Day 99 Maputo Mozambique to Kruger National Park in South Africa April 11, 2019

Days 97 and 98 were sea days crossing from Madagascar to Maputo, Mozambique.  The Indian Ocean continued to treat us kindly with two more smooth days.   Day 99 we arrived in Maputo early on April 11, 2019.  





We quickly jump on our coach for transfer to Kruger Park  

with our guide Jenny.  We will be traveling through the city of Maputo and then across Mozambique to South Africa.





There are some large old buildings in the port area


and then we quickly transfer to the city street scenes.






The streets are lined with street vendors.




The streets are crowded and the town does not appear to be prosperous.









This construction site shows the red clay soil you see everywhere in this country.



At least one large hospital in Maputo.




Bay and port shot.






Living conditions at the edge of town are not good.




















A rare gated community that looks fine.




A large cemetery also at the outskirts of town.




The roadside shops seem to go on forever.




Another example of nice housing.




We now transition to the country side.




New immigrants often build corrugated steel shacks like this to just get a roof over their heads.  After they have earned some money,


they build a stone house but keep the old tin one to rent to the next immigrant.








This results in a range of housing buildings.








The country side here is mostly undeveloped and used for grazing.


 Mozambique border town.




We clear customs and immigration at both the Mozambique and 



South African facilities.  Long ques for each crossing.  Our second country for the day.  Great progress to be into South Africa.

Immediately after crossing into South Africa the area seems more prosperous with sugar cane



and bananas growing in great abundance.  They cover the bananas with these blue bags to keep the bugs out and to aid in ripening.



Interesting landscape as we approach our destination.




We arrive at the Pestana Lodge just in time for a late lunch.  Our three days of Safari wonderfulness will be covered in the next post.

Day 96 Port Dauphin, Madagascar April 8, 2019

Day 95 was a sea day and we arrived in Port Dauphin Day 96 on the morning of April 8th.  We are on the main pier at the dock also known as the only pier for the port.



We departed mid-morning for our included tour with Bosco as our guide.  Bosco was an excellent guide and we enjoyed his commentary.



There is a nice beach adjacent to the port, which is owned by the mining company, but they allow public access.



Vegetation tends to be of the scrub brush variety.



We take a drive to an old fort, and view the village life along the way.

No such thing as what we would call a retail outlet,   but we did drive through an extensive market area.  


















The market was very busy at this mid-morning time.   


The only furniture shop we saw.




Many of the living conditions were very basic.




We arrived at the Fort.





This was next to the old port which had been used for the slave trade.




Fishing is important for today’s economy and these are their modern wooden fishing boats.




The locals have goods for sale and they are trying their best with gramma.




As we drove around this bay, there were several vistas with gorgeous views of beaches.














Including this one with our ship in the background.




We returned to the ship, passing many areas with basic living conditions.
















After arriving back at the ship, we spoke with the Excursions Director and asked if there was anything available, as previously all the afternoon events had been sold out.  We were extremely fortunate in that he had a remaining van for 4 people.  There was another couple that also wanted to explore, so we all signed immediately and were on the road in 10 minutes.  This turned out to be awesome.  


Our new guide was Eric who also had excellent knowledge and English skills, so we learned a lot.



On the way to the park, we passed housing that was even more basic.  They have no running water, electricity, or sanitation facilities.  


The ladies are adept at carrying items on their heads.




We did pass many rice paddies.




And a variety of housing clusters.





This was our destination for the afternoon.  This is a private reserve that is home to 5 species of lemurs, plus numerous other plants and animals.  We are excited at the possibility of seeing King Julian.



The path into the park.





Lots of vegetation.




Nice flowers.





Giant palms.



An ugly crocodile.  There were originally 3 but this female killed the other two, so now she lives in this caged area by herself.  Serves her right.


The kids bring chameleons by for us to see.  




Vine with a large vanilla bean.



