Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Boring Sea days? – NOT AT ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Our sea days on board MS FRAM are fully packed with lots of different kind of activities. We cannot describe them all – Look at the pictures, they say more than words.

Flying Fish
Flying Fish
Sea weed
Sea weed
Drill with our rescue boat
Bird watching

St. Peter and St. Paul Rocks: The unique possibility to see sea floor mantle rocks above sea level

Who is sailing next to the mantle rocks?
Getting the best position to photograph dolphin
Spinner dolphins, Photo:  Martin Overbuschmann
And more Spinner dolphins, Photo Martin Overbuschmann
Exercise with our Captain Arild
Follow the Master
Supporters are important
Fruit- and vegetable carving
Ice carving
Concentration: Our chess competition
Dart competition
Table tennis competition

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Cape Verde – Volcanic Islands in the East Atlantic

We reached the Cape Verde Islands around lunchtime on the 17th of October. Palm trees greeted us again as we expected it after we left Las Palmas two days ago. The sun was burning and the thermometer showed temperatures around 30°C in the shade and in the water as well, but we are on an explorer ship and we were just ready to explore the city of Mindelo - one of the largest cities on the Cape Verde - laying on São Vicente.

The Cape Verde Islands are a volcanic Archipelago in the NE Atlantic, app. 570 km west of Senegal. Ten larger, nine of them inhabited, and several small islands are divided in the islands over and under the wind (NE Trade). The archipelago was formed over a hot spot, a huge magma chamber and the oldest islands are Sal, Boa Vista and Maio in the east. São Vicente belongs to the younger islands with a nice mountain landscape.

As Cape Verde has no original inhabitant we have no exact knowledge about the pre-colonial time. It looks like that the islands have been known as “Gorgaden” by the very early navigators and that the Arabs sailed for salt to Sal, one of the easterly islands.

The first documented circumnavigation of the islands has been done by the Portuguese navigator Antonio Fernandes. 1460 the Genovese Antonio da Noli discovered the islands and named them Ilhas do Cabo Verde. Cape Verde became a Portuguese colony as da Noli discovered the islands in the name of the Portuguese “Henry the Navigator” (Infante Dom Henrique de Avis, Duke of Viseu). Da Noli founded the first European tropical city, Cidade Velha (Cidade de Ribeira Grande) on Santiago. During 1500 and 1620 Cape Verde became a very important “transfer site” for slaves. That’s the reason why we could see so many dark skinned people living on the islands. The islands got later on an importance for the English salt trade and for its coal harbors but pestilences, aridity and hunger crises set an end to the economic importance of the islands. After a longer independence fight against Portugal the islands got their Autonomy at the 5th of July 1975.

Mindelo, the capital of São Vicente has been always very important for its natural deep water harbor. In historical time it was famous for its coal bunker, today the harbor is more well-known for the tourism as also bigger cruise liners can be safely docked at a modern pier.

We docked at this pier also and started our city excursion as soon as the ship had been cleared in. Even it was very hot we enjoyed our walk through the town. Full of new and very deep impressions we came back on board. Look at the pictures and you can take at least a little bit part of our experiences.

As we stayed overnight in the harbor we had the evening and the next morning to learn the city by ourselves. There was even time for a beach visit before we left Cape Verde for our next destination of Salvador da Bahia in Brazil.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Sea days are just wonderful

Our first days on board MS FRAM have been two sea days – and that has been just the best for everybody after travelling from all over the world to Las Palmas the day before. Guests from 10 different nations got the time now to feel comfortable on board and to find new friends with same interests perhaps. We have been more than lucky that these first sea days turned out more than perfect. The weather has been beautiful, the blue sky covered with white clouds, temperatures during the day between 25 – 30 degree Celsius, a light breeze and even nice temperatures in the evening so that we could sit on the open decks even it becomes already dark quite early.

All guests came into the special “ship rhythm” quite fast. Breakfast, lunch, a nice afternoon tea time and the dinner give the day a structure. There was lots of time for relaxing, but we had also our first lectures during the mornings, we had to rescue a storm petrel - perhaps a Madeiran Storm Petrel - we found on deck 5, we spotted Spotted Dolphins and some of us saw even the huge blow of any whale.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Let´s go south again

Our trip from Las Palmas on the Canary Islands to Buenos Aires in Argentina started today. The weather was beautiful; branches of  green Palm trees were waving smoothly in a light breeze. We will see no trees or other vegetation during the next days. Our view will go from horizon to horizon until we will reach the Cape Verde Islands on the 17th of October. There we expect Palm trees - hopefully under a clear blue sky - again.



The day in Las Palmas was quite a busy day. Passengers from our last European cruise left the ship during the morning hours. The new incoming guests for the Transatlantic Voyage had their check-in in the afternoon.  The pier was busy with huge trucks bringing food and lots of other stuff we will need during the next weeks before we reach Buenos Aires. A small tank ship was going alongside FRAM as we had to bunker the fuel for our trip over the Atlantic. It needed quite a while until our tanks were really filled up with the so called “marine gasoil”.

Just before we left the harbor all passengers had to participate in the mandatory safety drill, no problem in this warm weather, it was just wonderful to be on the open deck.

After first nice dinner our Captain Arild Hårvik invited us to a heartily welcome into the Panorama Lounge. 

As it has been a long travel day for all guests most passengers went to bed early. Let´s see what the following days at sea will bring.