、従って海水には濁りがなく透明で、これがSeychellesの人気の源泉と理解した。重悳の故郷山口県光市の砂浜と似ているが、ここの海の荒さに比例してより粒が小さく粉末のようだ。一旦船に戻って、船から出るシャトルバスに飛び乗って午前中山から見下ろしたBerjaya Mahe Hotelに行った。生憎雨が激しくなりあまり外にも出られず、売店で若干の買い物をしただけで帰ってきた。後で聞くところでは、ここの砂浜では水着がOptionalで、トップレス美人が数多く居たという。残念なことをしたと重悳。

 夕食は"Casual"の日で、再びJoe & June、再びHerb & Leahと一緒になった。重悳は白飯にイカの煮付け、スミヱはJumbo Shrimpを食べた。ショーはThe Peter Grey Terhuneのメンバのダンサを抜いた歌手だけの舞台でBroadwayの名曲が主題だった。

'02/ 3/30 Seychelles    インド洋に浮かぶSeychelles諸島は南海の楽園だった。

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