Monday, August 27, 2012

Our friendly neighbourhood

Here are some shots I took on Sunday between 2 rain showers: This is our port and view for the next 10 months (well, for us it's only 4 since we plan to leave in December...)

Tug boats
Busy port

Navy Boats. We counted 5 - based on the numbers they could easily overtake Togo,
where they had 2 boats and 2 small patrols)
Container houses. It costs about a 1000$ to buy one, 4000$ to ship it from US to Africa. It's cheaper to leave it here than to have it shipped back. Smart people convert them into houses and offices on stilts, you can even part your car under it :)
African Dry Dock. I am so glad we didn't come here for that... :)

This is the view from our cabin window...
Also cabin view - local lady making food for the dock workers

Cabin view - from the dock. If you look closely, you can see Darren standing inside :)
Or if you wanted a close up... you can see him and me as well as I was taking the picture from the gangway :)))

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Conakry, Guinea - we are here at last!

AMAZING sunset, one of those rare ones when
the huge burning fireball sinks into the sea without any obstruction (aka clouds)
We left the Canary Islands on a Thursday morning and after only 5 short and uneventful days we finally arrived to Conakry, Guinea. This country is often called the "Forgotten State of West Africa" since this country wasn't torn apart by a brutal civil war unlike the neighbouring countries (Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Mali, Sierra Leone), so Foreign Aid agencies didn't focus much on this part of West Africa.I don't want to bombard you with stats and details, if you want to know more about this country, you can click here , here or here.

Here are some shots of the arrival, unless indicated otherwise, they are my pictures. It was cloudy all day with some rain. Sadly the rainy season is still here...

First sight of Conakry

That big round building is the President's Home. Yes, he lives "just around the corner"

Happy dock workers welcome us to Guinea
Our Welcome Band!
Some of the Advance Team members (in their funky outfits),
who have been in town for the last 4-5 months to prepare everything
Getting ready for the arrival ceremony
On the couch they had reserved seats for the Min. of Health, the Prime Minister and our CEO

Captain and other important peeps bringing us to our peer 
Sadly this little strip of pavement is our only Dock Area :((( Very small!!!

Our CEO being introduced to the Prime Minister of Guinea.
Donovan Palmer, our Managing Director and the Prime Minister

The Military Band made some noise to celebrate our arrival...
"Ants" on the dock :))
"Ants" on the decks :))
And here is our big problem: the dock side is not long enough for our ship. As you can see about 20 meters are missing for us to dock safely. I guess it would never happen in any European ports, but here everything is possible... :)

Welcome to Guinea!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Life in dry dock

Does the saying Fish Out of Water say something to you? Quite literally. We are out of the water for real this time. Our beloved Queen of the Seas is sitting on massive Lego blocks with wheels under them.

Being in dry dock means the electricity comes and goes as it pleases. Ok, it's not that simple, but me, a simple user sees only that much. We had to shut down most of the hospital deck, the lights on the corridors and even the power in the cabins - meaning our wedding cake in the freezer started to defrost itself :( Oh, and it's VERY hot! The ship heats up in no time and since we cannot open the windows and portholes, we are basically boiling inside. :(
My clock melted!!!
We weren't alone though in the dry dock; several other vessels were docked there around us. In fact, one new arrival forced us to shift positions. Here are some pictures, let me just say one thing: these ships are HUGE when they are out of the water!

The ships are "standing" on these little blocks with wheels. It's hard to believe they don't tip on either side, apparently the weight of the vessel is enough to keep them firmly placed on these rolling Lego blocks. :)

That tube was our rubbish drop. The opening is normally where we hook up the gangway to. In the bottom you can see another opening: that square cut is where they removed the AC unit and installed the new one. Pretty cool!
The ship from the front.
Here you can see how tall is our lady. That's me in the front in case you didn't recognised me :)

This portable gangway served as our exit and entrance to the ship. Let me tell ya, it moved an awful lot!
That's me too, showing you the size of the ship from the back.

Am I strong or what??? :)

Yes, I was under the ship jumping in to save the day as a few Lego blocks rolled away :)

Who can forget the famous scene with Leo and Kate at the bow? Well, Darren and I wore our wedding outfits for this special photo shoot...

And here is a very nice professional video that my good friend, Ryan Chen made for Mercy Ships. Enjoy!