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In 2009, Knowledge Network presented Ann Clark with a cruise on the MSC Sinfonia in appreciation for her contribution to the success of Knowledge Network over the years.

Thank you, Ann.
Jil - Knowledge Network

Link to the:
Photo Trip
MSC Sinfonia, Durban Harbour, Nov 2009






Ann Clark is presented with a cruise on the MSC Sinfonia (Sail date: 23 Nov 2009)

“There are many things in my life that inspire and motivate me to learn more, explore more, experience more, achieve more and share more.  Music, colours and forms in nature and the continuous energy of the waves and ocean have always inspired me the most. All these passions came together into one dream experience when Jil and Knowledge Network presented me with a cruise for two on the MS Sinfonia in November 2009. I would like to share this timeless experience with you."

Ann Clark
Knowledge Network
26 March 2010

(Camera used for photographs - Nikon Coolpix)

MSC Sinfonia - Durban Harbour, Nov 2009




"My journey started in early November when I started following the MS Sinfonia to South African shores. All the decks are named after famous composers. While moderating I had time to listen to their music and spent some time getting to know the works of Jean Sibelius, as we had a cabin with a balcony on the Sibelius Deck, Deck 10, Cabin 1100. Being able to retreat, day and night to the balcony enabled me to be one with sea, space and silence.

On Friday morning, 21 November a bus was waiting for us at Durban International airport to shuttle us to Durban Harbour. Long queues, excited travellers and many hours standing in wind and rain, gave us time to meet people we would share many special moments with on the cruise.  500 Rotarians including representatives from different countries and provinces were attending a conference on the Sinfonia. We were privileged to share many laughs and fun times with them.

We set sail for the Portuguese Islands on one of the coldest, windiest days of the year, and this excited me.  I was hoping that we would experience all weather conditions, and we did. We left Durban harbour under grey skies, rough seas, strong winds and people standing at an angle.

While the sail away party was in full swing, we moved to the top deck and experienced our first magical moment – a whale thrust its tail out of the water waving us on our way and dolphins were spotted playing in the surf. It was a brief sighting but made a huge impact and influenced what I wanted to experience on the cruise. It is wonderful to see creatures having the freedom to enjoy their natural environment. 

Fire drills. Then decisions and booking deadlines! We had to book excursions and didn’t know what to choose. The weather was bad so snorkelling and scuba diving were not an option. The folk who did go snorkelling could not see anything due to murky water. We decided to book the fast pass to Inhaca Island. This meant that we would be on the first Zodiac leaving the Sinfonia at 08:15 on Saturday morning.  After watching the sunset from the comfort of our private balcony, we joined the “party people” for cocktails and danced the night away.

Sunrise was at 04:50, with pastel colours reflecting on a metallic grey sea. We had breakfast at a table sloping at a 10-degree angle. It was a strange feeling walking up the dining hall to get coffee and down to get back to our table. We all grouped in the Sinfonia Lounge on Deck 7, ready for a day of adventure. I was excited to be able to experience activities I had never done before. The day was overcast and cool, with large swells. At 10:00 it was safe enough to start the excursion.

Life jackets on, we headed for the Portuguese Islands. What an exhilarating ride. We were airborne most of the time, coming down every now and again to hit the crest of the next swell. The sea, sky, clouds, mist and rain were all different shades of grey. Perfect weather to explore life on the islands.

Portuguese Island was magnificent. It is uninhabited with endless white beaches and warm sub-tropical waters. We enjoyed the unspoilt wide-open spaces and thriving bird-life.

A small, shallow shuttle took us to Inhaca Island. At times I was not sure I was going to manage to hold on tight enough to stay onboard as we were hitting the swells at strange angles.

Inhaca Island has some of the best coral reefs in the Mozambique Channel. It was low tide and we were dropped about 200m from shore. Pelicans were swimming in the bay unconcerned by our presence. The sea was calm and we were able to take many photos and videos of the island before reaching the beach.

We did not want to go to any tourist attractions. Dino, a Grade 10 student, offered to be our tour guide. We wanted to go to places Dino went to on a daily basis.

First we went to the well. It is the only source of clean water in the village. We then followed a sand road to the local hospital. The hospital only has medics. If someone needs a doctor they go to Maputo for treatment.

Dino pointed out the sweat potatoes and cabbages that grow all over the island. Dino was very proud of his command of the English language. His dream is to become a journalist. He wanted to introduce us to his English teacher Mr John Mushava. Along the way we visited the library and youth centre. They have a computer and printer in the library. The librarian helps people send emails and do research. There is one computer in the village that students can use. We walked many miles up and down sand dunes, past goats tied to bushes before we reached Dino’s school. It was a great privilege meeting Mr Mushava.

It started to rain so Dino arranged for us to get a lift back to the beach in a trailer attached to a quad bike. The teenagers took us on a joy ride up and down the dunes to get us back to the beach. Dino told us that because it was raining the seas would be calm and we would have a good trip back to Portuguese Island.

The Zodiac left the Portuguese Island and headed back to the Sinfonia. They were concerned that because of the large swells we would have difficulty getting on board ship safely. It is a great feeling of anticipation waiting for the swells to rise in line with the landing and then leaping off the edge of the Zodiac to safety, then watching the zodiac disappear before rising again for the next leap.

Back to our balcony to watch the sun disappear into the darkness of the night sky.  Not a cloud in sight. An inspiring end to a perfect day.

Sunrise on Sunday was shades of pink and yellow. Such a contract to the shades of grey we had on Saturday. Our world was technicolour once again. From the balcony, we saw thousands of huge jellyfish floating in the turquoise sea below. The Sinfonia started up the engines and we turned towards the Mozambican coastline. The sun was extremely hot and seemed to bring the ocean to life. We spotted sea turtles, hammerhead sharks, flying fish and dolphins as we followed the coastline home. The white beaches, green shrubs and bright blue sea were in sharp contrast to the landscapes we had seen the day before.

Everyone gravitated towards the pool deck to celebrate the return of the sun. The Dream Team kept everyone entertained until lunchtime. We found the disembarkation briefing very interesting. The disembarkation procedures and luggage labels were discussed. All cabins on Deck 10 had light blue luggage labels. Our luggage had to be labelled and placed in the passage ready for collection before 02:00 on Monday morning.

On Sunday night the atmosphere was electric, each music lounge had its own unique vibe. For the energetic, a popular band called Good Vibrations, had everyone rocking into the early hours of the morning. Henk performed all the much loved South African hits that also kept everyone singing along.

On Monday morning while having breakfast we were able to identify many popular landmarks on the South African coastline. The huge arch of the Moses Mabhida Stadium is a beautiful addition to the Durban Skyline.

We disembarked with many new experiences, awesome photos and videos, new friends, little sleep and two suitcases with light blue labels. "


In 2009, Knowledge Network presented Ann Clark with a cruise on the MSC Sinfonia in appreciation for her contribution to the success of Knowledge Network over the years.

Thank you, Ann.
Jil - Knowledge Network 2009



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Date of update: 22 March 2010