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Table Mountain & The Most Southern Tip of Africa

March 25, 2010 - 3:55 pm Comments Off on Table Mountain & The Most Southern Tip of Africa

Table Mountain on a clear day.

Table Mountain was covered with the ‘table cloth’ for most of the time we were in Cape Town.  The clouds don’t just sit on top of the mountain, but they pour over the mountain.  It is really cool to see.  We decided to climb the mountain even though it was partly covered.  Luckily, just before we got to the top, the clouds on the Cape side cleared and we took a bunch of pictures.  Couldn’t see the North side.  Would have been nice to see the Twelve Apostles peaks and False Bay.  We ate our sack lunch and rode the cable car down.

On our way up Table Mountain

Then we started down the Garden Route.  We had the adventure of looking for, and finding, the most southern tip of the African continent.  The road took us through the country side with very few residents and well-kept dirt roads.  I was surprised, even in the sticks the roads were well marked with big directional signs.  That was very helpful seeing we only had the vague map included in our tour book.

On top of Table Mountain

Southern Most Tip of the African Continent

Cape Point Loop

March 24, 2010 - 4:13 pm Comments Off on Cape Point Loop

Cape Point

Here are some pictures from our trip out to the Cape Point.  We drove, what some call, the Cape Loop.  We visited the Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope.  We stopped to look at a colony of Jackass Penguins that recently started nesting in a small town.  We also had great views of the Atlantic.   More on this trip later….

New Lighthouse

Jackass Penguins

On the Cape Loop

Atlantic on the Cape Loop

Martin Family History in Cape Town

March 23, 2010 - 8:15 pm Comments Off on Martin Family History in Cape Town
St. Mary's Episcopal Church

St. Mary's Episcopal Church

Jared’s great grandfather Samuel Martin emigrated to Cape Town South Africa in the late 1800’s.  We set out to find some landmarks recorded in my great grandfather’s journal.  It was quite an adventure looking for landmarks over 115 years old.

We found the church Samuel and Clair were married in (St. Mary’s Anglican Church in Woodstock).  The approximate location of were they lived (22 Wiliam Street, Woodstock.  Now it is a parking lot for the Woodstock Police Station).

Mission Hall

Mission Hall

This is what Samuel called the second Mission Hall.  It is where the early Cape Town saints met. It is a good sized building very close to where Sam and Clara lived.  This building is still being used as a church.

Found Aunt Clara's Grave

Found Aunt Clara's Grave

Found the cemetery were Aunt Claire was buried. That cemetery is so big, you can see it from the top of Table Mountain.  We went to the office to ask for help with the plat numbers, but the guy just looked at us as if we were crazy.  Thank goodness we got good directions from my Dad’s cousin, Kraig Beckstrand.

Mowbray Chapel

Mowbray Chapel

We also found the church in Mowbray.  This land was the site of the mission home when Samuel was the South African mission president.

Tsitsikamma Canopy Tour

March 19, 2010 - 6:50 pm Comments Off on Tsitsikamma Canopy Tour

Zip Line

Today we decided to take a side trip to Tsitsikamma Canopy Tour, the longest zip-line in South Africa.  The tour consisted of 10 different zip-lines, the longest of which was 100 meters (Approximately 300 yards).  The total distance is 1 kilometer (0.6 mile).  The zip-lines were 30 meters above the rain forest floor, good thing we are not too afraid of heights. It took about 3 hours and we truly enjoyed the adrenalin rush.

Here’s the link to their website:  http://www.stormsriver.com/tsitsikamma_canopy_tour

Next Stop — Durban

March 18, 2010 - 6:48 pm Comments Off on Next Stop — Durban

Heading South toward Durban we stopping in Richards Bay.  This area has lots of tree farms to support a very large paper mill in Richards bay.  The deciduous trees are very skinny and tall.

Spices for sale at Victoria's Market.

Spices for sale at Victoria's Market.

Durban is a very large city with lots of Indian influence.  We went to Victoria Market, in a way, it was kind of like Pike’s Place in Seattle, a major tourist trap.  They sell spices in big bins.  The entire market place smells like an Indian restaurant.

St Lucia – Near the Indian Ocean

March 15, 2010 - 4:54 am 1 Comment

Can you see the crocodiles?

Can you see the crocodiles?

We spend the next three days in St. Lucia, a small resort community on the beach and near three game reserves.  We went to a park and watched the hippopotamus graze and the crocodile open their mouths.  We went shopping (an activity that would be repeated several times throughout our trip).  After a lateGiraffe & Zebra lunch we got to go to the beach and wade in the Indian Ocean where Erika put on quite a show.

The next day we made it into Hluhluwe and Maphelana Game Reserves.  It was a fun day of watching for any possible animals, especially the big five (lion, cheetah, elephant, Jared & Erika on Safari rhinoceros and buffalo (not to be confused with the bison we have in the states).  We saw both the White (or Wide) and Black Rhinoceros, Elephant, Giraffe, Wildebeest, Zebra, Monkeys, Baboons, Kudu, Nyala, Impala, and a Warthog family.  I am sure we are leaving something out.  It was a long day of trying to see who could find the best animals first.  I think Erika won.

Chruch in Osezweni South Africa

March 14, 2010 - 4:27 am 1 Comment

Waiting to get access to start setting up for church.

Waiting to get access to start setting up for church.

We went to church with mom and dad Knudsen in Osezweni near Madedeni, the smallest of their three branches.  So small they call it a twig.  Erika and I helped setup the small community room that they rent.  I helped prepare and pass the sacrament.  Erika led the music without accompaniment.  She had to sing the first few measures solo to get everyone started.  Way to go Erika!

Sister Knudsen helping in Primary.

Sister Knudsen helping in Primary.

