David Brezic from San Diego reports: An itinerary that includes seldom-visited ports of call, you might expect TCC members to show up. That’s exactly what happened on Silversea’s Silver Cloud expedition repositioning cruise. By asking around and with some announcement assistance of the crew, we identified 12 current members aboard when the ship departed Cape Town for planned stops in Namibia, Angola, St. Helena, Ascension Island, Ivory Coast and Ghana. In addition, we identified another 12-14 people who were qualified and/or interested enough to join the TCC. When the ship’s staff realized that our total of members and interested represented over 10% of the 180 passengers, they honored us with our own reception.
The only big disappointment was the bureaucratic decision by officials on Ascension not to let us land, even on Zodiacs. Instead, we felt as if local authorities were trying out a new approach to hosting cruise ships: bringing the locals to the ship rather than vice versa. So they assembled a gift shop on board, did an environmental and Q&A presentation and narrated a circumnavigation of the island. Despite Silversea’s insistence (for TCC, apparently) that the locals bring on board a large rock and sand for us to stand on (which many of us did), purists among us still cannot count Ascension as a true “landing” for TCC purposes. Sigh. [Editor’s note: One must actually stand on terra firma to count it.]