This is the first of two sea days, in allegedly risky waters, on the way to the Seychelles. All is quiet, the seas are calm and we are making maximum speed of 18 knots.
Today is a trifecta, of three lectures. I’ll try my best to keep these brief. Naturally, I went to all three. Terry spoke on his Part I – The East India Company (EIC). He joked that this segment from Singapore to South Africa should be called, “The Fall of the British Empire Cruise,” because most of the land we touch or pass near were once in the British Empire, at its height. He reviewed a lot of early British history to make his “connections.” as he calls it, with the current topic. The EIC of merchants sailed to east India in 1593 and made a deal for a Royal charter in 1600 for trade rights in that part of the world. They used force to drive out the Portuguese and make special deals with India. By 1670, Charles II granted autonomous rights, for a slice of the profits. EIC could mint money, set laws, create a military, and do anything they wanted in the areas they traded in. After the Seven Years War with France, their strength in the area increased. After other battles with competing countries, by 1803, they had total trading control in the Indies. Britain ruled throughout most of the 19th century with their naval power.
Mike Scott spoke about “What is so Special about the Seychelles.” He discussed the location, size, and composition of the island nation. The main island, Mahe, is made of granite and is not a coral atoll. It has a 2,669 foot mountain. He described the variety of birds and animals living there. We may see some on our excursions on both days. We are overnighting there. He mentioned some French and British history, from EIC days in 1609 through independence in 1976. He highlighted several tourist attractions around Independence Square and the downtown area. The theater cheered when he said Victoria, Seychelles capital, was a lot prettier than Male was yesterday, in the Maldives.
We waited for the noontime games and played 31, but did not place for points. I went with Bob and Art for a few games of ping-pong. After this, I went back to our suite for Pat. I surveyed the Pool Buffet to inspect their Cheeseburger in Paradise selection and found something. You know that Pat is not a cheeseburger girl, unless it is McDonalds. Go figure! Pat went to greeting card making and I checked out the slot machine tournament and finished out of the money.
The Afternoon lecture by Don Walsh was on the Indian Ocean. He described the size and dimension of the ocean, the currents, monsoon seasonal current changes, and ocean floor ridges. This ocean has been the world’s earliest trading area dating back to 200 BC. He mentioned the U.N. international treaty establishing the 12 mile national limit and the 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone. Placing this info around the nations in the Indian Ocean, there looks like much overlap and areas of conflict. China is exerting their economic power in this region and securing port access at strategic locations. For instance, Sri Lanka sold their port rights to China which has drastically expanded the port. The U.N. has a proposal to develop Marine Protected Areas worldwide of 10% by 2020 and 40% by 2030.
Today’s Mensa and Trivia games were fun to play but our Trivia team still placed just out of scoring range.
We went on deck to see the sunset tonight. The sun set into the clouds, but there was some lovely pink sky afterward. We are still waiting to see the sun set into the ocean on a cloudless day. On the way down, we stopped at the ping pong table (it’s only down the hall from our cabin) and played for about a half hour before getting ready for dinner. We decided to pass on the Regent past guest cocktail party tonight to wind down a bit.
Trish and Jeff joined us for a wonderful dinner. On our way to the theater afterward, we met tonight’s performers, a husband and wife team called Flight Risk. They do death-defying prop comedy and juggling. They asked Jeff if he would be willing to volunteer during the show, to which he agreed. The couple juggled large bowling pins and knocked a cigarette out of Jeff’s mouth. Trish took a video, so Mac took photos and later sent them to him.
We cross the Equator again during the night, so tomorrow we will have another Equator crossing ceremony. Folks on this segment have not experienced this silly skit with King Neptune and his entourage. It’s always pretty funny, and then everyone receives an official certificate from the captain.
Yours in travel,
Pat & Mac