This fern leaf plant is known as Shy Lady because the leaves fold up if touched.  They also fold at night.  


Large bamboo.  They rub together with the wind and make a low level thunder type sound.





The bamboo sheds it outer layer as the new growth underneath expands.

Now we start our search for lemurs.  The first group we find are brown lemurs and




we are able with our small group to get close to them.









Next we locate a group of ring tail lemurs.


We have the chance to feed King Julian and his friends.   


Gramma got a chance and





so did PaPa.  It was really fun.  They lightly grab your hand with one of theirs and gently pull it toward them so they can take the banana.



What, no more food?





We met our friends the Beech’s and




the  Barney’s.  Tony is always good for a chuckle.






Next group was the White Lemurs.



We saw a nice group of the White Lemurs.




We also saw this White Lemur sitting on the ground watching the people.



The fourth species of lemur we saw was the bamboo lemur.  Took a long time to get this photo as they mostly hide in the bamboo.  They do have a fifth species of lemur in this park, but we did not see them as they only work the night shift.   


We did see more white lemurs in this area.



Next we saw several tortoises with





these interesting patterns on their shells.





Cinnamon tree.




For a break, Viking arranged for some local dance entertainment,





purchase of local goods





and a refreshment opportunity.




Time to say good-bye to King Julian and his buddies.  That was really fabulous.  We felt blessed to be able to see the various items in this park and reserve.



This church was on the road to the reserve.





Back to earth.  More basic housing.




Extremely bumpy road.





We finally got back to a paved road but had to wait for the goose crossing.



Much of the local transportation is via bikes or walking.





Getting ready to depart.  Tight spot to start from.




Here we are departing Port Dauphin.  We had an amazing and eye-opening time today.  Do not see how the tours could have worked out any better.

Day 94 Port Louis, Mauritius April 6, 2019

We arrived early in the morning in Port Louis, Mauritius, on April 6th.     

We were greeted by a super rainbow.  The large green building is for port storage of sugar cane, which is the largest export from the island.

The skyline of the city and the mountain range skyline look fine.  Seems like a lot of large buildings for such a small population of less than 2 million people on the entire island.  



Typical of the islands we visited.  Next to the port is a small flat area with immediate steep mountains or hills behind it.  Their number one industry is Tourism.



We participated in their economy with a tour.  This is our tour guide Andy.  Andy hates President Trump and he stated everyone hates President Trump.  He had been briefed to not discuss politics but he still expressed his hateful views.  As part of his retraining he didn’t get a tip.


We leave the port and head for the first stop which is a look out area.  Along the way, we pass through the downtown area with narrow streets.


Lots of shops with sidewalk merchandise.





We passed the lumber yard.




The occasional nice house.




And rows of residences.




The look out area highlighted the number of high-rise buildings.  Our guide said they are taking steps to curtail the construction of future buildings that are higher than the present ones.

We could see our ship from the look-out.   




This is a sporting area built in the 1800s.  It was a rare cooperative project by the French and English because they liked to bet on the ponies.



Next we went back downtown so they could show us the market.  Very crowded streets, 8298


very crowded market.





Lots of products.




And very hot and humid.  Pleased we do not have to shop here on a regular basis.




They make decorations out of empty water bottles.



Security seems to be an issue everywhere.




And building materials seem to be what one can scrounge.




We headed for the outskirts of town.  Christian church.



Our next stop is the Botanic Garden.  8317


First important item is this example of the Baobab tree.





They have many species of trees including this Jack Fruit tree. 

More species.






This is the Talipot palm that takes about 30 years to bloom.

The giant water lily with large leaves and a vertical rim.  A healthy leaf under ideal conditions can reach up to 3 meters in diameter.






The flowers are pretty.

More water lilies.  The locals like these water proof leaves and will wrap fish in them for cooking.  Adds flavor and the fish stays moist.   



Large fern.  




Really large tree.


It is the beginning of their winter season, but still lots of blooms. 




