One day before I leave

Tomorrow afternoon I leave for Cape Town. I will be there for possibly two days longer than expected, as I heard this morning from the shipping company that the Edinburgh will now likely leave for Tristan on Friday, September 15 instead of Wednesday. It is a fuel supply issue, but I cannot say that I am surprised to hear this. I check the official Tristan da Cunha website every day, and read about each ship departure and who is on it. There are often delays with the Edinburgh. This is not a criticism by any means–when travelling to Tristan everyone has to be prepared that things like this might happen. In a way the extra time in Cape Town will come as a relief, as I would have had so much to do on my sole day there (Tuesday of next week) prior to departure. Unlike my visit to Cape Town four years ago, I want to visit the four bookstores I frequented before my departure, not after. I also want to go to the post office to send a couple postcards from Cape Town, and visit a music store (which I never got around to doing last time). I still need to pay for my passage, which will either entail a visit to the shipping company’s office or an appointment at a bank. If I pay my passage at the bank I will then have to scoot back to the hotel for them to fax the receipt to the shipping company (I paid this way four years ago). My host family has asked me to do some grocery shopping, and I will need to go to Tristan House (a large house owned by the Tristanian government where islanders stay when in the city) to drop off these groceries because they will need refrigeration. And I still will have to visit the Edinburgh in harbour and surrender my passport. I would be running around the city and cabbing it from place to place, trying to get it all done before 5 p.m. Now that I have up to two extra days I might even get to spend a day at the beach.

I am glad I am allowed two free checked bags, plus one carry-on. I am bringing quite a lot of gifts and supplies for my host family. Maybe my baggage will be lighter on the trip home. That is the reason I am taking a collapsible wheeled bag. It will fit into my suitcase if I don’t need it coming home. When I was on Tristan four years ago, I packed two weeks’ worth of clothes. That means fourteen pairs of underwear and socks, plus enough shirts and pants. A trip to Tristan requires, besides the time spent on the island, an additional two weeks in the ship transportation to get there and back. My host family washed clothes daily. They had three kids in the house and Renée had the washing machine always on the go. I realized then, that if I ever returned to the island, I would only need to pack enough clothes for one week. And so I have. I will need to do a wash once I arrive on Tristan, but I won’t be carting around as many clothes as last time. I remembered that layered clothing is a must on springtime Tristan da Cunha. I am bringing my Tristan toque, gloves, raincoat, rain pants and rubber boots.

As promised, here is a photo of me, bearded. Remember my motto: there is no such thing as a good selfie. I am in the bathroom cleaning the tub so I won’t come home after my vacation to a filthy shower.

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