Probably the closest thing to a church solo she will ever want to do again.  We were introduced, asked to share our testimonies and I gave the closing prayer.  I had a feeling we were going to get to participate.  We had a group of 47 attending.  The numbers were down because of the rain.

Cows right outside the window durring sacrament meeting.

Cows right outside the window durring sacrament meeting.

Most of them live in large groups in a cinder block, tin roof house with a flushing toilet and a sink.  No showers.  Despite the poverty and living conditions everyone was well dressed.

I cannot get over how happy everyone is.  Everyone, especially the children, are all smiles.  They are so happy and they have so little.  They speak between three and seven languages and their English is great.

They are a very religious people.  They go to a lot of different kinds of Christian denominations.  There was even a mega-church called the Potter’s House that met under a super-sized tent.

Off We Go

March 12, 2010 - 7:45 pm Comments Off on Off We Go

Here is some video of the inside of the Boeing 777 we took from Atlanta to Johannesburg. We are still excited about our 15 hour flight.

Mexico by Boat

November 7, 2009 - 2:35 pm Comments Off on Mexico by Boat

Okay we didn’t even last 6 months before we decided we need to go on another cruise.  It helped that we found a steal of a deal and so again with only a weeks notice we were off sailing!

This time we sailed out of  Los Angeles so we were able to fly in a day early and spend some time with my brother, Spencer and his family.  We went to one of Summer’s soccer games and then spent time playing the the other kids.  It was great getting to see Spencer and Sher again.  Thanks for letting us drop in on you last minute!

Off to the Mexican Riviera…

First stop, Cabo San Lucas.  We had signed up for a kayaking and snorkeling excursion.  We kayaked through the bay to the point where the pacific ocean meets up with Gulf of California.  There was a  beautiful sandy beach and amazing rock formations.

Jared paddling in the kayak

Some of the rock formations in Cabo

Erika & Jared Kayaking in Cabo

Some of the rock formation we kayaked around (photo taken from the ship).

After kayaking and snorkeling we walked into park of Cabo.  It is always interesting seeing the similarities and the differences of the different tourist towns that I have visited.  We really enjoyed Cabo.   It was quaint and I would love to return sometime soon.

Next  stop, Mazatlan:  We did not take an official excursion in Mazatlan.  We ended up walking from the Pier to downtown and then wandering around downtown.  I love looking at the architecture and Jared was having fun teasing me for all the pictures I was taking.  After walking to a cathedral we were getting quite warm.  We decided to catch a taxi to go to the beach.  (We had probably walked for close to 5 miles already).

The beach we went to was not the pristine white sand and crystal clear water, but it was nice to get into the water and cool off.

After we were done swimming, we walked around the tourist shops near the beach.  It was here that I found my souvenir, a beautiful coral pendant.  When we finished shopping we caught another taxi back to the ship.

Final stop, Puerto Vallarta: Here we took another excursion, an hour boat ride to Marietas Island where we snorkeled and kayaked in pristine waters.  We spent a good portion of the day playing in the water off of Marientas Island.  The boat ride back had an open bar and food.  I enjoyed my fair share of virgin pina colatas.  YUMM!  The people we were sitting by were enjoying all the alcohol they wanted.  One of them (who was definitely inebriated) spilled their drink on me.  Fortunately, I was able to take a quick dip into the water off the boat to rinse off.   Just one of the memorable experiences…

When we returned to Dock, we decided to pass on the taxi to downtown Puerto Vallarta and we walked across the street and explored the Walmart.  It was huge and it was interesting to see the similarities and differences between Walmart here.  We picked up souvenirs and then took a walk and explored on foot some of the non-touristy areas of the city.  The poverty was stunning.  It started getting dark so we returned to the ship, weary from our adventures.

The Ship: Jared and I learned quickly that it is important to select a ship that has enough to keep us entertained.  Compared to our last cruise there were very few things to do on the ship.  I finished the books that I had brought and we still had a day and a half to go.  Next time we go on a smaller boat I will make sure to have a few more books.  Other than that we had a fabulous time!

Our First Cruise…But Not the Last

June 13, 2009 - 1:32 pm Comments Off on Our First Cruise…But Not the Last

Last minute we decided to join my sister, Kylee and her family on a Caribbean cruise.  So a week later we were on a plane to Florida.

We stopped at three ports:

St. Maarten:  We took a small water ferry into town and then after walking around town we hired a taxi to take us to a nicer beach to do some snorkeling.  The weather was not the greatest and it started raining on us.  Unfortunately the good snorkeling required a boat ride so we ended up just playing in the waves and enjoying a rainy day at the beach.  The taxi ride was the highlight as we spent time talking with the taxi driver learning about the island.

Puerto Rico: Kylee had served her mission in Puerto Rico and this was her first time back.  We tagged along with her and rented a car so that she could go back and drive through areas she had served in.  It was great to see the areas I had read about in her letters.  We also drove through a national park (name?).  We then dropped off the car and walked around the Fort near the docks.  There is so much to see there and too little time to see it all.

Haiti: Although we were in Haiti, it was only a small beach compound owned by Royal Caribbean – so not the “real” Haiti experience.  There we nice sandy beaches, plenty of hammocks and beach chairs.  So we spent the day soaking in the sun, snorkeling and just relaxing.  It was nice but we wished we had the opportunity to see more of the “real”  Haiti.

The On Board Adventure: The ship was truly amazing!  It was the largest cruise ship on the ocean at the time.  There was plenty to do, from surfing or boogie boarding, rock climbing, ice skating, movie theaters, basketball courts, ping-pong tables (which Jared enjoyed), many pools to choose from as well as as much food as you could eat.  I enjoyed lounging by the pools reading books and Jared enjoyed exploring all that the ship had to offer.

We left wondering how soon we could go again.  What a great way to travel!!