Floor mosaic in their central building.



Replica of an early sugar mill.  We exited the park and headed back to the boat.


Temple under construction for over 20 years.  The stones must be aligned to the moon and stars and apparently that takes a while.



After the morning tour we jumped directly on the shuttle bus to go to the downtown port area.  We sat next to these flowers and had lunch.


There were a few private boats.





And a nice downtown area with offices and shops.  8384



We ran into lots of people from the crew.  This is Joy and Linda by the shops.




This shopping area is adjacent to








and the port.




Speaking of the port, time to get back to the ship for departure.

Days 86 through 93 Crossing the Indian Ocean Fremantle to Mauritius March 29th through April 5th

We spent 8 days crossing the Indian Ocean from Fremantle Australia to Port Louis Mauritius.  Cannot imagine a better crossing.  There were some small bumps the first day and then it laid down each day.  By the time we reached Mauritius, we were down to 3-foot waves, which are like flat calm to this ship.  The color of the ocean may best be described as indigo.  Continue to be amazed by this deep color and the amazing amount of water.   

Fun to observe from the Infinity Pool.




We did have some nice entertainment along the way, that was greatly enjoyed.   We were introduced to Will Martin who did three concerts, two in the Star Theater and one


in the Atrium.  The guy has an amazingly talented voice, does great piano, and has a hilarious sense of humor.   



We enjoy two concerts by Louie Shelton who has laid down tracks for so many name artists over the years it is amazing.  He can still play, and his two concerts were great fun.

Also made my steps every day and made it to the Nordic Spa.  It’s all good.

Day 85 Excursion from Fremantle to Perth March 28, 2019

The ship overnighted in Perth, so on March 28th we achieved an early start for our excursion to Perth.   


Allan our tour guide for the day. 



Heading out of town we pass the Swan River area.





Lots of nice homes on the way,








and I decide this is the tile roof capital of Australia.




The skyline of Perth comes into view.




Nice parks along the Swan River.




Many large vineyards, although our tour guide stated the premium wine areas were farther south.



Our big stop for the day is at Caversham Wildlife Park.  This scrub brush is typical of the unimproved landscape.



The park itself is very well manicured.


Tons of animals and birds to see. 


Nice wombat.


Female eclectus parrot and the





male eclectus parrot.  It took 100 years before they realized they are the same species.  

Pink Cockatoo




Owl stare down.





Strange lizards.



We saw dozens of kangaroos and had a chance to feed them.





I think Gramma sold more food.







Our favorite for the day, was the koala exhibit.



They are so cute,








and we had a chance to pet their backs.  They are very soft.


We finished off at Caversham Park with a small area that had two black swans,



a nasty rescue pelican that liked to chase things,

and the Little Penguin (Eudyptula minor).  The Little Penguin is only 40 cm tall.  Note the second one peaking out from the side.  We were very pleased to add this penguin species to our list.


We departed the park and headed back with a couple stops yet to go.   Lots more vineyards in this area.   



Crossing back over the Swan River.




Nice flowers.





Went through downtown Perth.




Sporting events occur near the center of town.  This is the football stadium.



And right next door is where the trotters run.




New apartment building with bright colors we thought Tyler would like.  



Large palm trees in downtown park.




Christ Church Claremont.  




Enjoyed a stop at Cottesloe Beach.





This was also a chance to show off my new Australian hat we bought at Caversham.


When we returned to Freemantle, that last stop on the  tour was another prison.  There have been 3,000 prisons in Australia.  Over 165,000 men, women and children were transported from Great Britain to Australia as punishment for their crimes between 1788 and 1868.





We head out on our own.   Checked out the Anglican Church.



Fremantle Town Trust established in 1848.



Next stop was the Western Australia Shipwrecks Museum.

The Batavia hit a reef off Western Australia on June 4, 1629 and although attempts were made to refloat it, the ship quickly broke open and flooded.  



