laundry (it was needed more elsewhere, for cooking and so forth). So getting to Perth proved fantastic if only for being able to take our laundry to a cleaner and get it taken care of. Another great benefit was getting out to restaurants. Chow on this ship was great compared to what I had experienced on the Westwind, but getting fresh food and different meals, and fresh salads sure do improve a person‘s morale. In Perth we held an open house for the public and had lots of people come aboard and look us over, which was nice as this provided a chance to meet them too. Our crew made many acquaintances and the folks proved more than happy to help show us around the town. I don‘t recall getting very much sleep for that in-port period and have many fond memories of our stay there.
Next we headed across the Indian Ocean to Port Louis, Mauritius for a 3 day stay. Here the skipper hired local workers to paint the exterior of the ship and I thought that was really something. On the Westwind we came out of the ice in Greenland and stayed 3 days in St. Johns, New Foundland and our crew painted the hull, while the weather misted and rained the whole time. Two guys would be over the side, one guy wiping an area with a cloth, the other guy putting down some paint. At Port Louis we anchored out in the harbor and took ―bum boats‖ in to the city, small boats run by the local folks. Several of us hired a cabby for the day and he took us around the island sightseeing and shopping. The shopping experience proved an eye-opener. For example, I saw a thick silk ladies floor length night gown with cloth loops for the buttons, elaborate Chinese decorations, dragons and such, which I wanted to buy. The shopkeeper stated a price and I haggled just a little, then agreed. The cab driver stopped me and said ―no no, you pay too much‖ and made me haggle some more. The shopkeeper was OK with that so around we went again. I got it for twelve bucks.
This was my first experience in Africa and I was surprised at how many Chinese people were there and with the friendliness of everyone. We had a great time there.
Now, the reason for the whole trip in the first place, which had been kept quiet from most of the crew for the whole cruise and was also the reason we had been trailed by a Russian vessel ever since we left Perth: We were going to be the first U.S. vessel to visit Dar Es Salaam (Port of Peace), Tanzania, in 12 years, since they had revolted and thrown everybody out.
No one knew what to expect or how it would go, but we had high hopes for a good visit. Which is exactly what we had. The folks there were great and glad to see us visit. One of my radio partners spent most of his money on souvenirs and then came back to get stuff on credit from the ship‘s store so he could go trade for more. Our pewter ashtrays with the engraved ships silhouette were highly valued by the local folks as were cigarette lighters with the ship‘s emblem, and I came home with some very nice wood carvings of animals.
The only downside to this visit was that out of concern for the safety of the crew we could only have Cinderella Liberty. Everyone had to be back on the ship by midnight. But based on my experiences, this port was no worse than some others I‘d seen and actually quite a bit nicer as far as dealing the people was concerned.
This counted as a real highlight because of the uniqueness of the experience, for me.
Finally we stopped in Lorenco Marques, Mozambique towards the tip of Africa for a couple of days. Because of the political turmoil going on at the time I elected not to go ashore except to visit the Radio Officer of a cargo ship tied up next to us. He had come aboard for a visit our first night and invited me to dinner with him and his wife. His company allowed officers to have their wives accompany them during their at-sea time. The officers ate in a dining room (not a galley) and had