Day 50 - Lüderitz
|Tuesday, November 28, 2023: We awoke to the ship anchored in Lüderitz Bay. The captain had been saying for two days that Lüderitz is a notoriously difficult port because of high winds and no shelter, and since this was a tender port, many ships are unable to visit. That was our fate today, as the seas were too rough and the winds were too strong to operate a tender. They were able to bring Namibian immigration officials onto the ship with a tugboat, however, so were able to complete that process before we got to our next port in Walvis Bay.
|LEGO Debbie and Tom looked at the sand-covered ruins of the deserted mining town of Kolmanskop from the ship, unable to get to shore due to the waves and winds. We were a little disappointed to miss our shore excursion to unique Kolmanskop but we welcomed another relaxing day on the ship.
|That's Penguin Island visible in distance, ...
|... and we're zooming in, ...
|... more zooming, and psych! They're not penguins. They're cormorants. If we could go ashore, we'd ask them to rename the island immediately.
|Here's the town of Lüderitz.
|Here's a cute part of town that we had been planning to visit on a walking tour.
|Would you like to see what we could see from our balcony?
|There was a deserted beach, ...
|... and gorgeous rocks, ...
|... and a peninsula with a lighthouse. Even though we were at anchor, the ship occasionally shuddered as it rode the waves stirred up by the high winds. Even with the ship completely stopped, it was windier on our balcony than it had been for many of our days at sea.
|We'd had first breakfast of French toast, but we were still hungry. Did you know that you could get second breakfast on this ship? Did you know about that?
|A very cold and fluffy speckled pigeon, also known as an African rock pigeon, stopped on our balcony to get out of the wind.
|At noon, the immigration officials departed in another tugboat, and we weighed anchor and departed for our next port, Walvis Bay, Namibia.
|We headed to lunch in the main dining room where they were serving Mexican food. Wait, why are there beans in this fiesta soup when it wasn't mentioned on the menu? Fortunately, Debbie was able to fish them out and plop them in Tom's bowl instead.
|We give you chicken fajitas as presented by an Indonesian and Filipino crew.
|We had to ask for tortillas, even though they were in the description, and we got exactly one each, so we each built one fajita and ate the rest with our forks. It was all very delicious and we were so happy to have had Mexican food for the first time in forever.
|After lunch, we stopped at the Neptune Lounge to ask for more soda for our cabin. They had a selection of tiny sandwiches and other canapes. Our cabin was so close to the Lido and so far from the Neptune Lounge that we never thought about coming here for food, especially since there was nothing we could get here that we couldn't get in the Lido.
|We missed being able to see the sunset as our shp was pointed north.
|At 6:00 PM, we went to the Pinnacle Grill for the chef's mystery dinner. It had an official name but we aren't using it here so that we don't spoil the surprise if someone is searching the internet for information about it. There was only one reservation time tonight, as they would be serving everyone at the same time. The table was set opposite from normal, with utensils, plates, and drinking glasses all on the opposite sides.
|As we took our seats and the excitement built, we were served cocktails with candy sprinkles on the rim.
|The waitstaff brought around a bread selection that included green breadsticks that looked like celery. They also delivered ramekins with cream cheese flavored with balsamic vinegar and squid ink, and shallot butter flavored with red wine. Yum!
|Our host for the evening, Tina, introduced the chef behind tonight's dinner, ...
|... Chef Tiffany. She explained that tonight was all about eating foods that looked like one thing but tasted like something different.
|The servers were all dressed in uniforms that were different from their normal ones. Yunia, for example, was dressed as a ship's officer. She had painted hearts around her right eye for tonight, ...
|... and had done Yudith's makeup as well. Yudith was dressed in the coveralls of an engineer.
|The first course was listed on the menu as a croquembouche, which is normally a tower of cream puffs bound together by caramel and is described as a French wedding cake. While they looked like cream puffs, they were very savory tasting.
|Chef Tiffany came out after the course to explain that they were choux pastry, half of which were filled with bacon and cream filling, and the other half were filled with an apple brandy mousse. They were covered with a bacon glaze for even more savory taste.
|The second course was listed on the menu as water. The servers brought around soup bowls with shrimp and pink dots in them, ...
|... and then served a seafood bisque poured from cans of Open Water, a brand of bottled water that you could buy on the ship.
|While we were enjoying our soup, the sommelier, Jury, came around with bottles of white wine and red wine, pouring glasses of whatever we preferred.
|We both asked for glasses of the white, a Chenin Blanc from the South African winery KMV.
|Chef Tiffany came back out, explaining that the soup contained Thai red curry paste, red onion gel, coconut, and lemongrass. We told her that it was probably the most delicious soup we've ever had and we meant it.
|The next course was simply named porridge. It was a very green color, with what looked like mushrooms, bacon, and a slice of onion.
|Chef Tiffany asked all of us to guess what we thought it was, and was thrilled that no one guessed correctly. It had actually been steel-cut oats, flavored with spinach, cooked in an escargot broth, topped with more escargot and chips made from proscuitto and a slice of celery. We both decided that we'd eat that everyday for breakfast. It was sooooo good.
|The fourth course was listed as a sunny side up egg, and the clue that Chef Tiffany gave us was that it would cleanse our palate.
|It was really coconut ice cream that had been made onboard, topped with a dollop of mango sorbet.
|The fifth course was "a walk through the garden," and Chef Tiffany's description was that it was supposed to resemble things that you'd see on the forest floor. There were clumps of moss, flower petals, and soil surrounding what looked like a sawn-off tree trunk. This is probably the most creatively-plated entree we've ever been served.
|We were really enjoying the dinner, and one of the many servers stopped by and took a photo of us.
|Chef Tiffany was back to explain everything after the course. The moss was sponge cake flavored with spinach, the flowers were hand-cut potato chips, the leaves were Brussel spout greens, and the soil was carmelized mushroom and white onion. The tree trunk, of course, was a steak filet covered with parsnip cream. Chef Tiffany came up to our table and said that she had enjoyed watching us during the course as we tasted everything and tried to figure out what it all actually was.
|The sixth and final course was sushi served with chopsticks and a side of soy sauce. In reality, it was vanilla mousse, raspberry mousse, pistachio mousse topped with brownie crumbs. The chopsticks were made from sugar cookie dough, and the soy sauce was a coffee gelee.
|When the dinner was over, Chef Tiffany talked about how she had developed the meal, and then introduced her culinary team that had helped to prepare the food.
|The host introduced each of the servers and explained what costume they were wearing, and then they clapped and paraded around the restaurant as a farewell to all of the diners. It had been a night to remember, and it was definitely one of the highlights of the cruise.
Copyright © Deborah Schilling/Thomas Bundy