Scrapping enthusiasts from all over South Africa zoned in on the N-shed at Durban Harbour, where groups of scrappers embarked on a ‘first come first serve’ basis according to a specific colour sticker on their cruise ticket. My first sight of the Rhapsody, left me with a thought of: ‘Oh my it’s bigger than I had imagined’. During all the excitement of embarkation I noticed that some dark ominous clouds were looming overhead and I was hoping that this did not mean rough seas ahead of us (LITTLE DID WE KNOW).
Once on board, we soon realised that to get from our cabin no. 3052 to the upper deck meant serious negotiating of, what seemed like endless flights of steps.
Out on deck, I was fascinated by the various shades of white and orange combined with interesting reflections of seawater and harbour scenes appearing in round and rectangle one-way reflecting windows. This was a must photo opportunity for me. The Rhapsody lifted her anchor at about 1:30pm and left Durban Harbour at some serious knots (even the tugs had to motor to keep up with her), while we were treated to a delicious lunch in the formal dining room. Lunch was abruptly finished with us rushing out onto a sunny and windy deck to experience the sail-away celebrations. We soon had to get our sea legs out – to deal with the heavy rolling motion on board. The swell seemed to be quite big. A few green faces started to surface – receiving endless advice from experienced and inexperienced passengers, some also radiating a shade of green later on, dishing out countless remedies and potions. I also had the green factor knocking at my door, but fortunately the Stugoron motion sickness pills (one taken every eight hours), seemed to keep the door closed. The rest of the afternoon was spent familiarising ourselves with what this hotel on sea had to offer. I and Suzette also got at least three hours of scrapping under the belt with me nearly finishing the first of five layouts I planned to complete during the cruise. Between 5:30 and 6:30pm, Vince and his wife, Monique from Scrapping Fever, the organisers of the Scrapping Cruise officially welcomed (460 scrappers) and officially opened the 2006 scrapping cruise. The American celebrity scrapping teachers each introduced themselves and again it was quite interesting to hear how big their families were - minimum 4-kids – in comparison to our maximum 2-kids scenario – and that on top of them having to do all their own household chores. It was astonishing for them to hear that most of us don’t do washing in SA.
Dinner was quite a formal affair and we were all treated like royalty. The cuisine did not blow us away. In fact it was a bit bland and boring as the same spread was served three days in a row. At Sunday breakfast the ‘Chef’s Special’ turned out to be, as a flabbergasted Suzette and Jenny discovered, the ‘Chef’s Blooper’. Seriously overdone to the state of spiky (bony) and leather like Kippers were served as the Special. Caffeine fixes were hard to get as tea and coffee were non existent between 8am and 4pm. While fine tuning our sea legs and sense-less of direction, we stumbled across the bingo room on the upper deck, next to the casino. With its four bingo/bridge tables, it was the perfect on board scrapping venue. We ended up spending 50% of our time scrapping and socialising here. Fellow scrappers and ‘normal passengers passing by, generally commented on us as being mad, diligent and addicted scrapperholic/women’. Some men (after serious partying on deck) even offered to help – when they saw us still at it at 2am in the mornings - we politely declined.
Even Captain Antonio was intrigued with what we were doing with our photos and commissioned us to make him a card ala scrapping style. The casino’s bar was conveniently close by and numerous orders of ‘Pina Collados’ and Café Latte’s were placed.
After breakfast on Saturday, our personalities drastically took a turn for the worse as we got into our DARING, (as perfectly depicted by Jenny our cabaret dancer),
The Devil's in our midst!!! Be afraid, very afraid!
OUTRAGEOUS (given new meaning by the Devil, or is it the Angel, Sophia) and ABNORMAL (as interpreted by the Gatsby Sisters, Suzette and myself).
From left to right: Suzette, Jenny and Sophia
Initially we felt like fish out of the water (especially Jenny) as we got stares and gasps from onlookers, but soon we actually forgot that we were outrageous, daring and abnormal and went about our scrapping lectures and practicals as ‘NORMAL’. We had a few of our pictures printed at Canon who was a sponsor for the Scrapping Cruise. I was very impressed with their newly launched thermal printer, the CP710. Canon also had a competition running for the photograph which best portrayed the spirit of the cruise.
I decided to enter this photo of our Cabaret Dancer, Jenny (Bruce eat your heart out). We were thrilled when it was announced as a finalist and won us a posh Canon photo album. Unfortunately, as conservative scrappers, this album was useless to us, as it was an album containing the very old, acid laden, non-archival and out-of fashion magnetic album pages. Jenny decided to use it as an info file to keep next to her computer (Jenny, I am sure whenever you look at the info in this album you will have fond memories!). We anchored offshore from Maputo and the Portuguese Islands from 9:00am on Saturday till 1:00pm on Sunday, to the relief of many green passengers. We had free time from 2:00pm on Saturday till 8:00am on Sunday and scrapped in the bingo room, cooled down in the Jacuzzi on deck, drank cocktails and did some more sense-less navigation up and down flights of steps for the rest of Saturday afternoon.
Sunset was beautiful and instilled a feeling of humbleness and a presence of a greater being out there. After dinner we reunited in the bingo room for an all night scrapping session till 4:00am, while the deck party was in full swing on deck. The casino duty manager, Michail and the bridge staff, kept a close watch on our doings and was especially interested when we the slideshow of our OUTRAGEOUS doings of the day on my laptop, reached the photos of our cabaret dancer (Bruce, its all due to the doings/encouragement of her friends – blame us!). Our cell phone alarms went off at 5:30am on Sunday, affording us one and a half hours of dosing off. Jenny and Suzette got up to capture sunrise. Sunday was a bumper filled day, rushing between lectures and practicals. The highlight of the day was listening to Allison (survivor of the most brutal rape heard of in South Africa). Most of us were deeply touched by her awe inspiring and uplifting story. Buying her book is a must.
After dinner and yet some more serious negotiating of endless flights of steps we once again zoned in on the bingo room for our last scrapping session of the cruise. At about 10:00pm we were everything but cruising, more like rocking and rolling through a serious storm. Dinner abruptly found its way back from tummies to throats and endless cues of white washed faces lined up at the medical centre in desperation for a shot (injection) of relief. We completed the card (amidst serious discomfort) for Captain Antonio at around 1:00am. We sat/swayed around in the Bingo room until 3:00am in fear of going down to our cabin on the lower deck 3 where the rocking and rolling is felt much more. After three hours of snoozing we reluctantly got up at 6:00am on Monday and sat down for our last cruise breakfast at 7:00am, whilst the Rhapsody was already anchored at N-shed in Durban’s harbour. On disembarkation we left Captain Antonio’s card at reception.
Karen Burniston & hubby, John (one of our American scrapbooking idols). Karen is a very bubbly and vivacious character who excites everyone around her! We were very honoured to meet and chat with her in person.
On the cruise we planted the seed for saving/planning for the CKU University 2007 in America – girls we need to work on making this dream a reality – LIVE YOUR DREAMS!!! - Rhapsody Virgin No More, signing off