Most of the crew and passengers made it to shore, but a mutiny ensued, and 125 men, women, and children were murdered.  Eventually, a rescue crew restored order and the mutineers were hung.  After 300+ years this section of the stern was raised.  Those old timbers are amazing.   


The second big find in this museum is a fascinating relic that they worked 20 years to restore.  This engine recovered from the SS Xantho in 1985 had been underwater for more than 100 years.  The museum recovered it, disassembled it, conserved it and then re-assembled it.  The fact that it now can be turned over by hand is just amazing.




Back to the Viking Sun.  Time to depart Australia.  We sure have enjoyed our visits to the many ports in Australia.


Day 84 Fremantle Australia March 27, 2019

Today, March 27th, the Viking Sun, kissed the dock at Fremantle at 4:15 pm.






We had a smooth ride from Albany.  The coastline of Australia in the early afternoon.


Attractive looking town.









Interesting way to position the gangplank. 




They pick it up with this crane and slide the end onto Deck 2 of the Viking Sun.



We went ashore before dinner to explore the waterfront.  Several Statues from this local rock star to




these two fisherman/crabbers.


Large marina with lots of boats





including interesting old ones.







In/Out service is big.





More than a few large boats.




Our friends from L3 are here.




There is a nearby beach.




A natural area.



The original jail and the modern harbor control building.



Beach plus small marina.







We stayed until it was too dark to take photos and then headed back to the boat for dinner.

Day 83 Albany Australia March 26, 2019

We arrived mid-morning on the 26th in Albany after going slower through the Great Australian Bight to improve passenger comfort in the bad sea state.  This was Vikings first visit to this small town of 40,000 people.  This is a small port sized to the town.  Clean port.




Nice looking town.




Mostly modest but nice homes.




We start with a bus tour with our guide Jay.  This is a means to view what they see as important.



First stop is their museum. 



The British  arrived on the Amity with the intention of starting a community.  To do this, they had to interact with the Aboriginal culture.



In the museum, they cover what they know about the previous culture and what has happened since  that is of importance to them.


They discussed the interactions between the two groups.  Initially, it was very friendly, but then as the British brought more and more people including heavy-handed administrators, the relationships deteriorated.



Their participation in WW I



and WW II still seems painful to them as they lost a high percentage of those that went off to war.



We toured the jail built by convicts in 1850.



Single cell




and some of the grounds,






This was a different philosophy jail.  They were trying for rehabilitation and those that qualified were allowed to work in the community for a small allowance.  Also viewed as cheap labor for the community. 

Today, they are environmentally conscious, and the next stop was the wind farm.  They currently supply 80% of their electrical power needs from the 18 windmills currently installed.  The windmills are owned and operated by a private contractor. 

At a windspeed of 35 mph the farm (18 turbines) would be at the maximum output of 35 megawatts.



Pretty countryside





and nice houses on the way back from the wind farm.






Back in town we check out 3 of the large church buildings.











Uniting Church in Australia a Wesley Church established in 1863 with its 1890’s Victorian architecture.


We finished off with cheese/crackers and ice cream bars in this park originally built in 1897 to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.  It has gone through periods of decay but has been recently restored to its former glory.

Interesting visit to small town Australia.



Days 81 & 82 Great Australian Bight March 24 – 25, 2019

We took the planned two days to cross the Great Australian Bight.  It was a bumpy passage.

  • 29-foot waves on the 24th
  • 20-foot waves on the 25th

Massive low-pressure area to the south of us.  The Captain went north into the bight, but we still had significant wind and waves.  They emptied the swimming pools.  I like flat water better.   😉


Day 80 Adelaide Australia March 23, 2019

Day 79 was a day at sea.

Day 80 we arrived at Port Adelaide early on March 23rd


We started with a bus tour with Graham.





On the way into town we saw this boat under restoration.  Back in the day it traveled between Scotland and here.  A Scot on vacation saw it rotting in the harbor, bought it, and is spending millions to restore it.  Future tourist attraction and consistent with their view of honoring the past.   Well built old buildings abound.





This is the largest city in the south




that was not founded as a penal colony.




Well laid out broad streets were part of the planning for this city.



They honor Colonel William Light who surveyed the site and and laid the city of Adelaide.  Planned and laid out, not just a city that grew as it went.



This is the football stadium.  Big game today.  This is some of the only green grass in or around the city.  The parks are allowed to reclaim gray water and use it for irrigation of the public areas


and the golf course.




Modern high rises mixed in with the classic buildings.




The trams in the city center are everywhere and free.




Public transportation covers the city.




We spent some time at their central shopping area.



The place is well decorated.





There are interesting side arcades.








With interesting (freaky) displays.






We thought Gabe would like this statue.


Various buskers in the area.









Another type of entrepreneur.  My kind of shop.




Gramma found a store for Lily.




We continued on the bus tour to the shoreline city of Glenelg.  It is a lovely city.



Monument to the founding of South Australia in 1836.




Walking pier.


Large beach areas.





City Hall as seen from the pier.




Houses along the beach.  We had lunch on the water front in Glenelg and then took the tram back into Adelaide.



They call themselves the city of churches and there are many.







They are good at statues.

War memorial. 




Reading in the park.



WWI Memorial.






Hanging out in the park.


We went to their Australia Museum that focused on the aboriginal heritage.



Displays of carvings.





Decorated baskets.  















and Trading Canoes.  Great Museum.




We took the train back to the boat and departed soon afterward for Albany.


Day 78 Geelong Australia March 21, 2019

Day 77 was a relaxing day at sea and we enjoyed dinner with Janice and John Barney.    

On March 21st, Day 78, we arrive in Geelong early on March 21st




We anchor out and are tendered in to the local Yacht Club.



They have these pole statues all over town for the tourists to take photos.




They have nice homes and many of them are classics.  Once again they are a town that is proud of their heritage.



This provides lots of unique homes





from various eras.




They do seem to like their gardens.






Shopping was along the streets, with no malls in sight.






For the morning we took a bus tour with Sian as our driver and guide.



The country side was very brown.  They are into the 5th year of drought, and have not had rain since before Christmas (i.e. none so far this year).


The tour stopped at a small marina for coffee and a restroom break.




Clever wall decoration inside the coffee shop.



For the afternoon we took our own walking tour and visited the National Wool Museum that was only 3 blocks from the Yacht Club.  This was a great decision.




The first thing we saw was a sheep shearing exhibition. 



This guy likes the mechanical (not electric) shears as the lamb just lays there.  Very interesting process. 


Old caretakers’ cabin.



Love these old stoves.




They had a whole floor that contained the various old machines that got you to fabric from the raw wool. 







Lots of processing required.












An automatic sock knitting machine.  Who knew?



Their show piece was a 109 year old rug weaving loom.  With 7 colors, 1,323 bobbins, and 1,992 punch cards the 1910 Axminster Jacquard gripper-type carpet loom is awesome.  It takes these bobbins of yarn




and turns them into this beautiful carpet. 

Here you see the operator and the digital punch card instructions.  These punch cards control the bobbin selection and then move forward when those instructions have been completed.  This design system of Josepth Marie Jacquard (1752-1834) influenced the legendary Charles Babbage (1791-1871) who is known as “the father of the computer” and credited with inventing the first mechanical computer.  That’s amazing.  Excited to have seen this wonderful computing machine.  That was such a great stop, gramma bought a new wool top. 






Checked out some more statues.








Another place with a Robinson R44.  This is the third operation with an R-44 that we have seen along the southern coast.



Back to the yacht club





and back to our boat. 




Goodbye Geelong.




Much to our surprise, Clark is joining us on the boat.  😉

What a day.  Can not get over that carpet weaving machine.